Friday, September 4, 2015

Shopping on Etsy: The First Thing to Do if You Have a Problem

Over the last five years I've done quite a bit of business on Etsy.  I've both bought and sold there, mostly sold of course, everything from baby quilts to rosaries to headcoverings.

My most popular item has been my snood patterns. 

It's a lengthy PDF, that gives exact directions on how to make one of my snoods.  The pattern doesn't need to be printed because my snood pattern is entirely rectangular.  You can cut the dimensions directly with a ruler or cutting board. 

The pattern and tutorial give point by point pictures and descriptions of everything I do to make one of my snoods.  In the description it clearly states that your given the dimensions and instructions to make your own snood. 

Over the years I've sold many, many patterns and up until today I've never had a complaint about a pattern.  I've had questions.  I've helped people. 

I have had people who haven't been happy with snoods.  Maybe it didn't fit or wasn't what they expected, but every time it's happened I've offered a full refund immediately. 

Today I got an email, from another Catholic head covering shop owner, accusing me of being a scam artist.  She'd expected a printable pattern, which isn't necessary with my snoods. She said that what she was getting wasn't worth the $8 I'd charged for it.

I didn't write back and tell her about the hours of work I'd poured into each pattern to ensure that those who buy it are able to create beautiful snoods in whatever color they choose, and that it's quite insulting to tell someone their work isn't worth anything.

Instead I immediately issued a refund.  And I asked her in the future to give any shop owners on Etsy the benefit of the doubt before she calls them scam artists, because most really, really want to make things right when a customer is unhappy. 

After I issued the refund I saw that she'd already left me a one star review.  So I contacted her and pointed out that the wording does make clear what the pattern is, and asked her to take it down. 

She said she was doing future buyers a favor and refused. 

The oddest part was realizing that she's a fellow Catholic mom, in a number of groups with me on Facebook.  We have friends in common.

This won't hurt my business badly.  I have years of solid reviews.  It was bound to happen, that someone would come along who didn't read a description and then wouldn't accept a full refund when they explained that they were unhappy (all right, maybe it wasn't inevitable, but I have learned that you can't make everyone happy). 

But there is a point to this post. 

Please, when you're on Etsy, give the shops your buying from a chance to make things right if you aren't happy.  I gave the woman in question a refund.  I even added additional wording on every single pattern description to make it even clearer what the buyer is getting since she was so concerned that others would be deceived about what they were getting (roughly twenty pages of pictures, measurements and detailed descriptions from every angle that will hopefully solve every problem). 

Most Etsy shop owners want to make things right and keep their customers happy.  That's how businesses grow.  So please, if you have a problem, send a message.  Try to remember there's a person on the other side of computer and don't start out by calling them names or being mean or telling them the product they've poured hours into is worthless and could be found on Youtube in five minutes.

They'll appreciate that you came to them first.  And they'll likely do whatever they can to fix whatever problem you're having so that you'll absolutely love the product that you've purchased from them.

Ultimately, since I began writing this, the person did change their review, after saying some rather nasty words about what sort of person I apparently am for asking them to make it clear that I refunded their money since they were unhappy. 


  1. Yikes. Hopefully she was just having a bad day and will amend her review when she's feeling better :/

  2. Wow.... so sorry you had to deal with all that on top of everything else.....

  3. Well I am going to pray for her because she clearly needs some prayer. Sorry you had to deal with that. I love etsy and almost every single person I've dealt with has been top notch!


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