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 through Messages

Buyers are required to message a shop before they have the option to open a case. Requests for help will appear in the Messages section labeled 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.

How to prepare your shop for a dispute

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. 

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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 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.

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. A case is a formal report of a problem.

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

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.

When can a buyer open 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, plus 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 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. 

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 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.

How do I provide proof of shipping? 

You may be required to show proof that the order shipped in order to resolve the case. Select 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.

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, 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. 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. 

For non-delivery cases, we need to see proof the item was shipped to the address on the Etsy receipt or the address agreed upon in Etsy Messages. Please comment in the case log with proof of shipping immediately: 

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

For not-as-described cases, 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. 

After a case is closed, Etsy Support can’t change the outcome of the case.

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