How to Resolve a Case or Help Request from a Buyer

On August 1st, we updated how the outcome of cases are determined based on our new purchase protection programme. Our article on Etsy Purchase Protection has more information on what orders are eligible.

If a buyer has a problem with an order from your shop, they may report a problem to you through Messages and open a case

Buyers are required to message a shop before they have the option to open a case. These messages will appear with the rest of your Etsy Messages but are labelled Help requests. You’ll also receive an email notification about a buyer’s request for help. 

You have 48 hours from the time of the help request to respond and resolve the buyer’s issue before the buyer can open a case.

 

Jump to a section:

How to prepare your shop for a Help request

Here are some ways to prepare your shop for a Help request:

  • Follow Etsy’s Seller Protection Policy so we can better assist you if a dispute arises.
  • Fill out your shop policies. Your shop policies help set expectations with the buyer and may protect you if a buyer has a problem with an order from your shop.
  • Regularly respond to Messages from your buyers. Prompt responses can prevent problems from escalating, and if the buyer sends a Help request, they can open a case 48 hours later if it’s not resolved.
  • Dispatch your orders within your processing times.
  • Make sure that your items and orders match how you describe them in your Etsy listings.
  • Package delicate items with care to prevent damage during transit.

Be sure that your shop policies are in line with Etsy’s policies. In a case, Etsy’s policies take precedence over a shop's policies. 

What to do when a buyer reports a problem to you

When a buyer reports a problem to you, they’ll send you a message. Work with the buyer through Messages to find a solution that works for you both.

My buyer wants a refund or return

If the buyer requests something that's in line with your shop policies, we recommend agreeing to their request. For example: Your shop policies state that you offer refunds and the buyer requests a refund.

If the buyer requests something that isn’t in line with your shop policies, work with them to agree on a solution.

My buyer emailed me about a problem

If the buyer reaches out to you outside of Etsy.com, direct them to use Messages. This keeps everything in one place, and will help Etsy Support assist if necessary.

What to do when a buyer opens a case

If you and the buyer can’t resolve the problem through Messages, the buyer may open a case.

As a seller, you must work with the buyer to resolve the case.

What can a buyer open a case for?

Buyers can only open a case for these reasons:

  • A non-delivery case: the order didn’t arrive
  • A not-as-described case: the item(s) the buyer received weren’t what was described in the Etsy listing(s)
  • Item arrived damaged

Learn more about what constitutes a reason for a case.

When can a buyer open a case? 

The order's estimated delivery date (if applicable) or processing time and/or “dispatch by" date must have passed, and it must be at least 48 hours after the buyer contacts you about the problem. Once eligible, buyers have 100 days to open a case.

Learn more about when a buyer can open a case.

How to resolve a case

Usually, cases close automatically once the issue is resolved. 

Cases may be closed automatically in the following circumstances:

  • You issue the buyer a full refund through Etsy Payments.

  • For non-delivery cases, there’s no valid tracking information provided or the order’s tracking information shows that the package was not delivered to the address on the Etsy receipt. 
  • The buyer closes the case if they're satisfied with the resolution.

In some cases, Etsy will investigate further in order to help resolve the case. If Etsy reaches out to you to provide more information on any open case, you must respond. 

If the buyer paid through their own PayPal account and not through Etsy Payments, you may need to provide Etsy with proof of a PayPal refund before the case can be closed. 

The Etsy Purchase Protection programme for sellers is not an insurance policy, a warranty, nor a guarantee. Etsy will decide, in its sole discretion, if a transaction is granted protection under the Etsy Purchase Protection programme or not.

Etsy reserves the right to change, suspend, or discontinue the programme at any time, for any reason, and we will not be liable to you for the effect that any changes to the programme may have on you. In addition, Etsy reserves the right to resolve the case on your behalf if necessary, which can include issuing a refund to the buyer and recouping funds from your Payment account. 

What can I do if I disagree with the outcome of a case? 

If you have concerns about the resolution for a closed “Item different than described” or “Item arrived damaged” case specifically, contact us and we’ll take a look. Our goal is to ensure the case resolution aligns with Etsy’s policies and Etsy’s Purchase Protection programme.

How do I work with my buyer to resolve the case? 

If the case is open, work with the buyer through Cases in your Shop Manager:

  1. Sign in to Etsy.com and go to Shop Manager.
  2. Go to Community & Help and then Cases.
  3. Go to the Cases reported about your shop tab and then select the applicable case ID number.
  4. Use the Add Your Comment box to communicate with the buyer. Depending on the transaction, you can also take other actions, such as refunding the buyer or updating the delivery information.

Use the Cases page for all comments and information relating to your case, including proof of dispatch or refund. Upload screenshots or photos directly to the case page by selecting Attach Image under the text box.

How do I provide proof of dispatch? 

You may be required to show proof that the order was dispatched in order to resolve the case. If so, select Add tracking in the case.

Proof of dispatch should show that the item was dispatched to the address given by the buyer when they purchased the item on Etsy. Proof of dispatch could be:

  • A scanned copy of the dispatch confirmation or departure information
  • A delivery service receipt
  • A customs form
  • A tracking number and/or tracking information that shows the package was delivered to the buyer

Learn more about what is required from you during a case.

If you don't participate in a case

If you don’t participate in a case against your shop, your account may be suspended.

Both Etsy and buyers rely on Etsy sellers to provide excellent customer service. Unresolved cases can indicate to buyers that you're away from your shop, can't fulfil orders, have not sent an order, or have sent an order that doesn’t match the listing description.  

To unsuspend your account, you need to provide the information requested by Etsy and help resolve your case. Once your case is resolved, your account privileges won’t be automatically restored. Select Contact support at the bottom of this page to request reinstatement. 

If you and the buyer can’t resolve the problem through Messages, the buyer may open a case. A case is a formal report of a problem. As a seller, you must work with the buyer to resolve the case.

To add information to your case, comment on the case. You must keep all information about a case in the case log.

Etsy reserves the right to resolve the case on your behalf if necessary, which can include issuing a refund to the buyer and recouping funds from your Payment account. 

We need to see proof the item was sent to the address on the Etsy receipt or the address agreed upon in Etsy Messages. Please comment in the case log with proof of dispatch immediately: 

  • A delivery service receipt
  • A tracking number and/or tracking information that shows the package was delivered to the buyer
  • A customs form (for international packages)
  • A scanned copy of the dispatch confirmation or departure information

We rely on our sellers to provide exceptional customer service. Comment in the case log and acknowledge the customer’s concern so they feel heard. Be patient and understanding in your communication with the customer and most importantly, focus on doing what you can to make it right.

A case agent will review the case and make a determination. If you have questions about the ruling, comment in the case log and ask the case agent to clarify their determination and/or your next steps.

Usually, cases close automatically once the issue is resolved. 

Cases may be closed automatically in the following circumstances:

  • You issue the buyer a full refund through Etsy Payments.

  • For non-delivery cases, there’s no tracking information provided or the order’s tracking information shows that the package was delivered to the address on the Etsy receipt. 
  • The buyer closes the case if they are satisfied with the resolution.

In some cases, Etsy may need to investigate further in order to resolve the case. If Etsy reaches out to you to provide more information on any open case, you must respond. 

If the buyer paid through their own PayPal account and not through Etsy Payments, you may need to provide Etsy with proof of a PayPal refund before the case can be closed. 

Etsy reserves the right to resolve the case on your behalf if necessary, which can include issuing a refund to the buyer and recouping funds from your Payment account. 

If you have concerns about the resolution for a closed “Item different than described” or “Item arrived damaged” case specifically, contact us and we’ll take a look. Our goal is to ensure the case resolution aligns with Etsy’s policies and Etsy’s Purchase Protection programme.

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