Thursday , 18 December 2014
In the last two years, my Energy Shop on Etsy has evolved from a hobby into a second income for my family. However, last week and without warning, my shop was suspended by Etsy’s administration.

Etsy Shop Suspended! What You Need to Know

Sardonyx Yoga Bracelet with Evil Eye Protective Charm

Etsy Shop Suspended! What You Need to Know

In the last two years, my Energy Shop on Etsy has evolved from a hobby into a second income for my family. It’s been a great success, and because it’s an important part of my livelihood I have always been careful to honor Etsy’s terms of use. However, last week and without warning, my shop was suspended by Etsy’s administration.

This is how it happened: About one week before my shop was deactivated, Etsy’s integrity department sent me a questionnaire which included 3 parts and about 15 questions. The person who wrote it thanked me for my time and for being part of the community. The email went on to explain that they had reason to believe I wasn’t complying with their rules. It was made clear that I needed to defend myself, but they did not state what they were accusing me of.

At the Energy Shop, my jewelry is handmade by me in my home, and I have one person working for the shop who does all of my shipping and handling from their home. I thought I was complying with all of the rules on Etsy, so I was very confident in filling out and returning the integrity report. They required receipts for my supplies, pictures of my workspace, and photos of myself and the person who works with me. I had the entire questionnaire filled out and returned practically upon receipt. The day after I returned the investigative report, I received a reply that thanked me for my response. Case closed, or so I thought.

One week later and without notice, Etsy deactivated the Energy Shop. The email stated:

“Unfortunately, your shop does not appear to qualify for the Etsy marketplace. We are a venue for independent artists to sell their own handmade goods as well as Vintage items and Craft Supplies.

As your items do not appear to meet the criteria to sell on Etsy, your shop has been deactivated.”

And that was that. I’m not going to lie, I actually wept. I had invested two years of dedicated work and tens of thousands of dollars. All of that vanished in an instant, and my site was replaced with this message on Etsy.com:

“Uh oh! A stitch has gone awry. This page is temporarily down. Please check back later.”

I replied to the suspension email as calmly as I could, begging for them to tell me what had happened. I still had no idea what I had done wrong! I frantically started searching for a phone number that I could call; I wanted to square things away as fast as possible. I found a corporate listing for Etsy’s Brooklyn office through an internet search, but it went straight to voicemail stating that they don’t respond to phone calls.

Stunned, I was forced to sit down, wait for their reply, and let sink in what had happened. To be honest, I felt betrayed! Not only had I built this successful shop on Etsy, I had brought hundreds of customers to the community. I’ve paid thousands of dollars in fees. I have ruthlessly promoted the site and the promise of success to its sellers on my blog. And with a single click of the mouse, they erased me.

Over the next 24 hours, Etsy admin replied to me, sending one excruciatingly vague piece of information at a time. They were accusing me of “drop shipping” because my shop announcement stated, “Handmade in New Zealand, shipping out of Pittsburgh.” In my integrity report, I verified that I was outside of the country at a military address, and I did make everything by hand in New Zealand and ship stock packages to Pittsburgh.

Etsy’s Do’s and Don’ts are 29 pages long and made up of 10,918 words. About halfway through those 29 pages, I found this bullet point: “Drop shipping is not permitted. All items must be shipped under the direct supervision of the seller.”

From Wikipedia: “Drop shipping is a supply chain management technique in which the retailer does not keep goods in stock, but instead transfers customer orders and shipment details to either the manufacturer or a wholesaler, who then ships the goods directly to the customer. As in retail businesses, the majority of retailers make their profit on the difference between the wholesale and retail price but some retailers earn an agreed percentage of the sales in commission, paid by the wholesaler to the retailer.”

Technically, I feel the accusation they have made against the Energy Shop could be argued–there is no outside manufacturer or wholesaler involved. However, I don’t care to ever discuss my operation with Etsy admin again, so I have decided to comply with their request and ship the stock I sell on Etsy myself. After about 24 hours down, the Energy Shop was reactivated on Etsy.com.

The point of this story is not to bash Etsy as a selling platform. This was a wake-up call for me, and I wanted to turn it into a friendly warning for you. I thought I owned my small business, but by having my only presence on Etsy, it turns out that I didn’t. Etsy owns the shops they host, and they reserve the right to manage them however they choose.

Think about it, if your shop was suddenly closed on you right now–without warning or explanation, what would you lose? How many hours invested in your listings? How many positive reviews? How much of your hard-earned credibility?

If you’re serious about your small business, you might want to see Etsy as your starter house, not your permanent home. Here are some things to consider:

Buy a Domain Name. In January, I received some advice to purchase the domain for my name and my business’ name. I took it to heart, and for $9.90, I purchased energyshopjewelry.com. When my Etsy shop was closed, I was Thankful (with a capital T) that I had a domain name handy. You can browse and buy domain names at the website, United Domains.

Keep a copy of your testimonials. If you only sell on Etsy and your site is removed, how much credibility would you lose? For the time my site was down, I had nothing to prove that I have repeatedly exceeded the expectations of thousands of customers. In fact, I looked really suspicious to the community! Where had I gone? What act of integrity had I violated?! You have worked hard to build your credibility, so keep a hard copy of your testimonials on file.

Keep a folder of item pictures. I restock (renew) previous listings often, and each time I do, I appreciate that I don’t have to take pictures and build descriptions. Those tasks take up a solid chunk of my valuable time! I’ve spent hundreds of hours on my listings and photography, when suddenly, they vanished. I shudder to think what would have happened to all of my work had Etsy admin reviewed my case differently.

Have an emergency exit strategy. Have a back-up plan, just in case. Because I want my business to expand, I had the feeling I might outgrow Etsy. I’m always willing to have a look at e-commerce sites to see what they have to offer, and I love to check out other sellers’ independently-owned websites.

The day I was suspended, I chose to set up a shop with the e-commerce host, Retailr. I signed up for a free trial and started building listings immediately.

I’m new at Retailr, but I think I’m in love. Everything I’ve been wishing for on Etsy (size and color drop-downs, more coupon options, the ability to accept credit cards, etc.) seems to be available. I was able to easily transfer my pre-purchased domain name to the new site. Not only that, I like that they keep shop owners up-to-date with new developments on their Features & Roadmap page.

For the record, I’ve always been happy to pay the Etsy fees for hosting my shop, just as I’ve always been happy to pay the Paypal fees for collecting my money. However, the more you sell on Etsy, the more you pay. Like I said, I’ve been sending them hundreds of dollars every month, but as I’m reviewing my new business plan, my hosting fees are about to be drastically reduced.

On Retailr, I pay a flat-rate hosting fee. It’s $19 per month to list 100 items (in unlimited stock). Which means, I don’t pay individual listing fees, I don’t give anybody a cut of my sales, and nothing expires.

Finally, when my shop was suspended and I had nowhere to turn, I felt scared and powerless. I want to leave you with some resources in case you ever find yourself in a similar situation. If you need help, here are some more places to turn:

You can start by filing a case with the Better Business Bureau. They serve the community (free of charge) and can help protect you against unwarranted and unexplained actions.

If things get out of hand, or if you fear losing a serious amount of work and investment, you might consider contacting a small business attorney for representation. You can Google this and find a reputable businessperson in your area, or you can contact larger groups of lawyers who handle online commerce at affordable prices, such as:

Simplicity Law

Lawyers.com

Practice.com
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not leaving Etsy … yet. However, I am taking charge of my small business. In the future, I will be sure that no one can come along and hang the “Closed” sign on my website without my permission.

Until next time and all the best, Lisa

 

Suspended Etsy shop

 

Hey Timothy here:

I have been selling on Etsy since 2007. (my shop!) The day I started my shop I had my own domain (my site)but never sold items on it.  It is mainly just a gallery to show off my work then point people to my Etsy shop.   I have been on the search for the perfect platform to start selling my metal work on my own domain, but I have never found the right platform with the right mix of options to supplement my Etsy shop.  About a month ago I received an email from the founders of Indiemade.com letting me know about their site and what they had to offer. I checked out all the options, features ,and pricing, and to my surprise they offered everything I had been looking for.

Here are just a few features that really stood out to me.   Things I have been looking for!

  • Founders that came from a handmade / design background (understands the handmade community)
  • Extremely affordable pricing (1/5 of my Etsy monthly bill)
  • Very good clean design (multiple designs and design flexibility)
  • Easy Checkout system with no login required
  • Etsy product import (huge time saver)
  • Integrated blog
  • Social media connections and promoting
  • Reports ( sales, coupons, products, customer)
  • Analytics

You can check out my metal shop there.   Timothy Adam Designs.

Check out even more details HERE on Handmadeology.

Do you have a similar story you would like to share with the Handmadeology readers? Fill out the form below and we will be in touch.

Comments or questions are welcome.

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467 comments

  1. My heartfelt thanks for posting this article, Tim! When my shop was suspended, I didn’t know where to turn. Hopefully this post helps someone else facing that “scared and powerless” moment. All the best, Lisa

    • Thank you for this letter. I am moving to Savannah, GA in a couple of months and plan on using Esty’s to sell my Jewelry & Sewing but I may look into my own web site. That way no one can shut me down. Again thank you, Norma

    • My shop was suspended today. :(

      Thanks for sharing your tips on how to move forward. Although I’m still bummed and shocked, it’s a relief to know that I’m not alone.

    • How long was your site down for. My etsy shop has been closed since Friday afternoon and am unable to get a response from Etsy, whether it will be reopened or not. Yes I feel powerless.

      • Hi Nancy,
        I’m in the same boat. They closed my shop on Tuesday and won’t even respond to my emails. It’s so upsetting.

      • Hi there

        If you have any unfair treatment from Etsy, like deactivated your shop without a reason, please join our FB Page for sharing your story!

        Thanks!

        Fafa

    • Lisa,
      Thank you for posting this article. I have 2 shops on Etsy and luckly I own both domain names. My digital prints shop was closed on Tuesday because of a copyright infringement, someone convo-ed me and asked me to create something for them, I did and then listed it not even thinking that I could get into trouble. They had been listed for months now, Etsy contacted me and told me that they were removing these items due to a copyright infringement (I used the Lego name in my title). Then a couple of hours later they closed my shop. I have sent them numerous emails pleading for my shop to reopen, that I would never put my business or theirs in jeopardy. As of today I still have not heard back from them. It’s really sad, because they own the monopoly on the web. I also have a shop in Artfire, but I’ve never had the same amount of business as I have with Etsy . This was a huge wake up call for me.
      Jenny, The Posh Kids

      • Lisa,
        Did they ever reopen your shop? I used the name minecraft in a title of my printable shop….which was 100% all of my non character, non commercial designs and 100% my only income. I have been closed for a month and have been begging them to reopen and they told me no twice and now just ignore me. I am still in shock and nothing I have tried is even bringing in a fraction of what my ETSY shop did.

    • Thanks for the article, I’ve been researching online businesses and the best options available. I had considered using Etsy, but after reading so many reviews and now your experiences I believe setting up my own site is the way to go.

    • Lisa!!! OMG– thatmis crazy. I had been away for awhile and when I returned I saw you were gone. I had no idea. This is great advice. I have m own domain name and I am wrk in on the content now. I’ll have to pass your info along on etsy. Best if luck, but I am sure you will be more than fine, you are a GREAT artist with wonderful ENERGY!!!

    • Hey Lisa,

      I just read ur article about Etsy shop suspended. Esty just suspended my shop for the exact same reason as urs. I see now ur shop is back, what did u do?

      Any advice would be really appreciated! I put my heart into my shop and they took it away in a click of a mouse!

      Thanks
      Nabil
      Cooleather

    • That would be me today. It sickens me how everything was just pulled out from underneath me for wording. Its just not fair. I’ve made them so much money and they don’t think so much as to giving you a stern talking to at least. Where do I go from here? Tons of 100% reviews and now my customers are wondering where I am. SMH

  2. Wow….just…wow. I couldn’t imagine what I’d do in your situation. This really gives me a lot to think about. I’m sorry you had to go through this, but thankful you’ve shared it in an informative way!

    • That’s very thoughtful. Thank you, Katie!

    • Wow!
      Unbelievable! I’ve been on etsy now since 2011 and the lack of contacts and customer service has always bothered me. It’s had me a little feeling a little uneasy from the start. And that is outrageous considering they are now allowing shops to hire manufactures to produce their “handmade” products. I worked in management and product development for a few different companies and there is no doubt in my mind or in any dictionary you so choose to use that will support etsy’s own definition that a product can be produced by a company that files taxes as a manufacture and still call it “handmade”. There is a major difference between a designer or developer and crafters and artists. I now worry that the consumers who have been loyal etsy shoppers because of the quality of handmade products will become unhappy and start feeling mislead by their use of the word “handmade” now being associated with “manufacturing”. To me it’s possibly boarder line false advertising. Which why I was floored that etsy would shut you down over drop shipments. But I didn’t check the date of this post lol!
      Anyway thanks for sharing your story. I’m sure now that it is time to start a plan of moving on away from etsy.

  3. Thank you, Lisa… Very good advice! Hey, I’m from Pittsburgh, too! :)

  4. Wow… wake up call…. thanks….

  5. These two sentences are absolutely crucial for anyone who is limiting their online presence to just Etsy:

    “I thought I owned my small business, but by having my only presence on Etsy, it turns out that I didn’t. Etsy owns the shops they host, and they reserve the right to manage them however they choose.”

    Excellent article, Lisa!

    • Thank you, gale! It was quite a wake-up call for me :)

    • Look, I don’t mean to be rude, but I can’t figure out any other way to say this:

      Why does it come as a surprise, or a “wake up” call that you don’t “own” anything when you sell on Etsy, or any OTHER online venue?

      Now, first, Lisa’s case was a gray area in a way, and a little less than clear. It was more a matter of wording – but the wording was what got her shop “red flagged” temporarily.

      But Lisa was in the right, AND, more importantly, she had done what too many commenters here have failed to do: She really did read ALL the terms and conditions, and understood them.

      She did her homework, and she did her very best to comply with all the rules. She “gets it” that the details of a legal and binding contract matter.

      In the end, as a result: she won. Etsy agreed she was not in breach of the contract. She got her store back, and she understands now the wrong wording can sound like a violation of the rules.

      A scary lesson, but Lisa dealt with it like a professional businessperson – no whining, just review of the rules, taking action – in short, honoring the contract in every way.

      But let’s also keep in mind here: Etsy ALSO honored the contract: they did exactly what the Terms and rules say they can do, and will do, if they believe a member is in breach of contract.

      There is a valid complaint to be made here about the Etsy process – but it’s not unique to Etsy. The problem is, almost ALL online venues or services of this kind run on a sort of automatic pilot.

      In fact, all those raving about Retailr or Shopify and how wonderful they are – um, have you actually READ their Terms and Conditions? Because if you think Etsy’s bad….well, at least Etsy CONTACTED the sellers.

      The Retailr T&Cs, for example, notes Customer Service will be by email only, and that the Seller’s/Shop’s account can be terminated at any time for any reason, the shop and all files deleted, and that Retailr is under no obligation even to inform the Seller why.

      And, no, you have no legal recourse if they do, unless they actually violate their own terms. Of course, since the terms ARE that they can kick you out and not tell you why, that’s not anything you can sue over – because it’s what you agreed to.

      The point here is: if you don’t like the terms Don’t Agree To Them – meaning, don’t sell on the venue, or use the service.

      If you don’t know what the term “contract of adhesion” means, then you might not be ready to run your own business either – because running even a small business means you have to understand EXACTLY what you’re agreeing to when you sign a contract, particularly one where you don’t get to negotiate any of the terms, i.e., you’re “stuck” with whatever the supplier dictates.

      But you’d think Etsy sellers would at least understand: you have no right to complain about your shop being suspended for BLATANT violations of the Terms and Conditions….

      And here, I’m referring to Kiersten’s complaint about Mod Mom Furniture being suspended, and her claim there was a lack of “due diligence” shown by Etsy before closing her shop.

      No. No there wasn’t.

      First, Kiersten doesn’t know what “due diligence” means. Due diligence doesn’t even apply here. It’s legal nonsense even to use the term.

      Second, Kiersten was CLEARLY in breach of the legal and binding contract into which she entered with Etsy, and had violated several of the Terms and Conditions to which she agreed, and which, by selling on Etsy in the first place, she claimed she understood.

      When she began selling, she was in compliance, yes – an individual shop (not a collective or group) selling handmade furniture (not outsourced or made primarily by someone not in her shop).

      But any professional business person has an obligation to make certain the business REMAINS in compliance with all its contracts and agreements. The contract with Etsy is every bit as legal and binding.

      Yet even when Kiersten’s business changed completely, and it no longer complied with the requirements for “individual” or “handmade” – per the Etsy Terms and definitions – she did not contact Etsy about changing her type of shop, or stop selling products she had by then completely outsourced to a “manufacturer” (her term), even though that third-party manufacturer was making the items by hand.

      But that’s not Etsy’s definition of handmade. There are several terms ModMom Furniture violated, but this one alone would be enough, i.e.:

      “An assistant or third-party vendor’s involvement may not comprise a majority share of a handmade item’s creation.”

      Unlike Lisa, Kiersten had no defense. Her products and her shop no longer complied with Etsy’s terms and rules. She was in breach of contract.

      She also could not cure the breach – or, more accurately, simply tried to complain Etsy was unfair, and that her shop wasn’t breaking any rules.

      She was wrong. Etsy acted appropriately.

      Etsy clearly hasn’t managed to get rid of ALL the shops and sellers who are violating the rules. But Kiersten also has no basis to complain, because she WAS one of the violators.

      And under the terms and conditions, it doesn’t really matter if you’re breaking 1 rule or 10. The consequences are clearly noted as the same for everyone: Fix it, or get kicked off.

      No – not everyone gets caught. Not everyone gets caught who breaks the law either. But you can’t get out of, say, a speeding ticket just because you argue the police havn’t caught all the murderers still on the loose.

      Likewise, you can’t argue one seller should be allowed to break the rules if you are complaining Etsy isn’t getting rid of sellers who break the rules.

      No – if you want the rules enforced, that means enforcing ALL the rules for EVERYONE.

      Read the rules, people. If you want to run a business selling online, but you think it’s too much trouble, or that you need a lawyer to understand the Terms, or that reading 29 pages is a “nightmare”, then you’re not qualified to run a business. Period.

      Businesses have to know the law, be able to understand the contracts they enter into – but Most of all: Businesses Can’t Lie. Businesses Have to be Trustworthy.

      And if you start selling on Etsy – well, by selling you “sign” a legal and binding contract that says – among other things – that you DID read all of it, and that you DID understand it.

      If you liked about that . . . why would anyone trust your business?

      If you don’t take the contract with Etsy seriously – and complain when Etsy does exactly what the contract SAYS they will do – how can customers trust you to take your contract with THEM seriously?

      There are DEFINITELY valid complaints to be made about Etsy. But complaining about Etsy enforcing rules just because you don’t like them, when you AGREED to them – is not a valid complaint.

      Good for Lisa for getting it right, for a fantastic article, and for being a responsible, trustworthy PROFESSIONAL business person. One who made a mistake, but on a genuinely confusing point. And who not only learned from it but has helped others understand details matter, if you want a business to succeed.

      Nothing but praise from me for Lisa

      And to Kiersten – well, I’m sorry, but all I could think reading her complain was, “Oh for heavens’ sake, stop whining. You screwed up. Get over it.”

      • I want to add a little detail here: in a lot of countries, the terms of service of a company can NEVER trumph (consumer)law. Even if the site is hosted in a different country, they still need to abide by another country’s law if they specifically market towards said country. For example; Etsy isn’t hosted in the Netherlands, but since they (poorly, but still) translated the site to Dutch, offer prices in Euro’s and even have Dutch customer service, it means they are actively targeting Dutch consumers and thus have to abide their laws. At least for the Dutch version of the site, that is.
        What the consequences would be if they translated to Klingon, I don’t know ;)

  6. Keep it up Lisa !

  7. Gosh,
    I am so sorry you went through all this, but am glad you were able to get it resolved. Your article was so informative and you have done a great public service publishing it. I am saving it in the event I decide to open an Etsy or any other seller sight in the near future. Continued success to you!

  8. HOLY COW!!! I know what I’m doing the rest of the week! Lisa, as I was reading your article I could feel your panic! Thank you for sharing and thank you for the advice. Duly noted!

  9. I stopped using Etsy as my primary selling venue several years ago after seeing a number of friends there put through the wringer and feeling I simply couldn’t risk having my business being so reliant upon Etsy.

    My Etsy shop is still open and I still get occasional sales there, but I now use my own domain name and a web-based shopping cart via Shopify and this is where the vast majority of my income comes from.

    I’ve found Shopify a far better way to sell my work, but I also know that if anything were to go wrong, the investment I’ve made in marketing my shop won’t be lost, as I can simply move to a different cart using the same web address.

    If I had my time over again I would have been using my own domain name/URL to direct to my Etsy shop from the outset and would never have promoted my Etsy URL. I also strongly encourage new sellers to do this. Etsy is a great place to start out and test the waters, but you should definitely have a longer term strategy in mind.

    • That’s good advice, Simone! Thank you.

    • I love shopify too! My shop got suspended by Etsy earlier this month on grounds that my items “didn’t appear to be handmade”. Despite providing numerous photographic proof that they were (I sent them process photos; even photos of my workshop), Etsy responded with a vague answer, saying they were not enough to proof my items were handmade and that my account will continue to be suspended.
      It left me bewildered and helpless seeing as my Etsy shop was my sole income for almost a year. Out of sheer desperation, I decided to set up my own website and purchased a domain name.

      Like Simone, I currently use Shopify and love it! The freedom, the breath of fresh air, the fact that I don’t have to spend copious amounts of time and effort struggling to convince someone out there that my products are valid.. I’m glad I’m out of Etsy right now, but in retrospect, what I probably should have done was to set up my website and use Etsy as an avenue to direct traffic there.

      I can’t even begin to describe exactly how I felt when Etsy decided to reject my evidence. I don’t know what got into them but all I know is that everyone should definitely have a back-up plan in case Etsy decides to randomly suspend your shop one day. I hated the feeling of being so powerless.. I’ve learnt my lesson! :)

      • This is the SAME thing that happened to me. I sent in photos & everything, but they still said it wasn’t enough and now they won’t respond to my emails.

      • There is a blog named “Calling Out on Etsy” I have to wonder if one of them had a little to do with some of the dilemmas here. I think that it started out as a way to share copycats and re-sellers, and just went feral. You may want to go take a peek and see if your name has been mentioned there. I know it’s one of my worst fears.

  10. Wow that is truly messed up. Thanks for the article. Funny I thought Etsy had no real standards, after all most things nowadays are Chinese resellers. Just yesterday I went there as a customer typed in owl pendant or some such thing in the handmade section and price low to high, and came up with the first six pages all resellers. It was frustrating! However if I complain they will ban me, or so I’ve seen as it has happened to many ppl I know.

    • Thanks for your comment, Nikki!

    • About 2 years ago, I got a warning to remove a listing for some Nine West shoes from the 80s, because they didn’t fit the “vintage” requirement, even though I had the original receipt. Rather than have more problems, I removed them. This warning was sent within a few hours after listing it! Guess the Etsy police were watching on that day!
      I agree with Nikki that the resellers are rampant on Etsy, and you don’t want to report them–I know!
      I am so grateful for all the info I have gotten from both the articles and the comments. I will continue with Etsy, as an additional venue, but will expand my presence into at least two websites of my own, which I should have done years ago!

  11. wow…. that is awful…i really wouldn’t have know where to start, but i do now. I have a domain name, but it really is just a front-it forwards to etsy…signed up for retailr to see what it is all about. Doesn’t hurt to try new avenues :) thanks so much for sharing!

    • Thank you, Amanda! Having that domain name is smart, as it can always be redirected. A great point to everybody: you can purchase the domain name for $9.90 and then even forward it to your Etsy shop! If that’s the web address on your business card, you don’t have to do any reprinting if you change or expand. Thanks again!

  12. Stephanie Turner

    I’ve been hearing horror stories about shops being closed with no explanation.
    Thanks for posting this!

  13. Lisa, thanks for writing this! Same thing happened to me. I even wrote about it here: http://www.modmomfurniture.blogspot.com/2012/01/so-long-etsy.html

    I was with Etsy since 2007 and after opening one email form letter, everything changed. I was blown away by the lack of due diligence before threatening to close down a shop.

    I’m so glad you found other options and can’t thank you enough for this post!!

    • Here’s to the continued success of Mod Mom Furniture! Your article was spot on, this is definitely more of a guilty until proven innocent approach. It really showed me who they think is the boss of the Energy Shop :) Thanks for your feedback.

    • Hi Kiersten,
      Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us also. Im speachless yet so proud of you and Lisa.

  14. Lisa,
    Thank you SO much for writing this. Handmadeolgy is well known, and your story will be heard. It happened to me, and like you, was able to get back open again. But the overwhelming feeling of panic, LOSS, bewilderment is something I will never forget, or forgive, Etsy for. The lack of respect, due process, investigation, communication, etc., that I was shown was unbelievable. Even though my shop is open, I live every day knowing that at any time, for any reason, I may find it gone, poof, vanished like it was never there. I feel like a “handmade prostitute” and Etsy is Pimp Daddy. It’s a disgrace to watch the hordes of mass produced, sweat shop made goods thrive on the term handmade, while Etsy ignores the mockery of their rules, only to blind side real crafters and treat us like poop, when WE are the ones who bring validity to their “handmade” market. Shame on Etsy.

  15. Thanks Lisa for a great article. Like Brooke said above, I could feel your panic as I was reading your article too, and I don’t even have an Etsy shop! I am sending this article to anyone I know with an etsy shop, just so they know to read the terms and conditions, thoroughly.

    Shirley

  16. I’m sorry you had to go through this, Lisa, but on the positive side, it’s also a wake up call for you and all of us here! Thank you so much for sharing your experiences!!! And all the best to you!

  17. Hi Lisa!

    What an awful thing to go through! And I’m stunned by Etsy’s attitude!! I can so imagine your panic and frustration!!! I’m so grateful you posted this and shared it: an important wake up call for me, who just started on Etsy and feel that my little shop is safe and protected there!!! Gives me a lot to think about!
    All the best of luck to you and thanks again for sharing this!!

  18. Thanks for writing this article Lisa! I wish you the best success with Energy Shop. Etsy “rent” can be pricey in more ways than just the fees. I checked out Retailr. For those interested, be sure to check out their blog. Thru the end of March they are offering 25% off any plan… forever…you must use the promocode listed at their blog and sign up before April 1. That may be a better deal than the 30 day free trial if you already have a successful online presence.

    • Awesome find, Whyte! You can’t beat 25% off any plan forever!! After March, I think they’ll keep the coupon code mentioned in the article active for Handmadeology readers, but that March offer is the better deal. Thank you!

  19. Wow, this is really something, I got one of those emails, but it turned out okay, I had no idea it could of turned into this.

    I took all your information down, I have always wanted to have my own website, thank you, thank you!

    LaShell

  20. That’s a bit worrying, thanks for sharing at least we can have a back up plan now just in case

  21. great article Lisa!
    thank you for sharing with us!
    Berna

  22. Lisa,
    Thank you so much for this heads up.
    Thank you again!

    Andrea

  23. All I can say is that is pretty poor business on Etsy’s part. To close you down without giving you a chance to rectify the problem shows they really don’t care about their customers. I think their employees need to start reading some of the etsy forums to learn about how to give good customer service.

  24. What a nightmare to go through. It’s too bad Etsy isn’t very responsive or accessible, especially when they do something as drastic as close down a shop. You made some excellent points about not having all your eggs (jewelry, pottery, or other creations) all in one basket. I love being on etsy, but have made it a point to not rely on them as my sole venue for selling my work. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  25. As a new Etsy seller, I found this a sobering reminder. Thank you for sharing your story, and I’m glad you got things sorted out.

  26. Bobbi helms. Fatdogbeads

    That’s just frightening! Luckily, have many of the backups you talk about in place. But I empathize with you on feeling helpless. And how dare they not have a phobe number so you can talk to a real live being about this! That just infuriates me. Iwill definitely look into Retailr. Thanks and GOOD LUCK!

  27. Bobbi helms. Fatdogbeads

    And ols excuse tyoos. Too early in the morning. Too little coffee.

  28. Great article, Lisa! I also had a terse, scary note from Etsy regarding a tag and was threatened shutdown. Mine resolved quickly, but I felt a lot of the things you felt. I have delayed printing new business cards as I will likely move to my own site this year. Maybe I’ll keep a couple of things on Etsy to point to the new site. As shown by all of these comments, you have the support of the community as well as your customers. Thank you for sharing your story.

  29. Ouch – so sorry you had a crummy time with etsy. Bad business management on their part for not making things clearer OR without giving you a chance to “fix” the issue before suddenly pulling your shoppe.
    Thanks for telling your story! As someone who would eventually like to set up her own shoppe this is VERY good information to know going into a possible business. Thank you/

  30. Excellent article! I appreciate the wake-up call. I will definitely save this article and start working on my back-up plan.

  31. Wow! What a story. I agree with you I have a website all so but most of my business is through Etsy. You should always have a back up plan.Good luck with your future in your own hands now.
    Sherri

  32. Thanks for posting this! Having come from the nightmare of robotic customer service that is EBay, I started out on Etsy with alot of the safeguards and back ups mentioned here in place. At first I was delighted to find that it was a company with a personal touch and emails answered by live people with no robot scripting. In the past couple of years tho I have watched Etsy turn more and more “big corporation” , understanding that while some of the results of that were good for business, it did put life there on much more shaky ground.

    I am like you, I don’t hate Etsy and have no plans to leave- I am just a lot more careful these days to be sure I’m not leaving all my creative eggs in one increasingly impersonal corporate basket.

  33. My biggest concern is the lack of communication (on many, many fronts beyond this….i.e. bugs in system, system down, etc, should be communicated in more ways than a forum) by etsy administration. it’s absurd that they don’t send you the ‘accusatory’ information for you to respond to and include a customer resolution number for you to speak to a real person. and etsy seems to often forget that their shop owners are their customers. i’m glad you were able to find a different way to ship that met the criteria to be able to keep your shop open. in the end, i believe in the platform but agree we probably shouldn’t leave it to be our sole venue on the web. thanks for sharing your story.

  34. This post has been so helpful- it really helps open everyone’s eyes to the fact that they don’t OWN their shop- it’s a very helpless feeling!

  35. Thanks for the excellent article. It’s pretty easy to miss something among 10.000 plus words, especially when so much of those “Agreements” are boilerplate. And you can either agree or go away. Best wishes.

  36. I have been an etsycustomer forever and as an artist wanted to open a shop there. Problem: I hear LOTS of these horror stories and that 29 page manual thing? Right, who has forever to dig thru that. I would need a lawyer to dig thru all that! I have to create, market, blog, sell, on and on, yet dig thru that 29 page nightmare for what I may one day do wrong and suffer the same fate? Heck no, Im going to Retailer and will figure out many other channels!

    Esty needs to know that they are not the world of DIY and someone could and prob will come in and offer a better way, as maybe Retailer did.

    • Thank you for your feedback, Maria!

    • I’ve been suspended on etsy 4 times….always tried to pull one over on them and they keep finding out that I was that person they suspended years ago. Funny thing was I was running my store 100% positive feedback for almost 1 year and they finally had discovered I was the same person they suspended before and they just shut me down…even though obviously I hadn’t done a thing wrong with my new shop.
      So I’ve given up. I’m using Copious.com right now and will soon be starting a artfire.come account.

      • how did you open another shop after being suspended?

      • Hi liz etsy suspended my store so i decided to open another one but i read your comment , you said they discovered that you were the same person , can you tell me how they discovered that if you have any advice for me please help me i am so disappointed and sad it has been 3 months since i opened my store

  37. For a (dis)service done to you, you have turned it around into a service for others. Many are grateful, including me.

  38. Thanks so much for the article.
    Such great information.
    There’s also Artfire and Zibbet and Ruby Lane for vintage.
    Good luck to everyone.

  39. Hi Lisa,
    This is great information, and I am glad that you were rightfully reinstated.
    May I ask why you chose to ‘drop ship’ initially? Were the shipping costs from out of the US too prohibitive for most customers to afford? I can only guess that military families can send mail to the US fairly inexpensively, and thus you logically chose to use a US shipper. It seems as if Etsy should make special exception for military personnel, as I believe that there are some monetary breaks when you own a car and must travel abroad, and leave it behind.
    Thank you for all your information, and for those, like me, who are thinking of starting up an online shop! Your shop, and craft, is gorgeous, by the way!

    • Hi, Margaret! Thank you for your comment. I’m a U.S. resident and my customers are primarily in the U.S. New Zealand is an expensive country and very far away! Shipping individual packages from here costs a lot and takes at least 10 business days. In addition, I’m not allowed to use any military mail services for business services or profit–it’s illegal. Therefore, I hired another person in country to help me with that end of the business. He was under my direct supervision, we spoke daily and handled all of the orders together. I still don’t think what I was doing could be considered drop shipping, but now that’s neither here nor there. I appreciate your feedback and all the best!

  40. Lisa, this is an excellent article. I especially like the way you accepted responsibility, described what happened and suggested things we can do to avoid feeling that way ourselves. Very classy. Thank you for a valuable post!

  41. I am really disgusted to hear this..they could have given you a warning and then let you choose to change or leave…all while your shop was left open …I now have a very bad view of them for this..Im heading to Retailer now..Youve done a great thing sharing this..both in the way you handled it and the way you presented this…Thank You..!

  42. So sorry to hear this happened! I think I read the same article about not keeping all your eggs in one basket. I need to get my but in gear and my own website started!

    Glad you’re back up and running, thanks for the great links!

  43. Hi Lisa,

    I am the Marketing Manager at United Domains, and I’m sorry to hear about your issues with Etsy. We’ve actually covered this topic in the past on our blog, in that many social media sites, whether eCommerce based like Etsy, or network and sharing based like Facebook, have terms and conditions that can lead to vendors losing control of their content. I think your choice to own your own retail space online is a very good idea, and I’m glad we were able to help you with your domain registration.

    All the best,
    Kate Hutchinson
    Marketing Manager, United Domains

  44. Lisa, your article has been a real eye-opener for me and very timely as I consider alternate/additional means of selling my handmade wearable art. I’ll be passing this info along and taking action for myself sooner than later! Thank you for such an informative wake-up call! Best of luck for continued success to us all! :)

  45. I love your story. They do have a list of Do’s and Don’ts. When this happens I believe they should call you to talk about it first so you can resolve it too.

    My question on other sites like you mentioned Retailr, how much traffic goes to that site automatically?

    That would be my biggest concerns with having another site. I know promoting Etsy and Etsy has a name out there but do others and of course you still would have to promote your other one too.

    • Kathy, thank you for your comment! You’re right in that outside e-commerce sites do not get automatic traffic like Etsy brings to your shop. I am definitely not encouraging anyone to drop Etsy entirely and go rogue :) Like I said in the article, you might want to consider Etsy a starter house, and later bring your customers to your permanent home. That’s why, as someone suggested earlier in the comments, you might consider buying a domain name now and have it redirected to your Etsy shop. This is surprisingly simple to set up, and if you ever change your business, your domain name can follow you. Thanks again!

  46. Excellent post and a heads up for those traveling with military families. Sorry you had to learn all of this in such a terrible way but thank you for passing along both what you’ve learned as well as your wonderful way of moving on and remedying the situation.

  47. Thank you thank you for this article! It’s so unfortunate that you had to experience that, but again, many thanks for turning it into something valuable for all of us who read it. Much to think about here… ;)

  48. Thank you so much for this honest and informative article. I am sorry you had to go through this, and it was truly chilling to read your first reactions (and imagining the same thing happening to me.) This confirms so much for me. Firstly, Etsy has always struck me as a terrific but huge energy sucking venue. It is like putting all of your investments in one stock and praying it will succeed. I had been thinking about giving up my ArtFire studio and now…well, I just have to figure out a way to manage my time better so I have it as a viable selling platform. And, I have had a web address for a long time which really needs to be developed. This article, and your experience, excruciating as it was bless your heart, is the kick in the butt I have been needing. Thanks also for all of the links throughout the article and the comments for good sites to help us gain some dominion over our domains! I do not dislike Etsy, but it is more like “the man” every time I turn around and as an independent artist…such a turn off. Now, go read the fine print over at Pinterest if you want to make your hair stand on end. I know…it is another subject, but their TOU have some very disturbing copyright rules! Good luck to you Lisa and thanks again.

  49. This is great to know – particularly the advice about positive feedback and keeping photos. I have recently started keeping all of my product photos on an external drive, but I hadn’t thought about keeping feedback! I have just copied and pasted my feedback so that I have it as a reference, and it was also nice to see all of the positive comments my work has had, so you really brightened up my day!
    Thank you for sharing your experiences, I hope your shop continues to grow and prosper :)

  50. Wow. What a scary situation to be in! Thank you for having the courage to tell your story Lisa, clearly you have resonated with many of us and we will all be more weary and practice great caution from now on.

  51. Lisa,

    I am so so sorry this happened to you. this company sounds a lot like eBay who used to kick out their sellers with the flimsiest ‘reasoning’ once they too had established business with and for eBay and paid them a lot of money in fees…..

    I hope you find a venue that suits your needs and talents and does not treat you as shabbily.

    Good luck.
    Anne

  52. wow! major wake up call as others have said. checking out the sites mentioned in the post. really appreciate you sharing your experience and sorry that happened to you. you summed it up so accurately though…spreading my eggs over several baskets :)

  53. Lisa, you are an emotionally well balanced person, an admirable quality in any internet setting.
    It is upsetting to me that Etsy, a marketplace specializing in individuality and human contact, has virtually no means with which you can communicate with a real human being. I would expect it from Paypal, a huge company, but Etsy seems to have prematurely gotten too big for their britches.
    Another venue that I have been using for the past couple of months is WePAY. While they are simply a secure payment venue, they allow you to list items for sale with no fees until you sell something. They have utterly no marketing or venues for promotion, so you are on your own there, but they do have extremely courteous and attentive customer service (I have used their Live Chat feature more than once and gotten a question answered right on the spot!). I still have an Etsy store, but for all of the social marketing and SEO-potential on Etsy, I sell as much in my WePAY store (that is to say, I am still selling very little in either venue, but I get out of it what I am able to put into it!).
    I am impressed with your resolve, and that you were able to make it through this misadventure and still have a store!
    If anyone is interested in WePAY, and to shamelessly plug my store, here’s the link:
    https://www.wepay.com/stores/easily-distracted-by-julie-d-arcy
    Cheers!
    Julie

    • Julie, thank you so much for your feedback. I am tickled by the first line: “you are an emotionally well balanced person, an admirable quality in any internet setting.” The article you’re reading is probably the 20th draft–I edited out all of my unbalanced emotions before sharing it :D Thank you for sharing more options. It’s the best feeling in the world to have a back-up plan.

  54. What an eye opener. I think I will have to rethink on my opening my online store on goodsie again. and thank you for keeping all the feedback on file in black and white! Its a rap on the wrist to keep records always!

  55. Wow. Unbelievably valuable information and serious reality check. I just got my Etsy shop going in December and am so thankful to have this information so early on.

    THANK YOU!!!

  56. Great Article !! Really makes you think !

  57. Wonderfully written article and very enlightening. Etsy has grown up and become one of the big boys which leads to losing the personal customer service that they once had.

    I have known people who have ‘violated’ Etsy rules and have had the same trouble in communication. It is sad that one of the original ‘handmade’ sites have become one of the corporate big wigs.

    Thank you for the reminder to not remain in the cozy rut that Etsy provides and to spread our wings into other venues. Etsy charges for listing and upon sale. The only way things will change within Etsy is to use the other competition out there that provide more services for less money.

    Thanks again for all the info. I’m looking into Retailr. I will remain with Etsy simply for their SEO and search engine listings. When I make a sale, I send info on my other venues. Using other venues also makes it easier for buyers who do not want to ‘join’ Etsy to buy.

    I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors and thanks for the heads up.

    Carol Vega – Nature’s Sol

  58. Thanks so much for writing this article. I would like to share a similar story. I purchased a domain name and constructed my website on Weebly. I chose to use the free hosting option to test the waters. After about a month and a half, I was unable to access my account and when I tried to access my website, it didn’t exist.

    I emailed support and was told my site was suspended for spam. The tech. stated she couldn’t see anything on my site that seemed like spam to her. As of this writing I’m still waiting to hear more from them.

    I guess even though I felt I had my own “store” I was proved wrong.

    • Thanks, Clint! These are definitely things to be careful about. Taking a quote from a Facebook comment: “As a wise business guru said, ‘Don’t let your business rely on the website or platform of another business in order to survive.’”–from a reader named Jessica. It’s a good tip!

  59. Holy Cow. I’ve only been on Etsy for short time. I’m glad to have the info, but I’m far from having these issues. I’ve had 2 views. Total. However, I’m working to change that, but hope this is something I won’t have to deal with, but if I do, now I’m equipped to handle it. Thanks!!

  60. So sorry Lisa you had to go thru this….I was one of them a week before Christmas.
    In the mean time I found hundreds of etsy sellers who had been shut down for no good reasons on the internet. You know people talk….

    All my itmes are handmade, I did like you filled everything out on did the documentation and asked questions which were never answered. Never, ever answered, my shop was shut down with NO explanation. I work alone, ship alone, its me and myself. Feel free to look at my other shop I opened and judge for yourself about my “handmade” mosaics.

    I mean 8 years of building a clientel, custom orders, fab feedback, etsy ruined it with a couple a key strokes. None of my etsy team members who went to bat for me could understand.
    Etsy is at the bottom of my totem pole, I will never deal with them again and make a business of mine, my income and well being so dependent on them and on their whims.
    Thank you for sharing all your wonderful tips…
    Monika

  61. Thank you for your extremely well-articulated article. You give excellent objective advice without angrily bashing the powers-that-be on which you are still relying for part of your income. Best of luck with your shops, new and otherwise!

  62. Thank you for this article. This same thing has just happened to me today. I have answered all the questions they asked sent them photos of my shop and my process and they still suspended my shop. I don’t get it!

  63. Thank you Lisa for sharing your experience.It got me thinking (as it should). I have had a domain for years and it points to my Etsy shop. But I just went in and changed my FB page, etc. to show my domain website address only and no the Etsy one. Getting ready to get some biz cards and will make sure not to put Etsy website address on there. I haven’t hit 100 sales on Etsy, but hope to very soon. And am realizing I should get started on having another web presence for my shop in addition to Etsy shop. Really appreciate the time you took to thoughtfully write this article. Cheers!

  64. WOW…… I’m sorry you had to go through this, Lisa. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences!!!

    All the best to you!
    Beata

  65. Yes, thank you for letting us know that we shouldn’t have all our items just on Etsy. I have my domain name, but I haven’t found anyone to set up my shop there. So, right now I’m stuck with etsy until I can get some one to set up my own shop that I can maintain. Any help with that would be appreciated.

    I have another question, how do you all with the multiple shops handle business cards, ads, etc.?

    Thanks,
    Jaynemarie

    • Hi Jaynemarie,
      Thanks for commenting. If you own a domain name, you can visit the site where you bought it and have it forwarded to your Etsy shop, since that’s your only place of business right now. If you advertise and print your URL, it’s a little safety net. If you ever decide to move, your customers will be familiar with your URL, you can direct it to another selling platform if you choose. Check back too, some other readers might have different advice for you. All the best!

  66. I love having my own shop on my own domain. When someone buys a bear, they know they got it from TG Bears. When they visit my Etsy shop, they say “I saw this bear on Etsy” and have no clue who actually made the bear.
    I have a number a friends who also had their shops closed overnight. Some due to inaccurate customer reporting and no validation from Etsy admin.

  67. Wow Lisa, that is so scary. I set up my own shop on 3Dcart and it is actually cheaper than being on Etsy for me. Although I do still have a shop there I’ve always been aware of the fact that they own my shop and can do with it as they please. I’m glad you wrote this article, I’m sure you’ll be saving someone else the heartache you’ve just been through.

  68. I understand your panic BUT 2 years and you didn’t know that you couldn’t drop ship? Did you ever read the TOU?

  69. Thanks for sharing your experience, I just started with Etsy in january 2012, but have also recetly started another site on art fire.com, They also have one monthly fee, no % or other fees, and it’s easy to import your etsy listings, just didn’t want to have all my eggs in one basket.

  70. Wow, what a shock! I am so pleased that things worked out for you, but how little time would it take Etsy staff to provide folks with details of exactly what they are being ‘accused’ of, and give them chance to respond/rectify the situation? Why knee jerk reaction? :(

    Anyway, I wanted to thank you for sharing your story, as it is indeed a cautionary tale. I have my domain name already, just haven’t figured out a good webhosting/retail site to move to with my (tiny) store yet.

  71. what a nightmare!
    I am so glad you got through it with such positive thoughts and actions, refreshing.
    Why not try Zibbet.com or Artfire.com?
    They are good venues to sell on and have wonderful communities too.
    I have a dot com but really need to take it to the next level. Taking the reigns of your business can be overwhelming but having communities like Handmadeology are vital. Thank you for posting your experience.

    • Hi Rebecca,
      Thank you for your comment! I think Zibbet and Artfire are more great options for a back-up plan. Personally, I didn’t choose them because I wanted my new site to differentiate itself from the handmade marketplace. I advertise off-site and, if you think about the customer’s first impression of the landing page, it’s host marketplace first, shop owner second. Therefore, I wanted my new site to put the Energy Shop front and center. I appreciate your feedback, and thanks for adding more options to the discussion. Best of luck to you!

  72. Reading all the comments, I only have to said that I admired you. Keep the good work.

  73. Yeah, I’m not a fan of bullies, which is a large part of the reason I don’t have an Etsy shop. I went instead with an eCommerce site from day one and also a shop at http://www.handmadeartists.com. That site is run by actual humans with actual hearts who actually have daily contact with their sellers, buyers, and community. It’s a great alternative for someone who still wants to to be in a handmade community selling arena rather than head right to a stand-alone shop.

  74. Hi Lisa,

    Unfortunately, your story does not surprise me, as my husband and I have undergone the same treatment as you, even to the extent of having to videotape ourselves for Etsy.

    Also, I have a friend who is currently under “investigation” and another friend not too long ago experience just as you, her shop being shut down with absolutely no reason given at all.

    We sold and were very successful on Etsy for a little over a year. We no longer sell on Etsy and have our own website. We are doing very well “going rogue” LOL as we had a very strong repeat customer business on Etsy, as well as great customer referrals.

    These were our reasons that led us to leave Etsy:

    1.) Etsy’s preferential treatment given to what we refer to as the “popular people” on Etsy regarding Front Page presence. There seems to be a trend of connected groups of sellers (usually members of treasury teams that are invitation only) that have constant FP presence. This claim we state can easily be verified by going to craftcult.com and entering a shop’s name to view how many times they have appeared on Etsy’s FP in the last 3 months. It’s absolutely staggering to discover the preferential treatment these shops receive.

    2.) Discovering Etsy frequently alters their algorithm looking for specific additional wording to connect to the actual product search. We discovered when there seemed to suddenly be a lull with one of our categories selling, we completed a product search and discovered that for some reason we were no longer showing up, not even in our paid etsy search ads. However, the easy remedy was to just go to the shops with a large Etsy presence “the popular shops” selling the same product and find the specific trick wording that Etsy was now looking for in addition to the actual product search. Once we found the connection in all of the shops, we altered our listings and poof! we were relevant again.

    3.) In every setting that Etsy is recommending items for their customers to buy (Etsy’s trend e-mails, suggested holiday “gift’s for her”, “gifts for him”, etc…) — consistently, the same “popular shops” are the main presence. These are typically the same shops that have been featured sellers at one time as well.

    We initially thought Etsy was a wonderful handmade artisan e-commerce site when we signed up. Just a little over a year later, we discovered instead, that Etsy seems to be one big connected sham.

    As a final word, if you are not one of the “popular shops”, and you are successful on Etsy, don’t be surprised if you suddenly find yourself under “investigation”. The “popular shops” don’t like competition and seem to have the ability or should we say the “connection” to just get rid of you.

    • Thank you, Lynn, for your very thoughtful response. I’m sorry you’ve faced such disappointment. Wishing you much success :)

    • Hi Lynn! I have been reading the article and the long chain of answers, and yours just opened my eyes even more. My shop on Etsy is really not successfull and I am partially responsible for this luck of success. But aside from that, I have been wondering why on earth my items stop being ‘relevant’ in a matter of hours and have been racking my brains to always renew and improve my tags and all that long etcetera. Now I understand the problem much better. What you say makes sense and I’m really happy I read it. I have been thinking about leaving Etsy anyway, I already have my own website, and I’ll focus my efforts on it. Thank you!

    • Hi Lynn,

      I agree with your observations as well. I’ve only been with Etsy for a few months, but it seems like the same shops are always on the front page. Not only that, but Etsy seem to only favor a certain artistic style. For example, the featured wedding invitations are never a collection of various style, but just that one style. And because of that, I don’t really feel like Etsy is a community for all artists… just Etsy’s favorite type of artists.

      As of right now, I will stay with Etsy until I am able to find time to venture to a different platform from Etsy. But I must say that I’m glad I reserved a domain name the same day I filed my business name. I also reserved all possible email addresses with Yahoo, Gmail, etc. to reflect my business name… just to protect myself from possible scammers who might impersonate my business name.

      Anyway, thanks for sharing your insights. I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one who noticed Etsy’s favoritism.

  75. Lisa,
    Thanks so much for this article! I’m so sorry you had to go through all that, but it sounds like you kept your head on straight and walked through it gracefully as possible. Thanks again for sharing what you learned from this, so we don’t have to panic if similar happens to us. Great advice; a back up plan is such a good idea.

  76. Thank you for that information! And thanks too for letting us know how you handled it :)

  77. Echoing everyone else’s sentiments here, Lisa – WOW.

    What a miserable experience to have to go through. As a writer I sell small-time stuff in my Etsy shop (zines, flip books, bookmarks, etc.) and was considering whether I should put my first novel in the shop or if my efforts to promote would be better served by buying a domain. I think you just answered that question for me, in detail.

    Sometimes learning from other’s mistakes is good because it helps us to move forward. In this instance though it pains me to have learned through you. I can’t imagine the feelings you had. Thank you for the courage to share the experience though, it is so appreciated.

    You work hard for your business and live off the income it provides. No one should be able to take that away. I’m so glad you got it sorted out & are looking into other venues for your business. Best of luck!

  78. Oh my goodness! I just cannot believe that happened to you! I know exactly how you felt, I too just about lost everything I had worked so hard to accomplish. I am going to take your advice and start saving stuff like crazy!

  79. Lisa, I am so sorry you had such a horrible experience and am extremely thankful that you were willing to share your story for others’ benefit. The suggestions about other online retail sites are timely for me-I create greeting cards that don’t quite fit Etsy’s product definition so now I can check out Artfire and other sites to see if my products match their TOU.

    Wishing you all the best with your handmade business. :)

  80. I have read dozens of similar accounts on the Artfire forums, a lot of people never were told how they were supposed to have infringed Etsy’s TOS and were never reinstated. I’m glad to hear you got your shop back but it is true it’s never wise to have all your eggs in one basket!

  81. Hang in there! We have had several members come to us with Etsy integrity team nightmare stories.
    Andrew

  82. Thanks so much for sharing your story and I’m so sorry this happened to you! I always recommend to all my clients that they have their own URL as well in addition to their Etsy store and this is a great example of why that’s so needed!

  83. I recently set up shop with Zibbet and Cargoh.com. Tim you would be perfect for Cargoh.com. Check them out. Even though I haven’t made any sells on there YET I like their site.

  84. I guess it’s not such a bad thing I’ve been dragging my feet about opening an Etsy shop; I have two different businesses, one which I’d be doing all by myself, but the other – well, my business partner get together regularly and make stuff. That would get me tossed me off Etsy just like the amorphous charge of ‘drop shipping’…

  85. I have been going through this same thing. Until it happened to me I hadn’t realised how many other sellers were being put under the microscope and asked to complete the questionnaire with photographic evidence. I still do not have my shop reopened and am still to get an answer as to what I have done wrong. They are so very quick to accuse but are not willing to communicate and resolve whatever the issue is. It has certainly opened my eyes and I am thankful I did have a backup site as otherwise would have lost all my listing details .

  86. Wow…I am so happy to have read this article. My husband sells on Ebay and he is constantly worried about things like this happening to him because it happens all the time there. I guess I didnt even think about it happening at Etsy…

  87. Here’s an article that will chill your blood:
    http://youthoughtwewouldntnotice.com/blog3/copying-stalking-and-shop-deletions-on-etsy/

    You can find me at http://www.Rivkasmom.com and Rivkasmom on Artfire.

  88. oh Lisa and Tim, thank you so much for sharing what happened to you. I know of number of people from my teams that had their shops suspended. It is a nerve wrecking experience. And they didn’t even get any questionnaire, nothing, no warning at all from Etsy admin. I tell you I started searching for alternatives to Etsy the minute it happened to my friend. You would expect to get a little bit more respect for all the hard work and money you pay in high fees, wouldn’t you. Thank you for the links. I will definitely look into it.

  89. I’m very sorry you had to go through this painfull experience, Lisa. Etsy’s attitude was unfair and abusive. I already had my misgivings about the site and reading about your ordeal further helps put things into perspective. I’m happy you were able to solve the problem and thank you for sharing it with us in such a clear, dispassionate way. I bet it took a lot of effort! :)

    Also thanks to Tim for offering Handmadeology as a publishing platform for it!

  90. I’ve had my own website longer than I’ve had my etsy shop. Etsy is merely a different venue, mostly for my mid to lower price point pieces, excess supplies (destash), and tutorials. One must think of etsy as a kind of mall and your shop as a kiosk in the mall. You abide by their rules and hope you’ve read the TOU as correctly as possible. But you can’t depend on it as if it was YOUR place.

  91. Just saw the link to this article in my inbox. This article chills my blood. Thankfully i,m in the process of setting up my own online store (I have 2 etsy shops but they are on vacation right now)which also comes with a facebook shop that mirrors exactly your main website,PLUS a embedd shop you can put on any blog platform. The website provider is
    http://www.goodsie.com please check out their etsy team. The customer support is first rate,fast and friendly. So many ways to customise, PLUS if your a developer you,ll be in heaven as you can do even more!

    They do 30days free trial plus a referral scheme. If you join the etsy team and type in the code “handmade” you’ll get 60 DAYS FREE!
    Try it out and check out their blog as well.
    No one should have the right to interfere with people who really are making handmade not reselling as so many people are doing.

    Definately research and explore as many selling options as possiable, you can always cut back the unsuccessful ones later.
    Thanks for the article Lisa and thanks Timothy for publishing it.

  92. Thanks so much for telling your story and for supplying the other places to sell. I want to try the shopify free trial.

    FEEDBACK QUESTION: What is the fastest way to save your etsy feedback? I have 50 pages of it. I don’t want to have to copy and paste every page individually. Can you download it like you can download the sales data?

    • Hi Rhonda, Thank you! I’m not sure about your feedback question: I’ve never seen an option to download it as a report. I would start copying over a few of your favorites as a word doc. All the best!

  93. Lisa and Tim,
    Thank you so much for this information! I wondered what that meant when I ran across the phrase “Uh oh! A stitch has gone awry. This page is temporarily down. Please check back later.” Now I know! :-( I will definitely be checking out the links you sent as well. Thank you for turning this scary situation into a positive one by helping all of us with your information! And thank you Tim!!

  94. I have been on Etsy for several years. I used to sell my art on Ebay until the resellers took over the “For Sale by Artist” section. Now Etsy has become Ebay.
    I finally decided to cover my butt and opened my own website , keeping my Etsy shop open just as a presence to drive folks to my site. The final straw prior to taking this step was all the furor over PayPal and its account-freezing issues. I’ve already had a run-in with Paypal over a purchase hubby made on Ebay where we had to cancel our credit card a week before Christmas so PayPal would not give our funds to a hacker.
    Now I have my own domain, an easy-to-build site on iPage and rather than deal with the expense and hassle of my own shopping cart I set shops up on WePay and imbed them on my site. WePay Is cheaper than PayPig and deposits your funds directly into your bank account rather than sitting on it like PayPig. Sure, the shop-creation section could use a little work but I understand they are making improvements already.
    Resellers make a lot of money for Ebay and Etsy. Why do you think they side with them? Anyone who speaks up about the reseller issue is scolded by Etsy and told to stop ‘calling out’. We need a true HANDMADE ONLY venue. No supplies, no vintage, and no f***ing resellers.

  95. this is outrageous but I’m glad you shared your experience, it must have been grueling yet healing for you to pull together the details in order to help others- I’m very grateful for this and especially Tim Adams to champion you! Doing business is sleezy business for many, MANY folks- to them it’s “sport”… but I’m glad to know there are still honest people like you and hope you continue to enjoy the rewards of both creating AND selling your own work. At the end of the day, that’s really what it’s all about. <3

  96. Hi Lisa,

    It’s late here in Australia (2.40am) and I’m not really seeing straight….does Retailr allow you to make in NZ and send to USA for items to be shipped from there?

    I am close to considering whether to set up an Etsy shop myself, and don’t believe I’d be shut down, as I make and sell from my own home….but don’t want to supply them with nearly all my meagre profits if I can get away with it, so I might look into Retailr instead…hopefully they allow international sellers.

    Good luck in your continuation of business growth.

    Hugs
    Naomi

    • HI Naomi! Thank you for your comment. Retailr doesn’t regulate any side of the business, they just host. I’m not sure if they accept international residents, but they’ll get back to you quickly if you ask :) All the best!

  97. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, Lisa. It’s a real eyeopener. I’ve had my domain name for some time, but never could find enough time to really do something about it. And I’ve always wanted a stand alone website of my own. You have given me a kick that I needed and I thank you for that. And I know you are gonna be all right, because your story sounds so positive no matter the difficulties you went through. God Bless and take care :)
    Marija

  98. Thanks so much for this post – have taken advice and as of today, hope to have a website called http://www.coldhamcuddlies.com – just in case.

    My thanks to Eva for her warning and cautionary tale!

  99. Wow! I didn’t know Etsy could do that without more discussion with the shop owner. I have already been looking into my own site. Thanks for this info, it is pushing me in the right direction.

  100. What great articles. Thanks so much for the info. Will check it all out!

  101. Thank you so so so much for sharing this Lisa! I have written on my board my goals for the year and one is to get my own website. Think I have gotten too content with Etsy and not made any moves on it….until I read this article lol! Thanks so much for sharing with us and for motivating me to sign up for my own domain name…TODAY!!

    Many continued blessings with your business, I love your shop!

    ~Chari

    • Thank you, Chari! That’s wonderful. I know I made a goal the day this happened: “Have url-directed shop up by December 30.” It was so simple, it only took a few days! Seems a lot more overwhelming than it actually is :) All the best, Lisa

  102. ok, you’ve convinced me. I have two successful handmade shops on Etsy. It’s scary when you wrote “you don’t own your business, etsy does”.
    I’m on it, thank you for the nudge!

  103. Omg.. that is so awful.. I am glad that it got resolved. I have been on etsy for a long time and would really cry if I go check my shop and it was gone, I would sure not know what to do. But this really makes me wake up and finish up my website.. I opened it up but have not finish it and now really want to put all I can into it. Thanks so much for this great article and send you blessings to your continued success!!! =^.^=

  104. This is one of the best articles yet. I am so grateful I read the whole thing and plan to consider all the info it contains carefully.

  105. Lisa, I am retired military and I hate seeing that happen to you especially when you have a military member in your family serving our country.

    I am happy to see that things are working out well for you since the day you were suspended. Things could have been a lot worse with your Etsy shop.

    I hope that your story will wake other Etsy sellers up so that should something like this happen to other Etsy sellers it will not take them too long to get up and running on another venue.

  106. I’m glad that you were able to get your shop back. Unfortunately when I was accused, I wasn’t given any chance to defend myself and only got rude, snarky replies from the legal department when I tried. If your shop is deactivated and Etsy won’t let you defend yourself, you end up losing your current shops AND being banned from trying to start over with them.

    Out of the limbo, I’ve started my own domain, but it’s slow going. I’ve lost my original buyer base and all that credibility I’d built over a period of six years. If I was making a recommendation to someone else starting out, I would strongly recommend they have their own domain that links to an Etsy or other shop additionally so that they always have a back-up plan.

  107. Lisa, wow.thanks for sharing this with us.
    I dont even want to think how I would have reacted in your place.

    Tim,
    isn’t it a problem google wise to export your whole shop as is ?

  108. Vanessa at Rescued Goods

    Very informative. Thank you for posting about this. Lots to think about!

  109. Thanks! That is a good bit of advice.

  110. That it a complete horror story – I have 4 shops and only now do I realise what I have to lose if Etsy decided they didn’t like me for any reason.

    I already have a domain name and a Craftlaunch site, but it populates from Etsy, so if that was withdrawn my website would fail too.

    I think I need a back up plan – thanks so much for sharing your difficult experience.

  111. Thanks so much for sharing your story Lisa. I’m glad that you were able to overcome, but how frustrating not to be able to ship from wherever, since you are the maker and seller of the goods.
    I appreciate your generosity in giving us a heads-up and some tips. I zoomed over to United Domains and bought my domain name immediately!
    I only sell my destash stuff in my Etsy shop and I’m not very active there, but I would be in deep trouble if my Ruby Lane shop was taken out from under me without warning. Not that I expect them to. :)
    Thanks again and very best of luck to you!

  112. Who runs etsy, anyway? I found your article absorbing, disturbing and ultimately positive in that there are things we can do to protect ourselves. It’s appalling that they have this power and ultimately, very uncool. I like the people on etsy but am disappointed in the apparent lack of human communication. It is beyond insensitive that they would cut you off without hearing your side of things.
    Will definitely be checking out the places and things you mentioned. Thanks and all the best!

  113. My shop just got suspended today! I don’t know what to do, but I’m glad that you brought up this topic. I need to save all my information from Etsy just in case they permanently delete everything.

    My stomach is turning!

  114. thanks so much for sharing your experience. Although it sounded like a complete nightmare, it seems like you were able to work it out in the end. Still, it is very scary and it’s good to have a “head’s up” about what could possibly happen. I certainly won’t be offering drop shipping!

  115. Thank you for sharing this! I do have a question about Indiemade AND Retailr. How can I search to find if my “competition” is using these sites? I’m willing to try one of these out, but I want to make sure that I am easily findable. I know that I can do SEO stuff with my blog for my business, but I want to really be sure, since I know that Etsy is one of those places that has a pretty strong following. I am at a point where my Etsy bills are just under $100/month, and I would LOVE to pay less if possible!

    Thanks!

    • Angie, I can’t answer about indiemade (Tim’s recommendation), as I haven’t had a chance to check it out. I’m using retailr as an independent e-commerce site, it’s not a handmade community or a marketplace like Etsy. Thanks!

  116. Thanks for sharing and I feel your pain. I don’t have a success story on etsy yet, but I do made sale here and there.

    Etsy has good and bad. For me, etsy is a good start and when the shop is going well in term of sale, and customer base. Then that’s the time to have your own website. Etsy will became ebay. Just like the big mall with lot of sellers. More rules more fees.

    For now the worst of Etsy is the Feedback. People can just give you a negative feedback without hold. That’s just sad !!

  117. I can’t believe this. You ship them to someone on the country where you get most sales and you are not allowed to? Jeeeesh! I knew there was a reason I was thinking of moving to my own domain.

  118. Thanks Tim for sharing Lisa’s post with us. It confirms for me what I’ve been doing of late, i.e., focusing on my own website marketing over my Etsy shop. I am sooooo grateful to have my own websites!

  119. Wow Lisa!

    Thank you so much for writing this –

    I have a store which on Etsy and it is all I do – I cannot even begin to imagine how I would feel if this happened to me. I started my store in 2009 because I was a cancer patient and could not go back in to the work force so decided to do work from home.

    My store is very successful – I am not going to list it here (in case Etsy reads this posting) but I can tell you some things that sadden me about Etsy:

    I get Etsy – and I get that there are different types of people on there. There are people who do things as a hobby, there are people like me who actually form an LLC and actually do this as a living. We work hard, we follow the rules, our clients by xyz and we give them that and above.

    To me – Etsy has been a wonderful way to reach out to clients that if we did not have this marketplace, we might not get as many clients – I have thought about using several other sources but am worried about hits and google results. For me, my clients are based mostly overseas.

    How I feel is – Etsy is getting all this business from me – have any of you done your taxes and see what you PAY THEM? HOW MUCH THEY MAKE OFF OF US????

    Yet.. we cannot talk to them. We cannot express our frustrations or concerns – and also – they do not really support us as a storefront. To me, they support our clients. That does not make sense. This is not J. Crew where someone is buying a t-shirt made by Etsy – they are buying OUR products made by US and Etsy is not paying for our small business expenses. They do nothing for us but give us a storefront.

    In my experience since 2009, when I work with a client, if I feel it is not a good fit, I might refund the client and cancel a transaction (I do large scale projects that cost a lot) and since I work with people for a long time personalities play a role in the process. However, Etsy does not protect me. The person can get mad and just write crazy stuff under my feedback – for what? For kindly saying “hey, I do not think I will be a good fit for your needs – I think you should find a different designer.”

    The one thing that I can honestly say that makes me sad every single day is that I have to walk on eggshells because Etsy does not support its stores – people who work 80 hour work weeks – charging fair or below fair (compared to my competition online) prices… providing high quality work, bending over backwards.

    Who protects me? ..

    and then look at paypal.. they don’t protect us either?

    Thank God I have never had a “case” on Etsy or Paypal – but honestly, it is because if a client is ugly or is going to take advantage of me, instead of putting my foot down and doing what is RIGHT and standing up for myself, I suck it up, work for free and do whatever I can to get OUT of the situation.

    All this does is make me cynical and jaded – and I am a designer and an artist who LOVES what I do.. I have PASSION… I ADORE and WORK HARD for my clients…

    why should we be put in situations like this?

    Anyway – your post scared the crap out of me…. and I need to really start weaning off of Etsy and start having other venues so that I can work hard and get the support I need and the respect.

    What did Etsy do for me this year – wait – they sent me a little letterpress poster with three little Etsy buttons and a book bag for making over 200k in revenue. Thats it. No support!

    Have you also noticed that if you are successful they no longer promote you. I use to show up first in my section – now they only promote stores with small sales or new stores. Really? I work my butt off but because my numbers are high and my revenue is great I am not worthy to show up in their search engine.

    Sorry for the long winded response.. but ACK!!!

  120. Thanks for sharing your situation with us. What happened to you is something I fear with my own shop. It is my lively hood, and not a hobby….I do have my own domain name/names and site, but I don’t receive as much traffic from that as I do Etsy….

    Your experience is definitely food for thought….Glad it was resolved for you and that you found another place to start selling through, in addtion to Etsy….

    Best of luck!

  121. Lisa,that is shocking! Were you able to resolve the issue and are you back on Etsy? I would love to know.

  122. Oh wow! I gasped when I read this. It is such and informative post and a wake up call for me too. I thought selling on etsy will be my everything. Thank you for sharing this, Lisa. I am sure I will do your suggestion to save my shop from unfortunate event like this.
    Best of Luck to you!

  123. This is very useful information. Forewarned is forearmed – thanks much!

  124. Great post! I have always had and maintained my webpage and shopping cart aside from Etsy. But to gain visibility and credibility I started selling on etsy, ebay, and a few other sites. I still sell on Etsy but don’t solely rely on it now thanks to your article I feel like I’ve done the right thing :) thanks for sharing I will share this on FB!

  125. Our shop was just suspended today. We sell wedding items. I was in the middle of creating a new listing when it happened. I’m freaking out. Mainly because I have no idea why. I’m supposed to have an email about it, but we have received nothing.

  126. Oh my goodness – what an ordeal. Great reading and advice for any Etsy seller – thanks so much Lisa!

    Sadie

  127. What I cannot understand is how Etsy allows resellers of “non handmade” goods to stay online, even after it’s brought to their attention. Check out the Treasury made on March 9th of this year entitled “Simply Unique” – it’s an owl pendant times 16 where people have claimed to made it themselves. Of course, Etsy stopped the link to it, but you can still see the front page. Have all of these people been suspended? I doubt it. Etsy makes too much money from the resellers to actually do something about the real culprits!

  128. Thanks for the heads up, and for not bashing Etsy! And sorry for the scary experience you had to go through!

  129. Thank you so much for writing this article as this happened to me about 3 weeks ago. A customer asked if I had more of an item left and I went to check on the inventory and my shop was gone! Like you, this has become my livelihood. I was lost! I cried and I emailed Etsy for 3 days straight with no response. My shop is once again open but I find myself checking it all day throughout the day just to see if it is still up and running! That is no way to run a small business so I too purchased a domain (www.sassyabbyjewelry.com) and am trying to send visitors to my site instead of Etsy. I pay big fees to Etsy each month because I sell A LOT. I agree that Etsy should ONLY be your “starter” home, not your permanent one! Thanks so much for this article.You are not the only one!

    Nikki

  130. You should really send this story to April at http://www.regretsy.com she can really make this well known! And with the amount of resell cheap bs that gets sold on etsy and gets away with being sold on etsy this is ridiculous that they did this too you.

  131. Thank-you for the huge eyeopener! Would love to see a blog devoted to this subject. It seems Etsy has sold out to the IRS, Paypal as well as the overseas suppliers shops! PayPal also can and will suspend your account at the click of a button and more alternatives need to be out there where shop owners and potential shop owners can find information on alternative venues all in one place.

  132. I know there are lots of domain name providers out there and I have purchased a couple that I never followed up on because I was not ready to at the time, but with both, as I recall, they increased the fees by a huge amount by the second year! Does anyone have any good recommendations?

    • You can google “buy domain” and find alternative options. Maybe some readers will share their experience. Thanks for throwing it out there for us to think about :)

  133. As I read your story, it echos what I went through a month ago. February 15th, to be exact, only I’m still waiting for some sort of communication from Etsy.

    It was a hit that has changed my whole life, and there really isn’t time to recover in this economy.

    Devastated is an understatement, when I blogged about this, the responses came in droves, know that you are NOT alone!

  134. Hi Everyone,

    Reading your comments brings up one of my fearful concerns. With a etsy shop and my own website where do I concentrate my social media & SEO. Etsy has a lot of exposure but I want to hedge my bets with my own site that has more flexibility.

    Lastly, if I use social media on both where do I spend the most time???

    You recommendtions would be appreciated.

    • Hi Lydia,
      This would be a personal decision. My plan is to continue to build and grow on Etsy, but my long-term goals include becoming independent of any marketplace. Thanks and all the best!

      • Thanks Lisa,

        I apprciate you taking the time to answer. I have to decide ASAP as it would be confusing to send prospects to more thanone site.

  135. Thank you so much for this article. My shop was suspended because I wasn’t able to issue a refund to a Russian customer through PayPal (my account originated in Canada, and didn’t allow the transaction for some reason). The two cheques I had sent through the mail were both lost. Although the customer and I were still in communication, she had reported a non-delivery which stuck to the account. As much as we both tried to explain the situation to Etsy Admin – it was a $6 refund, she wasn’t worried about it anymore – they had deactivated my account and suspended my shop. Over $6. This shop helped pay for groceries and have a little mad money, it was really useful. I felt like I was rather expendable when it came to their numbers; it seems like a lot of politics when it comes to featured sellers, interviews, new artists etc. I’m not entirely sure they’re on the same page as a lot of these handmade artists are anymore. I don’t think I’ll be returning to Etsy anytime soon, which is a shame, because there’s a lot of beautiful stuff on there.

    Beyond that, it’s unfortunate that they close your shop with your kind of history, yet there are dozens upon dozens of shops that clearly sell wholesale products.

  136. Thank you for taking the time to pass this on. I really hope I’ll never need this info but I am warned, and keeping it just in case!
    I won’t be closing my eBay shop any time soon …

  137. I have been selling on Etsy for 4 years and while I understand your frustration, with all due respect, you were technically breaking their TOS by shipping from a remote location. Their ballfield, their rules. I’m glad they settled your case in your favor. SOme people aren’t so lucky!
    I was a top seller on ArtFire too, but have given up on them.
    I’ve been wanting to set up my own site since closing ArtFire, but so many of them look SO complicated. Looking into Retailr, it looks pretty simple. How is their SEO? I don’t really see anything about that. Thanks for the info.

  138. Thank you for this article. You have given me much to consider. Blessings to you!

  139. Great article, Lisa! Sadly, yours is certainly not the first time I’ve heard of this happening. But yours IS the first one I’ve heard being reinstated!

    Etsy has gotten far too big, and equally diluted. The pure handmade artisans are lost in a sea of vintage and mass-produced supplies. Although my shop on Etsy still exists, it’s dwindling away… I’ve moved to http://www.HandmadeArtists.com. The fees are ridiculously low ($5/month flat rate… no listing fees, no final value fees, items never expire) and the owners, themselves handmade artisans, are tireless promoters.

    For those of us who are on the technically challenged side {raising hand}, having our own domain is just out of our skill set. For those that can manage their own web site, absolutely go for it!

  140. “I thought I owned my small business, but by having my only presence on Etsy, it turns out that I didn’t. Etsy owns the shops they host, and they reserve the right to manage them however they choose.”

    Of course this is not only the case with Etsy. I’ve sold on several different sites over the 12 years I’ve been selling vintage clothing and vintage patterns. I’ve always had my own domain so that I had the freedom to move my shop should I need to.

    I’m so sorry this happened to you. It was great of you to share your experience with others so they can set up a contingency plan just in case.

  141. I am the type to always over research something before I do it and then I have to push the boundaries to see where the line really is. It makes me feel good to read this because I see that I’ve already put myself in a good spot. I have my own domain and I never thought I would stay on Etsy long so I’ve already looked at other options (tho the options mentioned in this article I had not seen yet so yay to knew info!) I hadn’t even made my first sale when Etsy contacted me about a shop violation. They said I had links to other retailers in my shop info. I explained that my links were for information purposes only and then went on to give examples of profiles on their homepage that day (including the featured seller) that had links in from their store going outside Etsy. I told them if they decided to close my store a wanted an updated bill with prorated rates since my listing weren’t even 25% of the way through their time allotment. They replied (thankfully) that my shop was “ok” to remain open. I think it is crucial to take charge in that situation. I’m almost positive my assertiveness played a part in the outcome of that disagreement. Remember that we can’t succeed without our customers but also that Etsy can’t succeed without their customers and WE are Etsy’s customers.

    I would like to add a payment processing option for those needing one. Square Up (https://squareup.com/) offers good rates to process credit cards and it is great if you are doing art fairs since they send you a free tool to scan the cards with an android/iPhone/iPad.

  142. wow, a wakeup call indeed! thank you for sharing this with us all. made a list of things i need to do for my little shop.

  143. Thanks again for all your support. See this topic being discussed in the Wall Street Journal:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304299304577349731690704306.html?mod=wsj_share_tweet

  144. wow incredible story!! i would probably weep too if my shop is closed now with no warning. thanks for this wake up call to not leave all our business eggs in one basket. thanks for sharing, and I’m so glad your shop is up and running again <3

  145. Thanks! My fiance’ and I have a small business and we have been debating on opening an Etsy Store, but I wanted to do research first and I came across your post… as a result I am going to research Retailrapp and talk this over with my fiance’ when he gets home from work!

    Thanks again,
    Cornita K.

  146. Wow this was such a good article. I’ve looked at Lisa’s ETSY shop many times and I hate that this happened to her I know this was devastating and she never thought that anything like this could or would happen. I guess you never think about anything like that happening. This really did put something on my mind and I’m saving this article for future references.

    Thank you Lisa and Tim
    for telling us all about this

  147. Just wanted to bring this article to your attention:

    http://www.regretsy.com/2012/04/24/update-ecologica-malibu/

    Etsy has redesigned a lot of rules in order to keep this blatant reseller up and active. From Etsy’s article, “The ‘How’ of Handmade”

    “We also understand that shops often involve people who don’t have a hand in physically making the products, but who are vital for other aspects of running the business, like accounting or order fulfillment. Our use of the word “collective” in the policy has been unintentionally misleading; that’s a word that carries certain connotations that may be counter to the reality of the policy. Etsy does not restrict the formalities of the relationships between people within a business; they may be family members without a formal agreement, they may be equal partners, or one may be the employer and others employees.”

    Apparently, now I can call myself a “collective” and they understand my hiring help with order fulfillment. Or, no. They weren’t willing to understand for me, but they have chosen to widen the rules for Ecologica to save face.

  148. Thank you for posting this. This is extremely helpful and takes guts to share this! I am going to look into other options as well!

  149. This may be the most important etsy-related blog post I’ve ever read. I have never thought of it in that way – and for everything to just suddenly be gone – poof. Wow. I’ve got some thinking and soul-searching to do. Glad it worked out for you; a great lesson to us all.

  150. Hi i would like to say thank you for writting this it has really opened my eyes to what can go wrong and how much control a company can have with out you realising! scary! glad you was able to sort the problem out and good luck with everything in the future x

  151. I just had the same experience as you yesterday! I receive an audit notice on Friday, took my photos, wrote my descriptiong, sent my receipts as requested. Then BAM! Closed! I received a cold form letter with zero explanation as to what policy I am violating. My shop had grown significantly in success with 100% positive feedback and almost 1300 sales. What did I do wrong? They still have not answered. I am devastated! So much effort erased in a blink. I bawled my eyes out yesterday like I had been fired.

    • Yes, Julie … good words. It’s strange to feel like you’ve been fired from the business you started from scratch. All the best to you!

    • Julie,

      I am so sorry that this happened to you. Unfortunately, it has recently happened to me too (3/7/14). Since your post is from 2012, I am wondering how everything turned out. Did you ever get your shop reopened? If so, how?

  152. Thank you so much for this post. It’s really smart to work outside of just one place, so even if they go haywire, you still have something to work with. I feel for you – I’ve had frustrating discussions with admin from sites, but never to this degree!!! I am going to check out Retailr.. I’ve been thinking about starting my own site for a while – I think it’s really smart to have a few options! Thank you again, I really appreciated this post!

  153. Thank you for your article. I just found out today that the Showcase ads on Etsy are being removed in favor of Search ads (which have not worked for me.)I’m frustrated because I have had my own website for 9 years, but as of 8 months ago, could no longer afford $2500 in advertising that wasn’t bringing me equivalent sales. So as of Dec. 2011 I started a shop on Etsy. It’s slow going, but I at least sell things. Or at least I did. After reading your article, I realized I was putting all my eggs in one basket yet again. Very frustrating to have to keep trying to find venues that actually make money without losing a ton.

    erin

  154. i have same happen too, Etsy deactivated my shop. we really hard hard work to manage my shop, we open Etsy store 2008

    we had 26000 sales,

    more then 16000 positive feedback, we sold each day $1000.00-$1500.00 USD from Etsy.

    so great with Etsy,

    but after this happen, we lose so much work ..we lose our stuff,worker many thing

    we lose so much. we can’t expect etsy remove our shop.

    we are top seller #1 for India.

    we many many repeat customer, who buy our shop each month.

    we doing really good for Etsy

    but smaller issue Etsy closed my shop

    we had to pay Etsy almost $1200 USD fees

    we had approx each months $1000-$1200.00 USD fees

    because we sold more then $30000.00-$40000.00 From Etsy

    we do our best. we almost plane to open our personal domain.

    so then we transfer our website out side of etsy, but after this happen they closed my account ..we lose all are date etsy website

    we do nothing ..

    we lot of email from etsy, but they no listen ..they just closed my etsy account

    for only smaller issue they closed our store ..

    you will aware this issue too.

    our each month fees are $1200.00 to $1500.00

    since for India seller, we can’t pay Payment from Paypal, we need to use credit card.

    WE CAN’T PAY PAYPAL BALANCE FOR PAYMENT, NEW PAYPAL INDIA RULES.

    SO OUR USA FRIEND HELP TO PAYING MY ETSY FEES.

    SO ALSO SHE WORK OUR ETSY STORE TOO,

    ALL ARE OKAY, BUT AFTER 24 JANUARY ETSY SUSPEND MY ACCOUNT AND EMAIL ME,

    WE NEED QUESTION ABOUT YOUR ACCOUNT, THEN WE REVIEW AND WORK OUR NEXT STEP.

    Etsy email me,

    how many people’s work your store ?

    where you ship ?

    where you locate ?

    who work online business ?

    we reply.

    all are we do my self, we work 4 peoples stuff, packing,shipping,listing,and take picture, and other.

    then

    etsy email me,

    how some one paying your Etsy fees ?

    we already told etsy customer services team,

    we had paypal problem, that why some one paying my Etsy fees ..

    but they closed my account .. :(

    and say please do not email to our, we did not response .. :( :(

    now we try to find what we do where we sell ???

    Vakar

  155. My Etsy shop was suspended in EXACTLY the same manner as the author of this article. I received the same questionnaire and was perfectly transparent about every detail. They did not say why I was being suspended. Being as diligent as I always try to be, I answered in great detail. Two hours worth of photos etc.

    Then after I gave them the info that I had an assistant in another state. I taught her to make one of my designs and she shipped them. They would not reinstate me saying that “drop shipping” was not allowed. She only made six items in the past six months. I have since let her go. What a shame as it helped me keep up on my orders and now I must go back to turning people away. My shop is back up after 24 hours but I will take EVERY MORSEL OF ADVICE from Lisa– THANK YOU!!! for opening my eyes.

    Etsy makes $250-250/month from my sales and have followed every rule and stipulation in the past 2.5 years. I spent nearly 10K on my supplies last year on Etsy as well. They do not use their money wisely.

    I vote for phone support and more people to answer and help you on Etsy. They use stock replies constantly. I can send the same question to different employees and get the exact same mundane reply. They are going big according to recent articles in the Wall Street Journal. Where is there money going? 875,000 sellers, do they really care about the invested sellers?

    When I asked why this review , was it just a routine exercise in a disclosure for handmade? She agreed but it really does not make sense. Why shut someone down first with no warning either? I have since written a detailed e-mail asking some more questions.

    You do not want this to happen to you but it could! This experience, in my opinion, is akin to bullying and harassment. I feel vulnerable on Etsy and now must take the correct steps to protect myself. Thank you for the article and take heed fellow sellers!

    • Thank you, Sarah. I’d have to say, I vote for phone support too. Etsy’s making millions off of sellers–the least you could do is add a few operators and an 800 line. All the best to you!

  156. Lisa thank you for sharing your story,and really sorry to hear that..
    Same thing happened to me just few days ago,shop been suspended,really sad and angry as I am the only one work for my own shop, all my works made by myself from very beginning to the end, they suspended my shop without any notice, I feel extremely unfair, I replied to them few time with all the information they asked, but the mail did not go through at all, I don’t know if I send it to the wrong email address or what, I really don’t know what to do now,I feel lost…..><
    My few years hard work in Etsy..all gone…

    • Hi Lisa, like all others, my shop is suspended a few days ago! Same to you, I answered all the 15 questions they gave me. They thanks me but need me to provide photo with step by step illustration on how to make them. I got so many handmade goods, how can I did all? So I show them one and express my angry in this non-sense action. This is totally insulting all handmade lovers like all of us!
      I don’t think my shop had any chance to re-open again as I complain their required action.
      Thanks Lisa and everyone here for your precious advices!
      SHAME on ETSY!

    • I’m sorry, Bee. Best of luck to you.

  157. My shop was shut down as well because of someone’s jealously of my ability. It was wrong and now I am only able to sell beads and findings on Etsy. No handmade jewelry at all. So I went to Art Fire and now I sell my handmade items along with items I buy for resale as well. I have only had it for 2 months and have done petty good for such a short time on a venue I know nothing about and I am not done with it. I still have over a thousand items to list on it yet. I have another site at indiemade that I am going to build a blog and a site there as well. When I am done, I am going to shut down my Etsy site and give my $200.00 plus to someone else other than Etsy. With that kind of money going out every month I am surprise that they don’t care about there people anymore and yes the one gal is right. There are hundreds of shops on Etsy that sell stuff they buy for resale. They don’t know how to create so the buy it and sell it. I have seen it more and more all the time and nothing happens to them only to the ones who actually make their own items for sale. I will be telling them soon where to put it. I do not feel alone any more. I lost 95% of my income and 85% of my customer base because of someones jealousy. WRONG!! Shut her down, see how she likes it but I would not wish that on anyone so I really should not say that. I am just angry because I lost my home over it. It has been my income for 6 years and did not ever think that could even happen. Now I am working on my 3rd site. I will never put all my eggs in one basket again and I do not recommend that to anyone.

  158. Very useful information. Thank you for sharing this with us. Big wake up call really!

  159. Lisa, thank you for sharing your experience with us. I remember visiting your beautiful shop last year and I think we may have chatted by convo. Anyway, I have a friend who’s a very talented fiber artist who’s shop was mysteriously suspended. She said she never found out why. Since that time, I’ve kept it in the back of my mind that this could happen to anyone at any time.

    Every so often I re-read Etsy’s Do’s and Don’t and thought I knew them all by heart but I don’t every remember anything about drop shipping. Maybe it’s because it didn’t apply to me, maybe I just didn’t know what they meant by it. Either way, I don’t remember seeing it. I think I’ll go back and re-read it again just to be on the safe side.

    The Indie hosting site and retailr sound interesting. But due to Etsy’s policy of not being allowed to list the exact same product on any other site that’s already on Etsy, it’s a difficult decision to go elsewhere. They’re the only online shop I’m aware of that demands exclusivity. So I guess we need to choose whether to break up our inventory between venues or put all our eggs in one basket. Hmmm

    Lisa, I wish you all the best. You’ve built a wonderful business for yourself and I admire your marketing savvy and your resilience. :)

  160. Good Article Dude. Yeah Screw The Man! We the People built the site with our hardwork and listing and selling fees and they want to play fancy snobs.

    Building your own website is the way to go! Just have some one of a kind items on etsy and most of your store as your own website that you control.

    Peace!

  161. My etsy shop was closed in November 2011 – mainly due to an issue with paypal (froze my $$) I had a similar situation as I am Canadian but was shipping across the border through to the USA.

    Just as I was starting to get lots of Christmas sales my etsy shop was closed down as well. I had been on etsy nearly a year. Had many pending sales, and couldnt ship half of them since paypal froze $1,600 of my ..er my customers’ money. (which to date have not gotten a dime – but customers were refunded by Paypal) Bad Bad situation and yes I cried too – for days. That was my only income. As a stay at home mom to 3 girls I felt like a total failure. How could I have no income with Christmas just 4 weeks away .. I was devastated.

    Paypal said I wasn’t who i said i was (remember I was shipping from the States, but I live in Canada. The US postal system is faster and cheaper than using Canada Post, so I used a courier company to apply US postage for me – clever, but not so amusing to Paypal or Etsy)

    Fast forward 6 months later – I have my own website and have twice as many sales than I did on Etsy !

    Yes I agree, have your own presence on the web !

    Thank for sharing Lisa. I too visited your shop before.

    Liz

  162. This is such great information!
    Even if you never get kicked off of Etsy, it’s still a great idea to be prepared for your business growing up and needing a bigger space that you have more control over. Just really great advice for Etsy sellers and other handmade artists.

  163. As a marketing consultant specializing in small (creative) businesses and non-profits, this kind of inside information is priceless, and as it happens very timely. My current work is with an artist who is launching an art doll business and we discussed Etsy as a first step. A website is already under construction with the domain name: http://www.brooklyndollworks.com, but before we make the commitment to Etsy I am researching the best approach to online retailing and after an hour online looking around I found Handmadeology and Lisa’s post, and then read ALL of the thoughtful comments from the community here. Thank you to everyone for sharing this vital information.

    • aaahhHHHHHH shop was deactivated last night..
      i was selling french vintage.. i’m gutted, angry, confused..
      no notice or warning given..yes i’ve cheked my junk mail…
      have contacted everyone i know via twitter and etsy admin… no useful replies yet…
      am torn between wanting to give etsy massive bad press and just wanting my little shop back.. i’m pregnant, and also have a two year old little boy.. REAlly don’t have time or energy for this… GRRRRR..
      so mad..

    • Thanks, Victoria. I’m glad you found it useful.

  164. Me too. I thought I fixed everything and then they cut-n-pasted a vague passage from their TOS about redirecting and shut me down. Here’s the offending image: http://potus31.blogspot.com/2012/06/from-youre-kidding-dept.html I lost over 500 likes and they broke over 100 treasuries. FYI, if you look at the email headers from [name] at Etsy Integrity, the name doesn’t change but the people contacting you do. It’s a fictitious person designed by an MBA who took psyche 101 in college. Not much Integrity in that.

  165. Thanks for your post ! My shop got suspended with no warning or explanation!!! I got so angry!!! I’m not going to deal wiht them any more though I’ll find another way !!! They can’t actually erase you just like that , I’ve worked so hard for it!! And indeed you look suspicious if you just disappear!!!

  166. Just came across this post and wanted to comment… You’re right, lisa, its great to have a back up plan. In fact, its really just common sense – especially if you depend on the income.

    It seems clear to me though that you didnt understand much about using etsy as a venue. You thought your etsy shop was your own? How is that possible when you were using the etsy platform to host your shop? Clearly you were aware there were rules…but you didnt read them or chose not to follow them.

    Lisa, you make it sound as if it’s all etsy’s fault that your shop was closed. Seems to me that the power was in your hands as long as you followed the hosting site’s rules. I realize the rules weren’t convenient for you, but still…

    Also, etsy can define something any way they see fit. What difference does it make how Wikipedia defines ‘drop shipping’? The only definition that counts in etsy’s and is etsy’s definition. And actually, those two definitions are really not all that different.

    You paid thousands of dollars in etsy’s fees? So…are you saying that entitles you somehow? Actually, those fees are just the cost of doing business there. And if you’d followed their rules, your shop wouldn’t have been closed. You promoted etsy on your blog? That was your choice. You promoted the promise of success? How do you personally promise something you can’t personally deliver? Especially when you can’t accept that the site has rules and their rules trump your personal wishes?

    Yes, your advice here about having a back up plan or selling on several venues is solid. But let’s be clear. Your shop was closed for a valid reason. You didn’t follow the venue’s rules. That’s no one’s fault but your own. Even if those rules don’t work for you personally.

    Here’s a piece of business advice for you : make sure a venue’s rules match the way you’d like to conduct business. And if those rules don’t match your business plan, then move on to another venue or set up your own site. Don’t bash the venue as if you had no fault in the matter. If you’re going to run a business, then be business minded. Learn from your mistakes and admit your own wrong-doing. This is how you build integrity and credibility. Not by ignoring things and twisting facts.

    In summary, thank you for the tips about having a back up plan. That information is very useful. And remember to read and learn a venue’s rules. That’s as important – if not more so – than having a back up plan. If you find a venue that matches your business plan, if you follow their rules, the less likely it is that you’ll NEED a back up plan.

    Please know that this advice is being offered in the same spirit of helpfulness as your post. I realize that you may choose to take these words as harsh criticism, but in actuality, they are more in line with ‘tough love’. These words are meant to shine a light on what could be considered ‘the other side of the story’, or for the sake of ‘balance’, if you will…

    • Thank goodness, Lorraine! I thought I had lost my mind for a minute the way everyone is after Etsy with pitchforks for enforcing its terms of service.

      The terms of service state that no drop shipping is allowed. Period. End of story.

      If you are going to conduct business on a website such as Etsy, you need to read all 29 pages and 10,000+ words, ensure that you understand them, and comply with them. It’s boring. They’re long. You’re busy. You’ve paid thousands of dollars in fees. None of those things excuse you from the task. Being online is no different from having a physical store – there are pesky little rules and laws you must follow, even if they are inconvenient or cost you money. That is the price of having your own business.

      The article did serve as a great cautionary tale, though, and I read it with great interest. Protip: Terms of Service (or Do’s and Don’ts) have their own definitions, and those are the ones that matter — not a wikipedia entry.

    • Dear Lorraine,
      You make me feel famous … “Haters-gonna-hate” style. I don’t mind critical feedback, but please DO leave a link so that we may all learn better business practices. That’s the most critical take-away of constructive criticism :: what can we all learn from your advice?

      You tell me I should have been more careful of Etsy’s terms, but they have adamantly refused to define “drop shipping.” http://www.etsy.com/teams/7718/site-help/discuss/9506983/page/1

      The ONLY definition I’ve ever had to go by was the one given by Wikipedia.

  167. Wow!
    First – I’d like to thank Lisa for her thoughtful and informational post.

    Second – Lorraine, really??!! Bashing?? I do not understand how you could use that terminology. Lisa stated what happened to her and informed others of her issue and what to do to prevent this from happening to others. She presented facts, emotions and information. I found this to be extremely helpful for me. I’m in the process of opening a site for my own art work. Understanding how a site conducts themselves as a business is important for me to know if they are to represent my product. The lack of clear communication by Etsy is of concern and shutting down someone they represent without any exchange on their part is questionable at best! And from the comments I read…this was not just an Ooph’s, it is happening to quite a few! This is Business 101: Bad communication with clients will jeopardize a business!

    Lisa thank you again for the info! You have certainly helped in the direction I will take with my art work.

    • Business 101 also requires that when you enter into a contract you read the terms, understand them, and abide by them.

      Yes, Etsy’s lack of communication was troublesome. But so was Lisa’s ignorance of the very terms under which she was doing business.

      • Jennifer,

        You’re a despicable person. Only a nasty, ugly person would gloat and bully a person on their blog after they’d lost their income.

        Just nasty. That’s you.

  168. The exact same thing happened to me. I wasn’t accused of drop shipping. In fact, I don’t have a freakin’ clue why they suspended me. I came back from a week long pre-honeymoon with my fiance and saw that my shop me closed! I have had a hard time finding work in my small town since my ex husband left me and our three kids. One of my kids is disabled. Etsy/my shop was my only income. I have been devestated by this crap….the only thing I can figure is that they don’t believe I make my own products. I am not sure if I should be flattered that they think I am so good at making handmade baby items that it looks factory made, or what. But I know now I can’t pay my bills.

  169. Thanks for this article! It is a wake-up call to be prepared. I’m going to make sure I have my listing descriptions and positive feedback saved outside of etsy!

  170. Lisa, I am not an artist and I do not sell on Etsy. However, my sister is an artist who should be selling wares and I am forever nudging her along. I ran across your post and wanted to say that this crappy situation happens to MANY people who sell their wares and services on MANY websites. You provide a lot of thoughtful suggestions. Just remember . . . in addition to buying your URL, you must be self-hosted in order for others to not shut you down. That’s exactly why my website is on a WordPress.org platform rather than a WordPress.com site. My favorite geek explained that self-hosting is the only way you are 100% in control and own the info on your site.

  171. I am a big fan of this blog. So many helpful tips to learn from. Thanks, Handmadeology!

  172. This article really opened windows on how I view Etsy now. My shop got suspended without warning 2 weeks ago. Shock and saddened yes, because my shop was doing well, yet I admit not all items were not vintage in etsy’s book.

    Etsy is a great place to get a second income but it can also crush you just like a snap of a finger and what is more sad is that you can never win with them, even if you prove that your items are handmade or vintage. They rule the show and unfortunately, if they say no they mean NO!

    I must say probably half of the shops in etsy now are violating their ridiculous terms, yet the shops are still active. It just seems that they pick to close the ones that they find “non ideal” for their site or does not fit in their liking. Who knows what that is.

    And yes Etsy is not good in getting back or replying to your email. Unlike Ebay they have a number you can call and talk to a live person. A site like etsy should have this available as well if they really care about their customers and not just getting money from its customers.

    I will not be surprised that in a couple years will slow or die down because the way they treat their sellers.

    I might try shopify now!

  173. After reading of your experiences with Etsy I am shaken. I can only imagine the anxiety you had to suffer. Such a bummer. I have had my own web site for years but sell mostly on Etsy and at shows. Thanks to your article I am going to re examine my set up and rethink my Etsy relationship.
    One of my all time hated things on Etsy is; after searching all over Etsy for any resemblance in any shop for any item even remotely like any of my original work, I list an original item. THEN, after a couple of months I see replicas of my piece shamelessly listed some of them are using the exact same name I created for my piece, not cute. Of course their aren’t as well done or as nice, but STILL, it is irritating that there are so many copycat crafters out there that don’t rely on themselves or their surroundings/experiences for creative ideas. These people are applauded on Etsy by the Etsy team for whatever reason, and the whistleblowers are punished for not being “team players”. ick
    So glad you got your issue resolved, thank you for the article and for the information on the other sites, etc. I am checking them out. : )
    julie

  174. I am fed up with these sites that close your account, refuse to tell you what’s wrong, and then if you don’t correct it (probably due to a wrong assumption made on their part), they will just ignore you and be rude in emails. If they can’t even get on the phone with you, that means they don’t have enough information to defend the actions they are taking.

  175. I drive up to LA to buy my glass s few times a year with another etsy member and she told me about a shop on etsy that should be suspended as all the bottles they cut are done in Mexico and he buys them and resells them on etsy. He sells thousands of these every year. She met him ata local fair and he was bragging about it. She didn’t tell him she was on etsy. We both wrote etsy about this seller and they did nothing to stop him. Iits just not fair !

    So sorry that happened to you. I’m married to a navy pilot and luckily we have not moved overseas … If we did, I would have to do the same thing as you.

  176. Hi Lisa – Thanks for posting this! I am currently an Etsy seller and have been shopping around for a web host to use.

    When I do pin down a domain name and launch it, am I allowed (in Etsy’s eyes) to put my domain on my business cards that get shipped with items that sell on Etsy? Right now my card has my Etsy url and my email address for the shop, along with my shop’s banner. Also, am I allowed to mention my new URL on my Etsy page (in my “about” section, for example)?

    In Etsy’s TOU, I can’t seem to find answers, and want to make sure I set everything up correctly!

    Lots of questions, it seems I have more homework ahead of me :) Great article, thank you for sharing your story.

  177. My 2 Etsy shops were just deactivated 3 days ago. The only notification I received was a form letter stating that one of my shops had violated an Etsy policy. No specific explanation was offered. Is this fair business practice? It seems disgraceful that I was not given any explanation or opportunity to defend myself against such an accusation. Thank you for your advice on how to venture beyond Etsy. I look forward to better and bigger opportunities in the future :)

  178. My Etsy site was just “deactivated”… no warning, no idea why. I sold vintage items, all from the 1940′s and 1950′s, most of them with the original tags still on.

    I put a lot of work into creating my store, writing up the sales pitch for each item, my profile, taking all the photos, and everything.

    In two seconds, it’s all in the garbage heap, and I can’t even get anyone from Etsy to answer my emails asking what happened or what I can do to fix it.

    I’ve looked at all the other sites mentioned in these comments, but honestly they’re all too expensive monthly to make it worthwhile for me. I don’t have five hundred items, I only have 25 or 30 at a time. Paying $15 a month for a store is just too much, considering I have no idea if I’ll even sell one item per month…

    Very frustrated right now, and kicking myself for trusting a website that doesn’t even have a PHONE NUMBER for customer service.

    People on Etsy are all “oh, Etsy is so huge, there’s just no way they could handle customer service on the phone”…. but Ebay can, right? There’s no way Etsy is as big as Ebay, and you can call THEM.

    Steam is coming out my ears right now.

    • Hi,
      Same here. My two shops were shut down yesterday without any warning. After reading stories here, I have no hope to have the shops back. Anyway, maybe you already have another backup plan, I’d like to share another venue, storenvy. It’s great and worth a look.

  179. Wow, really nice and informative article. I have been thinking about starting my own handmade goods business and Etsy comes up often as “THE” place to sell.It has been a back and forth situation on where to start. I browse through Etsy often and have seen shops that were there one day and gone the next at least now I know partially why. Some shops may have moved and others were probably shut down by Etsy. Right now, I think they are a bit too risky for me and what I would like to do, but they will remain a possible option. My biggest concern about your story and the post of others who have had there shops closed is the lack of communication on the part of Etsy. I feel like they have forgotten the old saying that “communication is key”. To shut someone down without explanation as to why seems very unprofessional to me especially given the amount of time, money, and traffic shop keepers bring to their site. Alongside the information you provided and your story that you were so kind to share, I feel more confident in making a choice. Thank you so much.

  180. WOW, I had no idea. I sell jewelry on Etsy and see so much mass-produced junk that it never occurred to me that they really policed the site at all! I am glad I have my own domain and plan to implement your other suggestions, Thank you >^..^<

  181. I am shocked to hear your story! To have put so much into your shop and then to be unplugged, without money coming in! Thankyou for the info. I am sure it is an eye opener for many. I actually started with my own website before selling on Etsy. It is very important not to put all your eggs in one basket, especially if someone else has the power to shut you down. Nobody can close my website, nobody charges me listing fees or gets a commission on any sales I make on my own site and I am always in the driver’s seat. It is alot of work but so worth the independency! Etsy has just been an addition to my business.

  182. Thanks for a great informative post. All information provided is a great help to us. Blessings.

  183. I have a question then…granted I didn’t read through the months and months of comments, but being a new crafter/sewer and having stuff to put up for sale…where does one begin…anyone have any great links or advice on where do I start. Etsy makes me a little worried now that I read all of this. My stuff is 100% handmade, but nervous none the less that they seem to just stop whoever they want. I have been trying to do my homework and figure out how to go about opening my own business/shop, but am a bit overwhelmed…this seems to be a good post with a lot of people who were once in my shoes, and I love learning from other people and thoroughly going through everything before I get started…any help or advice or direction is much welcomed..thank you!

  184. this is a jewish site, they are greedy and could care less about hurting someone’s feelings.

  185. My shop was suspended today. I went through their terms and all that and I have done everything right. All fees were up to date. All items were handmade by me. This is sad. I will be contacting BBB and filing a huge complaint.

  186. I always back up my Etsy shop using the CVS file for your sales and all of our listings. It is the smartest thing I have ever done. I do it in the am and pm and after listing a bunch of new items. That way if ever deleted I have everything and most new sites will let you use the cvs convertor and all your info is there for each listing, photos. info, shipping, tags everyhing.

  187. That’s terrible that this happened to you. And all of the sellers on etsy that aren’t really handmade and they do nothing about THAT. They post them all of the time on Regretsy.

  188. Thank you for this warning! I need the income from my business to pay my bills. I am just horrified that Etsy would treat a shopowner in such a cold and heartless way.

    I will not do business with Etsy again. They have many real violators on their site which I have seen over and over and they do nothing about notices I have sent, but then I see someone shut down, with no opportunity to CORRECT THEIR MISTAKE OR MISUNDERSTAND without warning or even a decent explanation.

    This is inexcusable in a business situation. Perhaps Etsy thinks they are dealing with people who are simply selling their “hobbies” but they are dealing with real businesses and they need to act like it.

    SHAME ON ETSY. I’m heading over to the other referrals given in the comments here. Thank you!

  189. Thank you so much for sharing, especially when my shop was suspended without without any warning!!!!!!

  190. my etsy shop was suspended yesterday,last night i answered all the 15 questions they asked me.today,i have received their reply said that,my shop is closed by them!and i have no rights even to open another account on etsy,i just started my shop in this summer,and just sold 8 items,but paid etsy hundreds of dollars for search Ads, and fees,when i paid my money,no one said my shop has problems,but now with ridiculous 15 questions,my shop is gone,i haven’t backed up any information of my items,its very sad! and i made lots of jewelry and now i dont know how to deal with them!!
    but one thing for sure,No etsy anymore!!

    • Thank God for this website. I was just about ready to start adding products to my Etsy website. This all makes me sick, especially as I have seen so many outright violators that nothing is done about despite repeat notices of violations. What is wrong with Etsy?

      I would suggest that you go to the Better Business Bureau and even file a small claims court claim for all the money you have lost against Etsy. You can do this without a lawyer. Sounds like they need a wake-up call!

  191. My etsy site was shut down a few days ago. It was a site I had for 3 years and it was my secondary income. I received an email from them that I was violating their policies, but when I calmly replied and asked what policy it was…they wouldn’t respond. The whole experience has been so upsetting! I absolutely LOVED etsy! Now I’m not sure what to do. I’ll check out Retailr. Thanks for all the advice

  192. I am glad I have my own website although its not p and running. I will put all my effort to open it and make it my main source and not the other way around.

    I am now looking for a second and third source to sell while I make my domain #1

  193. Hi !
    I am opening handmade and organic stores in Singapore and Sydney. I really like products at etsy and think people can make more money by selling them at individual stores. Is there any way I can get contact details of etsy sellers?
    I am currently looking at such product providers.
    Thanks

  194. I had the same thing happen to me last week. I have two shops on etsy, one for digital design, and one for handmade boutique items such as dresses, tutus, bows, ect. This all started on January 2nd, and my shops are still both closed. I sent in everything they required on the 3rd, and today I get an email saying that I have not complied with sending in their requirements. I sent everything to a tee right away… and I have emailed them every day. I still have no idea why this happened, how long I will be closed, and why they closed both shops when the boutique shop, Posh Petals Couture is the one that they have a “mysterious” issue with. I resent everything today I hope to have resolution asap. They are messing with my livelihood, and I will be reporting them to the BBB. I am floored that they do not let you know what the issue is, or why this is happening. What a terrible business practice!!

    Thanks for sharing this info it helped me a great deal.

  195. What a huge help….thanks so much to take the to help support and teach other creative business ideas. !!! KerryLyn

  196. Just wanted to send an update about having my 2 shops permanently shut down by Etsy without any reason whatsoever back in August 2012. After sending Etsy literally more than 25 emails, I never, ever received any kind of response or explanation from them as to what policy my shops may have violated. I have not heard a peep from them literally. Nothing…request after request, I sent and I never heard back from them! Please be warned, this can happen to you too! Yes, Etsy was a wonderful venue for me. I made handmade wedding flip flops and for my other store, I sold my vintage toys from the 60′s/70′s that I owned as a little girl. Everything I made, I made by hand, every vintage item I sold, was authentic and vintage. My accounts were up to date and I never received a complaint, I only had positive feedback. I was doing well with my shops, enough to help me get by. DEVASTATING is the word I can use to describe how I felt and still feel about Etsy closing my shops. Please be warned again that this can happen to you too…I sincerely hope it doesn’t, but it happened to me and without reason. Shame on you Etsy for your unscrupulous policies and vagrant lack of professionalism and lack of regard for the HONEST small crafter/business person. I loved being a seller on Etsy! I was proud to sell my items on your site! I spent huge amounts of time investing in the building up of my little shops and what did you do?! Your lack of honesty and business tactics are deplorable and despicable! And to those of you reading this post (or has had this happen to you)….the worst part is never, EVER knowing why on EARTH Etsy closed my shop down. SHAME, SHAME, SHAME on you Etsy!

  197. Question to those Etsy sellers who have had your shops re-instated, how did you manage to get Etsy to answer and respond to your emails? As my previous posts have stated, I have never heard from them ever and it has been over 6 months. I have literally given up. I am so happy for those of you where it has worked out, but what and how did you manage to communicate with them as they chose to ignore me completely. Any suggestions on how to get in touch with Etsy?

    • Unfortunately I am going through the same situation. I am a college student and my etsy shop is (or was) my only income at the moment. I received a message from a member of the integrity team they asked for pictures and specific details about how I make my jewelry. I too used them with the information requested and my shop was reopened. Three weeks later I got the same message from someone else from their integrity team, I replid and it’s been a week I have not received any response. I think they simply have something against my jewelry designs, mostly because they are “mainstream” and very popular. I am going to contact a small business attorney if thy don’t respond.

      • HandmadeJewelry,

        This is the same thing that happened to me. I answered all the questions they asked plus sent in step-by-step photos of my process. My shop was reinstated but a week later, suspended again. They said ‘upon further looking at my photos, my items were not handmade’…even though the photos I took show a step-by-step process! Etsy has left us helpless!

  198. Oh man so glad that I found this post. We were shut down also, for an international order that “never arrived”. No one writes back and we feel totally betrayed by them. Our family is supported by our shop. Some of the stuff they let fly on etsy is ridiculous and then what they do stop is almost a joke :/

    Pretty disappointed, but glad I am not the only one

  199. Wow..I had a feeling that my shop will be suspend soon! I had compliant about Etsy a lot via email such as feedback issue! A customer purchased my handmade product 3 months ago and came back leaving me a negative feedback say the feather easily fall off? I don’t get it if you buy something was not your expectation why wouldn’t you contact me and have it replace? A $6.40 item I am more than happy to refund it to her if makes her happy! But the thing is lots of customer now a days coming back for a free item or after a refund???

  200. I can hardly believe what I’m reading but I know it has to be true! What’s so incredible is that I see so much handmade Guatemalan beadwork from the villages where I live at Lake Atitlan, and none of it is “handmade by the seller.” It is made by indigenous Mayans who don’t read or write and only speak Spanish, if that.

    I don’t sell those products on Etsy because I asked first, and of course I would have to be the one that makes it to sell it, and I don’t. So I have my own website. But Etsy is FULL of sellers who do market these products as being made by themselves, and Etsy does nothing about it. I just can’t believe it.

    Then to see people who are making products themselves to be suspended and no return email, no telephone to get in touch with Etsy… I am so grateful I didn’t get started on this platform and lose our income overnight. I think Etsy really needs to be sued and reported to the Better Business Bureau.

    They should at least be required to have a contact phone number and be required to give a reasonable and specific explanation for destroying a person’s livelihood. If it wasn’t for this blog, people would never know about Etsy’s shoddy and immoral business practices. Thank you for letting people know before they too get burned by the fire!

    • Catherine,
      I think it’s time we all contacted the Dept of Consumer affairs:
      Kings County (Brooklyn)
      141 Livingston Street
      Brooklyn, NY 11201
      (347) 404-9020
      Clerk’s Office hours: 9am-5 pm, Mon.-Fri.

      and the BBB in NY:

      Email:
      inquiry@newyork.bbb.org

      Phone:
      (212) 533-6200
      Our consumer advisors are available 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays.

      Fax:
      (212) 477-4912

      Media Inquiries:
      (212) 358-2828

      Executive Office:
      (212) 358-2803

      Administration/Operations:
      (212) 533-7500

      You can send us Mail or Visit us at any of our three locations:

      * New York City Office

      Better Business Bureau Serving Metropolitan New York, Inc.
      30 East 33rd St., 12th Floor
      New York, NY 10016
      Office Hours: 9-5 Monday through Friday
      212.533.6200
      Fax: 212.477.4912
      inquiry@newyork.bbb.org

  201. I had my shop suspend the other day for missing a payment. I have paid on time since 2009, never missed a month. They told me one more payment missed and my acct will be terminated. Nice folks to do business with. No more. I’m done. I am in the process of making my own website and/or checking out ArtFire, Zibbet and HandmadeArtists.

  202. I was looking up the role description of the integrity team, the people who send these mails and close the stores are entry level job’s on Etsy. They don’t work like a proper business should work, and there is no review or manager escalation process, so it totally depends on the some guy or girl. I guess it depends on their mood even. What kind of Business can you run when there is no accountability for the actions taken.

  203. Thank you so much for the info. My etsy shop was closed a month ago. And i’m still crying right now.
    Without warning, they closed my store. I heard people success on etsy, i decided to give a try. And when i open my shop and pay my bill ( 25 listing ), suddenly my store was being shut down and no reason was given till now.
    I don’t know what to say right now.

  204. I recently registered on etsy and just put up a few details about exchange/returns etc. I had not opened my shop et as I was still in the stage of understanding Etsy and reading and getting complete information. However, I get a message from etsy that my shop was suspended. Now it has been 2 days and they have not even bothered to reply. Also I had not opened my shop yet or posted even a single listing. So definitely I was not prepared to sell. Then what prompted them to suspend the shop. It is like telling someone while they are still in the planning stage ooops sorry you can’t start your business. This is absolutely crazy.

  205. Etsy shut down our stores without giving us a legitimate reason, our story here: http://www.dailydot.com/business/etsy-jewelry-sellers-guidelines-mits/

  206. etsy suspended my shop yesterday and I have not got a reply to my question which is “what do i do with all the open paid orders that have not been shipped yet if they close my shop permatley?) Do they allow to finish those and ship or I do have to refund all the money?

  207. I think artists need to think more about making their businesses “scalable.” Etsy for me has been rather unattractive because of the obvious ceiling . . . the more you grow the faster you run out of 24hr/day to make your product and process/ship your orders. Unless you’re selling high price items, you’ll never make as much as even an average/good job.

  208. Watch this video and pass it on explains the monster has become: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53Hwl6Y9UWs

    This is the same story I keep on hearing. Etsy has been getting away with this for years. Now this has to stop and the only way to hurt them is make the Attorney General in their state make them comply to have a real telephone customer service team. Bombard the internet and get the Attorney General in New York to make Etsy comply or shut them down. This company has no telephone service they have thousands of sellers who my law have have the rights to speak to a real person about their livelihood. This company is even acting like a bank where they have their own payment processing and still no telephone customer team where you can ask a question about YOUR business the business you grew. Something sounds very fishy all the stories from sellers Etsy has damaged without a moments thought the so called integrity team asking for the in’s and out’s of a sellers business and then still giving them the big heave ho when all the information has been given.

    I have had the unfortunate dealings with Eliza on Etsy and I totally understand that this person is incompetent she was rude, arrogant and ignorant however the lack of customer service must be coming from the top otherwise this person would not have been allowed to address me the way she did without being reprimanded. I have a right as a customer to speak to a real person and for them to explain what is happening and how to resolve it. But all you get is a email answered whenever they feel like it and a person who is demeaning and not their to help you in any shape or form and not only that puts barriers in the way and makes it hard as possible for you.

    Bombard the Attorney General and ask him why he is letting this Multi Million company in his jurisdiction get away with such bad business practices. Name and shame that is the only way these faceless corporations ever learn by denting their pockets. Etsy your time is coming and I will laugh my arse off when you cowards have to face your customers with no more hiding behind your computer screens.

    File reports and ask others to do the same: http://www.ag.ny.gov/internet-bureau-online-complaint-form

    I can describe building a business on Etsy like building a house on sand it will eventually collapse because it’s build on a weak foundation.

    Helen

    • Helen, you said it all so perfectly: ‘NAME AND SHAME.” Something very suspicious IS going on with Etsy. Thank God I’m not a part of it and I have my own website, where they can’t hurt me!

      Your excerpt below, and I hope everyone acts on it:

      Bombard the Attorney General and ask him why he is letting this Multi Million company in his jurisdiction get away with such bad business practices. Name and shame that is the only way these faceless corporations ever learn by denting their pockets. Etsy your time is coming and I will laugh my arse off when you cowards have to face your customers with no more hiding behind your computer screens.

      File reports and ask others to do the same: http://www.ag.ny.gov/internet-bureau-online-complaint-form

  209. The same thing happened to me! I never got a response on what I did wrong; just the same generic email that everyone seems to get. Not only that, but they keep billing me for the fees they charged me after suspending my shop.

    After reading through the comments section, I am frustrated that this has happened to so many. Does anyone know of another market that you can sell your homemade items on?

    I’ve heard that Etsy’s nickname now is “Regretsy” because so many people are burned by them.

    Is it legal for them not to have a contact phone number?

    • Take a look at this legal advice another seller was given about not being to contact Etsy. It is the Attorney General job to make sure consumers can contact the company easily. Etsy gets away with a lot because they don’t have to speak to sellers. Trust me if they had to pick up the phone they would treat their sellers a whole lot different.

      Don’t let Etsy get away with treating you like that. You have rights as a consumer start shouting and demanding to your attorney general in your state and in New York.

      “Attorney General’s offices do not like it when internet companies do not have readily available contact information where a consumer can speak with a human being to resolve an issue”

      http://www.justanswer.com/law/7qrzq-hi-i-own-ed-store-www-etsy-com-website.html

  210. Hi I am a new ESTY user. I began my shop and have 3 listings and when I came online today I was told that I was on a suspended. Why? They said they emailed me the reason, and they did not! So I have no clue what the issue even is and I have no way to find out. I did send an email but I need to get my shop moving! Thanks Tim for the tips and all the good advice!

    • Hi LeeAnn,

      I’m really sorry this happened to you! Unfortunately, the same thing just happened to me! Has anything changed? What is the current status?

      Casey

  211. Wow, a friend sent this to me this morning because Etsy has come after me twice for listing something they claim isn’t a supply (230+ pages of listings for the same item say otherwise)- I’ve beaten them twice by filing 35-40 complaints against the largest shops, some who sell only that product, but figure I’m pushing my luck! I’m so sorry for all of you who have gone through this – but as a few of you have said, it is a real eye-opener. I assume they aren’t done with me yet – I have opened another shop on Shopenvy but, shame on me, I haven’t really kept up with it and need to keep adding to my listings. However, I print out a copy of every sale I make with a new client to be certain I can contact them if something happens, and I print out copies of really positive, glowing feedback every day – takes time but we all obviously need to protect ourselves against the “entry level” employees of Etsy. For those of you who have been deactivated without being reopened or without a response, you may be luckier than you think – there are other sites out there – like Shopenvy, who grew by 10,000 shops in the few months I’ve been there. I admit that’s not a huge amount compared to Etsy, but the listings are free (at least now) and the more people who switch, or open a second shop, the safer you will be. Knowing the policies (I read them all when I opened my shop) will not keep you from being deactivated. I will definitely keep reading new entries and see what is happening — would love to get the names of other good sites – I do mostly supplies, but I hand make items as well, and I sell vintage items (that why I thought Etsy was such a good fit). Good luck to all of you still without a shop – I’m filing for my domain name today!!

  212. There is a blog called “Calling out on Etsy” run by a group of vigilantes that seem to do nothing but report shops and look for copy cats and resellers. I wonder how many innocent victims they have for the notches in their collective lipstick cases…

  213. I think the most important advice in this article is, to get your own domain name.
    But do NOT do, what the article suggests and attach it to any other shop. If you do that, you are essentially giving the shop supplier your domain name for free and lose all control over it!
    Once you have a domain name, you can go to the domain name supplier and via a control panel you can point that name to any website you like. This means, if Etsy shuts down your shop today, you can create a shop with Artfire 10 Minutes later and point your domain that way (it does take up to 24hrs to filter through the world wide web) – or even set up your own shop via your domain name provider, most of which have hosting offers and even cheap e-commerce offers.
    The advantage is, your customers only ever have to remember your domain name, no matter where you take your shop or how you evolve.

  214. Thank you for all the advice! I was send by etsy a very very rude email telling me that my shop would be suspended because one or more of my items are not vintage and i needed to send them proof. Proof for something that was in my mother’s closet over 30 years ago. I was very upset, i replied with the same tone of hers, but now as i read all your stories , i understand that in anytime they want they will shut me down just like that. I’ve spent like all many many , hours of searching , uploading , reading. And the last year i’ve been going to bookbinding seminars to make something to sell through etsy as handmade. Your post really blow my head! I will cross another line now. I can’t imagine making an investment of time and money and with one click and without notice to be shut down! Thank you again for sharing your thoughts and ideas !

  215. Very good information! I will look into some of those options you provided links to in these articles!

    • Lisa,
      I was directed to you site when I did a search for Etsy suspended shops. It is a wake up call. Everyone should always keep a current CSV file – Currently for Sale to protect themselves in case this happens. This file will have the information including your pictures. Etsy shut down my site without any warning on Saturday as I was ONE DAY LATE on my bill. Unfortunately it was right before the weekend. What is very ironic about this is that ETsy owed us $248 to be paid to us automatically on Monday and the bill was $212. We pay Etsy a couple of times in a month due to volume on postage. WE have never had problems paying or Etsy bill. On the billing page when I went to pay my bill, Etsy stated that the shop would not be suspended until August 21, 2013, but the shop was suspended August 16, 2012. I do not know of any company that would shut down a company for being a day late with an email. It was a wake up call. As the saying goes, if something has 100% of the power, 100% of the time you will have corruption.
      I have paid my bill, contacted them and still my shop is suspended. Generally, I would discourage government oversight, but maybe there should be some for ETsy. Especially since many people depend on it as a venue to run their business.

      • Barbra, you wrote: “On the billing page when I went to pay my bill, Etsy stated that the shop would not be suspended until August 21, 2013, but the shop was suspended August 16, 2012.”

        Did you mean the shop was suspended August 16, 2013?

        Either way, this is a horrendous story. I have NEVER heard of such a thing… one day late, when they owed YOU money as well?

        Etsy is corrupt to the core. It can’t be just the worst case of sloppy mismanagement around; something else has to be going on. Why people who have been mistreated by Etsy are not banding together in a class-action lawsuit and filing complaints with their state Attorney Generals and Better Business Bureau is beyond me.

        If I was treated this way (I’m not on Etsy after reading all this), I’d be in court the first thing in the morning, filing pro-se (by myself) if need be!

        DON’T STAND FOR THIS MALTREATMENT! This is your LIVING they are messing with! They have an obligation to treat their own customers well. I’m sure there are laws protecting consumers of their services, especially when they are collecting fees and keeping YOUR money as well!

        Check into what laws they are breaking. I’m sure there’s plenty. Keep us updated. Thanks.

      • I couldn’t get Etsy to respond to anything I sent them, despite the fact that I emailed them every single day from any email I could find online and yet I still heard nothing….until I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Responses came quick after that. Get online and look…there are TONS AND TONS of people who have filed claims against them.

        • Sounds like Esty is “weeding out the competition.” I wonder how much they are being paid to do this?

          Glad to hear that someone got a response after filing a complaint with the BBB. Time to file a class-action lawsuit! Contact every single person who has filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. You might even be able to find a lawyer to take this on contingency, when they see how many people who have been negatively affected.

          Etsy is ripping people off, no question about it.

  216. I am trying to think of a couple of ‘back up’ plans just in case. I have already claimed my shop name on Folksy and set up an account, so if I have to I can jump ship to Folksy.

    I also think I might buy my domain name to keep on stand by. I luckily happen to be married to someone who can design websites and knows all the codes :)

    • Janine, your post sounds like a good plan. But why are you “thinking” about buying your domain name? What’s to think about? I buy my domain names from Netfirms and they cost about $10.00 per year. The best money I’ve ever spent. Why wait?

      You would be amazed how quickly the name you are using or want may already be taken as there are millions of people creating and purchasing their domain names every day.

      I always buy my domain name and any related names as soon as I decide to look into a new business, as all too often “squatters” will purchase names in bulk and then when they see you have requested it, will try to sell it to you for $100 to $500 !!! And God forbid if you let one lapse, they will be trying to sell it back to you for $1,000.00!

      If someone is serious about having an online business, securing their own domain name should be one of the FIRST things they do. The sales platform can come later, as there are so many. Etsy is only one. Big Commerce, Shopify, Artfire and more all have excellent shopping carts and online store templates available, often times for free. They cost about $40 to $60 per month.

      Use Etsy, but also have your product and order backup EVERY DAY. From what I’ve been reading, if your shop is closed you won’t be able to fill pending orders as you won’t be able to get back in.

      This should definitely be illegal, since Etsy closes stores without notice or response, and makes it impossible to fulfill the “contract” between buyer and seller, and payments may have already been made.

      Why take chances with YOUR BUSINESS?

  217. Etsy did the same thing to me. I was up and runningon a sunday afternoon in Aug 2013 and by 2pm eveything was gone. I went through so many emotions has I had no idea what happened. I talk to many sellers and no once checks there regular email. They just check there shop conversations. It’s not right that Etsy did not message me in my shop to let me know what needed to be done.

  218. Such a terrible story! I see that your shop is back! That`s good :)

    Anna from https://www.etsy.com/shop/CzechBeadsExclusive

  219. Etsy is so guilty of violating its own guidelines that it’s disgusting to even look at! They shut down random shop owners for reasons they claim do not comply with their policies. However, when doing a quick search on Etsy, it was observed that almost every other shop is selling something that is not handmade or vintage. When reported, they still keep these shops open and their flagging system is basically useless. How can this billion dollar company continue to operate while projecting so much corruption? Not to mention all the counterfeit designer labels they allow their preferred members to sell – Chanel, Dior, etc.

    I can’t believe government agencies are still unaware of Etsy’s unlawful tactics???

    Btw their support system is the worse. If you have a problem you can travel to the moon and back until someone actually responds to you.

    Etsy should just become a private club and open accounts by INVITATION only. Their random audit process is their nice way of telling someone you are not welcome here.

    My advice – run if you haven’t already….

  220. Etsy recently terminated my selling privileges with no warning notice or email before or even after. At first I thought it was a technical bug because there was no reason my shop should be closed. I have since attempted to reach out to Etsy over 15 times, yet never received any real explanation as to why and the form-letter-emails merely told me that I should have followed instructions in previous emails (but I never received any emails). Later that evening, I spoke to my sister who has occasionally guided me through Etsy procedures on her computer, and she had her shop closed the same day; she said that she had received emails regarding copyright–but how can I be guilty by association only? Paypal accounts would verify that we are indeed different people. I loved my little Etsy shop; it had become my life! I work two jobs and made time only to create pieces in my own shop, not any others (My shop was a mixture of items simply because I only had enough time for only one shop–I don’t know what’s going on in other shops). At times, I have used other computers and wifi, but I have never engaged in copyright, nor have I ever received any warning emails from Etsy. The last email from Etsy stated that if one account was suspended, all accounts associated with that username would be too. I am not directly associated with anyone else’s username/shop/account! How can Etsy hail itself as an internet based business, yet unfairly terminate shops based on internet usage only?

    • Casey,

      File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. It’s the only way I got Etsy to respond, even after dozens of emails. It’s free to file a complaint and, in my case, at least, it got them to respond and reinstate my shop. Best of luck to you!!

  221. I totally agree with everything in this article. I’m glad I am not the only one who thinks Etsy is a bit overpriced. It really adds up. I’m so sorry you wasted all that money, but I’m glad it worked out for you in the end!

    I sell Don’t Touch the Baby Signs and signs for babies with heart defects on Etsy. Recently I have been letting some of my listings expire because I can’t keep costs down with fees what they are…. I offer A LOT more through my website. If anyone’s interested, check out http://www.DontTouchBaby.com … I sell handmade items, some best-selling books (by me) & Alaskan gifts! I love the freedom! =)

  222. Just filed my BBB complaint, I read a rumor about a possible class action– I am OVER selling there, but they need to own up to the Pick and Choose practices when taking items down. it”s unfair..

    My BBB Complaint:
    I was an ETSY seller with nothing but positive reviews for Party Supplies I create. ETSY Was MY only source of income with two children. I create graphics layer by layer in Photoshop Elements 5 and also purchase commercial use graphics (FROM ETSY MOSTLY!!!) Etsy, Inc. “Legal” notified me each time they said they were notified of a “Copyright infringement” removing the item But in turn giving a strike against me/ my shop. Apparently 4 strikes and you’re out! The most recent example, and why I am filing a complaint for unfair business practices. I had a “Despicable Me” inspired invitation listed on etsy.com. The clipart for this exact card was purchased by me on Etsy from another seller. This seller opened shop July 2011 and currently has 10,589 sales of said graphics. Their shop policy states: “TERMS OF PERSONAL & SMALL BUSINESS USE You may use my graphics to create: Invitations, Gift Cards, Labels and Tags, Business Cards Toppers, Favor Boxes, Cupcake Wrappers, Party Banners, Party Decor, Embroidery, Design Blog and Web and more. if you have any questions on how to use my graphics and do not mentioned before, please ask before purchase. You can use my graphics for scrapbooking projects, the files must be personalized for your customer and sold as printed or flattened ( JPG or PDF) files. But You CANNOT use my graphics to sell or share Digital Scrapbook Kits, Scrapbook Element Kits, Digital Paper, Backgrounds or something similar. You can NOT use my graphics to sell files in SVG or other cutting files. Teacher and Educators: you can use my graphics for projects personal or commercial use, delivered in flattened format ( JPG or PDF ) so that can not be extracted. Embroidery: You can sell only with File Type / Extension for machines embroidery and mentioning my shop. You can use my graphics for invitations, printed or digital. but You cannot sell Invitations or Party Printable Kits as template printable blanks for others to personalize or customize. Files must be personalized for your customer and sold as printed or flattened (JPG or PDF) files. If you are planning to produce more than 1000 copy per set or item purchased , you must purchase a MASS COMMERCIAL LICENSE. This license can be added for current purchases or past purchases. You can NOT sell my images individually or in packs of images or backgrounds or altered in any way and then sell them as their own. You can NOT share or redistribute any of my products.” *****I used the images and created an inspired card. Etsy said that they were notified of the infringement (first making a mistake saying E.T the extraterrestrial, then later changing to Despicable me!) They revoked my selling privileges and shut down my shop (with 137 items listed for sale at .20 each) that I spent HOURS creating in photoshop 5 (I have the original files!) I am not trying to get back on etsy now, the bridge is burned, but I do want to know… When I search etsy.com for the words “Despicable Me” there are 161 pages with 6, 428 items all based or TAKEN DIRECTLY from the films. So why was mine removed. Once etsy is notified of a Term or image that is copyright enforced shouldn’t they remove all the terms/ items related to that?? How do they justify the “Pick and Choose” closing of shops when they allow others to sell identical or even more blatantly obvious infringements?! And why are they now holding my money owed to me for orders still being worked, purchased from me, since before they shut down my shop?? they state a “Bank account change make the funds unavailable until July 2014″ However this is false. There was no bank change. And etsy legal says”Regarding your shop payment account, in light of the decision to revoke your selling privileges, we found it necessary to delay disbursements from your Shop Payment Account until 07/17/2014. This delay will be maintained pending the resolution of all cases that may be filed against your shop. Once this time has passed, the hold will be lifted and the remaining balance in your Shop Payment Account will be deposited into your bank account with what would have been your next scheduled auto-disbursement. For additional insight, please see the email we sent when we closed your shop.”

    Now, the email sent when my shop was closed (At the beginning of this thread) does not say anything about holding funds for sold orders..
    There are invitation and art orders I had open in my shop, how am I supposed to get them printed and shipped to the people when you are holding payment?

    They are INVITATIONS and ART that is time sensitive– happening before July 2014! I’m a great graphic artist, but I don’t make my own money!!! Any “pending cases that may be filed against my shop” will only be caused by ETSY holding the funds preventing the orders from being sent!

    I am interested in a class action suit, The selling practices are unfair to handmade artists/ crafters.

    • Sorry to hear about all the people who Etsy has hurt. I know I have been there and yes it is heartbreaking when you put so much of yourself in your shop and then someone can destroy it within seconds. People are still selling there and feeding the monster, no-one cares unless it happens to them. Just remember it’s YOUR talent that makes you wonderful, they are just a venue and that’s all they will ever be.

      Forget the BBB they are useless and they have no power. Shout from the highest rooftop, expose them for what they are, contact your local media and see if they want to run a story. Nothing will ever change unless we make that change. Keep your head up!

    • Start a class action suit and hire an attorney. You will win big and so will everyone using Etsy! Etsy must die!

      At least in the evil and thoughtless ways they do business. Get a lawyer and get to work!

      Good luck to everyone here and thank God I didn’t put my website on Etsy. I have my own business and dodged a bullet here…

  223. hi friends. i am mother of two childrens in my family and on only the prime member who earn for my beloved family. we had started my cradt jewllery work and were enjoying the best from my arts and getting a goods respond from our buyers. but one day when i open the shop….could not open and was deactivated.

    we have asked more and more time but we get only one mail that since your shop is associate with one of closed shop so we have terminated !!!!!!!!!!

    i told in written that you can take guarantee and sign that we never open any shop but still no reply from them

    i am in shocked and just weeping literally…

    i dont what to do. as i have invested six month time as well as huge money.

    anyone can help?
    regards

  224. Etsy just closed down my shop – which had over $11,000 in sales in it’s first and only 2 months, along with all 5 star reviews and many happy customers wishing to return. Why did they do it? I’m still trying to figure that out as they keep changing their story, and are ignoring my attempts to provide legal proof and documentation refuting the ASSUMPTIONS of a member of their “integrity team”. They claim that they will not shut down your store if you are not in compliance, but that they will help you to conform. That was a blatant LIE as they made no such attempt, and repeatedly denied my attempts to to get them to live up to their word. Sellers: STAY AWAY FROM ETSY. If this company had any brains, they would not run their business in such a careless way. I am literally still in shock at the fact that my highly successful Etsy business was shut down based on the assumptions of a single member of their staff, without any attempt to allow resolution. What kind of company shoots itself in the foot like that? I had not a single complaint or case filed against me, they can even review my tons of messages from nothing but happy customers. Shame on you Etsy for treating your sellers this way. This site wants to remain an amateurs-only marketplace and apparently has a problem with successful sellers – I say this because I was singled out among other sellers of the same type of art, whom I had more sales and more reviews than (every single review being 5 stars). I hope their miserable company goes bankrupt for their stupidity. Several artists depend on me to make their living and Etsy just put it to them for no clear reason. Also, the fact that they repeatedly refuse to make contact over the telephone and keep their communications limited to emails shows the extent of their customer service capabilities. I would be interested to hear where other former Etsy sellers have taken their business instead. I would be glad to join.

    • I have just posted a link to an online petition against Etsy Marketplace Integrity Team, please signin and spread the word. You can also click on my nickname to visit the petition page. They are doing this quietly and we should make the world aware of it.

  225. Etsy closed my shop without reason 4 months ago.At this time,i had about 15 orders to finish to make and send to customers.After receiving no answer about the reason why they shut down my store,I warned them that if they played it this way,i will never finish the orders and they’ll have to refund customers themselves.They tried to scare me with laws.I contacted all my customers and told them to opened claims for non-delivery, explaining them that Etsy shut down my store. They all did.I never reply to the claims so Etsy refund everybody and left my account with -$13,000 negative balance.I didn’t connect to the account since then and had no news of them,not even a newsletter..nothing.

  226. Hello,
    in 2013 i opened an etsy shop for selling handmade jewelry, sales was going good but after 7 month etsy suspend my shop and send me mail that you item is not qualify for etsy marketplace ..i try to contact to etsy for reopen my shop but they did not reopen my shop… ..
    if it is possible thanks after shop suspend it can be reopen than please let me know what i do for reopen my etsy shop…
    plesae advise me …waiting for answer….
    Mahesh

  227. Etsy does not want their customers to grow. That is why they suspended my account. I have setup my website to sell items. If you want to sell online or another venue for market place please visit my site at http://www.neadri.com

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