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Etsy Unable to Process Credit Card Orders over the Weekend

Etsy shoppers ran into problems trying to check out over the weekend. Beginning early Saturday morning, credit card payments through Etsy Direct Checkout were hung up and were not processed. It appears orders paid with PayPal or through the seller’s own payment methods were going through okay.

The problem started as early as 7 am on February 6th, and both buyers and sellers turned to the Etsy discussion boards and to Twitter to report the problems.

By the end of the day, some sellers were getting frantic. A seller posted on Facebook on Saturday evening:

“HELP! Guys, we desperately need to know when you’re having payment processing issues. I understand stuff happens and you try to fix it as quickly as possible for us. But to come home from a Saturday with my family to dozens of messages, emails, and cancellation requests from customers is not acceptable. You’ve got to have some kind of notification for your sellers. These are people who may not buy from me again because they don’t understand that I have no control over your direct checkout.

“And I’m lost as to what my position is in the meantime. Will the sale ever process? If I cancel the order, that customer may very well go elsewhere! We rely on you guys to keep us in the loop. Help!”

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Etsy did keep users up to date on its Status announcement board for those who knew of its existence (Etsy reminded users about the board via Twitter).

Another seller suggested in the same post, “How about just shutting down Direct Checkout and making buyers use PayPal until the issue is fixed? Most have PayPal anyway, and I’d rather that than angry customers.”

The problem continued into Sunday. At 10:28 am EST, Etsy reported it was beginning to make some progress. By 5:22 pm ET, Etsy wrote, “We are still working to resolve the issue and are continuing to see good progress in completing the delayed transactions. We’ll have another update around 8:00 PM ET.”

At 8:51pm ET Etsy wrote, “We are still working to resolve the issue and are continuing to see good progress in completing the delayed transactions. We have currently worked through close to half of the delayed payments. But we don’t expect to be completely caught up until tomorrow. We will update again by 10 AM ET tomorrow.”

The problems began one day after Etsy had announced it had expanded Direct Checkout to 12 new countries. In the same post, it announced it was rolling out Express Checkout with Apple Pay on iOS.

As we noted in a blog post notifying sellers of the Etsy issue on Saturday, Amazon also had a problem with its checkout system last week, which was down for 3 hours on Tuesday night.

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Update: Etsy told EcommerceBytes the payments outage over the weekend was the result of a technical issue at its third-party payments processor and said the payments team answered questions in this discussion board thread.

Etsy declined to reveal the third-party partner that experienced the problems, but according to its Direct Checkout terms of use, it uses WorldPay.

Here’s a copy of the email Etsy sent to affected sellers on Sunday:

“According to our records, your shop may have been affected by a recent technical issue experienced by Etsy’s third-party payment processor that resulted in delays confirming some of your orders. We expect that impacted orders will soon be confirmed and will be processed and deposited within our stated time frame of three to five days. Please note that your deposit may be credited to your bank account later than usual, though we currently expect it to arrive within this time frame. Exact deposit dates will vary depending on your bank.

“On Saturday, February 6, Etsy became aware of our partner’s issue soon after it began. We have been closely monitoring the situation over the past 24 hours. The technical issue our partner is experiencing is affecting multiple companies including Etsy, which has resulted in Etsy having to temporarily delay the email confirmation of orders for your shop. Orders placed using PayPal were unaffected by this issue. We are hopeful that our third-party partner is nearing resolution at which point you will begin seeing order confirmation emails. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this issue may have caused.

“While an affected order is still being processed, it won’t appear on your Orders page. Instead, you’ll see a small note that says, “You have processing orders.” As our partner resolves their issue, your processing orders will become confirmed on a rolling basis. Once your order is confirmed, it will appear on your Orders page and buyers will receive an order confirmation. We encourage you to begin fulfilling orders at that time. Buyers will see that the order will show as “Payments Processing” or “Not Paid” on their account.

“If a buyer affected by this issue mentions it in a review or contacts you directly about it, please contact Etsy Support for assistance. Please visit the Etsy Forums and Etsy Status for more updates. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact Etsy Support.”

Update: WorldPay responded to our inquiry with the following statement: “We do not comment on individual customers, however we can confirm there was a temporary issue with latency related to payment processing on one of our platforms. This issue has been resolved and all platforms are operating normally.”

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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.