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Etsy Doubles Down on One-Size-Fits-All Returns Policy


In September, Etsy announced a policy that restricted the return policies sellers could offer buyers. Ironically, the marketplace that emphasizes the unique and special nature of sellers’ products is requiring sellers to conform to one of Etsy’s standard return policies. (Etsy couched the policy as a positive by explaining sellers were no longer bound to offer one shop-wide policy, but could choose whether to accept returns on a listing-by-listing basis.)

Etsy said it would no longer allow sellers to use their own unique return policies “because we’ve heard from buyers that it would be helpful to see consistent return policies in the same place across Etsy.”

While Etsy announced the pending change in September, some sellers began noticing a related change late last week, according to a thread on the Etsy discussion boards. The seller who created the thread (titled, “my return policy specifics are gone!”) posted the following:

“I know that Etsy streamlined the policies and that is fine but I had specific requirements for HOW returns are to be made that I can no longer find! For instance, I had specified that the return had to be sent in a padded envelope or something similar because I had customers taking the item out of the original box and sticking it in a plain envelope with no padding so they could put a stamp on it instead of paying the rate for a package. It would come back all smashed up. What about restocking fees? That is no where on the generic Etsy policies. What about the orders that had “free shipping”? I had a policy that allowed me to keep a portion of the return to cover the actual price that I paid for shipping. What the heck?! Where are these???”

Another seller responding to the post said that last week, Etsy removed “grandfathered-in sections” that they had been able to keep:

“It looks like Etsy has now removed the old grandfathered-in sections that I managed to keep in place by editing policies within the old seller app. There were sections for ‘Shipping’ (I had copied & pasted my return details into this section) and ‘Additional Policies and FAQs’ that are now gone. I know these details were still there about 10 or so days ago. The pop-up policies on each of my listings was very long (you had to scroll), now it’s the short, canned blurb only.”

You can find more details on Etsy return policies on this page of the Etsy Seller Handbook.

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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/.

One thought on “Etsy Doubles Down on One-Size-Fits-All Returns Policy”

  1. I can afford to pay return shipping, yet etsy has no such option (Only the buyer pays return postage). I contacted Etsy 2x and explained that it would give me an advantage if the buyer saw that the I, the seller, pay return shipping. Of course, to no avail. Etsy is becoming (or already has become) as dumb as ebay. Nothing special about them.

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