Etsy is making all listings auto renew beginning next month. A spokesperson confirmed that after July 25, when sellers create a new listing, Etsy will set it to auto-renew by default. "We updated our Fees & Payments policy to clarify this and explain how you can view and cancel auto-renewal," she said.
The move is similar to eBay's change to make all listings Good Til Cancelled (GTC) in March, but with one key difference. eBay sellers have no way to shut off GTC - they would have to cancel the listing. But Etsy is giving sellers the ability to turn off auto-renew. Nevertheless, sellers did not sound excited about being pushed into recurring billing.
There was some confusion among sellers who were discussing the policy on the Etsy discussion boards
. Some sellers thought it was already Etsy's practice to make listings auto renew.
We asked Etsy, "There's some confusion among sellers about the new policy on auto-renew. How does it currently work, and how will that change beginning next month?" Etsy's spokesperson referred us to the updated policies and said the relevant section is as follows:
"Auto-renew. Etsy's automatic renewals feature will automatically renew your listings at the end of the four-month listing period, unless you choose to not use automatic renewals for a particular listing or for your shop. You will be charged the listing fee of $0.20 for each of these listings until you cancel automatic renewals. You can see automatic listing status in your Listings Manager, and may cancel automatic renewals at any time by selecting "Manual" instead of "Automatic" in the "Renewal Options" in the Listings Manager. Once you cancel, you will only be charged for the current listing period."
But that's the same information sellers had received via email on Tuesday, yet they remained confused in discussing the announcement.
"I'm not sure how it's different," a seller wrote. "From what I remember they imposed the auto-renew on us before but then removed it so we could choose an option while listing but now it's back again."
Sure enough, we checked the archives and found this article
, "Watch Your Bills: Etsy Now Renews Listings Automatically," published on June 14, 2017.
Some sellers said they didn't like auto-renew - "I'm assuming they made it auto renew so they can make money because so many of us will forget to choose to manually renew our things," one seller explained.
Another wrote, "I left eBay because of the Auto Renewal or as it is called over there Good Till Canceled, or GTC. I want control of my listings and my finances. If Etsy goes to GTC it will chase the sellers away."
One seller outlined their understanding of the policy change: "The way I read this is that instead of the choice being in each listing it will now be a selection found in your shop manager under the listing (status) heading. Talk about hiding something! We have a month in order to remember this! I too have some seasonal items that I do not want running year round so will have to remember to do this."
Another seller said they understood the change as follows: "My listing page has not had an auto or manual renewal for a while now. Etsy changed from auto renew as the default to no default. You had to select one or the other. It will go back to auto renewal on July 25. The option to bulk edit the renewal has been there since they introduced the auto renewal feature a few years ago. It used to be all manual and there was no renewal option on the listing page, just in the shop manager."
We sent a follow-up email to Etsy asking for clarification and the reason for the change. Let us know what you think of the push to recurring billing.