Saturday, May 14, 2011

When Etsy Goes Bad And Other Annoying Crap

I'm a fairly solitary person by nature, and once a year or so the pressure of constantly being around people starts to get to me, and everything starts to irritate me more than it normally would (and I've got to tell you, I'm not particularly tolerant and easygoing to begin with...). This causes me to withdraw and become snappish and crabby for as long as it takes for me to snap out of it.

That was an explanation of why I haven't really been writing in my blog of late. A few weeks ago I read an article written by a blogger, purportedly to convince PRs that bloggers were worth dealing with (considering the number of freebies I've seen flying around, I wasn't really aware that was an issue...), but it was so condescending and insulting to the majority of bloggers that I am still pissed off about it to this day when I think about it. And that's just one thing bugging me lately. There have been a million other small things, and then there's this...

My mum loves sheep things. Her partner is a sheep farmer, she's had pet sheep for 20 years, and she collects anything sheep-related. She also doesn't like much else - she doesn't really read, she lives in a drought-stricken area so you can't buy her bath bombs or nice shower gel, she doesn't wear makeup, etc. So when birthdays and Christmas come around, I usually try to find her something sheepish (see what I did there?).

This year, I thought I'd found the perfect thing on Etsy for her for Mother's Day. It was a tote bag made from a fabric with sheep on it, and it looked really cute. So here's what happened.

9 April - I ordered the bag. It was a month until Mother's Day, tons of time to have it sent to me so I could check it was okay, wrap it up and then send it on to my mum. I was excited, because I knew it was something she'd really love, and not just some crappy gift voucher or cook book, which I've reluctantly resorted to in the past in desperation.

23 April - It had been two weeks and the status on my purchase was still showing as 'Paid'. Now I know some Etsy sellers don't change it to 'Shipped' (which is ANNOYING by the way, sellers), but just to make sure, I convo'd the seller and asked if it had been sent yet. I explained it was for Mother's Day so I wanted to make sure it arrived in time - I'm in Australia, the seller was in the US.

25 April - Nearly three days later I finally received a reply from the seller, claiming she'd had no idea she made the sale, that Etsy were not sending her notifications. She had only found my convo because someone else who'd bought something for her had emailed her on her Paypal email. She apologised and offered me a choice of either a full refund or she would ship the item but refund my shipping as an apology for the delay.
I convo'd back about an hour or two after she'd sent hers, saying that I would still like the item as long as she could post it soon. I figured it was still two weeks till Mother's Day - as long as I sent it on to my mum by express post I should just scrape it in.

27 April - The seller hadn't responded to my last convo, and I was getting antsy about whether she'd actually sent it or not, so I found her email on Paypal and emailed her, asking again if it had been sent yet. She did not respond to this email, and by the way, my shipping hadn't been refunded either.

29 April - I was sick of trying to get responses from her, and by this time (I know, I'm a bit slow off the mark), it had occurred to me that although the story about not getting notifications from Etsy was a plausible one, she would also have received an email from Paypal when I bought the item, telling her that she had funds. So I realised it was unlikely that she had been completely unaware of the sale until 25 April. I was super annoyed by then and I just wanted my money back. I had no indication that the bag had been sent and by that time it was too late.

Within HOURS she convo'd me (suddenly she's responding!), saying she was confused about why I had lodged a Paypal dispute, she had explained to me that she hadn't known about the sale, she had then had to make the bag, and it was all packaged and ready to be sent 'tomorrow'.

You'll need to click on this picture to read what it says underneath.
'I picked up this amazing, sweet sheep upholstery fabric and decided to turn it into this tote... I put these small vinyl embellishments on the bottom corners... etc...'

Now to me, that indicates a product that has already been made. Not to mention, there is a picture of it right there. Now she's telling me she had to take the time to make the thing? If there are delays because she is handmaking products to order, why doesn't it say that on her site? Maybe it does now - I haven't looked, but it didn't then - everything about this indicated an already made product for sale that just had to be packed up and sent.

I responded to her convo pointing all of this out, telling her I was sick of getting no response from her, I no longer believed her story about Etsy notifications, and that it was way too late for me to get this in time for its intended purpose, so I just wanted to get my money refunded and be done with it.

3 May - no money refunded. I escalated the dispute. While doing this I noticed in the notes that she had told Paypal that the bag had been sent. What she told me was that it was ready to send 'tomorrow'!

14 May (today). Still no money back, and this is the last day Paypal has given her to respond.  I also, of course, have no bag. And now I've been forced to leave my first ever negative feedback on Etsy, which gives me no joy at all.

I'm super pissed off because a) it's been lie after lie with her and I'm fed up with being dicked around, and b) I'd found the perfect present for my mum and I don't have it. Oh, and I STILL DON'T HAVE MY MONEY BACK.

Update: Paypal emailed me a few hours ago and told me they had settled the dispute in my favour, so at least I FINALLY have my money back. I would much rather have had that bag though. :-(


  1. Oh, man. Etsy 90% of the time is fine, but all it takes is that one person to screw up everything. I bought a christmas present that was never delivered or refunded, and it made me avoid etsy for about four months :( sad face.

    hope you have the chance to spend some quality alone time and get back on the horse - eventually.

  2. That's bullshit man.. If she was making the bag, she should have informed you it will take ___ days to complete.

  3. That sucks. I've been concerned with swaplifting on MUA which amounts to the same thing as this Etsy hassle. I hope you get your money back and spread the word on this disreputable person so that others aren't tricked into buying! That was so sweet of you to go out of your way to get something for your mom that she'll really appreciate. And yes - while I was lauding the blogging community just the other day - I realize there are also a lot of distasteful blogs out there as well. I love reading yours, though, so I hope you direct that masterful sarcastic cranky tone to the proper channels and continue churning out interesting posts!

  4. I'm so sorry. :( It's really sad but I think some people just open shops on Etsy thinking it's no big deal, but somebody's money is on the line and it IS a big deal. I hope you have more positive experiences with other sellers that might block out your bad one.

  5. I hope your get your money back! That's terrible. :(

  6. Firstly, i don't think i've read the blog post you're talking about but lately there are a lot of those types of posts flying around esp about how to have a better relationship with PR. One was about how we should email a pitch about ourselves (why we're better than other bloggers)to PR companies, and ask to be paid for our reviews because "real journalists" get paid. WTF, we're bloggers, we're not here to make money. I thought we're blogging coz we love rambling about things, not coz we're making a career out of it. The fact we get freebies to review from time to time is a bonus!

    Second, WTF! I've never bought anything from Etsy and reading about your ordeal makes me want to stay away from it. You need to post an update on what happens. I feel so frustrated reading about your ordeal, and your poor mum, she would have loved that bag based on what you said about her.


  7. Suzanne, it's definitely put me off Etsy for a while. :-(

    Isabel, I agree - especially when I'd already told her that it was for a specific event!

    Liz, awww thank you! My sarcastic cranky tone is never far away - fear not!

    femputer, I went through this person's feedback and it almost all positive, but the negative ones told similar stories to mine. Next time I should pay attention to that...

    VM, thanks - Paypal emailed me last night to tell me they had found in my favour, so that's one good thing to come out of this mess. :-)

    Lilit, I've used Etsy at least 25 times and never had a single problem except once when someone took ages to send stuff. But then this one episode has really put me off it. :-(

  8. I am glad you got your money back in the end. And I understand how you feel about it. Hope you managed to get something different for your mother.
    And honestly, I don't get this freebee thing. I totally agree with Lilit. I do not have super large blog or million followers, but I have received several offers in the past to cooperate with companies or promote their products. But have never done it as in the end it either turned out I would have to speak positively no matter what or just have not liked the way the whole cooperation would be. And this competitive self-promotion is just annoying. If you have a good blog, readers will find you. If you want nice things, go and buy them. We are not making adverts, we are bloging about things we like.

  9. Oh thats the worst! What did you end up gifting your Mum? It's all well and good that your money was refunded but it's so frustrating when you went to all that effort to choose something sweet and thoughtful as a gift.

    >< Grrrrr!

  10. That's terrible! I'm so sorry Dee! It's a shame that there are people like this on Etsy. It's such a warm, positive place...most of the time... :(