Thursday, December 11, 2008

Etsy Addresses the CPSIA

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act has been a hot topic of discussion, and anger, on the Etsy forums. This U.S. law may negatively effect businesses that make and sell children's items - apparal, toys, accessories, etc.

From that thread linked above, Dec 1:

And is there an Etsy petition going to combat these ridiculous, stringent (but
unfortunately true) CPSC regulations?

Well, yes, 10 days later there sort of is. Etsy has written an open letter regarding their role and thoughts on the legislation that is to take effect February 2009.

As a venue for handcrafted and vintage items from small entrepreneurs, Etsy has invited the Ombudsman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to join us in a webchat in our Virtual Lab. Etsy would very much appreciate the opportunity to provide a forum for discussing the concerns of artisans who make toys and children's products as well as their customers who support handmade products.

Good, and as a venue they probably won't be able to do anything without a recall taking place. But umm, when is this conversation with the bigwig going to happen? Yeah, I can't find that either. Ok, so maybe the ombudsman hasn't responded (then say so *cough* morons *cough*) Oh and did you notice how they threw vintage in there with the mention of handmade- they're learning!

They have a thread for discussion that consolidates 6 other threads from worried Etsians.

It's nice to see something addressed in a timely manner - though they probably should've been on top of it in August when the legislation first passed - but I'll give them a free pass on this one, it's been a rough week or so for the big E. Good to see they can multitask.

However, Etsy still has not addressed whether they will make sellers produce testing proof after the law takes effect. My take on it is that it falls into the same category they have for copyright - it's not their place to enforce (whether that's right or wrong is open to debate, I know). They need to be fair and equal, not enforce one thing but not the other.

Oh, and this was only in the Dorque and forums, so many sellers haven't seen it - I'm not even going to bitch about the lack of communication, you all know the spiel and I'm busy listing on Artfire.


Julie said...

I actually did get this information in an email from etsy this morning. I was pleasantly surprised. (Although I really should not be surprised by good communication - that should be par for the course, especially with something that is going to affect so many sellers.)

Fenris said...

The announcement for chat went out via e-mail.

So far they seem to be handling it much the way they handle edibles. Comply with your local laws, whatever they are.

Ideally I'd like to see them put a line in the shop policies screen that you fill out that says "list any applicable license numbers, degrees, etc" so food vendors or people that need to comply with a specific regulation can easily DISPLAY that they are in compliance instead of having it buried somewhere in the profile or shop policies.

Anonymous said...

Fenris, I suggested that exact implimentation for the edibles category and I was told to go scratch by admin. Not once, not twice, but three times.

The Funny One said...

This is a PR ploy only, since it is getting Etsy come press coverage today, not much more. Etsy is so completely dislocated from its seller-base that it's interesting they spin it to look like they are actually "advocates" for sellers.

More like advocates for Etsy.

Or, this happens to be a personal pet project of an Etsy Admin who thought it would be a good idea to send out a press release showing Etsy is an "activist" when sellers know the real deal. If it benefits Etsy the company, make an effort.

If it might, just might benefit sellers as a group, forget it. Too much damn work.

Done With Etsy Long Time Ago said...

I haven't seen an email from Etsy in ages! So their emails are STILL not getting to everyone. Oh yeah ..... somehow an email telling me my credit card has expired got through.

MI Zombie said...

Oh what fun it will be for people to report people to the CPSIA or what ever it is. People thinking they can just sneak by will be in for a rude awakening I am afraid when their competition wants to jerk them around! Stupid law however! Sell while you can because the cost of certifying is going to be huge.

forum rubbernecker said...

I got the email from Etsy, but it is a little late for Etsy to be jumping on the bandwagon. They should have had a coordinated effort going on this while it was being debated in Congress. Of course, that would require that they actually be 1) aware of current legislation and 2) know how to find their way to Washington to speak on behalf of Etsy. Any marketplace this big absolutely needs an advocate on Capitol Hill.

buddy said...

When I worked in publishing you bet we had people following legislation and appearing before Congress or the USPS (for mailing price legislation) during the debate process. I once testified before the USPS committee in DC on 2nd Class issues.

To jump onto the protest bandwagon after the legislation has been passed is pitifully lame.

If Etsy wasn't astute enough to be following basic legislation that directly significantly affects its business BEFORE it passed, then they are NOT a seriously viable long-term business. All serious publishers follow legislative actions closely.

This is one more example of how this "hip" group of crafters is NOT educated in the business of the world, at any capacity that assures sellers that their investment is even marginally supported.

My DH runs one magazine, among many, devoted to craft-based business, and they have a lawyer whose business it is to know if anything before Congress will affect their readers or advertisers. They testified on this before Congress last summer.

If Etsy wants to be a legitimate international site, they just have to have people who are aware of the fact that governmental laws actually affect their business.

Maybe Etsy could hire someone who took a Business Law class somewhere along the line in their BA? Or at least hire someone with a BA?

hess said...

buddy, from your mouth to Shiva's ear. ;p

What is Legislation? said...

Buddy... this proves, along with so many other things that Etsy is not a viable business. I just had this discussion with my DH last night and told him that I was trying to be positive when I started a few months ago, but just cannot justify having my only sales outlet on Etsy. It's why I have my own url, and am trying out new services like Artfire. If Etsy goes under, which is a real possibility... I don't want my whole life tied up in them (or any third party to be honest).

MI Zombie said...

Your own ecommerce site is a must have! I can't emphasize this enough~

What is Legislation? said...

Amen, MI Zombie! I actually registered my url and started my blog before I even started my Etsy store. Now I have a nice friend helping me set-up the e-commerce side of my url. :-)