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Etsy Cashmere Crackdown Leads to Confusion and Concern

Etsy Cashmere Crackdown Leads to Confusion and Concern

Sellers were in turmoil after Etsy sent them an email containing a stern warning about “policies that may apply to one or more listings in your shop,” and admonishing them that, “Etsy prohibits the sale of products whose presentation may mislead buyers, including any mislabeled cashmere items.”

Some sellers said they had never used the word cashmere in their shop or listings and wondered if they should be worried, or if it was a blanket email to everyone. (One seller responded wittily, “Probably IS a blanket email, but NOT a cashmere blanket email!”).

But in general, sellers weren’t laughing – some worried if there were consequences to receiving the email, such as a seller who wrote, “I too thought perhaps a hater out there had made a complaint of one of my items.” Another said they hated emails like that “with no real hint as to what it is they are targetting in your store, it just comes across as threatening which is not cool!”

Another seller wrote, “Yes I got the same email and it was sounding quite serious… when the email starts with — Hello this is Etsy Trust and Safety team…. it feels like Police is knocking on my door…. and when it interweaves … we are not taking action against your shop at this time…. then my heart sunk as I felt like I broke the rules and the Etsy police is giving me a chance / probation to correct my mistaken ways…”

One seller on a Reddit discussion board thread said they sold a candle fragrance “Cashmere Musk,” another seller on an Etsy thread said they sold a plaid fabric named “Cashmere Blue.”

One seller said the word “camel” might also have triggered the note. “I do have a pillowcase color option called CAMEL. Just wanted to post this in for those who are perplexed as to WHY?????”

One seller who received the email was upset and told EcommerceBytes, “Are sellers simply supposed to be threatened by emails such as this from our “selling partner”? And how do we discern which listing they are referring to?”

A seller pasted the following message they received on Reddit:

This is a message from Etsy’s Trust & Safety team. We are reaching out to you with information about our policies that may apply to one or more listings in your shop.

Our Terms of Use state that sellers may “not post any content that is false and misleading or uses the Services in a manner that is fraudulent or deceptive.” That is, in accordance with our Terms of Use, Etsy prohibits the sale of products whose presentation may mislead buyers, including any mislabeled cashmere items. For example, listings for products not made of cashmere may not be marketed as having cashmere.

When you sign up to sell on Etsy, you agree to follow our policies. It is your responsibility to make sure your shop and its items are listed accurately and comply with Etsy’s policies. You also agree to follow local, national, and international laws that may apply to the sale of your item(s).

While we’re not taking any action on your shop or your listings today, we reserve the right to remove any listings that violate our policies. Please take the time to review your listings and ensure that they make no misleading claims, and remove any that are not in compliance with our policies.

As a marketplace, Etsy is unable to provide legal advice of any kind. In addition, if you are uncertain of the cashmere content in your listing(s), you may choose to seek testing of your products.

An Etsy moderator removed the text of the letter a seller had pasted on its discussion boards, an odd move given Etsy was the one who sent it to sellers.

According to Sourcing Journal last month, Etsy settled a lawsuit filed against it by the Cashmere and Camel Hair Manufacturers Institute.

Amazon had settled a lawsuit filed by the same organization in 2021, according to the Scotsman.

The cashmere trade organization also posted press releases about its lawsuits against Amazon and Etsy on the Cashmere.org website.

Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
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/.

5 thoughts on “Etsy Cashmere Crackdown Leads to Confusion and Concern”

  1. This is ridiculous.
    Mission creep.
    Over reach.
    Put this devil back in the Dybbuk Box.
    I did not get any such email, but I’m livid.
    Etsy needs a shot of M.Y.O.B.
    The customers are the final arbiter.
    Don’t need Etsy’s opinion.

  2. Everything is going down the hill. I don’ t sell any products, only old prints. I did find one print depicting costumes of various nations and in the description it says that a person from India is wearing a cashmere dress.
    Etsy’s Artificial Intelligence … or rather Etsy’s Real Stupidity.

  3. I received the email and I have NEVER used the word cashmere in my shop. But what really gets me mad is sellers who list something as wool or alpaca and you have to read the description to see that the item is 95% acrylic! Sometimes it is just “wool blend”.

  4. I suspect the settlement with the Cashmere & Camel hair manufacturer’s institute may require Etsy to send this message to any listing where the words Cashmere and/or Camel are part of the listing’s title or description.

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