Late last week we reported on the Etsy billing debacle in which it incorrectly withdrew funds from some sellers’ bank accounts and charged some sellers’ credit cards, despite the sellers not owing fees. The problem occurred on Friday, with some sellers reporting hundreds of dollars had been withdrawn or charged, others reporting thousands of dollars had been removed from their accounts.
In trying to fix the problem, Etsy created another problem: some sellers who were supposed to receive disbursements on Friday didn’t get them – Etsy said on Saturday it would send them on Tuesday, with the Monday Federal holiday causing delays as banks were closed.
In response to our inquiry for an update yesterday, February 21, an Etsy spokesperson told EcommerceBytes, “We plan to follow up with affected sellers within the next 24 hours to provide them with more information, and remind them that they can contact support if they still have questions.”
Sellers continue to post on an Etsy discussion board thread started on Friday, which one week later is 119 pages. It’s difficult to determine how many sellers who were impacted have received funds back in their accounts (or have received their disbursements).
The only response from Etsy that is visible on the first page of that thread is from Saturday. The same day, Etsy marked the thread “solved,” which many posters found troubling as reports of problems continued to pour in. We personally find the inability to quickly scan all of Etsy’s responses on the first page of the long thread to be extremely frustrating, something that is new since Etsy moved to a new platform to host its discussion boards recently.
To see how complex this has become, check out this post from a seller from February 21st in the Bugs section. What does come through loud and clear is the financial hardship and uncertainty the seller describes. An Etsy moderator replied and posted, “I’ve got a member of our Support team looking into this and they’ll be reaching out to you shortly for more information.”
Etsy has said it communicated with sellers who were impacted by the error, calling it a small percent of active sellers, and said it would reimburse associated fees, such as overdraft fees.
Nevertheless, there are many sellers who expressed a lack of confidence that Etsy is doing right by its sellers and seem to find it difficult to trust the site after hearing reports of hardship resulting from the problem that Etsy called a “bill payment error.”
Cash flow issues are very real for small businesses, and they can be particularly devastating for the type of artisan and vintage sellers found on Etsy.
On Monday, Etsy CEO Josh Silverman will face Wall Street analysts who, like sellers, are no doubt wondering how the problem occurred and what the company is doing to stop it from happening again.
You can leave a comment on the AuctionBytes blog post published on February 15.