The world has seen a rapid growth of the internet and digitization over the last decade. Consequently, both online shopping platforms and online buyers are increasing. Etsy is one of those e-commerce platforms where you can buy your favorite handicrafts at home. But is Etsy safe?
You can be rest assured that Etsy is safe like any other famous e-commerce platform in the USA. Then again, scammers can be active in any place. Following some safety measures, you can keep your account in Etsy well-protected.
In this article, I will talk about how safe Etsy is for online shopping and how to keep your account safe. Before that, you should know more about Etsy and how it works.
What Is Etsy?
Etsy is an online marketplace where sellers and buyers connect for mutual benefits. Vendors of different handicraft items open their shop in Etsy to get access to a wide range of buyers. On the other hand, buyers can find various handicrafts on one platform.
Etsy is an American e-commerce company. Entrepreneur Rob Kalin partnered with Chris Maguire and Haim Schoppik and founded the company in 2005. They have created the online platform as a global space for sellers all around the world. Currently, the headquarters of the company is in Brooklyn, New York.
According to Statista, the number of sellers in Etsy till now is 4.4 million, and the number of active sellers is 2.7 million. Most of these sellers are from the US, UK, Australia, and Canada. Artisans from many other countries are also joining the platform every day.
These sellers bring unique products for online customers; hence, the number of active users is also rising. Currently, there are over 39 million active buyers from around the word in Etsy.
You will typically find various handicrafts and homemade items like jewelry, toys, clothing, arts, and vintage products on the website. The website may seem similar to other retailers like Amazon and Wal-Mart.
However, there are a few differences from typical online websites. The sellers of Etsy use it as their platform to present their products to the customer. Etsy is a digital marketplace. But unlike many other websites, it gives the responsibility of the sellers to manufacture the products, collect, pack, curate and put the things in order.
The website aims to create a platform for talented creators and artists who aspire to have a successful online business.
But what can you buy from Etsy?
Here are the popular categories in Etsy:
- Jewelry and Accessories
- Clothing and shoes
- Home and living items
- Handmade toys and entertainment products
- Craft items
- Paper goods
- Cosmetics and personal care items
- Wedding and party
- Digital products (printed art, designs, planners, and such)
Apart from these categories, no other types of products are allowed to be sold on Etsy. To sell anything under the vintage item category, the products must be at least 20 years old. You can sell costumes, clothing, toys, jewelry, accessories, photos, housewares, photos, books, and games as vintage items if they are at least 20 years old.
If you want to sell any products under these categories, you have to register in Etsy. Sellers are charged for listing and selling products on the website.
Is Etsy A Legal Company?
Etsy is a legal company for buying and selling crafts. In fact, Etsy has recently turned into a billion-dollar business. Like all other legal companies, Etsy is also publically traded on the stock market. Therefore, you do not have to be concerned about buying illegal products from the website.
The company takes the safety and security of the users seriously. If any buyer does not get their order or fault in the product, they can take support of Etsy to take legal actions. Whether you are a seller or a buyer, Etsy will support you if your claims are justified.
So, you can start using Etsy as it is a legal e-commerce website. The company will perform its responsibility as it promises, but you need to be careful of your side as well.
Is Etsy Safe To Use?
Etsy is a legal website, no doubt about that. But is it safe to use? Etsy claims it is a safe platform for buyers and sellers to interact for mutual benefits. It takes all the measures to provide a secure environment for business.
However, you still have to be aware of scammers. Scamming is a common problem on any e-commerce website. Buyers and sellers can get scammed if they do not act carefully.
Are Buyers Safe On Etsy?
Etsy works as the middleman in the business between buyers and sellers. It will keep your credit card, debit card, and other payment information protected. It will not disclose any sensitive information to the sellers.
Etsy will only provide the sellers with necessary buyer account information and shipping information. This information is strictly related to ordering and delivering products.
To stay safe on Etsy, you need to be alert. Do not share your payment card numbers, passwords, tax identification numbers, and pin codes when you communicate with the seller privately through calls, messages, or emails. Also, do not show them the emails sent to you by Etsy. Not just sellers, try not to share your sensitive information with anyone.
If you want to avoid any unfortunate hacking, change your passwords regularly. Etsy will take responsibility for your protection, but it cannot do much if you share your information.
So, do not trust sellers who ask for your credit or debit card information more than they need. You may want to be sure about a seller and their product quality. Then check the reviews left by other customers. Scammers get bad reviews, and their accounts also look sketchy.
Etsy encourages the sellers to use authentic photos of their products. It strictly prohibits the use of any stock photos. Real photos help the buyers to see exactly what they are getting. Besides, sellers with authentic photos most likely are not scammers.
Etsy collects reviews of shops for 12 months and considers the amount of positive and negative reviews. It will automatically close or ban a shop for having more negative reviews than positive ones. Sellers will also be banned if they are caught buying positive reviews for their business. All these rules keep the number of scammers low on the website.
When you buy from Etsy, it is better to buy products having 4 stars or above. You should also check the account of the sellers to see how long they have been active on the website. Do not forget to check the reviews before you make the purchase.
Are Sellers Safe On Etsy?
Anyone can open a shop with Etsy, but they have to follow the rules of the website. Etsy will provide all the protection to keep the shop safe. Therefore, it is quite safe to sell and do payment transactions on the website. Etsy cannot help you if you make deals outside the platform and get scammed.
Sellers have to provide email addresses and personal financial information to be approved by Etsy. The company ensures the safety and protection of the data. It only needs your information to make sure you are not a scammer.
But you may also face scammers or troublemakers in the business. They often pose as customers. Some customers can even make false claims about your products and services. If you want the support of Etsy to dispute false accusations or get back your scammed money, you must set up your business following the rules of the website.
If you find yourself in such situations, act fast. You can request Etsy to get help. The company provides Etsy Seller Protection and package tracking to help the sellers.
Use a shop name and address in your Etsy profile. Giving your personal phone number and address can be risky for your safety. If you do not want to expose your personal phone number and address, give your business number and address. Give your shop an attractive name that you can also use on social media.
Take genuine pictures of your products and upload them to your online shop. Then add a detailed description of the products. It will help you refute any false claims by scammers. Scammers may use false photos to show the poor quality of your products. They may also complain about the size, features, or even late delivery.
Too many negative reviews can shut down your business in Etsy. So, sell quality products and deliver them on time. Thus, you can protect your shop from getting flagged.
Etsy will allow you to comment on reviews if you get 3 stars and below. You will get the option to explain any misunderstandings and control the situation. It helps you to refute false claims. Later, if any customer complains about products to Etsy, it will weigh the claims of both sides and support the one who has more proof.
As you can see, it is not actually true that Etsy is biased toward the customers. The company also provides safety and support to the artisans and crafters who sell products.
How Can You Identify Scammers on Etsy?
There are some things buyers can do to avoid getting scammed on Etsy. No matter how clever a scammer is, he will still have some flaws. So, review a seller based on the following points to find of if they are scammers or not:
- There are stock photos of the products in the store.
- Very little or no descriptions of the products.
- The price of the products is exceptionally lower than other similar products on Etsy.
- No reviews or mostly negative reviews about the product and service of the store.
- Fake stores often have no social media accounts. So, search the store on social media.
- Check the about section of the product to see if it has any photos of the owner.
- Read the return and exchange policies of the store. Scammers may not set any return policies, or they can copy-paste from somewhere else.
- Research on the products to see if they are handmade and unique.
Apart from these signs, a scammer may reach out to you and try to make deals unofficially. They can ask you for details about your credit card/debit card or any other payment method that you use. These are clear signs that the seller is a scammer.
You can lose hundreds and thousands of dollars through scammers. But following the rules of Etsy, you can easily stay out of such trouble.
Are Payment Methods Safe In Etsy?
Buyers often fear getting scammed on online business platforms. No one likes to compromise their bank accounts. Thus, it is important to understand how Etsy protects the payment information of the buyers.
Buyers can use different payment methods to purchase from Etsy. Here are the payment methods in Etsy:
- Credit cards
- Debit cards
- Etsy Gift cards and Etsy Credits
- Google Pay
- Apple Pay
- iDeal (the Netherlands)
- Klarna Invoice payments (Germany)
- Sofort (Austria and Germany)
All these methods are under the Etsy Payment system, which is a safe and secure system for buyers.
Which one is Safer to Use: Debit Cards or Credit Cards?
All payment methods are safe in Etsy. However, hackers can still cause some trouble. So, the best choice for shopping online is using credit cards.
Many credit cards have high protection systems for their users. They have strict policies against fraud and make sure you do not have to pay for any purchase you have not made. You can also get your money back faster through credit cards.
Although debit cards are also quite safe, they are not as fast as credit cards. They are also not protected the same as credit cards. Unfortunately, hackers may get all your money out of the bank using your debit card information.
When you are buying a credit card or debit card, buy one that has a $0 Fraud Liability Guarantee policy. If any fraud uses your card, you will not be responsible for the unauthorized transactions.
When you follow the payments under the Etsy Payment System, the company will help you get your money back. Therefore, if you want to buy something from Etsy, pay through the above methods from Etsy’s website.
Do not use cheques or money orders to pay the sellers. You should also refrain from using other banking systems as these methods are not supported by Etsy. The company cannot help you if they do not see a record of the purchase in their system.
If you find any unauthorized purchase from your debit card, credit card, or any other account, contact Etsy Customer Care Service as soon as possible. Etsy will review your claims and take prompt action.
Etsy has a secure payment system. However, information can still get leaked because of the carelessness or lack of safety knowledge of the users. Etsy is still ready to assist users to fight back against hackers and scammers.
How to Keep Your Etsy Account Safe?
Hackers can target accounts on any platform. If you want to keep your information safe in Etsy, you should activate the website’s additional safety system. For that, you need to register on Etsy, which is completely free for buyers.
Registering as a buyer on Etsy is easy. You can go to Etsy.com and select sign in. There, you will find the option to register. Provide a valid email address and password, and you are registered. After that, you can update your account with more information like store address and other descriptions.
When you register, you will also see a ‘Sell on Etsy’ option. You can choose the option to open a store. Setting up a seller’s account will take more time, as you will have to set up details of your shop and products.
If you are concerned about the security of your account, activate the two-factor verification authentication. Here is how you can activate the option:
- First, sign in to your Etsy account.
- Find ‘You’ in the account. For desktop computers, the option is on the right corner of your account.
- Click ‘You” and there will be the account settings.
- Now, in the account sections, you will find the ‘Security’ option at the top of the page.
- You will see many security options on the tab. Make sure to choose two-step verification from the options.
Two-step authentication makes login to your account more secure. When you log in to your account after two-factor verification from a new browser or device, you will need to give your password and a verification code. This verification code will be sent to your phone or your email.
Hence, if anyone tries to access your account from another device, you will get a notification asking if it was you. You can press it was not you and take action to secure your account. Unfortunately, two-step authentication is not available for all countries. Check Etsy help center for details.
What Can You Do if You Suspect Foul Play?
Someone can get a hold of your email and password when you are not careful about them. You might have been using the same or similar passwords for a different website. Or, you may have forgotten to log out from the device you used for shopping, and someone else took the opportunity to shop from your account.
In these cases, if you can still access your account, you must change your password right away and enable two-factor authentication. You should also change similar passwords on other sites and create unique passwords for each account. Etsy has some recommendations for setting up secure passwords. Here is how you should create a password for Etsy:
- Create a password having at least eight characters. The longer the password is, the better.
- Your password should be a combination of lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Do not use your username.
- Avoid using keyboard combinations serially, such as “asdfgh” or “mnbvc”
- Do not use your previous passwords or passwords used on another website.
- Do not have obvious combinations of dictionary words, common misspellings, or words spelled backward.
- Personal information, such as your age and birth date. These are the most discouraged.
- Finally, never use the company name, names of spouses, kids, or pets.
However, if you cannot access your account, ask for support from the Etsy Helping Center. You can deactivate your account with their help. And to protect your credit/debit card, call the bank.
Etsy Return Policy and Buyers Protection Rules
A good e-commerce website must have a return policy and Buyer’s protection rules. Some websites develop an overall return policy applicable to any shop. However, Etsy does not have such a policy. It gives the responsibility of the buyer’s policy to the sellers. Hence, different sellers have different conditions for returns, refunds, and exchanges.
You cannot return a product or ask for compensation if the sellers have not mentioned any returning policies in the store. This is why buyers are always encouraged to see the returning policy of shops before buying any product from them.
Scammers often have no return policies. On the other hand, sellers who want to make their customers happy will always set some rules of return policies. Find the Shipping and returns option of a store to check their Return and Exchange Policy.
Most Shops in Etsy have some common ‘Return and Exchange’ policies. For example:
- Specific days and times for returning the products
- Conditions of returning products
- Conditions on a full or partial refund
- No refund but exchange policies
- How can a buyer return the product to the seller
- The cost of delivery charge to return the products to the sellers
- List of products that can be returned or exchanged
As I have mentioned, these policies change from shop to shop. If you want to know more about the return policies of a product, you can contact the sellers. Etsy has a conversation option with the seller for support. Legitimate sellers will gladly share more information.
Some sellers may still deliver faulty products intentionally or unintentionally. In this situation, you can return the product following the rule. If the seller makes a mistake, they will be obliged to refund or exchange the product.
Now, if you cannot come to an agreement with the seller, you can open a case with Etsy. Etsy will consider your case if they meet the following conditions:
- You have not received your product after paying.
- The products you have received do not match the description provided by the seller.
Upon request, Etsy works as a middleman to solve the dispute between a buyer and a seller. Both parties will be given the chance to explain their situation. Considering all the proofs and rules, Etsy comes to a decision.
Tips in Buying and Selling Safely On Etsy
Etsy is an amazing online shopping platform for people who want to buy handcrafts and homemade items. These products are unique and even affordable in price. Over many years, the site has gained loyal customers.
You may want to buy some products from the site as well. It is always better to stay aware when you purchase new products from unknown sellers. Here are some times you can follow to make a safe purchase:
- Buyers are concerned about the security system of any website to protect their banking details. Do not fully disclose your information on any website, not even on Etsy.
- Do not share your credit card/debit card details, like account info and passwords/ codes with anyone through messages, email, or in person. Do not do it even if you get emails from Etsy.
- Avoid buying products from sellers that try to influence you to make deals outside the platform. You must purchase products following the payment system of Etsy. It will be useful as proof of your purchase from any sellers.
- Check your band status regularly. If you find any suspicious changes, take prompt action. You may have given others to use your credit card, observe how they use your money.
- If you share a computer or any other device with others, make sure to properly log out from the Etsy website.
- To keep your details safer, you can open a new email ID just to use in Etsy. You should use the email address to open your stores.
- Buy products from shops that have 4 or 5 stars with good reviews. Read negative reviews to know about the product and seller’s service.
- Change your password for the website every 1 to 3 months. Activate two-factor authentication to secure your account.
- If you get suspicious emails from Etsy, forward these emails to firstname.lastname@example.org. The company will take care of the spammers.
- Sellers should also be aware of frauds posing as customers. Since it is hard to identify such people, sellers should keep track of their packages, write clear product descriptions, and keep real photos of the products.
So, is Etsy safe? Yes, it is. Etsy is a legal e-commerce site for crafters and artisans who want to show their beautiful creations to potential buyers. The website is secure like any other retailer website. Unfortunately, this website is also not free from scammers.
However, you can keep your account safe by following some safety measures. Hopefully, the tips in the article will help you when you shop on Etsy.