Etsy is an online store with a difference. Instead of buying directly from Etsy, you instead buy from one of the thousands of independent sellers. This is great for finding one off and unique items, but it does make it tricky when it comes to policies – with shipping being one of the main ones.
This is one of the questions I get asked often by new buyers. It may seem like a small issue, but no one likes to be hit with an unexpected cost right at the end of a purchase.
So, if you’re not buying from Etsy, and each seller has their own policies around shipping, who pays for it?
Who pays for shipping on Etsy
The seller pays for the shipping of items on Etsy. As a buyer, the price you see at checkout is the full price you pay to receive your item.
It is important to note, that just like most retailers, just because the seller pays for shipping, the cost is included in the purchase price of the item. This is still the case even if the seller offers free shipping – the cost of shipping is bundled into the cost of the item.
How does Etsy shipping work for sellers?
As a seller on Etsy shipping should be one of your main concerns. This is not only to ensure your items arrive safely, but to also make sure the cost doesn’t wipe out your profit margin!
As a seller you should be doing one of 2 things:
- add the cost of shipping to the shipping methods you set up on the store – this will mean the customer will see a secondary cost on the listing
- offer “free shipping” but include the cost of shipping in the item price – this is a better customer experience as they see up-front the full cost of getting your item
Either way, you will need to pay for shipping using the money paid to you by the buyer.
How does Etsy shipping work for buyers?
As a buyer you will see the full shipping costs at the checkout stage of buying on Etsy.
The shipping will appear in one of 3 ways:
- the item has “free shipping” – The cost you saw on the listing is the full price to get it to your door
- the item has a fixed shipping cost – The item you purchased has a single shipping price. This would have been mentioned on the listing, but might not be confirmed until you enter your address at checkout
- the item has additional shipping costs based on how much you order – For some sellers shipping 10 items is more expensive than shipping 1. In this case they do have the option to charge per item.
The final shipping costs will not be confirmed until you enter your address at checkout. You have to wait until this step as sellers sometimes charge more depending on where you live (if you live overseas for example).
The cost you see here will be the final price you have to pay to get your item to your door.
The only time you may need to pay extra as a customer is if the seller has paid the incorrect customs fee when shipping.
This is only applicable to orders sent overseas (from the UK to the US, for example), and is very rare, however it does happen.
If this happens to you you will need to pay the customs fee to receive your item, however if you contact the seller and let them know about the additional charge I would expect them to refund you for the amount you were charged to get the item through customs.
Etsy works just like any other website. The price of shipping is included in the final purchase amount you see during the checkout process.
Whilst there are scenarios where an additional charge is needed to get your item through customs, these are rare, and I would expect sellers to refund you for these additional fees.