Saturday, November 7, 2009


The response to the issues regarding refunds on cancelled sales is still getting the same cut and paste response from Etsy admin. We've seen this before, where Etsy puts up their brick wall and refuses to acknowledge their customers - until they raise a big enough stink.

Well, the stink is going to Twitter (the quoted tweet has one "please" cut for Twitter length requirements):

#etsyfail Please RT Etsy re-think the non-refundable sales fees on returns! doubledippingetsy

Let's make Etsy rethink their accusatory unfairness and let us pull our pants up for a change.


The Funny One said...

Etsy will do what they did with SEO---look like they've changed it when they didn't - the Etsy brand name is now embedded in every item listed on the site, and precedes the store name and item description. It also leads Google searchers to "more etsy products" which, in some cases, are not yours. Oh yes, you can FIND your item on search a lot quicker, but it's forever identified as an Etsy branded product. (And they did it all btw WITHOUT sellers' permission.)

Sellers can protest, but Etsy has 5 years of purposely ignoring sellers under their belt and they aren't going to start listening now, especially with the current employee roster. Isn't it clear what they really think of most sellers on Etsy?

whatever said...

part of their problem is the transaction cancellation process. It makes no sense that a cancelled transaction goes away entirely and leaves absolutely no trace. This is I know separate from the money issue, but just from a business viewpoint I really think there is never a reason to remove an event as if it never happened. What they should have is a list of statuses- cancelled, refunded, etc- and going to that status removes feedback ability, and the refund could still be given. There should be evidence if a buyer is involved in a multitude of cancelled transactions.

The Righteous One said...

whatever, that is a very good point! As sellers we retain that record for our own finances, paypal retains that record even, so it's odd that Etsy doesn't, especially since it's going to be in the database forever anyway (or so they say)

onagainoffagain said...

Whatever, I agree.

Now, I do believe they keep those in the database. I also believe the reason expired listings can't be deleted is because they use those for some of the investors to peruse. Walmart anyone?

From an IT standpoint it makes no sense to not get rid of the expired listings. Off topic I know but I had to say it.

Old Hippie Bitch said...

It's an especially bizarre policy based on a forum thread I was reading a week or two ago.

A seller posted asking if she could get fees refunded because an item broke during shipping.

There was the usual sympathy, then several posters questioned the odd logic of refunding something that was her fault. She's responsible for getting her buyer the item in the condition advertised.

An admin chimed in and said YES, you can cancel the transaction and get your fees refunded if an item breaks during shipping. How stupid is that?!? Etsy is willing to lose $$ for poor packing? Weird.

Andy Mathis said...

Returns are just a fact of life with any business, online or off, and offering returns within a reasonable time frame is just good customer service.

You want people to shop with you again, not go to your competition.
That's worth 3.5% right there.

If a shop doesn't want to do returns for cash, then offer exchanges or merchandise credits.

Going with"All Sales Final" on the possibility that someone might want to return something and you lose 53 cents on it ($15 x 3.5%) will bring your sales to a screeching halt. You only thought your sales were slow before.

Etsy did their job, they listed the item, and a sale/ transaction occurred. They deserve to get paid.

Any reason or issue for a return is between the seller and the customer. And maybe paypal.

SameOle said...

Things won't really change until sellers start leaving in droves - the sellers are just a source of money.

Eveline said...

The thread is getting interesting, with more and more people saying they will put in their shop policies that the fees will not be returned because of a change in Etsy's policies.. And some people saying they can't keep this up anymore and are ready to leave.

GreenMamba started another thread that's bound to get tons of response: (But not from Etsy of course because Etsy respects weekends...)

Oh, and she also started a thread on who already received the email where this change has been explained. So far: Nobody has received an email. Surprise surprise... But Stella says;
"Yes, we began sending out the emails very soon after we posted the updated policies. Many have already been sent."

Uhuh... suuuure they have!

Christen said...

Yes, returns are part of business and part of good customer service. Which is why Etsy should also offer the equivalent of a return by refunding fees. It's just good customer service.

Peter von Von said...

I understand the arguments that it's "just part of business" to eat certain costs, but I used to work for a software and technology reseller where I set the price charged to the customer based on a percentage of what the distributer charged. So I know that some businesses work at a less than 1% profit margin (I would sometimes have to dip into the .5% and .4% level.) If big companies suddenly started having 3.5% of their own money evaporate every time someone returned something, saleable or not, you can bet they would have something to say.

Why are home businesses, who often operate at even tighter margins, suddenly supposed to "suck it up" like they have millions invested by stockholders?

All I see is potentially higher prices to cover any anticipated returns. If people are even willing to do returns any more.

Fair is Fair said...

Andy Mathis said...
Etsy did their job, they listed the item, and a sale/ transaction occurred. They deserve to get paid.

ok, so I paid my .20 to list, then .20 5 more times to renew so the goddamnit had a chance in hell to sell as it gets buried in seconds and the search doesn't work right so no one can find it. But, the goddamnit didn't sell. So, Etsy got paid the original .20 for my listing fee. Which we all know it certainly doesn't cost that much to list something. What about that extra dollar? Shouldn't I, conversely, get a percentage of that money back, since my listing fee was paid right up front, and they did nothing more since then?

What about the listing they pulled off that I paid .20 for, and they had a vague, canned response why they did it, then refused to answer any of my other emails asking for clarification?

What about the 3.5 percent of the item I sold in one of their Etsy sponsored sales? I had to give 20% off and they took 3.5 percent of the original price...where is that money?

I'd have a helluva lot more sympathy for them if they weren't literally stealing my money left and right with no explanation.

Why is it ok for them to do, but when I legitimately want money back they shouldn't have taken in the first place, I'm wrong?

The Funny One said...

Sellers might want to think of it this way - if Etsy refunded transaction fees for returned goods, then they would see some interesting data relating to their complete lack of quality control on the site. There's a lot of stuff (now carrying the Etsy Brand Name) that shouldn't be listed for sale, period.

It's a done deal, sellers have no influence on Etsy once the D&D's are in print. What bothers me more is that the bigger Etsy gets, the more sellers are at risk for infair fees, scammmers, NPB's, reseller and unfair underpricing competition, and an infrastructure that tells them to spend MORE on listing, relisting and showcases with FALLING VIEWS AND NO SALES.

Everything a seller does on Etsy is actually more risky than it was when they started. Etsy sees the sellers as easy marks and that's they way they treat them.

WindysDesigns said...

I understand both sides of the issue, unfortunately. The thing is, I'm tired of the straw man arguments and the dramatic examples people are using, as if this change is going to mean life or death to it's sellers.

And I keep hearing "Etsy shouldn't keep fees on a transaction that never happened". And they don't. If someone doesn't pay for their purchase, for whatever reason, the canceled transaction is refunded.

If you sell something, it is purchased and sent and received..,.that is a transaction. If that person asks to return it, that is a separate transaction. It doesn't negate the first one.

And I love this argument....'well, what service did Etsy provide to justify keeping (insert ridiculous dollar figure here)in fees?

Umm...I hate to be the one to tell you, but you were perfectly happy to pay those fees to sell that item, suddenly because they won't refund those fees in the case of a return they are too much? Let me ask you, what service did they provide when you were happy to pay that fee?

And please, spare me the poor stay at home mom trying to make ends meet whose fees, if not recouped from a customer return, will have to starve her children and incur the wrath of a husband who feels she spends too much time on her 'hobby' and not enough time on her family.

You know, I understand people don't like this change, and I don't care if you are in favor of it or not, but when making your arguments, make sure they are based in reality and not some dramatic extreme scenario that might happen once in a billion Etsy sales, if at all.

As I read over the threads, I'm a little confused. Nearly everyone who posts in opposition has only ever had a couple of refunds in hundreds or thousands of sales. But they are arguing 'on principle'. Really? it sounds more to me like the usual Etsy changes something and people complain, drag up every conceivable transgression Etsy ever committed, extol the virtues of other venues in thinly veiled threats to take their business elsewhere, all the while steamrolling over anyone who dares to share a more reasonable view of the situation and present a different opinion.

Incidentally, I have written more about this on my blog, this was just a response I wrote to a comment I received.

geelizzie said...

I have to agree with windysdesigns on this one. I've got over 3000 sales on etsy and I've had maybe 3 items returned since 2006. I didn't ask for my fees back because in my mind the transaction had been completed but the buyer wasn't happy with the merchandise. Totally nothing to do with etsy and the fee system, but rather with me as a seller. I just don't see this as a huge issue costing sellers thousands of dollars in fees.

Anonymous said...

Not to be dorky, but this sounds a lot like "taxation without representation".

Just another reason why the quit your day job sh*t is such a myth. Its disgusting that Etsy keeps perpetuating it. Can you say SCAM?

Ill be over at 1000 Markets or my own freakin' website, thanks.

Bothered and bewildered said...

Windysdesigns said
"Umm...I hate to be the one to tell you, but you were perfectly happy to pay those fees to sell that item, suddenly because they won't refund those fees in the case of a return they are too much? Let me ask you, what service did they provide when you were happy to pay that fee?"

In my mind, the fee is for Etsy to enable me to make the money from that sale. If I make money by selling on Etsy, I am more than happy for them to have this fee - I think of it as a commission. This is why it's a percentage of the sale price - if it were a transaction fee just for the facility of the Etsy site, it should surely not be tied to the price of the item but be a flat-rate fee instead, the same as the listing fee.

In my country, I have to give full refunds to customers (including shipping, no re-stocking fees allowed) for any reason within 7 days of the item being received. It hasn't happened to me yet, but it is possible for any number of sales to have to be refunded, no matter how well I make, photograph and describe items, no matter how great my customer service is. Simple buyer's remorse (increasingly likely in the economic climate) can force me to refund a sale. Sure, that isn't Etsy's fault - but it isn't my fault, or a buyer's fault, either.

This means this policy could leave sellers like me out of pocket on sales where we haven't actually made any money.

I don't think it's quite as dramatic as some are making it out to be, but for sellers with low sales, it can make a difference to lose out on that money. We have to allow for the possibility of our return rate increasing at any future date.

Secondly, some sellers are thinking of not offering refunds as a result of this policy. As a potential buyer, this makes it harder for me to find sellers who will give refunds in legitimate circumstances. I think a knock-on effect of this will be to damage the reputation of some Etsy sellers.

Peter von Von said...

In the end I think most of the pro-feers are missing the point. It's true that this isn't exactly the end of the world, and probably nobody's going to lose their shirt over this (unless some nut from Waco decides to order tons of stuff from people to return it just to mess with their profits...)

But the point is that the Etsy community really can't just let every little thing Etsy does to cut into our bottom line and reputation go. They need to know we're watching what they're up to.

The other thing is that most of people I see saying it's no big deal ARE the hobbyists and ARE the big sellers that don't care and have no idea what it's like work really hard to sell 2-3 items a month. If you're not affected by less profit then stay out of the conversation. Go knit another neck warmer or string some more beads.

The question isn't "Is 3.5% REALLY that bad?" it's "What's next?"

confused said...

I'm sorry, I still don't get the whole email thing. I get emails from companies everyday for time sensitive things like sales. These companies are international and I can safely say have far more people signed up to get them then Etsy and they find a way.

Let's take Facebook. I get dozens of emails from them everyday and I'm just one person out of millions of active users.

Why can't Etsy get out a couple million emails in a timely manner. I'm still waiting, how may thousands of users who don't go to the forums have no clue.

At this rate people are going to have their shops closed for infractions they had no idea they were breaking.

Anonymous said...

If I had a return, unless it was an exchange, it would cost me a chunk of change. 3.5% of $125 is more than $4. That's not nothing to me. I may have to nudge my more expensive pieces out of Etsy just to stay competitive.
This was not thought through well, at all. Etsy employees seem to go with the simplest, fastest solution to any problem that might come up; seldom does this benefit their customers.
If I treated my customers like that, I wouldn't have any. I guess either Etsy does not appreciate it's higher end clientele, doesn't think we care, or doesn't need us.
Well, that can go both ways: people do not stay ignorant forever. Perhaps that's part of the short-sightedness here: get it while you can, because tomorrow you may be gone. Either to another job, or to another focus. They have already "branded" upscale professional artists out of view.

The Funny One said...

That (snailmail) Etsy email? Stellaloella just posted that it's being handled by a 3rd party mass emailer because (it seems) Etsy has no idea how to get an email to its hundreds of thousands of sellers! Aha!

Sounds more like Etsy has no idea because they (1) don't care (2) sellers? who? (3) they've been getting away with so much so far, why bother? (4) we have no CS, why should we care about sellers now? (5) go away sellers, we have dorkies to write, faves to pick!

It just fits in with everything Etsy is today, all about Etsy. The sellers can go jump in the East River.

gwR YRBQ36QB said...

Etsy isn't just made of of sellers. This email is going to everyone - buyers too. That's a lot more than a few thousand little shops.

kyuuketsuki said...

Woah! I just got an email from etsy regarding the D&D update. Shocking!

Has anyone else gotten it? I saved a screencapture of it just in case I should send it around.

Buttercup Soup said...

A member of my household who holds an Etsy account, but doesn't have an Etsy shop, received an email with the new D&D. However, I, the active seller, have not yet received that email.


RRobin said...

Quoting The Funny One...
That (snailmail) Etsy email? Stellaloella just posted that it's being handled by a 3rd party mass emailer because (it seems) Etsy has no idea how to get an email to its hundreds of thousands of sellers! Aha!


What do those 22 engineers do all day?