Thursday, December 10, 2009

Valid Complaints Being Sent to the BBB

We had a comment in the last post, that made me want to make it a headline post. It is important enough for it to be front and center in our blog. I encourage everyone with LEGITIMATE complaints to contact the BBB. Report all instances of shilling, reseller complaints, customer service issues, ethics issues, NPB non-resolution, stalking, copyright violations, etc to the BBB.

Keep it civil, folks. If you see something in my list that you don't think should be reported, skip over it and move on. If you see something I missed, please add it in the comments. If you have specific incidents you would like to share, please do.

The BBB Is Your Friend said:

On a more serious note: Venting is all very well and fine, but if you have a genuine complaint please report it to the Better Business Bureau. I am here only to have a little fun and provide an outlet for my frustrations over the frequent BS I see, but the only way for real issues to be taken seriously is to report them to the correct agency. Please don't rely on this blog, Etsybitch, Regretsy or any of the other bloggers to "get the message through to Etsy. Maria, Rob, DanielleXO and all the rest don't take any of this seriously.

They WILL, however, take reports to the BBB seriously and if they don't, their apathy will be there for all the world to see.

You'll need their physical address, so here it is:
Etsy , Inc.
55 Washington Street, Suite 512
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Report your legitimate issues here:

If everyone who had a genuine issue with Etsy reported to it the correct agency, then you can bet your butt that A- rating would plummet.


The Funny One said...

If your complaint is a valid BBB complaint, and includes support@ and content@ emails from various Admins, you may also want to send that same complaint with all supporting docs by snailmail to Maria with a request for a response IN WRITING from Maria.

It also provides you with a paper trail if needed for any future complaints and/or actions.

Stupified said...

Like I've commented before in another blog, Etsy is "false advertising". There's more than handmade, vintage and supplies for sale!

Megan McGory said...

Interesting how they incorporated in Delaware...that's such a cheap move. Totally not surprised there.

ResellersSuck said...

I had thought about this before, but I didn't think the BBB would do anything about resellers. Etsy continues to allow them on there, so what can we do other than go elsewhere?

Doody said...

I think the issue that is BBB-worthy is the bribing-- am I wrong?

what the fucking fuck said...

I have a recent issue. Perhaps I am a moron. Did you know that since there is a lag time between when you cancel a non-paid transaction, leave neg feedback for the non paying buyer, the non paying buyer has plenty of time to leave you negative? Which is what happened to me this week. Abuse@etsy told me the only way to get it removed is with a court order.
Why should a "buyer" be able to leave feedback, when they didn't buy?
You should see the feedback. She rants for 1/2 page, calls me a liar, etc.
And there is nothing I can do about it.
Will it damage my sales? I don't know.
It shouldn't be allowed, anymore than an item should be 'removed' from your shop by a 'buyer' that hasn't paid.
But - what can the BBB do about something like this?
And don't tell me to use the kiss and makeup crap, because if you saw the convo that the 'buyer' sent me, you'd know she's certifiable. The last thing she bought on etsy was a ray gun. A RAY GUN? Is that something that is allowed to be sold?? Oh sorry, I forgot. Anything is allowed to be sold.
AK-47, anyone?

eclipse said...

what the fucking fuck said...
Abuse@etsy told me the only way to get it removed is with a court order.

Oh that is shenanigans, sorry.
They can, and have, removed feedback without court orders.
A few months ago, a sock puppet bought (without paying) from a bunch of sellers shops, including mine. They left immediate, terrible feedback for all these shops, within minutes of the fake "purchase". Etsy was very quick and helpful and removed all of it within a few hours. (and this was after hours) None of us victims needed a court order.

So if they can do that for a non-paying sock puppet, I don't know why they can't do it for other non-paying buyers. It seeems like they pick and choose when they want to remove it. If they don't wanna, then you need a court order?
It's really not fair, if someone does not pay there is no transaction. It doesn't matter if they use their real account or a puppet, there is still no transaction.

ticked off said...

I just had an issue with etsy recently as well. Before this, I was pretty pleased with them, overall. But I was notified by someone that an etsy seller was selling one of my free patterns. I went and checked and sure enough - there was MY photo and MY materials list. I immediately flagged this item - (don't get me started on the flagging issue either) - then I went over to Ravelry to tell everyone I knew that I had found this dishonest seller.

Turns out, she was selling a lot of free knitting and crocheting patterns that were already FREE on the net. Including at least 2 from's website. FREE. These were FREE patterns that she had slapped a $5 price tag on.

EVERY item in her store was flagged by either me or someone I knew from Ravelry. Her store remained open, until get this: she herself contacted etsy's support team and HAD IT REMOVED before I could fill out etsy's stupid copyright infringement crap.

It wasn't my copyright that I was concerned about - it was the fact that this dishonest seller was SELLING a FREE PATTERN. Etsy had no response to this complaint, other than "Maybe she had permission to sell it". Yeah right. She didn't have MY permission, and this is just a guess, but I bet she didn't have Lion Brand's permission, either. In fact, I even contacted Lion Brand to tell them about her.

Etsy did not seem to give a crap that someone was selling something that was a) not theirs to sell, and b) was already FREE on the web. Ridiculous. I have lost some faith in them, for sure.

The Funny One said...

Many seller complaints go back to the lack of quality control on Etsy from the start, so this is a good time to both file BBB complaints and send a letter to Maria with backup. It takes time, but I bet Maria doesn't know how uneven and unprofessional most Etsy support@ and content@etsy emails to sellers are. (And some of them are downright shocking.)

The fact that there still is no formal CS at Etsy is only one piece of the problem.

A site that lets sellers set up stores selling free patterns is only an extension of the whole issue of sellers making money on banners, spreadsheets, and "success" booklets all over Etsy. Smells like snake oil to me.

Violets new Vintage said...

Reselling free items is awful and I'm glad to hear the seller was called out and stopped.I don't see a problem with selling banners. (I never bought a banner but I have purchased beautiful digital sheets from some sellers.) Lots of sellers don't know how to make a good banner and I don't understand why selling banners as a problem.

Anonymous said...

I actually bought my ArtFire Icon and Banner from someone on a different sight because a) I doth suck muchly at such things and b) I knew her and knew her prices were reasonable; but I can see some of the issues of copyright, artists rights, sellers rights and what not being brought up on that issue.

The issue that *really* gets me s the bribery. I've never personally had a problem with scammers, negative feed-back or tagging because I refuse to do sales, but I can empathize. I was drawn into Etsy because I didn't realize there were other, better sites out there.

I've been telling all my artist friends to go over to ArtFire, because at least then there's a support system in place that works.

Anonymous said...

Bribery really smells bad, especially with all those threads asking how do I get in a gift guide/fp/featured seller? Answer: bribery.
I'll grant them there are too many items to check them all but then put a system in place that actually takes care things. Anything- automated like AF with 4 flags and it's gone(appeals allowed
) or a dedicated department or at allow call outs to relieve stress, or anything because now it's "don't call out, flag it and we'll do nothing"
The CS is none existant. We can't give out a number becasue we don't answer phones. Actually being told by another etsian well if you can find the right person to email, you can get a reponse- well I shouldn't have to test emailing admins to see who will answer, they should respond to the support email with more than a auto response.

RRobin said...

Quoting The Funny One...

...I bet Maria doesn't know how uneven and unprofessional most Etsy support@ and content@etsy emails to sellers are. (And some of them are downright shocking.)


How can Maria not know? I know. You know.

The only way she can not know at this point is if she willfully CHOOSES not to know, and in that case all the e-mail forwards in the world won't change anything.

ResellersSuck said...

Maria does know.. she just doesn't care. I and others bitched about resellers until it was finally bumped up to her. She said she didn't even know what a handmade *item here* was. We explained it to her, and showed them where these people were coming from but they refused to take any action. They just tried to placate us a while.
What a load of crap.

NoSurprise said...

Etsy run by a woman who knows nothing about the site is exactly what I have envisioned for some time.

She's a front-- a nice, NPR front.

veryfrustratedandsad said...

I wonder if something like this could be classified as a complaint.

And check out the comments on closed threads.

I suppose things like this can't be reported. And it's hard to prove that buying admin presents gets you this much exposure. But I find the whole thing unsettling.

ShadeJewelry said...

The BBB is sort of a joke, for instance, the “A-” rating that etsy has is the highest rating that a business can get, unless they are a “BBB accredited” business, which will increase their rating from A- to A+ over night, and a business can keep a high rating with the BBB simply by becoming an accredited business at various levels, in other words, if a business is willing to pay, they can get a good rating.
Since the BBB is not a government agency they can’t really do squat, but if you have a real problem with etsy, report them to the IC3
A lot of what etsy does really is illegal, for instance accepting gifts or “bribes” is illegal, if a site tries to claim it’s equal opportunity. For instance, if the Admin of a site select items for some sort of adverting, and someone buys an admin of that site an article of clothing and that gets them favorable placement in that advertising, that’s illegal, unless it’s fully enclosed to all parties.
selling non-hand made items as handmade items is fraud.
selling non-vintage items as vintage or antique is illegal.
Claiming the items on a site are handmade when they clearly don’t conform to the federal laws on handmade, is illegal. (The FCC doesn’t consider “putting a little love into it” handmade)
both selling and facilitating the sale of the above is fraud.
however abuse of the a website, like miss-taging or title spam probably isn’t fraud.

ShadeJewelry said...

@megan Mcgory,
many businesses are incorporated in Delaware, in fact about 50 percent of businesses are registered there. Their corporate laws are VERY lax and there tax rates are low. it's also no more expensive to register there and in an other state.
All etsy would need to do is rent a small space (this can literally be a broom closet, there are entire office buildings for businesses to rent spaces from) in Delaware and register that as there corporate head quarters and the NYC office as secondary office.
Presto chango, Delaware corporation!

The Funny One said...

Whether it's a BBB of IC3 complaint, it might not make a difference other than prove the point - that plenty of sellers & buyers have questions about Etsy. Which eventually affects the financial viability of the site. Seeing those complaints listed even as a total number could be a postivie step.

More important is getting the word out about WHY sellers choose NOT to have a store on Etsy.

I would love to see some proof of buyers' complaints about returns and other problems they have with products they buy on Etsy.

If you hang out on Twitter and note that ETSY features so predominantly on every seller-etsy-item tweet, what comes to mind?

Most users see only ETSY, not the seller, not the product, and not a bleep about handmade. They see Etsy the brand.

The impact on shoppers is immense.

So, getting the word out starting 12/26/09 about major Etsy problems could be more effective than lodging 25,000 (or whatever) complaints.

"Trust factor" my ass -- I wouldn't buy a thing on Etsy because I don't trust that what is listed is what it says it is. I also don't shop on Etsy because I don't want Etsy to make one cent in profits from my business.

We also need to start steering our own customers to other sites. OK, there isn't a perfect site, but anything is better than Etsy for most sellers of 100% handmade.

Slippery Slope said...

I found this at a blog
I wanted this shirt from @xenotees for soooo long! Thanks @thepeachtree for getting it for me - you are a peach ;)
5:40 PM Dec 6th from web

I couldn't see it; Daniellexo's tweets are protected. I can certainly see why. I wouldn't want the general public to see any tweets either if I were taking bribes and didn't have enough discretion to keep my mouth shut about it.

Don't have a screen capture though.


The six basic moral principles of Corporate ethics:

1. Harm principle: businesses should avoid causing unwarranted harm.

2. Fairness principle: business should be fair in all of their practices.

3. Human rights principle: businesses should respect human rights.

4. Autonomy principle: businesses should not infringe on the rationally reflective choices of people.

5. Veracity principle: businesses should not be deceptive in their practices.

6. Stakeholder principle: businesses should consider all stakeholders' interests that are affected by a business practice.

As I see it, Etsy fails miserably on 2 and 5 with special emphasis on #6

The merchants who have shops at Etsy are certainly "stakeholders" don't you think?

wondering said...

I have to agree about the BBB. I had an issue w/ a fraudulent company awhile back & I even called them. The man I spoke to was very nice, but actually said they couldn't do anything, It's basically like an e-pinions for bushiness. Which is all fine & good when you are looking to shop somewhere & check out a reputation, but they can't act on complaints. They directed me to the attorney general of the city the business was in.

I still think it's good to file b/c at least the rating will change & get the word out that not everything etsy does is on the up & up, and that may make etsy make changes, but it can't be forced.

Any other suggestions? I mean, does etsy answer to anyone...stockholders? I have no idea.

Amander said...

Well, I just checked and Etst's rating is not an A-, but a B now!