Friday, April 30, 2010

From the Auxiliary Guild: Tap tap tap Is this thing on?

Seriously, if you need someone to be The Angry One, I'm here for you.

I got kicked off of Etsy for being a "reseller" when EVERY SCRAP of everything I sold was handmade. I kid you not. I had FOUR shops on Etsy - one selling tutus (the tutu mafia is REAL man) and hairbows, one selling Eco/upcycled stuff, one selling felt food and one selling handmade supplies (with the occasional bobby pin listing thrown in, I will admit, but those are allowed on Etsy). With a BA in Communications and more than 10 years in Journalism, you guys just let me know if you need another contributor.

This all started a couple weeks ago, when they closed my handmade supply shop. I was sent an email one day, and three days later, since they had not heard from me (surprise, some people go on VACATION, lol), they deactivated the shop. THE ENTIRE SHOP. The email they sent me after that took offense at my crocheted headbands (like this - which surprisingly enough, is still up) and my felt hairbow appliques (like these - only with stitching instead of hot glue like those). Their reasoning was that I was reselling the appliques and that my headbands didn't qualify as supplies since they were "ready to wear." I had mis-tagged them as commercial supplies instead of handmade supplies.

I emailed them back and explained that I make the crocheted headbands by buying the stretchy stuff by the yard at Hobby Lobby (they only carry white, black and hot pink at my local store, but I buy it bulk and they order the other colors for me), cutting it in 12.5 inch strips, and sewing the ends together on my machine to make the headbands. I also explained that I cut and sew the appliques myself using Sizzix dies, felt and blood, sweat and tears. I got an email back from one of the Etsy Minions that the shop would remain closed until I provided pictures. OK, so I took pictures of my Sizzix machine and dies, and got pictures of about two yards of the white stretchy headband material (it was all I had left, since I make them all at one time, instead of when I get orders). Those photos were emailed to the Etsy Minion.

Now, while I was sending pictures of the stuff, I listed the headbands in my tutu and bow shop, thinking that the rule violation (because you know they don't tell you what the violation is, just what item is in violation) was because I had mis-tagged the headbands as commercial instead of handmade. Mea Culpa. So, when I listed them in my girly shop, I listed them correctly, tagged them as HANDMADE, explained in the listing how I make them AND included a picture of the stretchy material (the same one I sent them) in my listing. The listing was totally legit and everything was tagged correctly on it.

Well, a couple of days later, I got an email from them saying they would reactivate the supply shop if I took the headbands down from it. I asked why, because they were handmade and never heard from them. The shop reopened for about three hours, in which time they apparently went to my girly shop and saw that I had listed the headbands there. So, ALL FOUR OF MY SHOPS WERE DEACTIVATED. The email I got from them said that they had noticed I had relisted the headbands in my other shop and a rule violation in one affected me across the board in all my shops and they were closed indefinitely. I emailed them back, explained I didn't realize the relisting was a rule violation, apologized and asked if there was anything I could do to make it better. I heard nothing. I emailed again a couple days later and still heard nothing. To this day, almost 3 weeks later, I STILL have heard nothing.

Now, to further this story, after they deactivated my shops, I opened up a buying account on Etsy, for the SOLE purpose of contacting my friends that also sell on Etsy, and for buying items. Last year, in SEVEN MONTHS, I would guess I spent close to $2500 on Etsy, buying supplies, gifts, etc. I kid you not. Don't tell my husband. Well, the other day, I got an email from Etsy saying that they noticed I opened a few more accounts (I'm guessing they probably closed my sisters' buying accounts too, since they came over here for me to open them, we'll find out next time THEY go on to buy) and they closed them. And that any attempt to open future accounts would result in THOSE being closed too, without further notice.

So, I emailed them again and asked them if I was not welcome to buy on Etsy either. No response. Of course.

I tell you all this because Etsy has gone to the DOGS. I don't know where to get out that they are doing this, because obviously, if I don't have an account, I can't post it in the forums, and my blog isn't read enough to make a difference. BUT YOURS IS. I would guess that last year, my sister's spent a bit of $$ on Etsy as well in those other accounts, but I don't know if they are closed because I don't remember my sisters' passwords. Only a very few select people knew I had opened MY account to buy stuff. The only way I can think that they "found" me is through my ISP.

That in itself is disturbing. That they are so concerned about a SINGLE PERSON that they troll for their ISP activity instead of worrying about the real resellers, the shitty site development and slumping sales.

Just as a side note, when I asked why my headbands were so offensive, when so many other's were selling the same thing, only not handmade, they told me to flag them. Without an account, I can't flag. So, I've been inundating support@etsy and abuse@etsy with links. :-D I'm a bitch and I freely admit it.

Of course, I've not heard back on those either.

Since Rokali asked us to send on trainwreck letters we got, and we think this qualifies, we sent this on to His Cupcakeness. We'll let you know if they do anything with the numerous failures in this letter.


Unhappy Etsy Seller said...

And yet oodles and oodles of Twlight, Stars Wars, Hello Kitty, etc items continue to be listed and sold with no problems. Copyright violations don't seem to concern them much.

Anonymous said...

I know this story. I got my shop closed for a non-existant link they said they emailed me about several times. It was removed months earlier.
I tried opening buyers accounts- each promptly closed. I spoke to Michele about it and she was all this account won't be closed. 2 weeks later, closed again. Again buyer accounts were mainly to keep in touch and some purchases but finally I got the hint- Etsy doesn't want be buying there.
Obviously they can tell if accounts were related to closed accounts- why not use that on resellers not buyers?

WTF, again WTF said...

That is a total disgrace. There is no REASON for her shops to be closed.
All of a sudden, they're big fucking brother watching you? And who are they watching? Just a single person trying to make some money MAKING stuff. Isn't that what etsy is supposed to be about? God forbid you piss somebody off in Brooklyn.

Arizona Skies said...

I'm a firm believer in rules and enforcement of those rules. BUT, I also believe they should be enforced equally across the board. They should also be spelled out to the rule breaker and, if possible, given a chance to fix the problem. It seems that Etsy chooses at random what to fix and does so with no communication. Unfortunately, it seems to follow a trend since Flickr and Facebook also strike without warning or communication. Sorry this happened to you, OP.

The Cranky One said...

I truly believe Etsy has no method to turn off the ability to upgrade a buying account to a selling account and start selling again. that's why if they kick you off you can't have a buying account either. They can't prevent you any other way. And really they can't even do that right, it can take a couple weeks for them to IP search you again and shut you off again.

So while you put in a credit card to sign up as a seller, they don't do anything with it other than verify (maybe) it works to prove it's active there fore real. (Which is good, I guess, because if they did they'd get hacked and never tell anyone.) So they can't blacklist your credit card to prevent you from opening another buying account, because they don't have a way to do it.

So it's a all or nothing.

The Funny One said...

I think I get the blocking trick Etsy's uses, but it sure sounds like a lot of manual labor to throw out a net that's way bigger than what they want to catch. And talk about stinky customer relations -- because what does Etsy have in the end? A pissed off seller (who may not be breaking any rules) who spreads the negative word, and a pissed of shopper who tells everyone to stay away from Etsy?

The Girly Place said...

I'm telling you. Etsy should be hired by the U.S. Government to go find Osama Bin Laden. Jeez.

To this day, I still haven't received ANY correspondence back from the Etsy Minions. What crappy customer service.

(And did anyone notice, those stupid headbands are STILL up? Jeez.)

Amenhotep IV said...

Woah! I feel for this former seller. Guilty until proven innocent, if they feel like answering.

As Unhappy Etsy Seller said earlier, they freely allow copyrighted images of celebrities, Hello Kitty, Twilight, you name it, to be sold as collage sheets, pins, buttons, etc. The copyright infringement is rampant and I get pissed at people who sell that crap by the truckload daily, 'cause they're banking on an international brand--while this seller can't list headbands.

The only mistake she made was listing the headbands in a second shop--though she had no idea it was even going to be considered a mistake, since they didn't offer her details. So, she's been punished for what they think was a sneaky way of "avoiding" their rules.


This is also why the flag-happy item police freak me out.

Anonymous said...

What Failtards.

sark said...

Their staff are morons. Fucking morons.

I admit, my eyes glazed over when the writer said "headbands" — shit, I'm one of those childless assholes with a full time job and no spouse — so all the super girly kid-friendly products just fly right over my head.

But even after half reading that I don't see how that shit isn't hand-made and why this would be an issue.

The person in question ought to actually get a lawyer and file a writ against the company.

Anonymous said...

No, Etsy hasn't gone to the dogs.

It's been complete crap exactly like this since the beginning. It's the same story again, and again, and again... My guess is that the organization is highly lacking because the company was founded by and managed for most of it's life by a mentally unstable person with zero experience in management.

The question is, even after $35 million in funding - why does Etsy not have competent people running each of their divisions? Why is communication between parts of the company so incredibly poor, that we can tell from over here? Will Etsy ever have a decent operation?

Jenny said...

Aaaaaargh!! *frustration indeed*

goat said...

Abuse at etsy (not that it was worth anything) is no more and now the genuises at Support handle (or don't) everything.

I am convinced it's a robo response because they way questioned are answered (if they are days later) more often then not has little to no bearing on the original query.

So all you can do is hope they don't fuck you and resign yourselves to the fact that if they do you are on your own.

This is one of the reasons I set up my own site and am expireing (as they say) on E. Because you can spend years working aroud all the Etsy fuck ups only to be shut down and left with out reason or recourse or appeal.

WHY would I pay them for the opportunity to pull the plug out at thier pleasure?

Christina P. said...

I deleted my account about a week ago. For some reason I found it extremely hard to do, but I don't regret it. In fact, I was very relieved to see it go.

I do have a buying account because Etsy is where I get my makeup, but other than when I need a refill I won't be spending any time there.

Christina P.

Virginia said...

I feel so bad for this seller. What a nightmare.

I had a cartfull of stuff over at Etsy this morning & was getting ready to push the 'buy now' button and then I got to thinking about the incredibly rude and dismissive comments from admin about the difficulties many supply and vintage sellers are seeing in their shops and decided to search around ArtFire instead. Found what I needed there and placed my order.

Etsy is still my main source of income for my business but I'm sweating over the next big glitch (which is always on the horizon) or the possibility of having my shops arbitrarily shut down. (I haven't exactly been meek in the forums lately.) I'm working up a plan to change my income paradigm within the next few months.

I hope this seller is able to rebuild elsewhere, too.

Goat said...


It's harder then I thought not to relist or renew. Etsy really has this dysfunctional hook. For everyone who breaks free, there's three more dewy eyed true believers.

I simply stopped believing I made a difference. Nothing has changed, forum is the same, so uh, yeah,lol.

if more people could just get OUT for a couple weeks, it really does wonders for perspective.

Anonymous said...

If anyone is going to Artfire- you can still get the 12/month rate until June 1, just ask for a coupon in the forums- everyone will offer one.

Bootsy said...

so now we are actually going to crap on Etsy for trying to take steps toward the reselling bastards?! Sure mistakes happen. But seriously- boo hoo? Her shop is open right now.

Ugh again said...

The lack of communication at E rears it's ugly head again. So sorry OP, but you can come to Zibbet, we'd welcome you with open arms (and the Admin will talk to you like a human).

vjhreeves said...

ChristineP, couldn't you get your make-up directly from the seller without going through Etsy?

Christina P. said...

vjhreeves said...

ChristineP, couldn't you get your make-up directly from the seller without going through Etsy?


I've not looked to see if she has another website or anything. That's a good idea, though.

I don't mind having an account to buy as I like to support the sellers, but I'll never sell there again.

Anonymous said...

Bootsy, I'm afraid you are mistaken. MY shop is not up on Etsy right now. Not unless they reopened it and didn't tell me. I don't think we're exactly taking Etsy to task for closing resellers, but arbitrarily closing shops who have gone above and beyond to prove their stuff was handmade (see my post, where I talk about sending the pictures of my dies and materials) and STILL get shut down.

Ugh again - I am on Zibbet and I love it. And you are correct, the admin over there speak to you like you are a human, and never ignore you. It's so refreshing.

LastStraw said...

Christine P, you can just convo her and ask if she'll do an off-Etsy sale. You can still Paypal her, just directly. I've done a number of off-Etsy sales from friends who look thru my shop and then contact me via convo or email and we work up a custom order that way - plus that way I get to keep my 3.5%, and nobody rags on me about how "handmade" my stuff is. @_@

Just when I think that *maybe* things are getting bearable, something like this happens. :-'( But glad Anon is doing well on Zibbet now at least. :-)

Anonymous said...

I just can't wait for Etsy to start wishing they treated their seller/buyers with more respect...they are definitely digging thier own grave. It's been even more shit after that rokali arse stepped in. I'm glad I don't waste my money in Etsy anymore.

Beth Singleton said...

I can't believe Etsy would waste their time closing your shop and they can't take the time to close down the big time resellers from China.

I have reported sellers of the Pandora Style beads that are selling Commercial beads in the Handmade category for ages. I've provided the links with proof, copies of Convos with a few sellers of these beads who admit to me that they are not making their beads and yet Etsy lets these shops stay open with lots of sales.

One shop is evidently being investigated and now has ZERO listings but this was only after someone called them out in the forums and also after negative and neutral feedback was left by unhappy customers after they received their "Authentic Pandora Beads" and they were NOT Authentic and would not even fit their Pandora bracelets.

Evidently Etsy does not have staff that are qualified or knowledgeable enough to investigate shops and make these decisions.

The Dangerous Mezzo said...

Everytime I even think of going back to Etsy to sell stuff, I remember this shit and keep away.

They are all assholes, from top to bottom. And if His Cupcakeness does nothing about this, then he's an idiot.

Anonymous said...

i am beginning to really hate etsy. seriously.

julie said...

I have also reported commercial resellers in the seed category for ages, and provided all kinds of proof and they've done nothing about it. I closed one shop, I'm letting the seed shop die, and my third shop has gotten smaller. I shop on artfire before I look on etsy because I refuse to support resellers.