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How to Deal with Extortion on Etsy

Today I'm prompted to talk a little about how to deal with extortion on Etsy.

What is Extortion on Etsy?

In relation to Etsy, it's threatening to leave a bad review, file a chargeback, or open a case in retaliation for something such as free product. Most often time, someone will ask for a refund for an unwarranted reason, I see this daily in both the Etsy forums and in Facebook groups.

There are entire boards dedicated to getting free product on Etsy, ie; how to complain, who refunds, what to say.

What do you do?

What do you do if you feel like you're being extorted?

Contact Etsy right away. Last night I used the chat function pretty easily to notify Customer Support about an issue I was having.

Customer Support was easily able to access my convos and assured me what I was experiencing was extortion. Although I don't know for sure, it's been long suspected that Etsy keeps track of buyers who open cases or are reported multiple times by sellers.

Just try not to panic.

How do you reply to the buyer?

I advise you, first and foremost, not to cave right away. Contact Etsy, get it on record.

In the case of someone asking for a refund, politely explain your policies. Etsy assured me that they will stand behind sellers with legal policies in place (so go make sure yours are filled out RIGHT NOW).

Do not argue. Do not fight. 9 times out of 10 Etsy Support is likely following the conversation once it's been reported. If they continue to demand, I will typically note that I've reported the conversation to Etsy and restate my position one last time.

What if they leave negative feedback?

It happens. Report it to Etsy. If they've been following the case, it's possible that they'll remove it.

If you chose to reply to it, here are some tips:

  • Do not reply right away, give yourself some time to step away from the emotion.
  • Do not repeat any of your personal convos.
  • Be calm, you're replying NOT to that buyer, but to whoever is reading the review after.
  • Do not name call or blame anyone, ie call the buyer a liar, ect.
  • Politely state what was going on as simply as possible.

In MANY cases, most reasonable people will come along and read the review and realize it's nonsense. Most of the time the reviews make it clear the buyer didn't actually read the description of what they were buying…

Sometimes I will reply to the negative review just to ‘lock' it in place. Once you reply to a review, the buyer cannot edit it again. Which means if you're trying to work with them to have it changed, you just need to leave it.

BUT, if you feel that the buyer will come back and edit it to make it WORSE when they realize they're not being refunded or that Etsy is involved, a quick, logical unemotional reply will lock it in. You also cannot edit your reply once it's posted, though, either. So maybe write it out in a text file and go over it quickly before you post it.

You cannot avoid extortion on Etsy.

Unfortunately there will always be someone out there looking for something for free. A LOT of times they will see Etsy sellers, ESPECIALLY NEW ONES as easy targets.

It's best not to take it personally.

Will you have to refund?

Maybe. Maybe. If the extortion was a threat of a bad review and they've already left the bad review? The damage is done. If they are not legitimately owed a refund, don't give them one.

If the extortion was for a chargeback, once you notify Etsy they will handle it.

The customer is NOT always right, please don't let anyone walk all over you.

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