For a little time I have been selling on Etsy, but an recent ordeal wake me up and tell me I need to explore other possibilities. I 'm a man so I don't *** but just feel my need to express, so if you are reading this thanks for reading :)
Long story short, I am a jewelry designer with a newly established business and selling my product via e-commence platforms like ETSY. Sometime ago I receive a custom order request, simple enough it is from one of my existing design just make in another material. I accepted and received the payment; purchase material, off to the studio then shipping, same old procedure and after I check the shipping status seeing the client received the order, I thought to myself "ok job well done", now looking back how naive I was.
Few days after the item is receive by the client, I got a message from her staying that she is unhappy with the quality of the product, with few blurry shots of my product and few points she claim the product is defective. I wasn't sure what to made out of this and have my doubt (since I made and packed the product myself), but as a good will to clients I offered a fix upon return, and eventually a practical refund. All are decline by the client as she clearly state a full refund (with the item return to me) is the only way out. I cannot accept because product is tailor-made, I have to cover all material cost and labor if I fully refund the product. Just image you go tailor-made a suit, all it paid for and suit is made, then you want to return the suit for full refund?! How ridiculous. My bottom line is a particle refund not because I agreed with client's claims, but simply as a gesture of good will to all customers and I believe this to be fair for my cost. All my proposal are decline and hence we open a case in ETSY from settlement.
I was faithful that ETSY would judge the case in my favor. Since I thought these are ridiculous claims in the first place, and the same case is open with PayPal and judged in my favor. I believe my argument is strong and valid: 1. the blurry photo hardly depicts my item well, if you are simply zooming on something (without seeing a whole picture) and claim as fault, you WILL found something even with a museum quality piece. 2. The order is tailor made so I simply cannot accept full refund due to my material and labor cost. I wasn't troubled by this case much at this point, oh boy was I wrong.
One day waking up and checking my account, ETSY admin determine my item being "significantly different than the product client received", without addressing to any of my augments, states that I need to provide a shipping address for the client to return the product. If I do not do so they will deactivate my shop. I emailed and called ETSY support and all I got was "if the case is determined there is nothing I can do for you". I didn't provide a shipping address (because if I did is like admit by item is defective), instead I asked the client to settle with PayPal first before I provide the shipping address, AND BOOM! my shop is shut down by ETSY admin without any further comment. Just because I didn't provide ETSY the answer they want.
Since I can't sell with my shop closed, I ask for ETSY admin to active my shop again. They say ok, but only if you provide the shipping address and after everythings are settled. So now because I want my shop back, I am being forced to admit to what I disagree, and at ETSY's end they don't even need to answer any of my argument. Being overpowered and unjustly doing an act without conscience, I wish I can say something but can't find my words. In one of the conversation, an ETSY admin even admit that she didn't read all the conversation and missed an very important point. But since now it's all determined all are done. More importantly even if I made my solid argument ETSY can simply ignore.
Until now my ETSY shop remains closed. If all "goes well" I will be will selling again in another month. During the course of this case I learned about my client's purchasing record and guess what, she is an expert and often open these refund cases.
What I learned:
1. Don't rely on one single platform (the old say "don't put all egg in one basket")
2. Don't be naive and stay defensive. My act of good will being interpret by the buyer as "if their is nothing wrong in the product then why would you offer a particle refund in the first place"
3. In the economy world there is no right & wrong, simply strong v.s weak.
Only large companies have the huge and fast overturn rate for super attractive policies (ie. 60 days no question-asked refund). Small independent business simply don't have such capacity. As a consumer, you are entitle to exercise your rights to the limit. But don't blame about the world is overtaken by big companies; don't compliant you loose your freedom of choice, and don't say mega-corporations are evil controlling every aspect of your life. Making unreasonable demands can kill tiny independent business in an instant, a contribution to businesses monopolized by big players.
Great majority of my clients are very happy with my product and I do have faith in humanity, my heart tells me don't go all jaded up. This is a live and learn for me. Again thanks for reading, I hope a case study would help other sellers, as many post I read provide me information I never knew before.
Reason of review: Order processing issue.