Thursday, August 26, 2010

Quotables: The tipping point

Ahh, you smell that? That's dissatisfaction, and the Etsy forums are full of it regarding the new Sales Tax feature being rolled out. In fact, some just can't take the nonsense anymore:

First, I would like to say that I never rant in the forums. This issue, coupled with several other changes recently implemented at Etsy, have brought me to a tipping point.

Quoting: ericds says:

"The new Checkout, which will require payment before an item is marked as sold, is one of the most requested features and we think it will dramatically improve the experience for buyers and sellers.

We didn't want to delay the release of the new Checkout until we had released the perfect sales tax tool, which could take a long time.

We decided to start simple and will improve the sales tax feature over time."

Etsy is based in NY State and they are unable to appreciate the somewhat ridiculous tax rate situation sellers have here?! I truly do not understand this at all.

Are you serious when you say "until we had released the perfect sales tax tool, which could take a long time."?!?! Do you have any idea how much trouble this IMperfect sales tax tool is going to cause? It is absolutely 100% useless to me as a seller in NY State. And you are acting like this is news?!

In order for me to collect the correct amount of sales tax I have to plug a buyer's address into the state sales tax online calculator. It is literally done by address - not county or zip code - in some places. Right now I have to refund the whole purchase thru PayPal, re-invoice the buyer with the tax added, and ask them to pay again. It
sucks. There is no way around it until someone writes the magical code for figuring out how to charge NYS taxes by address. Oh, wait... almost every other online retailer does!! My bad!!

All I keep hearing is "the new checkout will require payment before an item is marked as sold". Blah blah blah. Do not placate me with something that should have been done ages ago in order for me to swallow the bitter pill of indescribably poor sales tax collection implementation.

If you were quoted, congratulations and thanks! You can find your celebratory "I've been Quoted" avatar overlays by clicking here.

Update: Checkout rollout has been pulled back to address the sales tax issues - bitching does help!


Anne said...

I can see it now: "Dear State Department of Revenue, I think this is the right amount of tax to forward to you. Etsy is still trying to develop the perfect tax tool, so I'm not sure..."

I think this may be the ultimate pooch-screwing for these folks. Messing around with taxes can lead to Armageddon. It's grownup stuff.

What I can't understand is how every shopping cart out there but this one has provisions for calculating any sort of sales tax you can imagine. I've used osCommerce for years. I can't say that their tax tool is easy or intuitive, but a lay person can figure it out by reading the documentation and following the instructions. And it's designed for international use.

Julie said...

The fact that instead of fixing the checkout to work with Paypal's sales tax tool which already works and works well, they decided to attempt to build their own tool that doesn't really work properly is....actually not all that surprising once I think about it.

Baffled said...

It just doesn't make sense.

What's the need to override PayPal settings? Many sellers have spent lots of time setting it up correctly by zip code/address, and it works.

Why take something that you know works, and intentionally replace it with something that you know doesn't work?

This isn't like the inconvenience and expense of refunding for coupon codes. This is about the LAW and we can incur serious LEGAL PENALTIES by whinging it with Etsy's non-system.

Do they really think that buyers will tolerate being re-invoiced for sales tax every time they make a purchase? As a buyer, I'd just stop buying if every purchase had some fucked up invoice problem.

Why can't Etsy comprehend this?

Did none of them ever take a business class in accounting or commercial law in college? Do none of them charge sales tax for their own shops?

Are they really just the gaggle of inexperienced fools that we've suspected all these years?

I don't want to close shop, but I don't know how else I'm going to deal with this, and I can't take the risk of getting audited or fined.

Eveline said...

But Julie, having to fix it so it would work with Paypal's would mean that it would take even longerrrr for their shiny new Check out to be rolled out. And you wouldn't want those poor kids to have to wait would you? They've got a new toy to show off! You can't expect them to wait!

So what if it's not perfect just yet, they'll work on it, I'm sure it's in a pipeline and on a radar somewhere....

Shaking Head said...

Count me in among the sellers who will be jumping ship after this latest fiasco. I'm setting up a Big Cartel site right now.

It's one thing to f*ck with the aesthetics of the site - annoying, but whatver, I can cope.

It's entirely another to f*ck with people's lives! Sellers are real people who face real legal and financial consequences when the 13 year olds at Etsy HQ decide to unveil a new half-baked sales-tax project.

I'll be damned if I put my financial future in the basket currently being held by dingbats. Tired of doing business with Etsy.

tired etsian said...

I think this also just shows how cheap they are.

Paypal has several options for integrating your shopping cart with them. Express is the cheap, no frills version. They couldn't stand to pay Paypal to get a more robust version? I guess it would cut into their food budget.

sark said...

Anne — you made me laugh out loud.

So, when etsy integrates their new checkout where something isn't purchased until it's paid for — then what's going to happen to those of us Luddite who are willing to accept such shady but legal forms of tender as money orders & checks?

What the hell happens in the 5 days it takes a piece of mail to travel from one coast to the next?

Ebay does this correctly, why can't etsy just buy their shit what with all the cash they're raking in?

Why not just leave it to paypal?

RRobin said...

Quoting tired etsian:

"Paypal has several options for integrating your shopping cart with them. Express is the cheap, no frills version. They couldn't stand to pay Paypal to get a more robust version? I guess it would cut into their food budget."


As Deep Throat said, "Follow the money." Rest assured that Etsy does not implement ANY changes, regardless of how seemingly superficial, unless those changes somehow mean more money for Etsy. It may not always be obvious to us mere mortals HOW the Powers That Be at Etsy benefit financially from the strange things that Etsy does, but Etsy does.

Anonymous said...

Tired_Etsian, you mean their cowl budget? ;)

Cosmic Yuk said...

I just can't get over the irresponsible and cavalier attitude they display with everything they do. While on one hand it isn't really surprising since it is the way they do everything, on the other hand, I just can't fathom that one crappy roll-out after another keeps on happening. I expect bugs and problems, but the huge gaping holes are inexcusable.

In the discussion thread that the admin opened, after answering a few cursory questions, they just disappeared. As per usual, leaving important questions and issues just hanging.

Why bother doing the research ahead of time when you can roll out a half assed feature and let your users find all the problems and then provide you with the way to fix them?

Why does everything they do to answer one problem just create more problems?

Why is it up to US to bring the problems to them and then offer solutions?

All I gotta say is if you don't have an alternate plan for the holidays that you get your ass in gear and get one. I predict this is only the first of the shit to hit the fan.

Anti Em said...

umm wtf? paypal allows the seller to charge sales tax for their state already.

why oh why does etsy always need their own half assed jacked up broken version of EVERYTHING that already exists!!!!!

The Funny One said...

Right-o, Etsy can't imagine paying any outside expert (incl.PP) or integrating these expert tools because (1) they would have to set up partnerships and we all know how bad Etsy is at partnerships, don't we? Sellers, what sellers? (2) they don't want to expose their lousy cut & paste operation to any outsider and (3) Etsy is just too damn arrogant to think that anyone else can do it better than they can.

Holey Canoli! Wait until "international Etsy" gets its hands on VAT!?!

The big reveal in this nutty plan is that Etsy just pointed us all in the same direction --- who the hell TRUSTS Etsy for anything?

There are plenty of shoppers who don't trust Etsy, either.

Anonymous said...

At least one international seller pointed out she had to add 23% tax and Etsy only allowed tax up to 20%, I'll bet dollars to donuts they won't even fix that

Wolf said...

Next up- Etsy releases its own half-assed payment acceptance code that dumps the money directly into their own coffers and does away with PayPal payments altogether.

It honestly wouldn't surprise me if they have something along those lines planned for a little further down the road.

Screw coupons! Screw what users really want! Let's see how badly we can mess with their livlihoods and get them in trouble with the IRS!

Eveline said...

In the same thread, someone quoted HeyMichelle:

"HeyMichelle says:
Hi everyone!

To answer a few FAQs:

Do I have to pay Etsy fees or PayPal fees on sales tax?

A: You will not pay Etsy fees on sales tax. You currently pay PayPal fees on sales tax, and that will continue with the new checkout.

Can I have different tax rates per state or province?

A: Not at this time, but we may provide support for setting tax rates by zip code in the future."

May?? May??
I think you will find that you HAVE TO.

ToyBoat said...

You know, one of my shops is already in vacation mode for the time being. Now I'm seriously considering putting my other one in vacation mode too.

No more listing fees or sales commissions for Etsy until this is straightened out. I'll focus on promoting my non-Etsy site for the time being, thank you very much.

Unhappyincupcakeland said...

Well, this is what you get when you hire a bunch of guys who couldn't cut it at Twitter (a social site with NO shopping cart) trying to program for Etsy. Since they've been gone, Twitter works better, which tells me something.

I am tired of feeling like a guinea pig. Or the canary in a coal mine.

I am NOT opting in. I can predict the clusterfuck beyond all the insane clusterfucks Etsy has produced so far.

So far admin has not seen fit to answer anyone's concerns. It is a far cry from ArtFire. Oh, but it's Thursday night and they are probably getting ready for their typical weekend.

Remind me never to put any faith in a site run by a gingery Peter Pan.

Eveline said...

My bfr said, maybe Etsy sellers should inform the IRS about all this. I'm sure they will not be happy Etsy does not care about taxes enough to 'wait for a perfect tax tool to be available'.

Voice said...

Interesting...Etsy's attorney, Sarah, has an Etsy shop selling jewelry: Her announcement states "New York residents pay 8% New York sales tax." But sales tax in New York is charged by the destination (where the customer lives), not at a flat rate. So their own attorney doesn't even know how to follow the tax laws of her state. No wonder they are so clueless about how sales tax works.

Gee, do you think the New York State Dept. of Revenue would be interested in a list of admin shops in NY that aren't following state tax laws? Which is probably...all of them?

MyPerfectWorld said...

I know it is silly, but I am truly amazed that this project was approved at Etsy. In my perfect world, the high priority changes to the site would be ones that would increase sales such as coupon codes, seller tools that allow a better shopping experience for buyers, etc. Maybe this is why resellers have been allowed to stay - purely to fund dumb ass projects like this.

tired etsian said...

Hey Michelle's update/FAQ is one of the worst things about their response. That whole, 'may' look into offering at some point.

Whenever they say things like that what they really mean, is that you would not be wise to bet anything of value on it as the chances of it happening in your lifetime are pretty slim.

That one seller of expensive jewelry. I feel for her. She is absolutely correct, how trusting are her clients going to feel forking over hundreds of dollars to someone who wants them to jump through hoops for sales tax.

Thank you, EB! said...

I live in a destination-based sales tax state and have been researching online venues for selling vintage. I am SO glad I ran across this post before casting my lot in with Etsy - and I bet other potiential sellers will feel the same way. I appreciate the heads up!

Voice said...

Just sayin'.

Cosmic Yuk said...


HeyMichelle says:
"I definitely encourage anyone who wants to know more to search in the forums for threads or to start a new thread in Business Topics to see how others from your state are handling this."


Yes, by all means, send your membership into the forums full of idiots who have no clue about what they're doing and then do what they are doing. Don't advise them to contact an accountant who is well versed in tax laws, or call their local tax office for advice, but go to the forums where everyone has a different idea of what should be done.

Wasn't there some big deal made out of giving legal advice in the forums? Like we shouldn't be doing it because we're not lawyers and could be giving the wrong advice......but tax advice is ok to get from anyone? And should be followed? Really??? Unbelievable.

Fucktwats, the whole lot of them. Total fucktwats.

Eveline said...

@Voice: as absolutely ridiculous as it is, it does not surprise me one bit. Why look into such a pesky thing as taxes when you can just wing it? But that does explain why they're not too fussed about their flat rate, if their attorney says it's alright, why doubt her?

All Wired Up TOO said...

this reminds me of roll out of V2 I'm still pissed over THAT!

This is SO going to ruin Holiday Sales for anyone that has a shop on etsy..I'm happy to NOT be there!
Viva la Art Fire!

Chantelle said...

The people who come up with these projects at etsy are a bunch of fucking idiots. They obviously haven't bothered to check out the implications of their half-assed approach to implementing new "features" at etsy.

I don't understand why etsy doesn't just pay for the fucking third-party software they need to do this right. Yeah, it costs money, but way less than the revenue they're NOT getting from people closing up shop. Not to mention less than the cost if they're investigated by the IRS.

Fucking idiots.

BTW, I've let all my items expire.

Virginia said...

Permanent vacation mode - comin' right up.

The thing I will miss the most - since my sales are all gone - is commiserating with the Etsy Bitches. I'll stop back regularly for ongoing reminders of why I left.


HeadsStillUpTheirAsses said...

Hey Michele just said this in this thread:

"I and another admin I talked about it with both pay the taxes out of the amount earned and were not using the PP settings. I unfortunately can't get too involved in the discussion because we can't give any sort of legal/tax advice, but I definitely encourage members to discuss and brainstorm ideas."

Really????? You're not actually collecting taxes in your shop and you want sellers to brainstorm ideas of how to pay taxes ourselves? I hate to break it to you but there are actual laws that officials have brainstormed to tell us how to pay our taxes.

Over it said...

Yeah....I'm done. Every time I start to do well, they ruin it for another few months and it takes all I have to build it back up,and then they ruin it again with something else.

I'll be at Zibbet.

Cantlookaway said...

Damn i love the shitstorm over here. I feel bad for the cupcakes that still drink the water. This tax issue seems like it finally has the power to get enough grown-up agencies involved to finally kick etsy's ass. Does the board even know about this latest trainwreck? You can get away with faking your college transcripts long enough to get your company off the ground, but you don't fuck with other people's ability to properly collect and report their taxes, kid! We should all be submitting reports to the IRS about this company's unwillingness to allow its sellers and users abide by the law.

Cosmic Yuk said...

Didja see in the stroque that they now have a new COO, Adam somebody or other and they just got another infusion of 6 million from another venture capital investor?

BigGirl said...

"We’ve just hired a new Chief Operations Officer (COO). His name is Adam Freed, and his dog is Hank."

I don't give a shit about his dog. Don't you just love to be patronized?

researcher said...

Here's an outside of Etsy article on the new COO and the money raised. Interesting. Notice the difference in money mentioned.

Adam has a good background. Maybe he'll be good for Etsy though I don't hold high hopes. Etsy seems to be a blackhole for any real business people.

The Funny One said...

It's not just Etsy's incompetence, it's that they're willing to put their bad personnel choices in print online, picture them dressed like they've just been arrested, and then LET THEM post willy-nilly in the forums.

What's more important is what Etsy doesn't put in print, which could be a whole load of lawsuits and new IRS scrutiny.

New investor money is coming in because Etsy still posts impressive profits, but again, it's all about what Etsy doesn't put in print.

Including the fact that sales are DOWN significantly in July 2010.

you'rekiddingright said...

Check THIS out. O.M.G.

Mitaine said...

TheFunnyOne says: "Including the fact that sales are DOWN significantly in July 2010."

Wow, that wasn't ont the weather report. How did you manage to find that out?

Anonymous said...

@yourekidding Lisajune's answer on page 2 is a headbanger
Asks to have buyer contact etsyif they have issues checking out
The the kicker

"Please do not complete the transaction wholey off of Etsy, this is fee avoidance. We're more than happy to work with you to find out the root of this problem. "

Well if they are making it impossible to do the transaction on Etsy, they SHOULD lose the fees.

No wonder so many posters now are ex-Etsy sellers