How to Resolve a Dispute with a Buyer

If a buyer has a problem with an order from your shop, they may report a problem to you. Buyers may report problems in two ways:

  1. The buyer reports a problem to you through Messages.
  2. The buyer opens a case.

Buyers who have opened a case may escalate the case to Etsy if the problem is unresolved within three days of opening the case. It’s best to resolve the problem with the buyer before they escalate a case, but if you need Etsy’s assistance, we’re here to help.

How to prepare your shop

Here are some ways to prepare your shop for a dispute:

  • 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.
  • Ship your orders within your processing times
  • Make sure that your items and orders match how you describe them in your Etsy listings

Be sure that the policies you state 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

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.

A buyer wants a refund or return

If the buyer requests something that is 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.

A buyer emailed you 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 the case is escalated.

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. A case is a formal report of a problem.

As a seller, you must work with the buyer to resolve the case. If you and the buyer aren’t able to resolve the case together within three days, the buyer can escalate the case to Etsy Support.

What can a buyer open a case for?

Buyers can report a problem to you for any issues with an order. However, they 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 their Etsy listing(s)

Learn more about what constitutes a reason for a case.

How to resolve a case

After a case is officially opened, work with the buyer through Cases in your Shop Manager:

  1. On Etsy.com, click the Your Account icon.
  2. Click Shop Manager.
  3. Click Community & Help.
  4. Click Cases.
  5. Click the Cases reported about your shop tab and then select the applicable case ID number.
  6. 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 shipping information.

Use the Cases page for all comments and information relating to your case, including proof of shipping or refund. You can upload screenshots or photos directly to the case page by clicking the Attach Image link under the text box.

Proof of shipping

You may be required to show proof of shipping. Click Add tracking in the applicable case to add proof of shipping.

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

  • A scanned copy of the delivery confirmation or departure information
  • A shipping 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.

Time frame for opening a case

Eligibility to open a case is based on an order's estimated delivery date (if applicable) or processing time and/or “ship by” date. Once eligible, buyers have 100 days to open a case.

Learn more about when a buyer can open a case.

When a case is closed

A case will close automatically if:

  • You issue the buyer a full refund through Etsy Payments
  • The buyer closes the case if they are satisfied with the resolution
  • You add tracking information to the case that confirms the package was delivered to a location matching the Etsy transaction receipt (for cases of non-delivery only)

If a case isn’t resolved, buyers can escalate the case to Etsy Support for review. Etsy reserves the right to escalate a case early for circumstances such as seller inactivity, harassment, refusal of service, case manipulation, and undermining the integrity of the case system.

In the unlikely event that a case remains unresolved for more than 365 days, it is considered to be a late delivery, and the only acceptable resolution is a full refund. 

When Etsy Support can mediate a case

If a case hasn’t been resolved in three days and the buyer escalates the case, Etsy Support can intervene and assist with a resolution.

When necessary to resolve a case, Etsy reserves the right to issue a refund to the buyer and recoup funds from your account if payment was made via Etsy Payments.

Etsy may reopen a previously closed case to further investigate tracking issues or other aspects of the dispute.

My account was suspended

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, cannot fulfill 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. Click Contact support at the bottom of this page to request reinstatement. 

You have three days to resolve a case against your shop. If the case isn’t resolved after three days, the buyer can escalate the case to Etsy.

To add information to your case, comment on the case. You’ll help us solve your case faster by keeping all details in the case.

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