There is nothing more satisfying than supporting local artists and crafters by purchasing their amazing products.
Where’s the best place for that online? Why Etsy of course!
But what is Etsy, and how safe is their platform for exchanging currency and goods?
Can you trust Etsy sellers with your credit or debit card?
When purchasing from Etsy.com, sellers cannot see your exact financial information, and you should never give that information to them on your own. Instead, using the website’s secure purchasing system will allow you to buy goods or items quickly and safely.
If an Etsy.com seller – or anyone on the internet for that matter – asks for your financial information, do not give that information out!
What is Etsy.com?
Etsy.com is an e-commerce company that was founded in 2005 by Rob Kalin and his partners, Chris Maguire and Haim Schoppik.
This site provides an international marketplace for crafted, handmade or independently made items, clothes, jewelry, decoration or sometimes even full wooden structures!
The company is based out of headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, and has since 2005 captured the DIY and handmade world by storm.
With millions of page views, purchases and interactions on Etsy every single year, its no wonder they’re so popular!
Is Etsy a Legit Site?
Etsy.com is a legitimate site that hosts many sellers and buyers each and every day.
Sellers are able to create a space to sell their wares and communicate with buyers in a way that Amazon or eBay lacks. Etsy provides a more personalized sort of “shopfront” that includes a specialized type of product – handmade, vintage or repurposed items.
You shouldn’t find anything mass-produced on Etsy – and that’s why buyers love it!
All sellers and their products must meet the standards approved by Etsy, with rules and parameters that verify shop owners aren’t selling anything mass-produced:
- All items must be handmade, vintage or crafted
- Vintage items must be at least twenty years old to be considered “vintage”
- If you work with a partner, each partner that makes objects or items must be listed or disclosed on your shop
- Photographs taken of your work must be yours with disclaimers stating what they are, their sizes and their materials
- You can sell tools or items that are considered “craft supplies” that have a primary purpose to create other things
Because Etsy has millions of customers each year, they are very strict with their standards for shop owners, and any complaints or issues are seriously taken into account.
What Company is Behind Etsy?
Etsy is its own company and operates under the title “Etsy, Inc.”, with over six-hundred-million in revenue as of 2018 alone!
Etsy is a commercial site that requires registration onto their site to buy or sell products. It has changed leadership over the last decade or so but has still maintained a great reputation for being one of the top eCommerce marketplaces out there.
Is it Safe to Pay with a Credit and Debit Card on Etsy?
The only way to buy goods or services on Etsy.com is to use your card information, which is loaded into the site’s secure system and saved to your “buyer’s profile” for quick and easy purchases.
You can register to Etsy and make your buyer’s account either through the site directly or use a Facebook or Google account.
According to the Etsy help site, “All credit card information sent to Etsy is encrypted using secure socket layer technology (SSL) and stored in a PCI compliant environment,” – help.etsy.com.
This means that, although you input your credit card information into the secure site requirements before purchasing, your credit card info is not given out as information or given to the seller.
Do Etsy Sellers Get your Credit Card Info?
Credit card info never reaches the seller unless you give that information away.
You should NEVER give away credit card info directly to a seller or other buyer on the site. If a seller were to ask directly – either through email, comments or direct messages – contact Etsy.com immediately and report them for any wrongdoings.
Sellers instead will get notifications that you have bought their item, prompting them to then process and ship that item to your preferred shipping location.
Note: sellers are able to see shipping information, as well as your name and email, but they are also legally bound to protect and not divulge that information.
How Much can Etsy Sellers Charge on my Credit/debit Card?
Etsy shops have items that can cost between $5 and hundreds of dollars.
Sites that sell intricate, handmade jewelry, for example, can charge six-hundred dollars for one ring!
This means that, depending on what you buy, you could be charged a lot of money. Not to mention that some of these transactions will include shipping and handling costs – especially if you’re in different countries than your seller.
Etsy sellers are required to set a fixed price for their items, purchase shipping labels and materials, and then send those items to your desired location.
Before you check out of an Etsy shop, you may see those shipping costs in the total, fully making you aware of how much you are paying.
However, Etsy sellers cannot increase or change the amount that they charged you once the purchase has been made.
If something were to go wrong, you could request a refund or report the store to Etsy.com.
What Types of Cards can I Pay With on Etsy?
Etsy allows payment through debit and credit cards including:
- American Express
Customers can also use other sites such as PayPal for their purchases on Etsy.com.
Can I Get a Refund When Buying on Etsy?
Refunds are definitely possible when buying from Etsy.com, and are actually a somewhat common occurrence.
Refunds can be a result of:
- Fraud – someone bought items with your card without your permission
- Non-Delivery – the item never gets to you so you request money back
- Not as Described – the item you got wasn’t what you wanted or wasn’t accurate to the description of the product
- Dissatisfied – you can request a return if you are unhappy with your purchase
How Good is the Return Policy on Etsy?
When a refund is requested a “chargeback” is issued to the Esty seller, meaning that your credit card funds return to you upon request (with a few business days processing time usually).
This is a very quick and easy way to fix any issues you might encounter.
Afterward, the seller has the opportunity to contact you or work out a solution – though you should contact your seller first before outright requesting a refund.
If you contact your seller first you can:
- Attempt to fix the situation quickly
- Get the right product sent to you instead
- Update the seller on the issue so they can watch out for it later
- Express why you are dissatisfied and come to an amicable solution
If you do not contact the seller first, you may receive a request from Etsy to investigate the situation or offer to help resolve the situation on your behalf.
Regardless, you can get your money back if you request a refund for a legitimate reason.
Are the Reviews on Etsy Genuine?
Reviews on Etsy require a purchase in order to leave one, meaning that some sort of transaction must be made.
Very often, reviews on Etsy are genuine and can be accompanied by a photo of the customer using or wearing the product that they purchased from the shop.
If sellers or ghostwriters were to create fake five-star reviews, some sort of purchase and proof of transaction would have to be made at their Etsy shop – meaning that they would have to pay someone to “buy” their product and leave a review.
While this is entirely possible to do, it is not common and very easy to spot when someone does it again and again.
If you are worried about the legitimacy of an Etsy shop, try looking out for these key things:
- Photos of customers using the object in their home or wearing the object
- Reading Etsy community forums about specific shops and owners to get an idea of how customers feel about them
- Shop from sellers with four or more stars
- Avoid shops with duplicate-looking reviews or reviews that don’t seem to be about the product they are describing
Are Sellers Being Checked by Etsy?
If you have crafts or handmade items to sell, then you can sell on Etsy.com.
While sellers are not necessarily “screened” or reviewed before they can sell on Etsy, they are held accountable for their actions.
Sellers that use Etsy are automatically agreeing to:
- Provide accurate information and honest descriptions of products
- Use their own photos without doctoring them or misleading customers
- Not duplicate their shops or try to up their reviews
- Not commit copyright infringement of others’ work
- Not send spam or harass customers or other sellers
- Not badmouth or discourage customers from buying from competitors
These are only a few of the things that Etsy sellers and shops must be accountable for when they open and begin to sell.
So, while Etsy doesn’t necessarily monitor or screen their sellers first, they are very good at shutting down a site that infringes upon one or more of these rules.
In fact, Etsy will investigate claims against shops or even contact shop owners to tell them to cease and desist, or else lose their shop. If a shop fails to comply, Etsy has the right to ban them or remove them from the site.