Why you can’t trust Etsy.com

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What is Etsy.com?

Etsy is a global marketplace for people which is usually made up of artistic and creative people selling unique hand made items. The website has a large following on Twitter and has become one of the most, if not the largest independent sellers for creatives. Very much like an Ebay or even Amazon and has the same principles in place or so we would think.

The story with my Etsy purchase…


I was a first time buyer with Etsy and was undecided if I should use the website as I am usually very weary about where I spend my money online. Given the website had a positive reputation and stood for supporting independent creative sellers, I was happy to give my money to someone and to support the community by purchasing a bespoke item.

Last Christmas I was really organised with buying presents which is usually very unlike myself and decided to buy a unique item for my partner. The item I wanted to get was a hand made replica of a Book of Shadows from the popular TV series Charmed. I knew that my partner would love this and decided to use Etsy.com as the place to purchase this item from. After surfing around Etsy I found a seller of this unique item and instantly sent a vast amount of money via Paypal for this book to be made.


The seller instantly sent a thank you message and in reply, I asked for photographs to me sent to me simply because I was interested in the development of the book. This was agreed with the seller and I was instantly very happy and excited with the prospect of the book, everything seemed to be great!


For about a month everything was quiet, so I thought that there was some good progress with the book but by early December there had been no news and I was starting to worry about if the book will come in time. Especially as the postal service here in the UK is usually hectic around Christmas time. So I sent a message to the seller and I was assured that it would/should be here by Christmas although there were no development photos.

It turned out that Christmas day was a very disappointing one for myself and my partner. This book was bought to be the center of a very special day for my partner. No present made up for the fact that I had spent so much money on something that didn’t turn up. 🙁

So a few days later I got in touch again with the seller through Etsy, it seemed to be a mystery that the book did not show up and looking back I wish I had not given the benefit of the doubt (like I usually do). However it was agreed that another book would be made and sent out as soon as possible. The seller stated that it would take about four weeks for the book to be made and posted out which would seem about right. So once again I waited for any response that it had been sent for dispatch.


A few weeks into February I still had no reply. So for me, this was the time where I needed a little bit of support. I got in touch with the Etsy trust and safety team, who aided me with contacting the seller and coming to some kind of resolution for this issue. The Etsy trust and safety team seemed to back my corner and threatened to shut the shop down if they did not provide a tracking number for the item. In my opinion this would make no differerence anyway as they already had my large amount of money and could most likely create another shop elsewhere anyway. The seller offered again to create another book and to send one out but by this time is was rather annoyed and stressed out by this whole situation.

The Etsy trust team recommended for me to push for a refund, however Etsy could not get this refund back due to this being purchased using Paypal. A short time later I opened a case with Paypal and kept both cases updated as best as I could.

At this point I was even more annoyed and stressed out with this whole situation. It seemed like the Etsy were trying to resolve the case but could not do anything other than ban the seller. Even though this transaction was made through the website, they made out like they had no power to do anything with regards to this case. Which I think is absolute rubbish, why have a website if you can not control the activity on it!?

A few weeks later a tracking number was provided though USPS. Which seemed at the time that it was legitimate but what the seller had done was pre-purchased shipping and never sent out any item at all. So this meant that the Paypal case had closed and I could not comment further if the item had arrived. This is because if the order date is over 180 days (by this point it was) you could not re-open the case and was basically disregarded.


By this point it was looking like I was about to loose a lot of money and have nothing in return apart from numerous headaches, stresses and worries. I sent a stern message to Etsy who recommended that I get in touch with my card issuer. At this point I wanted to try anything to get my money back. Being scammed in this manner was a bit embarrassing and so I got in touch with the bank and filled out the appropriate forms. I even provided a load of screenshots of the lack  of response from the seller.


We are currently in May and I have just received an email from Paypal that that the bank has been in touch and in response to that, Paypal have reopened the case.I am currently waiting for a response from the seller again which could take ages. I will update this as and when I get a resolution to the issue.

What did Etsy do to try to help?

I feel that Etsy could have done a lot more to get this sorted out. The fact that this still hasn’t been resolved after six months shows that Etsy are not really willing to help buyers. I understand that its usually a case of he says, she says with issues like this but it was obviously clear that the seller was only selling a scam. I think that if Etsy were quicker to react and to offer a better resolution to this, this case would have been sorted. But after all of this, I will not be shopping on Etsy ever again and I would not recommend Etsy to anyone else. Especially if you plan to use Paypal in order to purchase items.

I felt that there was no security with Etsy and Etsy have offered little In terms of compensation or even a sorry. For a first time buyer on Etsy I would have thought they would have tried to keep my custom as much as possible. Fact is that I will never shop there again.

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