How to Tell if an Etsy Seller Is Legit

How to Tell if an Etsy Seller Is Legit
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Etsy is an online platform where millions of independent business owners can set up their shops. The majority of the sellers on Etsy are owners of small businesses and entrepreneurs.

While most of them follow the protocols of the platform, some of them are unscrupulous individuals who look to cheat unsuspecting customers.

If there is a problem with your purchase, you can directly contact your buyer. If this does not fix the issue, a representative from Etsy is likely to intervene.

To ensure the correct completion of transactions, the platform offers protection for both buyers and sellers. Still, sometimes this is not enough and you need to know how to identify a scam seller.

Check The Reviews for The Seller 

If you are wondering how to tell if an Etsy seller is legit, you should check the customer reviews. In today’s day and age, customer reviews play a huge part when it comes to a seller’s reputation.

Before buying a product or visiting a store or restaurant, people often go online to read the reviews.

For every product listed on Etsy, you will see a star rating.  This will tell you how other users perceive the sellers. 

As a general rule, you should avoid vendors having a rating lower than four stars. A legitimate dealer will not find it very difficult to get a decent rating on this platform.

For further investigation, you should check the reviews for the store along with the particular product.

Make sure you go through what the buyers are saying. If you notice multiple reviews with only the rating, there is a chance that they are not from real users.

You should go for a buyer that has several reviews, the majority of which are positive. It is important to go through the negative reviews, to check what people are unhappy about.

Some of the negative reviews may be unfounded. If you see that multiple people have complained about the items being broken or the vendor not offering refunds, it is a sign to avoid the buyer. 

The recommended reviews displayed on Etsy are usually a collection of positive reviews posted around a week ago. This can paint a false picture of the vendor’s reputation.

Some buyers write positive reviews from fake accounts. You should always check the latest reviews to get a more balanced picture. 

You also need to pay attention to the individuals writing the reviews. Do they have a profile picture and a real name? If they speak in broken English, it is not a good sign.

Some paid review farms get their reviews written by people residing in non-English speaking countries.

Go Through The Item Descriptions

If you find the details of the product to be unclear, you should contact the vendor and ask for clarification.

It is always important to read the product description, lest you miss some vital piece of information that is vital to your buying decision. 

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In case you are looking to purchase an item made of special material or a vintage collector’s piece, going through the description will tell you all you need to know.

If the description contains terms like imitation or inspired, you know that it is fake. 

If you are on the market for vintage items, you should always check all the details, since they are likely to have some defects.

If such an item has a brand new look, it might be a replica and not an original piece.

Lookout for Unrealistic Prices

Prices

Suppose you are on Etsy to purchase a handmade piece. It is common knowledge that handmade items do not come cheap.

Thus, if the prices are too low, chances are, the vendor is reselling a product they bought from a wholesaler. 

One trick to finding out whether an item is being resold is to search on the website for the same item. Check if the same picture is displayed in the results.

Usually, resellers list the item before even buying it. Sometimes, they will photoshop the picture uploaded by the wholesaler and reuse it. This is against Etsy’s terms of service.

If you find a vendor selling the exact same product, you can report it to Etsy.

There are several craftspeople selling their handmade items on the platform, and you should support them by reporting these reseller shops. 

Look for Licenses and Certifications 

Licenses are helpful for those wondering how to tell if an Etsy seller is legit. Here, you must keep in mind that not every single product needs to have a certificate for it to be legitimate.

For example, you can make decorative items and sell them without certification or license. These factors come into the picture only when a vendor is selling items from a particular brand.

To know whether a person is a licensed seller of a particular brand, you should check for licenses. 

This is a bit of a complicated issue since vendors do not strictly need a license to sell branded items.

So to figure out whether an item is legit or not, you should go through the description of the store to check whether they mention the items as 100% legitimate. 

Use Safe Payment Modes 

If you are a regular shopper at Etsy, you know it offers payment options like credit/debit cards and PayPal.

You can also choose to make large payments in installments. If you see a seller offering very few payment modes, it is a major red flag. 

The most popular payment mode is PayPal because it offers a high level of security. In the event of a financial dispute, PayPal will send you a refund.

If the option for a refund is not present, you should avoid the seller.

Illegitimate vendors often accept payments via debit card only. This allows them to receive payment and refuse refunds, should a problem arise.

One more thing you should remember is that Etsy can force a vendor to give you a refund, depending on the product.

Therefore, if you think you’ve been duped by an unscrupulous seller, you can directly get in touch with the company.

Keep an Eye on the Forums 

There are many long-term users on this platform that know how to tell if an Etsy seller is legit. On the Etsy platform, there are several forums with discussion threads regarding products and sellers.

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If you would like to consult experienced members regarding your issue, you should visit these forums.

Chances are, someone has already posted the answers to your query. These discussions can also provide you with some useful buying tips.

Keep in mind that these are public forums. You should never disclose sensitive information like residential addresses and bank details.

If you have agreed to meet up with a buyer, you should let someone else know about the plan, just in case.

Communicate With the Vendor 

Thankfully, Etsy lets you directly communicate with the seller. You should be able to drop a message to the seller and check how long they take to respond.

If a seller is not responsive, it is not a good sign. You should ask them questions about specific products to see whether they are willing to answer your queries.

A friendly message from the vendor can make you feel more confident about purchasing the item.

Check The Vendor’s Policies 

Policies 

Each seller on this platform has their own policies in regards to exchanges. Before you make a purchase, you must find out whether they are willing to offer returns and refunds.

Ideally, legitimate vendors allow you to return and cancel items while also offering refunds.

If a customer is not satisfied with a particular product, the seller should be prepared to provide them with a replacement.

If you notice a seller having no such policies, chances are, they are not legitimate.

You can find a diverse range of products on Etsy, including intimate items and food products. As such, you can’t get returns for every product category.

You should look out for vendors who can easily offer returns on the product they sell but still refuse to do so. 

Do a Reverse Image Search

This is a great way to find out whether the vendor is selling an original product on Etsy. First, you need to save the image on the seller’s page.

Then, you need to go to Google Images and click on the camera icon to search by image. Check if the same image appears on other pages on the web.

You should particularly look out for other e-commerce websites. If it does, you will know that the vendor is a reseller. In such a scenario, you should buy from the seller.

Conclusion

After going through this article, you hopefully have a clear idea about the things to look out for while checking the legitimacy of an Etsy dealer.

At this moment, there aren’t too many scammers on this platform. Etsy has policies in place to protect customers who have been scammed.

That being said, there are a lot of resellers and dropshippers you should stay aware of. 

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