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Over Six Percent of Etsy Sellers Run into Disputes

Etsy revealed some data about buyer-seller disputes, intellectual property takedowns, and requests for member information. The marketplace said its first ever Transparency Report provides an in-depth look at how Etsy integrates its company values, responsibility to members, and legal obligations.

Member Disputes
Etsy’s Trust and Safety team mediates disputes between Etsy buyers and sellers, which usually come in the form of non-delivery or not-as-described cases filed by buyers through Etsy’s Case System. The team takes action against shops with a high volume of cases.

In 2014, a quarter of one percent (0.25%) of orders in 2014 resulted in a case. Less than one percent (0.73%) of buyers who made a purchase in 2014 filed a case. Six and one half percent (6.5%) of sellers who made at least one sale in 2014 received a case.

Community Flags 
The Etsy community can flag listings or shops that appear to violate policies by clicking the “Report this item to Etsy” button on any listing or shop page. Members can flag items for several reasons such as items they believe are “not handmade,” “prohibited or use prohibited materials,” or “not properly labeled as mature content.”

Etsy also has proactive detection software that sweeps the marketplace for potential non-IP policy violations.

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In 2014, Etsy received 305,762 flags, including both Etsy and community-generated flags. Some flags cited individual items while other flags pertained to entire shops or accounts. In some instances, Etsy received more than one flag for the same listing or account.

The majority of flags, 73%, were manually reviewed in 2014. The rest of the flags were processed automatically by its software systems.

In total, the Trust and Safety team closed 168,288 accounts for non-IP policy violations in 2014.

Intellectual property (IP) violations
Etsy explained how it handles intellectual property (IP) violations, and said it does not take a role in resolving intellectual property disputes, and it does not take sides. It also revealed that it uses technology to detect when previously identified abusers try to open new accounts.

In 2014, Etsy responded to 6,997 properly submitted intellectual property takedown notices by removing or disabling access to 176,137 listings, from 42,526 sellers. About one half of one percent (0.5%) of all listings were affected.

Etsy received 115 DMCA counter-notices opposing copyright claims. Complaining parties formally withdrew their notice(s) 246 times.

Etsy closed 3,993 shops for repeat violations of its intellectual property policy.

Requests for member information 
Companies routinely get asked for information about their customers – from law enforcement or lawyers, for example – and Etsy is no exception. Etsy wrote, “When it comes to requests for member information, we understand the Etsy members trust us with important private information and we thoughtfully review each request that we receive. We take these responsibilities seriously: We push back when a request is overly broad. We ask for clarification when a request is unclear. We comply when required by law or when the request is in keeping with our privacy policy.”

That said, Etsy revealed it produced information in response to 32 of 41 requests for member information, pertaining to 43 member accounts.

You can read more on the Etsy blog, which contains a link to the full report.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.