Intro: Etsy Review | Is Etsy Legit? Safe? The Truth About Etsy
When it comes to online shopping, you’re probably already familiar with well-known sites that have been around for a while, such as eBay. You may have even heard of Etsy recently but are not sure exactly what this site is about.
With this Etsy review, AdvisoryHQ will answer the questions, “What is Etsy?” and “Is Etsy a legit site?”
In addition, we will provide a detailed overview on who uses Etsy and how you can use Etsy. Many Etsy.com reviews mention Etsy scams and Etsy complaints in relation to sellers and payments.
In creating this Etsy review, we want to provide answers to the questions, “Is Etsy safe?” and “Is Etsy legit?” so you can decide if Etsy is a website you would feel comfortable using.
Photo courtesy of: Etsy
What Is Etsy?
Exactly what is Etsy? It is difficult to find Etsy reviews on the web that clearly explain the website and its function.
Etsy is essentially a marketplace for sellers and buyers to connect with one-of-a-kind items. The main focus of Etsy is handmade and vintage items, like clothing, jewelry, home decor, greeting cards, and more.
Many Etsy.com reviews rave about vintage items and unique factory-made items sold on the site. On Etsy’s website, you can find popular categories to browse, like Home & Living, Kids & Baby, and Weddings.
You might be wondering, “Is Etsy legit?” or “Is Etsy safe?” since anyone can sell products on the site rather than the items being manufactured by large companies.
Etsy.com has been on the web since 2005 and currently has 1.7 million active sellers and 28.6 million active buyers. Its headquarters are located in Brooklyn, NY, but it also has offices in nine other locations around the world.
In answering the question, “Is Etsy legit?” the answer is, yes. Etsy is a legit website. The more important question should be, “Is Etsy safe?”
This Etsy review will take a close look at the sellers of Etsy, who are often found at the center of Etsy scams.
Who Sells Products on Etsy?
Many negative Etsy reviews online stem from buyers with complaints about sellers. Several Etsy reviews mention products of poor quality that differ from the descriptions or photos provided by the sellers.
Other Etsy complaints state that products did not arrive within the promised time frame. One theme is common among these Etsy complaints: the Etsy seller does not always deliver as promised.
Photo courtesy of: Etsy
So, why are Etsy sellers at the center of several Etsy complaints? It could be because almost anyone can sell on Etsy.
Do you crochet? Do you create handmade beads? Do you build unique furniture pieces? Then, most likely, you can sell on Etsy.
Some Etsy sellers are entrepreneurs with their own businesses while others like to sell items as a hobby to make some extra cash. Many are exceptional craftsmen and artisans who find that selling through an online forum is the best way to expand their business.
Other Etsy sellers, unfortunately, create Etsy scams. These are often the ones who cause buyers to write negative Etsy.com reviews.
Many Etsy reviews claim that Etsy does not screen its sellers. This is true. To start selling on Etsy, you simply have to register as a seller.
The Etsy Review System
Although Etsy finds itself in the midst of negative Etsy reviews, it does have its own review system in place that has advantages for both sellers and buyers.
This Etsy review will take a closer look at the review system to help answer the question, “Is Etsy a legit site?” A legit review system can be crucial to understanding the answer.
How Does a Buyer Leave Etsy Reviews?
The Etsy review system encourages buyers to rate their transactions with sellers based on the following criteria:
- Does the product’s quality match what was described or expected?
- Did the product arrive within the stated time frame?
- Would you do business again with this seller?
Photo courtesy of: MadelineVyandCo
A buyer can use the 5-star Etsy review system to rate the transaction and product and also leave further comments regarding the product.
While the Etsy review system will automatically attach a picture of the purchased item, customers also have the option to attach their own picture when leaving a 5-star review.
Based on the estimated delivery date, a buyer can edit their review any number of times within a 60-day period. This flexibility in Etsy reviews from a buyer’s perspective is a great way to promote honest customer reviews.
Overall Etsy reviews average the ratings of a seller from the past 12 months. The average will be on display for other buyers to consider before buying a product from that seller.
What About Etsy Reviews from a Seller’s Standpoint?
There are two sides to every coin– and sellers on Etsy have access to Etsy reviews left by their customers. This introduces the question, “Is Etsy safe to buy from with this Etsy review system in place?” That depends.
Sellers do have options available to hide or negate Etsy complaints put through the Etsy.com reviews system using the following methods:
- Hide photographs that the seller feels do not accurately reflect the product
- Report photographs that the seller feels might be in violation of Etsy policies
- Respond to an Etsy review of 3 stars or less, allowing the seller to negate negative claims
- Average Etsy reviews and ratings are only displayed from the past 12 months
What does this mean for buyers on Etsy? Does this mean that Etsy reviews shouldn’t be trusted? Is Etsy safe?
Let’s take a closer look at how Etsy sellers can access Etsy reviews from their customers.
Responding to Etsy Reviews
Although an Etsy seller has the ability to negate written reviews of 3 stars or less, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Just like buyers, sellers should have the ability to address –and potentially resolve– a negative customer experience, both privately and publicly.
In this regard, Etsy does a good job at keeping multiple channels of communication open, both with private messaging and with the public Etsy review forum.
Sellers can only respond to a review once, so after that, any communication will have to be moved to their private messaging system.
Flagging Etsy Reviews
Etsy sellers–and buyers– can flag a review, photograph, or response for removal, but only if it meets one of these criteria:
- It violates your privacy
- It is obscene, racist, or harassing
- It contains advertising or spam
- The review is about Etsy or a third party, and not about the transaction/seller/buyer
Etsy makes it fairly clear that a review is an opinion, and that Etsy sellers should not expect to be in control. On its own, a negative review does not warrant removal.
Photo courtesy of: Etsy
Responding to Photographs in Etsy Reviews
For many buyers, the gray area comes from giving Etsy sellers the ability to hide photographs within a review. Consumers worry that sellers on Etsy are able to screen their reviews to make themselves and their products appear more trustworthy.
It’s worth noting Etsy’s policy regarding sellers on Etsy hiding photos:
“If a buyer includes a photograph of their purchase alongside a five-star review, this photo will be visible to anyone who looks at your reviews. If you feel as though this photo does not accurately represent your brand or aesthetic, you may hide the photograph.”
Since attaching a customer photo seems to only be an option when leaving a 5-star review, it does seem as though Etsy is shifting the scales to benefit Etsy sellers, rather than buyers.
After all, if a customer is truly not happy with their product, it stands to reason that they wouldn’t be leaving a 5-star review– and therefore would not be able to attach a photograph to illustrate a discrepancy or defect.
In these types of instances, buyers are suggested to forgo the public Etsy review system, and open a private “Item Isn’t As Described” case directly with Etsy instead.
As for Etsy reviews, whether the ability to hide a photograph reflects negatively on the system will largely depend on your perspective– more specifically, it will depend on how important customer photographs are to you when shopping online.
Even if an Etsy seller does have the ability to make the photograph private, buyers can rest assured that the rest of the review– including the buyer’s comments, regardless of whether they are negative or positive– will remain in place for 12 months.
Is Etsy Safe and Secure for Payments?
When questioning, “Is Etsy safe?” or “Is Etsy legit?” our Etsy review takes into consideration the ways in which a buyer can make a payment and if there is buyer protection in place.
Buyers do not want to get caught in Etsy scams with their money, so we will take a look at the security of buying through Etsy.
Etsy buyers have several ways to pay for an item through Etsy, but the methods are at the discretion of the Etsy seller. Some of the most popular payment methods are PayPal, credit card, debit card, and Etsy gift cards.
But is Etsy safe to accept your money?
These methods all fall under Etsy’s Direct Checkout, which provides a safe and secure way to pay the seller. Your money will be safe using Direct Checkout, and you can purchase items from multiple shops at once.
For those still wondering “Is Etsy safe?” our Etsy review recommends using PayPal as a checkout option whenever shopping online for optimum levels of credit card protection.
Etsy’s Return Policy and Buyer Protection
Another point to consider when asking “Is Etsy safe to buy from?” is Etsy’s return policy and other buyer protection policies in place. Etsy itself does not have a blanket return policy; instead, it leaves return policies to the discretion of individual shop owners.
What is Etsy sellers’ return policy like? Most legit shop owners will cover the following basics within their return policies:
- Time frame you have to return the item
- Whether a full or partial refund will be provided
- Condition the item needs to be returned in
- Fees, if any, to be charged to the buyer for return
- How the return should be handled in an Etsy review of the seller
Legit shop owners will want to make customers happy and should detail return policies that allow for full or partial refunds if a customer is not satisfied.
Be vigilant of Etsy scams by sellers who have no return policy or who beg you to not leave a negative Etsy review even after a negative transaction takes place.
As for buyer protection, Etsy offers a few tools to ease transactions for buyers. Aside from checking Etsy.com reviews about a seller, buyers can also:
- Use Etsy Conversations to contact a seller for any specific information that may not be included in the product description or return policy
- Use Etsy’s case system to settle disputes between themselves and sellers
Using the buyer protection methods in place by Etsy can help buyers avoid Etsy scams.
Is Etsy a Legit Site?
We hope that this review has, so far, confirmed that the answer to “Is Etsy a legit site?” is, yes. Etsy itself is a legit site.
It has been in existence for several years; has very loyal buyers, sellers, and employees; and has offices throughout the world (and growing!). So, why are there so many Etsy complaints of Etsy scams?
As loved as Etsy is by those seeking the most unique products, it has quite a distance to go to slow down the flow of negative Etsy.com reviews.
Etsy simply does not do enough to screen its sellers to ensure the best experience possible for buyers. And let’s face it: Etsy would be nothing if not for the people who search for and buy its sellers’ goods.
The fact remains that an Etsy seller can choose to hide a buyer’s photo of the product if the seller believes that it does not do the product justice.
What if there was a hole in a knit blanket, or a handmade purse looked nothing like the seller’s photos?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter for public Etsy reviews, because a seller can choose to remove the Etsy review photo. Buyers will have to go through private communication to resolve these issues, and many Etsy sellers and buyers have expressed frustration with a lack of support from Etsy.
Is Etsy legit? Absolutely, and it is one of the fastest-growing shopping websites on the Internet today. Is Etsy safe? Yes, in terms of payment security and buyer protection tools.
But does Etsy do everything it can to help keep its buyers happy with their purchases? No, this is where the company is lacking. Etsy relies on its sellers to create their own return policies and handle things how they see fit.
Unfortunately, this creates a great deal of stress, both for Etsy sellers and buyers alike. Buyers are frustrated with changing return policies, unreliable terms, and no guarantee of quality, all shifting from one seller to the next.
On the other hand, many negative Etsy reviews from Etsy sellers state growing issues with copyright infringement, an influx of non-handmade goods, and a general lack of support from Etsy as a company.
Conclusion: Is Etsy Safe? What You Should Know About Etsy.com Reviews
There’s no doubt that Etsy can be a wonderful site to find one-of-a-kind, handmade items from artisans across the globe. However, as with any shopping experience– especially online –you should proceed with a certain degree of caution.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of negative Etsy.com reviews that give both buyers and sellers reason to be cautious and do their research before committing to buying or selling on the platform.
If the site wants to see a decrease in negative Etsy.com reviews, it should work toward creating a blanket return policy, reconsider its review system, and focus on supporting both Etsy sellers and buyers to generate a more positive shopping experience.
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