It's a retailer's worst nightmare: selling items only to discover your payments have evaporated into thin air with no record of the customers who walked away with your products.
Sellers are reporting that the Etsy card readers they used to process in-person payments last week has seemingly wiped out their transactions. It's not clear if they will be able to recover the funds that were supposed to be deposited into their accounts.
One Etsy seller described the problem
in a post on Saturday on the Etsy boards, explaining: "I had a craft show today and I used the Etsy card reader. I processed at least 10-15 cards, and each one showed as successfully processed. When I got home to tally my card reader sales, Etsy does not show any transactions. I processed $5.00 with one of my own cards as a test, sent myself an email receipt. And still nothing. Not even a receipt."
No one from Etsy responded to the complaints from that seller and others on that thread. Later the seller wrote, "So sellers are processing sales, handing the customer their purchase, and not getting paid by Etsy because of a bug that they are not addressing. We are small businesses, we can't afford to take these kinds of hits."
Etsy launched the card readers in October
. They're similar to card readers from Square, PayPal, and other payment processing firms. Etsy's card reader can also record cash and check transactions, making record-keeping easy for sellers.
We noticed a number of threads about this issue - one from as early as April 26th
, which raises the question, why didn't Etsy warn sellers about the problem?
While online shoppers at least have a record of the customers to whom they've sold, Etsy merchants who sold at real-life fairs and shows over the weekend conceivably have no records of those customers to whom they handed over their products.
Etsy spokesperson Nikki Summer told EcommerceBytes, "We are aware of the issue and are actively investigating. We'll share updates when we have them. We encourage sellers who have been affected to contact firstname.lastname@example.org."
We'll bring you more on this in tomorrow's Newsflash. In the meantime, let us know if you've experienced problems with card readers and how it was resolved.
Update 5/5/15: Etsy spokesperson Nikki Summer told EcommerceBytes on Tuesday that the problem stemmed from a bug on the Sell on Etsy app for Android and that affected sellers would be receiving their funds. As for their transaction records, she said Etsy was doing its best to restore as much as possible and said the company would be reaching out to affected sellers with more details, and that sellers with concerns could email email@example.com. "We know how important this is to Etsy sellers, and we're committed to resolving this in as timely and effective a fashion as possible," she said. See more information in Wednesday's Newsflash.