I just celebrated my first anniversary of selling on ETSY. Thankfully my husband has a job or my 82 sales in the first year online might not cut it. Thankfully they did help us buy groceries.
In that first year I learned a lot – some of it the easy way and some of it the hard way. I owe a lot to the many people who encouraged me to use this website as a tool to not only get myself out there as a seller but as a great resource for peers, information and supplies.
In addition to selling my own products like this time consuming piece…
I started selling Vintage jewelry as well like this statement necklace.
Wouldn’t you know, the second I hit my one year mark, I hit my first icky snag.
I had someone offer me less than the asking price on a consigned piece. I do welcome reasonable offers because they mean someone likes one of my listed items and are not shy about saying so. One sale can always lead to more is how I like to justify that.
After confirming with the consignor that the asking price was acceptable, I confirmed the lower price with the buyer who then purchased the rare piece.
Important words….. rare piece.
On ETSY, when the seller processes an order, the address shipped to is what the buyer has set up themselves in their ETSY buyer profile.
In this case, when I went to purchase a shipping label through Etsy, I received a little alert stating “This address cannot be confirmed by USPS”.
So using the handy dandy ETSY conversation messaging area, I sent a message to the Buyer, told them the issue and asked them to verify their address. I copied and pasted the address USPS could not verify into the conversation. The Buyer wrote back and said “Yes, that is where I live”.
Well USPS is always in the news for being near bankrupt and considering how many times over the last decade that they refused our insurance claims under our eBay business when they are at fault, I figured the Buyer was right and USPS was not. I listened to the buyer and send to the address they confirmed.
The package was tracked and showed as delivered just a few days after it was shipped. However three days after that I got a message from the Buyer saying they never got the package. We double checked the tracking and I had her confirm her address again. At that point the Buyer stated she had a different address than what she provided to ETSY and to me. To put it simply she had a three word Street address and left off one of the words.
Etsy has a great Group Forums and Discussion area where anyone can post a topic or question and get feedback from other ETSY users. I posted my issue and asked for advice on what to do. I got immediate response (within 7 minutes) and began to rethink my policies on shipping. If you ever have a need for support on ETSY, use this Discussion forum.
In addition to communicating with the Buyer via ETSY conversation, reaching out to other business owners in the Discussion Forums, I sent an email formally to ETSY with several questions.
My questions to ETSY concerned who is responsible for the lost item when an incorrect address is provided and what are my responsibilities as a buyer regarding the transaction.
Keep in mind this was a rare piece and it was consigned. Therefore regardless of whether the item is ever found, I owe money to the owner of the item.
I received a generic template email from ETSY stating “we are busy, refer to the following policies and let us know if you require further assistance” to which they provided links.
I received an ETSY conversation from the Buyer confirming she was in communication with the Post Office, they had possession of the package and were trying to locate it.
And then I spent a week worrying about the rare piece, having to pay the consignor, worrying about getting a bad review from the Buyer, and pondering how in the world does someone confirm an incorrect address. Sigh.
Then this morning, the clouds departed and I got a formal response from a Live person (I think) at ETSY.
The email provided a sincere apology for the time it took to respond, verified shipping policies, and promised to stand by me as a shop owner as long as I adhered to their policies and clearly defined my own shipping policies if they differed at all. Wow. This was so vastly different than our experiences with eBay that I almost went into shock.
The official ETSY email went on further to verify the two most important pieces of information for my situation:
1) If your buyer happens to open a case against your shop, add your proof of shipping to the case page by clicking “Add tracking.” The case closes automatically if the tracking information shows the order was delivered to the address on the Etsy receipt.
2) If you receive a review that violates our policies, you can submit it for review. We will take a look and determine if it qualifies for removal. Find out more about flagging reviews here: http://www.etsy.com/help/article/3825
I am still awaiting word from the Buyer on her case with the Post Office. I have my fingers mentally crossed for her. It really was a great piece that deserved a great new home.