I’d run a shop on Etsy before and had a decent overall experience. So, when my daughter and I decided we would launch an out of home small business making soap and skin care products, we were happy to include Etsy as our first, and main, platform to start.
I was not prepared for how much Etsy has changed.
There was always an inside understanding amongst “sellers” that Etsy, more times than not, sided with the consumer. Meaning, a lot of sellers would get ripped off by someone claiming to not have received an untracked item, and the seller having to refund item no questions asked (as an example). But we understood that this was part of what made Etsy more “credible” than, say, Ebay.
Happily, we began creating the items, then going through the process of preparing them with love for consumption. We measured everything, weighed it all, recorded it all, took photos of each item, edited them as needed (mostly crop), and so on the Etsy process goes…
We made our first few sales (mostly friends being supportive – thank you, we love you!) and then I got an email, “We are placing a Reserve on your account “, pardon me, come again?!
“We sometimes place a reserve on an account when we have received a complaint where items may be refunded (yada, yada, yada)”, umm, there has been no complaints on my account; literally every single person who ordered was someone I knew directly at that point.
Naturally, I email them back and I get a (nasty) response back, “We do this to new accounts sometimes. Suck it up buttercup” (I am only loosely paraphrasing here).
At this point I am angry, and I was less than kind to the reps. at Etsy moving forward. And I don’t even feel bad. Which is rare for me, working in User Support myself, I know what abuses we go through, but these people are literally stealing from their vendors and that’s fucking gross and I’d lost all patience.
As I began checking social media, to see what experience others were having, I began seeing a pattern. Loads and loads of new sellers were complaining, not only about this “reserve” but about not receiving ANY money. One person claiming Etsy was holding $18,000.00.
I noticed this as well: The email (and account) claimed they would hold “75% of EACH SALE for 45 days” (which is fucking ridiculous), but… I haven’t been paid out even though my credit far exceeds the “reserve” holdings.
How are sellers supposed to ship items the buyers paid shipping on, with no money?! How are small businesses supposed to re-up their supplies with no money? Why is Etsy stealing vendor money? (Don’t answer, it is to collect interest on it).
Etsy has been losing it’s standing in marketplace for some time, with new(er) companies like Shopify, and Wix now having shop apps, Etsy is a dying breed. The idea that they can drive any kind of traffic to your shop is lessened by things like their new “partnership” with Tik-Tok where they “reward” those users with more exposure, lessening exposure to everyone else. Add this to their old rep. of placing buyers first, and well, they are on their last leg already.
They really cannot afford a massive boycott if sellers come together in solidarity and decide on, say, a movement to mass remove listings until they end this bullshit “reserve” and stop holding seller money hostage. I mean, not even by choice but because most new sellers CANNOT AFFORD TO NOT GET PAID, they can’t afford the listing fees, the shipping fees, the fees Etsy tacks on if you add tracking, etc, etc.
Etsy accounts are linked to bank accounts. There is absolutely NO need for them to “reserve” money. If an account goes into the red, suspend account, as you already do, bill, and if necessary take legal action or send into collections, and understand that is the cost of doing business. DO NOT STEAL FROM VENDORS. That is not the answer and it is a massive error on your behalf, Etsy. Fix this. Pay out your vendors.
- A super fucking angry Seven