If you spend any time browsing the ecommerce site Etsy, which specializes in handmade and vintage goods, you’ll soon discover that it’s home to some amazing products.
That also means it’s home to some less-than-legit sellers looking to cash in on the site’s popularity. If you’re thinking of purchasing an item from an Etsy seller, take a quick check of these red flags before handing over your credit card details.
The majority of Etsy sellers are honest people with real skills – but like anywhere else online, you need to be cautious about who you trust.
Luckily, it’s easy to spot a fake (or at least unauthentic) seller based on a few simple checks.
Check for Star Seller Badges
Etsy now ranks sellers based on their performance in 3 key areas:
- Response rate to messages
- Overall product review ratings
- Dispatch times
This is called their Star Seller program
Star Seller celebrates and rewards Etsy sellers who have a proven record of providing excellent customer service.https://www.etsy.com/starseller
When a seller proves they are hitting a high level of service in one of these areas they get a badge on their products – this is currently being displayed next to the review count. If they achieve the targets in all 3 they get the “star seller” label.
These are great as they give buyers an idea on what Etsy thinks of them.
Look out for these badges and labels, as they offer a great insight into how the seller has been performing.
Check Store Reviews
Beyond the badges, another quick way to tell if a seller is legit is to check their store reviews. Every Etsy store has reviews attached to it, and sellers are required to respond to all reviews.
While these can be faked, it’s hard to do so in a convincing way. Bad reviews are the most telling. If a seller has a lot of negative comments attached to their store, that’s a sign that something may be off.
Avoid purchasing from these stores unless you have a very firm idea of what you’re after. If a seller has only a few reviews, take those with a grain of salt.
Check Product Reviews
You’ll also want to spend some time reading reviews on the specific products you want to purchase. This can be a bit risky, as seller reviews don’t always apply to the actual products.
That said, user reviews are a good indication of quality, and a lack of reviews or an abundance of bad reviews can be a sign of a problem with the product itself.
Etsy doesn’t require that sellers post product reviews, and most don’t.
That said, you’ll still be able to find a few, and they’re better than nothing. Bad reviews are easy to spot, but you’ll want to look for a couple of things when reading them.
First, read the reviews on the product page – don’t take seller reviews as gospel.
Second, keep an eye out for commonalities in the reviews. If all the bad reviews have a similar sentiment, that’s a red flag.
Check for Store Policies
Another sign of a real Etsy seller is a detailed store policy you can find on their store page. The policies vary from store to store, but you should expect to see things like information about shipping times, return policies, and other helpful guidelines.
If you can’t find a store policy or if you find one that seems sparse or incomplete, keep searching.
It’s not the most direct way to check a seller’s legitimacy, but sending them a quick message can be incredibly helpful.
The best way to approach this is to ask a question and then just wait. If the seller responds, it’s a definite sign that they’re real. Not every seller responds, but most do, especially if you aren’t being demanding or pushy.
If you send a short, casual message asking about an item or asking their thoughts on a specific type of product, you’ll usually get a response.
If you don’t, it’s a good sign that the seller isn’t interested in responding to customers.
The best way to avoid purchasing from a fake Etsy seller is to stick to sellers with plenty of verified reviews, a robust store policy, and badges on their page. Even then, you should always be aware that online shopping can be risky – especially on sites like Etsy. If you follow the tips above and still aren’t sure if a seller is legit, consider steering clear.
The internet is full of fakes – but it’s also full of talented, creative people with real skills who can produce amazing products. With a little diligence and luck, you can avoid being scammed and find the perfect product from an honest seller.
So what are you waiting for? Head over to Etsy and start browsing!