We have an e-mail WoolyBumblebee has sent us, detailing what she went through before she was brickwalled, and why she was brickwalled. We are posting it, in its entirety with her permission.
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to explain, in detail, to the whole EB community about this whole disgusting ordeal of me being booted off Etsy permanently.
OK, where to begin?! Man, this is going to be long, but I'll try to be as clear as possible about the whole thing, LOL!
It began a few months ago when I had been very vocal in the forums about some issue... I mean, lets face it, Etsy screws up so much lately it's hard to remember what I was bitching about, but anyhow, I was bitching on the forums about something that pissed me off. Sorry if I was vocal in the forums and pissing off some of the cupcakes there, but I care deeply about ALL handmade sellers and the ability for us ALL to run our businesses properly on a supposed "handmade" site that "supposedly" cares about the integrity of the artists there.
Ok, so after my bitching in the forums about what ever it was, they muted me and blocked my account. This was the FIRST time it ever happened in all my selling years on Etsy since 2007. They didn't close my shops, but they blocked me from having any access to my items, shop, and the forums.
The reason for that first closure was that apparently I had an "undisclosed account" from 2008 which broke the odd TOUs about having multiple accounts on Etsy (I still don't get why we have to disclose buyer accounts, but I digress).
The account that was in question was so old I had forgotten it even existed. I mean, lets be honest, 2 years later and I was supposed to remember a random account that I had opened for buying purposes only? Come on! I can't even remember where I put my fucking car keys most days. So I told them to close that useless account and PLEASE re-open access to my other active ones. This whole mess took 3 days of aggravation to settle, and many lost sales, (I sold on average 5-6 items daily in one of my shops). So they did finally close that account, but no apology for their HORRIBLE customer service or the fact that I lost about $75.00 in sales over that time period.
See, when you contact customer support via "chat", it's not an actual "chat", it's a holding pen where your message gets held in queue for the person handling your case. If that person is not there, then tough shit! You have to wait hours, days, or possibly longer. It's a shit system that does not help anyone who has an URGENT issue that needs attention right away. These are our bloody BUSINESSES! Not someone calling to inquire when the next shipment of plush moustaches are going to be available.
After all that had been settled I knew I was on their dreaded black list. I knew they'd be watching me, and I even knew they were monitoring my convos. YES! They do that on there. They will even go into your account if they feel like it. Believe me, I have proof of that when they logged into my shop recently and deleted my announcement. But I'll explain that later.
So, a few months went by with me tiptoeing around not wanting to upset the great Etsy Gods. But of course Etsy just can't seem to keep it's own shit together and fucked up big time AGAIN by allowing everyone's personal names to be shown in the treasuries. It was a damned disaster! I was pissed beyond belief, as were TONS of other sellers. And we all had a right to be pissed! Our personal info, which we entrusted to Etsy to be kept private, was made public for the whole world to see. They broke their own precious TOUs big time! bigger than any account holder could have that's for sure!
So along with my fellow sellers I was ranting in the forums once again. I guess that's where the Etsy police began to monitor me again.
Then Etsy went and did another epic fuck up and posted an article about the evils of coral. It was written by a NON-ETSY SELLER who mass produces her crap and had nothing to do with the handmade movement. Etsy even linked to her off-Etsy shop! Way to drive sellers out of our venue. By linking off site many of us sellers were completely outraged and decided to link outside our own shops in protest and to see if we could get away with it, since Etsy obviously was not that bothered by it if they were doing it right?! But that was when I learned Etsy will actually go INTO your own personal shop and remove the offending messages. They went into mine and deleted the whole thing, then sent me a warning AFTER they violated my shop privacy and went in and did it. Is it so hard to just ask me to remove it myself? I mean, how the hell do I know they weren't in there poking around in my other personal stuff like convos etc...
So, back to the TOU breaking article they put in the Storque. Of course, this spurred pure outrage by many! We banded together to point out the obvious, again, to Etsy.
Etsy decided to close any and all threads that even mentioned or hinted at the word "coral", and then corralled us all into one thread that is still up and going now. The plan was to hide us in "ideas" and keep us as out of sight as possible in the hopes that we'd get tired of the issue and move on. Thing is, we didn't, and the thread is still going after breaking the 10,000 post mark in it.
So I once again mouthed off! Can you blame me? Years of Etsy not listening to it's sellers (customers), lousy half-assed customer service, fixing things that don't need fixing and ignoring the things that do need fixing, breaking their own TOUs, and so much more... There is only so much I could take. I didn't need to be kicked in the ass by them anymore to realize they didn't give a shit about any of us sellers.
I went and opened all new shops on Artfire and Zibbet, and put my shops into vacation mode on Etsy. I was so pissed! I refused to give them any more of my business if this was how they were going to treat their sellers. And believe me, I was not the only one who shut up shop and moved all my items off to another venue. Many did the same in pure protest!
And then Etsy fucked up again 2 more times! OMG!!! I think they are going for some sort of new record or something over there. It's unbelievable!
The first dumb ass thing was they decided to fuck with our personal profile pages by truncating our personal blurbs and adding our favorites and treasuries to the page. This was a DISASTER! By doing that they were again showing how little we mattered and were again trying to lead people out of our own shops by allowing click-able links to other shops via our favorites and treasuries.
Many deleted their treasuries and had to privatize their favorites. It was another mad dash to fix our shops again and protect what little we had left. And of course I was livid! I lashed out again in the forums. Can you blame me? I was slowly being pushed over the edge, as were many many others.
The second fuck up was deciding to screw with pagination. They reduced search results to a max of 50,000 results allowed to be returned in any given category. While that may not seem like a big deal to some, that actually meant many who were paying to be seen on Etsy were now being hidden from sight. That was obviously bull shit because if someone PAYS for a service they should be entitled to it, and Etsy was not holding up to their end of the contract. You pay to list your items on a site and to have the ability for those items to be seen, no matter how far back they are in the searches. Etsy was now eliminating that and in the process taking fees for services not rendered.
So all this epic fucking up on Etsy's part was giving me a headache and burning ulcers! I am not the type of person to take crap and smile gratefully. I had been a PAYING customer on Etsy since 2007 with over 5000 sales in total! I deserved to have my voice heard! As did, and do, many others!!
So for weeks I supported those who forged on for a better Etsy! I wanted some accountability from Etsy! I wanted them to realize I was not going to lie down and take it anymore. And many others were doing the same.
We got called all kinds of things from the "cupcakes" on Etsy who thought we were being stupid. Many seem to think Etsy can do no wrong... Well I am proof that this is complete bull shit! There is a dark side to Etsy and when you land on it be prepared!
Etsy is going down the drain! Rob Kalin, Etsy's founder wants to make Etsy into a social networking site like Facebook. What the heck that means is yet to be seen. Many changes are coming, and it's scary to think what those changes might be. I started a thread on that issue before I was banned from Etsy if you want to read the article by Rob Kalin on where Etsy is headed.
So ya, I Tweeted and yelled! I was pissed! I love handmade things and the community of handmade artists! I love being part of something so down-to-earth and creative, it's a big part of who I am, and the part of me I am most proud of. It's a fire that keeps me moving forward and happy. I used to really love Etsy in the early years. But they shattered the one thing I used to love, and for that I can't forgive them.
So after all this mess, after all my supporting handmade, artists, sellers, and trying to make Etsy realize we deserve better they finally dropped the hammer and banned me! I was expecting it to happen eventually. I know Etsy doesn't like to hear the truth and can't stand having to apologize for anything. If you are familiar with Etsy's history you already know that to be true.
The big issue I have with being banned was they did it. Those ass holes didn't have the decency to at least give me some kind of warning, which would have been the MATURE and PROFESSIONAL thing to do. I would have had time to contact my customers and tell them I would no longer be available on Etsy and where they could contact me. I know for a FACT that Etsy can just block your selling and forum privileges because that is what they did to me the first time, so doing that for 24 hours BEFORE shutting everything down completely would have been the RIGHT thing to do!
Instead, I was left to look like I had shut up shop and run in the eyes of my customers. Nice! Etsy is trying to make me look like a scammer or something. How underhanded and disgusting! But thankfully I keep all my e-mails and can contact those I need to. Thankfully I can tell them to read this and see what really happened.
About 5 hours after Etsy slammed the door on me they finally sent an e-mail. Thanks for sending it so quickly Etsy (insert flaming sarcasm here).
This is a copy of their bull shit e-mail that I thought everyone should read, as well as my reply to them. I have hi-lighted some ironic and hilarious info in it:
We have deeply appreciated your interest in Etsy and its Community. You have been an important customer. At this time, however, Etsy has elected to revoke your account privileges permanently. We do not make such decisions without great consideration, but recent policy violations committed by one or more of your accounts has brought us to the conclusion that our business relationship must now come to a close.
- Redirecting to off-Etsy venues
- Multiple undisclosed accounts
- Multiple accounts closed for unresolved non-delivery complaints
- Replacing removed text in Public Profile
Your selling privileges will be suspended effective immediately. We ask that you or an agent acting on your behalf do not create new accounts on Etsy without prior express permission from Etsy Administration. We also ask that you close any and all active Etsy accounts. Accounts created or used without permission will be terminated without warning. The following accounts have been closed:
Already closed accounts will remain closed. This letter should not be construed as a waiver of any rights by Etsy, Inc.
Etsy's Support Team
Aww, aren't they so sweet! They even said that I was an "important customer" and "best" at the end of the e-mail so I won't feel so betrayed! UGH! And you can even see they admit they will shut things "without warning". Nice eh?! So be aware all who read this!
Here is my RESPONSE. I must warn, I was really mad when I wrote it so please excuse so much profanity in one place, LOL!!
Also, just so there is no confusion and everyone knows the history from the previous E-mail that Etsy sent:
The NDR's mentioned in their e-mail were by a customer who did not understand the fact that I was selling PDF patterns and not the finished items. She filed multiple NDRs and was a complete pain in the ass! I had refunded her and tried to communicate to no avail. That is what the NDRs are referring to here.
The "TOU breaking" they refer to was because after Etsy blatantly broke it's own TOUs by linking off site to another seller in the Coral article many of us decided what was good for the goose was good for the gander, and many of us linked off site in protest. We knew eventually Etsy would tell us not to. But we are bad like that sometimes ;P LOL!!
And the "undisclosed account" they speak of, well I already stated I had one brought up by Etsy which resulted in my account being suspended months ago. That issue was already taken care of and the account deleted, so they are just bringing up old crap that was already dealt with as an excuse to get rid of me.
Ok, so here is my response:
Bull crap! I have no more NDR's as they were all taken care of previously months ago by Jessica on your staff. I did NOT REPLACE ANY TOU BREAKING LINKS in my announcement after you advised me the first time so that is complete BULLSHIT. And NONE OF MY ACCOUNTS were never UNDISCLOSED! All my shops were CLEARLY linked to each other! Hell, that's how you were able to shut them all down so fucking fast!
All of what you have listed below is crap and you know it! The only reason you did this was because I have been vocal in the forums and you have been DYING to get rid of me! Good riddance! Like I need your constant bull shit! I have new shops on other BETTER venues where sellers are respected! If you at Etsy are so fucking concerned with TOU breaking maybe try looking in the mirror! Your all a bunch of two-faced ass holes! I am taking all my customers with me and will spread the word anywhere I can about how much I hate Etsy and how you are all a bunch dicks!
So, there you have it! The whole sad story!
I really wish that I could have at least said goodbye to all my great friends on Etsy. Those that yelled with me over the years. Those that fought for what they believed in and stood up for what was right. And those that never ever gave up. I'll even miss the cupcakes that always gave me a good laugh ;)
Please, if you've learned nothing else from my journey, just make sure that you always have back-ups of all your e-mails, convos, sales, and shop info! You just never know what can happen in the future.
I hope some of what I have gone through has helped some realize Etsy is not all cupcakes, rainbows, and owls in cowls! As a newbie I thought Etsy could do nothing wrong. But as time went on my eyes opened, and I saw, and learned, a lot more than I realized was actually going on.
I am not one to blindly sell on any venue, and I don't think anyone else should either. Always research and dig for information about the place you sell on on a regular basis. It's amazing what information is out there waiting on the web for people to read.
Rob Kalin has made no effort to hide where he is planning on taking Etsy, and researching things like that will help you stay informed and able to make your own decisions about where YOU want to take YOUR business in the future. Don't ever join a venue to sell on and think it can never do wrong. Remember, every venue is ultimately a business looking out for its own bottom line, not yours. You need to do that for yourself, and staying educated and informed is the best way to do that.
To all of you left on Etsy, I send my support and hugs! I will still be lurking in the skies of Etsy and supporting you all in spirit, even if I can't access the site anymore to post my support along side you. I hope everyone succeeds on what ever path they choose to venture forth on, be it Etsy or any other venue.
Just remember that no matter where you are, you should always fight for what's right! Without fighting for change nothing will get better. If you don't demand for better you'll never get it. Remember, people will only treat you as good as you allow them to. And you all deserve to be treated with respect and common courteousy.
Each and every artist and crafter on Etsy deserves have the handmade movement supported, because that is what Etsy was supposed to be about. And it's what brought us all together there in the first place. Everyone deserves respect, communication, and accountability. It's not much to ask for, but apparently Etsy sees these things as of little value.
Bottom line, it's about integrity! Something Etsy has lost and, I fear, will not be getting back any time soon. But at least I know I tried the best I could, and I can leave Etsy with my head held high and a smile on my face!
I now sell all my items on: