Etsy Touts Increased Safety, Counterfeit Crackdown & Transparency Report
Etsy's Trust and Safety team lead took the community forum to update sellers on what the company is doing to keep the marketplace a safe place for buyers and sellers in 2023.
Hi everyone, my name is Corinne and I lead the Trust & Safety team at Etsy. My team works to protect the marketplace by enforcing our House Rules and combating fraud.
We’re committed to keeping Etsy special, unique, and safe as our community grows, which is why we currently plan to again invest over $50 million in our trust and safety efforts in 2023. We’ve also heard from you how important policy enforcement on Etsy is. This year, some of our key areas of focus will include:
- Making it clearer what can and can’t be sold on Etsy, and enforcing our policies so we can better highlight the special, unique, and well-crafted items you sell.
- Removing counterfeit items and listings that don’t follow our Handmade Policy. To do this, we plan to expand and improve the accuracy of the automated technology we use to quickly identify and remove listings that don’t belong on Etsy, while also investing in the teams and people who review violations. We’re also committed to ensuring that shops that repeatedly violate our policies are removed from the platform for good.
- Making it easier for sellers to appeal policy decisions and get a quick resolution. While we’re confident in the tools we use to identify listings that violate our policies, on rare occasions we make mistakes. Earlier this year, we launched an updated appeals center where sellers can ask our Trust & Safety team to review and reconsider eligible account suspensions. Since introducing this new process, we’ve seen a 17% increase in seller satisfaction with the appeals process.
- Communicating quickly and transparently with shops that violate our policies so they know what actions we’re taking and why. We’ll also work to proactively share more education to help sellers better understand Etsy’s policies.
- Making it easy for sellers to review and update their personal and business information so we can keep our community safe and reduce fraud.
All of this work helps to ensure that Etsy remains a marketplace where creativity, authenticity, and diversity thrives. You can read more about our plans for 2023 in our recent Seller Handbook article.
This year we’ll build on years of continued investment in and focus on Trust & Safety. Read more about the progress we made in 2022 in our 2022 Transparency Report. It gives our community a look into our content policy enforcement, intellectual property takedowns, order issues, and requests for member information or account action.
Read the report here.
Here are a few highlights:
- Investments in new automated technology helped us remove more than four times as many listings for violating our Handmade Policy in 2022 than in the previous year. We've heard from you how important it is that we work to remove items from the marketplace that don't belong on Etsy. The vast majority of listings that were removed were identified by our automated systems.
- We made it easier for Etsy sellers and brands to report alleged intellectual property violations. In April 2022, we launched the Etsy Reporting Portal to make it easier for rights owners and their representatives to report potential intellectual property infringement.
- Fewer cases were opened in 2022 and they were resolved more quickly. In 2022, cases were resolved by our team in just 14 hours, on average. That’s down from around 4.5 days in 2021.
- We invested in our support teams to help sellers get the help they need, when they need it. In 2022, we launched new live support options like live chat in Etsy’s Help Center. As of November 2022, any Etsy seller with a listing has access to 24/7 live chat in Etsy’s Help Center for most support topics.
Over the next few months, we’ll continue to share updates on the progress we’re making together.
Etsy sellers are discussing the post in the community, with many airing concerns about the increased use of automation instead of highly trained and empowered human customer service and the impact of Etsy's implementation of the purchase protection program.
- The quote "...We’re committed to keeping Etsy special, unique, and safe as our community grows..." really struck me, especially as a seller of high priced items.
I feel that Etsy's new automatic refunds with no return of the item, and automatically refunding an entire order of multiple lower priced items for an issue with just one item, as well as ignoring tracking/delivery to refund delivered items, strongly contradicts this stated goal.
Try as I might, I cannot reconcile the public statement with the policy.
I hope that Etsy starts to reach out directly to sellers of high priced items, and creates a new, thoughtful policy that protects both customers and sellers.
Right now, this $250.00 automatic refund policy makes Etsy an unsafe place for many sellers, especially the sellers who make "Etsy special, unique" (in Etsy's own words.)
- These policy concepts listed in that announcement are a positive step. However, giving automatic refunds for sellers in countries that use Etsy payments, while not offering any protection for purchases from sellers from countries that only use offsite Paypal renders this protection arbitrary, unfair, and pointless.
If Etsy is going to automatically refund orders over $250.00 from Etsy payment countries like the US, UK, EU, Australia, etc, then Etsy needs to apply this automatic refund policy equally to sellers from countries that only accept PayPal.
- I like the move to take down items and shops that are violating Etsy rules.
However, I think that is like saving a waterlogged canoe with a spoon.
I would rather Etsy invest in creating a parallel website category called something like "Etsy Curated" for all the non handmade and mass produced stuff, separate from regular Etsy.
Keep regular Etsy artisan, handmade, vintage, but make a place for the commercial and mass produced sellers.
If they make Etsy more profitable, fantastic. But leaving them on regular Etsy while advertising Etsy as "unique" handmade artisan items is unfair and misleading to customers.
Giving those sellers a place where Etsy is openly acknowledging they are curated, mass produced items and not handmade or vintage makes Etsy a safer place for customers that is not misleading or falsely advertising to people.
- Perhaps the most critical item that Etsy must address is offering immediate, live, 24 hour phone support for hacked accounts.
Etsy is essentially our payment processor. They have possession of critical, private financial information including banking, personal information and tax related business information.
Etsy is a worldwide site. Its customers (ie selllers) operate normal business hours around the clock depending on time zone, and not just 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM eastern standard time USA
As a financial processing entity operating worldwide, Etsy must find a way to develop instant, live support for hacked accounts.
Sellers should not have to wait weeks, go back and forth with canned bot email reponses, post in the public forums that their account was hacked, or wait with no updates from Etsy for days or weeks once their shop is hacked.
Hacking happens. Most sellers understand this risk with running an online business.
But for a payment processer not to have dedicated, informed, instant, live security support for hacked accounts is a huge safety flaw of Etsy. Please fix this critical safety issue.
I'll believe it when I see it. The auto-refunds policy will drive legit sellers away, and the site will be overrun with counterfeiters and wholesale until etsy does something drastic like they keep promising (but not enforcing).
I'm also hoping that they truly will do something about support for hacked shops.
I feel it's just more of the same claims they've randomly stated throughout the years, but never follow through with. Does no one remember what part of our higher sellers fees were supposed to go to?
It's actually really scary some of the straight-up illegal stuff I've come across on here because of how their search loves to show you stuff you aren't actually searching for. I'm talking prescription pills (xanax & percocet for a few), cannabis, alcohol, vape pens, cigarettes, cigars...any person, any age can purchase these items on here. It's scary what pops up on Etsy without even searching for it!
They can't even get a handle on this kind of illegal stuff, so I don't see how they would ever get a handle on the candy and the other bajillion things that aren't supposed to be here.
What do you think of Etsy's Trust and Safety efforts? Are they really making progress or is this just a feel good PR exercise? Let us know in the comments below!