Thursday, November 5, 2009

Etsy doesn't allow returns

One of the 'clarifications' in the changed Dos and Don'ts was regarding cancelled transactions:

The seller may cancel an invalid or void transaction, as defined by these circumstances:
-The buyer did not pay (see Non-payment) at the time the transaction was created, according to the transaction agreement or according to the terms in the seller's Shop Policies.
-Both the buyer and seller agree to cancel the transaction prior to shipment. If the buyer has already paid, the seller has refunded buyer (price paid for item plus shipping).
-The seller has refused service to the buyer (see Refusing service). If the buyer has
already paid, the seller has refunded the buyer (price paid for item plus shipping).
-The buyer paid for the item(s). Although the seller shipped the item(s), the buyer did not receive the item(s). The seller has refunded the buyer (price paid for item at minimum).

But sellers wonder, what about when the sale is refunded because the item was returned? As far as Etsy cares, it was a sale, so they keep their fees... Even if you don't get paid!

Stellaloella says:

The DOs & DON'Ts of Etsy define transactions as such: "A transaction is created when a buyer completes Etsy's checkout process. [...] An Etsy transaction is completed when the buyer pays and the seller ships the item."

Canceling a transaction is linked to refunding a seller their listing and transaction fees. In the case that the buyer wishes to return the item and the seller agrees to a refund, that is still a valid, completed transaction for which Etsy requires fees to be paid by the seller. Etsy has provided a completed transaction service to the seller. If the seller chooses to accept a return and possibly refund the buyer, that does not negate that Etsy has provided an agreed-upon service for which we should be paid.

This was not clearly outlined in our policies in the past, and some sellers took advantage of the opportunity to cancel valid, completed transactions for the purpose of avoiding Etsy's fees or feedback from buyers.

Yep, it's the sellers' fault. Offering refunds on returns like good business people...expecting a completed sale to be the point of a listing. Paypal may do it, but they're suckers!

Don't you all realize that the point of listing on Etsy is to pay them!? All those poor admin working all day and you guys want to take away their fees for doing nothing! shame on you.

On a nonsarcastic note, if the seller doesn't get paid, Etsy shouldn't either. They already received the listing fee for the interaction with the buyer, but if the seller isn't paid for the item (including refunds on returns) then Etsy shouldn't get the percentage cut of the sale price. But then again, Etsy likes to take money that isn't theirs, like the fee for sale prices on weekend deals.

By the way, kind of nice of Etsy to put this policy into play without notifying their members. Hands up for everyone who's gotten an email about the new Dos and Don'ts...yeah, it doesn't matter that I can't see you, I know there aren't any hands up.


onagainoffagain said...

Yeah. No sale means no fee. So why should Etsy get the money?

Heck, I'm not even sure Etsy deserves the fee even with a sale at this point. They didn't advertise, they don't provide customer service, they don't fix things when they are broken....

Oh, yeah. They provide a vibrant marketplace.

onemorenailinthecoffin said... email yet. I won't hold my breath. This is absolute crap.

A very Etsy Holiday Surprise said...

I predict the emails will either go out Tuesday night before Thanksgiving or the Night before Christmas Eve. Both those times Etsy staff will be going on vacation and pretty much no one will be around for 4 to 5 days to deal with the aftermath.

Xmas Eve is even better as it insures a large number of people will not get the emails to after the grace period is over.

eclipse said...

I don't know why she is comparing this situation to shady sellers who canceled paid transactions without ever shipping the item. THOSE are the ones who were abusing the cancellation feature to avoid bad feedback. They never shipped the items in the first place, so obviously there was no return.
The situation of a buyer returning an item and the seller refunding the money is totally apples and oranges to the shenanigans she is describing.

Paypal refunds fees on refunded payments, even though they "performed their service". The only thing this Etsy policy will accomplish is make less sellers willing to accept returns.

The Funny One said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Funny One said...

Etsy really shows its ugly head with this rule because (1) it makes the seller pay = seller is always at a disadvantage on Etsy and (2) Etsy thinks quality control is for chumps. IF Etsy had to refund fees on returned items, they WOULD KNOW that some items on Etsy probably shouldn't be listed for sale on THEIR SITE with THEIR BRAND NAME SLAPPED ON EVERY PRODUCT!

Since one of the main reasons for a return is "not what I ordered" the less Etsy knows about it, the more they can delude shoppers that the site is a reliable site to spend time and money on.

And we all know what Etsy thinks about quality control - as long as they don't pay attention to it, it doesn't matter.

Which goes for sellers - the more Etsy ignores them, the chances are they'll go away. Which goes for forum complaints.......if Etsy keeps ignoring them, sellers will shut up.

It fits their entire approach to their business. Guaranteed implosion.

abc123 said...

So should I change my refund policy to say that Etsy doesn't allow refunds?

RRobin said...

Even the usurious PayPal refunds its fees if a sale is a cancelled. Why shouldn't the "we're so cute and friendly" Etsy?

mustbeoneoftheten said...

I'm still waiting to discover why a sale is a sale when it's shipped. And the part where they talk about contacting the customer is a fucking nightmare.

The whole thing is a fucking nightmare.

Another thread gets closed for not showing E staff respect. Maria? Respect? Respect, respect my ass.

holly said...

Anonymous RRobin said...

Even the usurious PayPal refunds its fees if a sale is a cancelled. Why shouldn't the "we're so cute and friendly" Etsy?

Because E is playful like that.

RRobin said...

Just curious, Holly, why do you preface my name with "anonymous"? It suggests that I am somehow more anonymous than anyone else on this site.

The Righteous One said...

RRobin, when cutting and pasting the "anonymous" is picked up for commenters who entered a name rather than being signed in because of the little icon by the name. For EB names it says "blogger" and for signed in commenters it says something else.

It's just a carry along when cutting and pasting.

RRobin said...

The Righteous One said...
RRobin, when cutting and pasting the "anonymous" is picked up for commenters who entered a name rather than being signed in because of the little icon by the name. For EB names it says "blogger" and for signed in commenters it says something else.

It's just a carry along when cutting and pasting.


Thanks for the explanation, Righteous One. When I cut and paste someone else's comment here -- as I just did, above, with yours -- that doesn't happen, but perhaps it is because I am on a Mac.

Betsy B. said...

Keeping the fee for a sale when the sale has been canceled because of a return is stealing from the seller. Legitimate sellers occasionally have to make returns for legitimate reasons and Etsy shouldn't make a profit when they do. This policy may goad decent sellers into creating more stringent return policies and they will look paranoid or shady in the eyes of potential buyers. Sellers shouldn't have to feel this way because Etsy chooses to be so greedy. (and non supportive of sellers) I don't know what other people do, but I do look at return policies when I purchase on line.

grr said...

I love Etsy and my shop there but this is completely maddening!

In the UK it is THE LAW that buyers can return anything they buy on the internet for ANY REASON within a certain number of days of it arriving and a seller must BY LAW issue a full refund. As a UK seller there is no way I can change my returns policy to match this new madness.

I can understand that Etsy wants to reduce fee avoidance, but couldn't they just keep track of the % of cancellations made by sellers and investigate them when they hit a certain suspicious amount?

Also why is it now taking a week for sales to get cancelled? Ugh.

Beth Cyr said...

soo... if the item is returned, relisted and resold, Etsy gets twice the fees for the same item? uh... yeahhh..... if paypal refunds fees, etsy should too.

WindysDesigns said...

You know what I think? I think that Etsy has very effectively overlooked the underlying problem here.

It's the feedback system. Scammers don't cancel transactions to avoid fees, they can just run out on their bill, they do it to avoid having negative feedback left.

I think that ETsy should keep the listing fees in every case of a canceled transaction with the exception of the non payers. In ever other case they have provided the service - the listing space - and a transaction has ensued, whether or not it is paid for, mailed out, mutually agreed to cancel or returned.

Fix the feedback so that it can't be left unless there is a legitimate transaction completed,

I'm betting with that one change/improvement you will see a huge reduction in transaction cancellations.

Don't allow items to show as 'sold' unless they are paid for. This would reduce the number of non payers significantly, I would think, and reduce the overall number of canceled transactions.

Legitimate, honest sellers don't want to cancel transactions because it effects their sales numbers, and it usually takes an unresponsive non payer, a buyer asking to cancel the transaction or a returned product for them to go that route.

It's kind of ironic, Etsy is all supportive of the sellers who are affected by CPSIA because of their excessive and overreaching rules in order to protect children from harmful substances. They agree that honest, hardworking handcrafters are not the problem but are being penalized along with the huge companies (who, I might point out can often get excused from these requirements) because the powers that be (the government) is more interested in their own bottom line rather than the ones who are affected by this legislation. They can't look past their noses to see the far reaching effects this will have on everyone involved.

Does any of this ring a bell, Etsy?

And I really would love to know, are returns really a problem on Etsy? I know I've ever only had one (and I never canceled that transaction either because the item was damaged in shipment and the customer didn't want a replacement).trfd

And if returns are such a significant revenue loss, then perhaps a team devoted to investigate into that phenomena should be instituted and determine just what it is that causes Etsy to have such a preponderance of customers who return their merchandise.

Laura said...

I have to ask this, who the fuck gets the emails? I've been selling on Etsy for well over two years? (I know I am a masochist) But I've never ever had an email regards to any of this shit they like to mention.....

Feetsy refugee said...

Etsy and the cupcakes love to point out that credit card companies don't refund the transaction fees to vendors on voided sales.

So there you have the Etsy reality:

Etsy is not the little hippy-dippy playful site of social crafting that they want sellers to believe.

Etsy is in the same category as Bank of America, Citibank, and Goldman Sachs - who rake in their fees even when their customers are going bankrupt.

The double-dipping fees they take on Weekend Deals and Gift Certificates are just Etsy derivatives.

I'll take Feebay over Feetsy anyday, because items actually sell on eBay.