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Tue June 17 2014 07:52:23

How Etsy Handles Disputes Differently than eBay

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
I am sure by now you are heartily sick of spending most of your time reading "us" bash eBay. Not that they don't deserve it mind you!!!

But - How about Etsy?

Somehow I have managed to resist the siren song for all these years. Oh I made an account years ago but their search and lack of anything I wanted or wanted to sell kept me from ever using it.

A few weeks ago this changed. I needed something and no one on eBay had it. I turned to Etsy. I found what I THOUGHT was a straightforward purchase of a Sterling silver charm. Seems simple right?

Well, item was Not As Described.

What I find interesting here is the complete polar opposite approach that eBay and Etsy seem to have on these sorts of cases. As I have sold and bought on eBay for the past 10+ years I have - as a seller - railed against eBay's sometimes crackheaded "rules" that change with the toss of dice. As a buyer I have a very few times needed to use the "Buyer Protection" system and have not had any real problems with it; return the item and get a refund. I am not the sort to "rent" an item or get "buyer remorse" easily.

However! It appears that on Etsy - there IS no "Buyer protection" as we know it. Sellers appear free to set their own policies. That SOUNDS wonderful to my SELLER ears! Not so much as a buyer when it turns into Bizarro World with outrageous demands and accusations on a simple Not As Described.

I did read their Terms of Service and they DO state that in cases of "Seller Error" they WILL refund.

The short story - Item was adverted as Sterling. Made in Italy where they DO have metal marking laws. Item was received NOT marked. Seller became extremely argumentative and DEMANDED that I take the item to a Gemological Institute of America Graduate Jeweler and get it acid tested and then have them give me a WRITTEN appraisal on their letterhead with signature etc.

Surely this would cost me - in gas (I live in a rural location which of course the seller does not know) so-an hour one way drive to a jeweler; and I surely would have to pay for the "appraisal" - all of this for a $20 CHARM!

I did some research on Etsy and discovered that I would NEED to file a PAYPAL CASE before Etsy would do anything. So I did. I then filed an Etsy Case. They actually REQUIRE pictures for this! (Ebay could take a lesson!) Meanwhile the seller became more and more abusive in their "Convos" - Etsy-speak for Conversations.

I called Paypal and they Escalated this to a CLAIM from a Case - they were esp interested in hearing the scathing abuse the seller had written about THEM - and they assured me I did NOT have to seek out an appraisal and pay for one to get fair treatment. Seller denied my Request for Refund with even more abuse.

And meanwhile the seller kept sending me abusive "Convos". So I went back to Etsy and looked some more and found "Request a Phone Call" - can you IMAGINE eBay having anything of the sort? - The nice ENGLISH speaking CSR from OREGON assured me that I did NOT have to continue with these Convos if I did not want to and that I did NOT have to seek out an appraisal. I DO have to wait until the Etsy time period elapses - that part seems a bit long but that is OK.

Oh and they actually send you an EMAIL with the CSR's addy and you can contact them at any time.

Here's what I am getting at - might you be interested in doing a post on comparing the two sites - and perhaps toss Amazon in there - on HOW and WHY and the pro's and con's of disputes for Items Not As Described on them?

I never realized just HOW different these policies were. I have had to twice contact Amazon for Items Not as Described and that went very smoothly; one on a car part that was mis-sent and one on something just completely different from what I ordered. One call per each and problem solved.

On eBay - this could take days of phone time; extreme frustration with Non English speaking CSR's who argue with every statement and try and twist what you say - THE most annoying thing about it is when you ARE the buyer and have to deal with this!

Well anyways! My situation will be resolved probably by 8 June. The easy and simple thing here would have been for a simple return of item and a refund - instead this turned into the circus!

I would be very curious to know how others' differing experiences with these venues have been.
Thanks for your consideration!
Sign me,
Confused




Comments (17) | Permalink

Readers Comments

How Etsy Handles Disputes Differently than eBay   How Etsy Handles Disputes Differently than eBay

by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 17 09:06:34 2014

Comparing Etsy to Ebay is like comparing Apples to Plums. There is no way to compare...

Fleabay has millions of sellers and buyers....Etsy maybe thousands. No way to compare.

Just like trying to compare a 1000 feedback hobby seller to the big 100.000 feedback business.

How Etsy Handles Disputes Differently than eBay   How Etsy Handles Disputes Differently than eBay

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 17 09:45:08 2014

I am sure Etsy will get there in time. Meanwhile, they probably rely on your own Pay Pal/credit card protection. Your credit card will refund. I have NEVER had a seller at Etsy give me ANY flak about returnng an item--and I buy thousands of things there! You must have hit one of few pills who can't admit a mistake.

How Etsy Handles Disputes Differently than eBay   How Etsy Handles Disputes Differently than eBay

by: froggie This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 17 21:25:29 2014

After having been a buyer and seller on ebay since 1998, I find Etsy a breath of fresh air, especially since the year 2008 when the torture of sellers on ebay began in earnest.

Every platform is going to have their share of bad sellers and buyers. And maybe it's just the difference in numbers of people on each platform, as sasikat9 has said.

But as RCL has also said, given time and more people, Etsy may begin to have more problems.

And yes, Etsy does rely on the Paypal and CC companies to handle problems between buyers and sellers. It's still a platform where the seller and buyer are supposed to work it out.

How Etsy Handles Disputes Differently than eBay   How Etsy Handles Disputes Differently than eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: WOODJUNGLE! ON EBAY

Tue Jun 17 23:08:24 2014

FYI, you CAN request a call from Ebay.  However, there is still an 80-90% chance the rep that calls you back will be an asshat. I have observed that eventually I do get a rep that  is very friendly and helpful and tries to battle through Ebay's inane policies the best they can to help me.

How Etsy Handles Disputes Differently than eBay   How Etsy Handles Disputes Differently than eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Tue Jun 17 23:11:51 2014

As buyer or seller I would rather rely (and have relied) on my credit card-issuing bank to give me a balanced dispute moderation process; that is one of the things that the banks provide for in their ~2% discount fee, a process not supplied to merchants even for the greater ~3% discount fee that the clunky “PreyPal” takes; still, while you sell on eBay you are effectively locked in to using this unscrupulous operator. If you sell off eBay, and still use “PreyPal”, then the merchant does not get a balanced mediation process for the extra that they pay, as any merchant will undoubtedly sooner or later find out …

eBay Inc, where the incompetent mingle with the malevolent and the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

How Etsy Handles Disputes Differently than eBay   How Etsy Handles Disputes Differently than eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Wed Jun 18 13:26:17 2014

While not necessarily in all instances, the requirement that photographs be included as part of any SNAD claim puts Etsy light years ahead of eBay.

When ebay blindly decides SNAD cases as they do not request or require pictures be submitted as part of a claim.

With everything eBay copies and imitates from other marketplaces, it amazes me that the company still decides SNAD cases blindly instead of requiring images that detail how an item is SNAD which can be compared to the sellers listing images and description.To be fair to buyers and sellers alike, eBay should make it mandatory that pictures be submitted as part of any SNAD claim.

How Etsy Handles Disputes Differently than eBay   How Etsy Handles Disputes Differently than eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Wed Jun 18 13:54:36 2014

@Ric, Unlike the banks/MasterCard/Visa or, apparently, Etsy, you don't really expect eBay to allocate expensive human resources to the SNAD claim process, do you, and so what purpose then would supplying a picture serve? Rhetorical question, no need to answer ...

eBay Inc, where the incompetent mingle with the malevolent and the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

How Etsy Handles Disputes Differently than eBay   How Etsy Handles Disputes Differently than eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Wed Jun 18 15:01:08 2014

“The banks” do offer a professional, balanced transaction dispute moderation process for their credit card transactions; they just don’t like having that process called upon for a disproportionate number of a merchant’s transactions; so …

Undoubtedly, the primary reason “PreyPal” started more aggressively putting holds on sellers receipts was because “the banks” had told eBay’s bank that they were not happy with the increasing and disproportionate amount of transaction dispute moderation they were being called upon to provide for transactions on PreyPal’s Credit Card Merchant Account, and such “PreyPal” holds of sellers’ funds enables “PreyPal” to intercept such disputes and make the necessary finding, rightly or wrongly, in favour of the buyer, before the buyer invokes his bank’s resolution process.

Such now is PayPal’s reputation. And, of course, this is the best reason for a buyer only ever giving “PreyPal” a credit card as a source of funds because, regardless, “PreyPal” does not want the buyer’s bank involved, nor is it interested in offering an effective resolution process in such circumstances; they simply aren’t prepared to provide the human resources to supply any semblance of a fair process, particularly not for sellers …

That this situation exists is a clear indication that the efficacy of the eBay marketplace is deteriorating and that congregating thereon are now an increasing proportion of scammers, both buyers and sellers …

Well done Johnny Ho …

eBay Inc, where the incompetent mingle with the malevolent and the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

How Etsy Handles Disputes Differently than eBay   How Etsy Handles Disputes Differently than eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Wed Jun 18 17:16:28 2014

While photos proving a SNAD case is good in theory, let's face it, everyone has Photoshop (or something similar) on their computer and it would be easy to manipulate a photo to make it look a different color or fake damage. A scammer is going to be a scammer.

How Etsy Handles Disputes Differently than eBay   How Etsy Handles Disputes Differently than eBay

by: MRV This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Wed Jun 18 23:01:10 2014

Etsy claimed 30 million registered members over a year ago.  Certainly not thousands.

And it would be considerably more now, so it's unlikely to be about the numbers, but about the culture.

How Etsy Handles Disputes Differently than eBay   How Etsy Handles Disputes Differently than eBay

by: Lois This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 18 23:27:09 2014

Yes, indeed, Ebay and Paypal handles things differently than ETSY! Neither eBay nor Paypal have a moral compass that guides them to do the right thing ever.

I once had a terrible experience with eBay about a totally unsatisfactory transaction and when I spoke to the rep, she acknowledged that I was absolutely right, but there was nothing that could be done about it. I was stuck and badly. Company policy. Too bad.

I asked herself how she could live with herself knowing how immoral the company was and she relied that she had a child to support.. At that point, I lost it completely and told her that she was a disgrace as a mother teaching her child that dishonesty was okay. I am embarrassed to say, I drove her to tears. And you know what? She didn't see anything wrong with what she was doing. I think eBay and Paypal pride themselves on hiring people with no moral values.
And to add insult to injury, they seem to have a policy of employing ''service reps'' who can barely speak English and are unable to comprehend the simplest question. If they don't have a ''cheat sheet'' in front of them, they are absolutely lost.

How Etsy Handles Disputes Differently than eBay   How Etsy Handles Disputes Differently than eBay

by: NYSteve This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 19 00:17:28 2014

sure, please write back when your 'honeymoon' with Shi-Etsy is over....

How Etsy Handles Disputes Differently than eBay   How Etsy Handles Disputes Differently than eBay

by: Etsy Seller This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 19 00:33:56 2014

As a seller and buyer on Etsy, I can agree that there are many 'pills' on Etsy. Especially when they started the '5 star' feedback last year. Buyers don't understand how to use it and sellers routinely come into the forums to whinge about getting a 4 stars when the customer says everything was ''rainbows and unicorn farts'' (Etsy cupcake speak for ''excellent''). Unless the feedback is 2 stars or less, the seller cannot ask the buyer to change it. And after one year, any previous good or bad feedback disappears, but the percentages stick with the shop. Or, if I had terrific customer service for all of my buyers last year, and this year I get a disgruntled buyer that cannot be placated by any means possible, even a full refund and they get to keep the item, my status drops into the basement. Good buyers are great, but one stinker can upset the apple cart, and even get your shop closed. If they close your shop, you are not allowed to open another one, even with different items. Neither can your children or spouse or parents.
To anyone that has had a bad experience on Etsy, whether with a seller (that may not speak English easily) or with the too-often tested shopping carts (the sellers are screaming again about that), I sincerely apologize. The sellers are conglomerated under the Etsy logo. You are not buying FROM Etsy, you are buying from the individual shop ON Etsy. Etsy itself doesn't care at all about the buyers (for all of the $$$$$ we have made the company since 2009 (when I started with them) and earlier, they do not advertise for us) - customer service IS up to the individual shop owner. The shops are Etsy's customers and WE can't get customer service from Etsy. Like Jerry Seinfeld in the Soup Nazi's foodline, we stare at the floor, don't mention that we didn't get our bread, and hope we don't get banned from the experience.

How Etsy Handles Disputes Differently than eBay   How Etsy Handles Disputes Differently than eBay

by: pfft!! This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 19 03:12:36 2014

"I asked herself how she could live with herself knowing how immoral the company was and she relied that she had a child to support.. At that point, I lost it completely and told her that she was a disgrace as a mother teaching her child that dishonesty was okay. I am embarrassed to say, I drove her to tears. "

Sorry Lois, but in MY book YOUR actions were much more of a disgrace than the poor phone rep.  And yes....you SHOULD be embarrassed (and ashamed for that matter).  

How Etsy Handles Disputes Differently than eBay   How Etsy Handles Disputes Differently than eBay

by: fgilles02420 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 19 06:54:12 2014

I would simply stick with your paypal buyer protection; once the seller started arguing with you I would have ignored them from then on. It's pretty straightforward; file a dispute within 45 day of payment, and return the item with delivery confirmation.

And I think it's very important to keep in mind the cost of returning an item at your expense if it doesn't work out; this is a reason to buy only from sellers with outstanding reputations when purchasing internationally. Usually you have to return something to get a refund, which can cost more than the item.

The problem with 'photos as proof' is that nobody can ''prove'' that they are sending photos of what they actually received or sent.

How Etsy Handles Disputes Differently than eBay   How Etsy Handles Disputes Differently than eBay

by: Willie This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 19 08:38:33 2014

I had a problem with an abusive seller on etsy - I bought a sewing pattern and the directions were missing.  She refused to refund, wrote horrible comments, etc.  PayPal refunded my money - no problem.  There is no FINAL SALE anymore when PayPal or a credit card is used. (Good news as buyer,bad news as seller.)  Anyhow, I also filed a complaint with etsy and they ''marked'' her file because of the rude & catty remarks, which I made sure etsy knew about.  Appears there is stuff  that goes on at etsy behind the scenes re complaints.  She is on the ''list''! Hope she is booted off the site - a real witch. Etsy sent me several personalized emails about my complaint during the entire process. I was pleased & surprised.

How Etsy Handles Disputes Differently than eBay   How Etsy Handles Disputes Differently than eBay

by: VintageLady This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 19 17:23:13 2014

Etsy does not handle disputes, period. It is their policy to let ''buyer and seller solve their problems amicably''. Any attempt to ask for help is closed with Etsy claiming they are just '' a venue''. I don't think Etsy is to blame for taking the path of least resistence.
There are so many issues that could potentially arise in any transaction that a policy that meets all needs for everyone is impossible to create. Thinking about it, none of the  selling venues in existence has found an equitable solution that works.
There are bad apples everywhere and on both side of the fence, just a fact of online selling.
But thinking that in fact there is a ''black list of Sellers'' on Etsy and that Etsy affirms publicly in an email to a customer makes me cringe. It is like 1984 all over again. Well....good luck to us.



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