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Etsy Gives Sellers Til End of October to Update Return Policies

Etsy Gives Sellers Til End of October to Update Return Policies

Sellers busy with holiday preparations and orders have a new chore to complete. Etsy is moving away from shop-wide policies in favor of listing-specific policies, and it advised sellers to update their return policies by October 31 thanks to a change it launched on September 22nd.

The decision to accept returns is optional on Etsy, which said it recognizes there are certain types of listings where returns may not be appropriate, like custom made or one-of-a-kind items.

As part of the change, sellers will no longer be able to accept returns on digital listings, and Etsy updated shops’ current policy to reflect the change. “However,” it told sellers, “if a buyer reaches out to you regarding a digital listing they purchased, you’re free to resolve the issue as you see fit.”

Etsy explained the new policy and provided answers to Frequently Asked Questions in a post on its Announcement board.

Sellers can also read more information in the Shop Policies page, “How do I Set Return Policies on My Listings,” where it explained, “If you have an existing shop-level return policy, we took the current policy you had set for your shop and applied it to your individual listings.”

Sellers discussed the change on the Etsy discussion boards, where one seller explained they liked that sellers could now adjust the return policy with a separate return policy for each individual item, but they listed several drawbacks.

For example, they wrote, “Hygienic is removed as a condition for not accepting returns. If you sell hygienic items such as earrings or intimate clothing items, you can only choose “no returns” and cannot specify the reason, nor can you quantify it with requiring original, intact, sealed packaging.”

Another drawback the seller described: the shortest notification window for anyone who wants to return an item is now 7 days. “For anyone selling event type items (party supplies, special occasion/prom evening bags, wedding items, holiday items, costumes, etc), a 7 day minimum notification window opens up the store to buyers who want to rent an item, use it that weekend, and return it,” they said.

Another seller said they believed having only two options – “Yes” or “No” – are simply too restrictive.

“Almost all my listings offer OPTIONAL personalization,” the seller explained. “My current policies allow for returns except personalized items, so it makes sense for my items and my whole shop. The new policies only allow for “accepts returns” or “no returns”.

Etsy support told the seller they would have to mark everything with a personalization option as “no returns.”

“If you ask me is a huge problem because it’s going to make my return policy look way more restrictive than it really is. I know I’m not the only one who offers optional personalization within their listings, and allows for returns of non personalized items. No, personalized items can’t be separated, because again, the personalization is optional. I can’t force someone to add personalization details. I need the option to allow returns except if it’s personalized.”

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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). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.