As with any business, it is never a straight road – there will be good days and bad days. If you own an Etsy shop, you will know these days can result in a bad review.
Receiving a bad review on Etsy can put you back mentally and allow you to lose clarity on our goals. But dealing with a bad review is easier than you think.
In this post, we will look at ways you as a shop owner can deal with a bad review on Etsy, how to resolve these problems, and learn from them.
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- What is a bad review on Etsy?
- How to remove a negative review from Etsy
- How to report a bad review to Etsy
- Should you respond to a bad review on Etsy
- Can I ask the buyer to change their review on Etsy?
- What happens with a buyer opens a case against your Etsy shop
- How to avoid bad reviews on Etsy
- Frequently Asked questions
- Final thoughts on Dealing with a bad review on Etsy – Remember to respond to reviews with a business attitude and be polite and considerate in the first instance. Try to resolve the issue outside of the public reviews first.
What is a bad review on Etsy?
Reviews on Etsy are based on a star rating – 5 stars being excellent (this is what we want), and 1 star is the worst.
Anything with three or fewer stars is deemed to be less than perfect. Of course, they could leave a 5-star review with a less than ideal comment. Fortunately, for the most part, we look at stars. These show at the top of your shop under your shop’s name and are the average review rating in your shop’s previous 12 months.
How to remove a negative review from Etsy
You can contact Etsy’s support and ask them to remove the review. Of course, you must provide a reason for requesting that the review be removed – not just, because they don’t like me, or it’s not true.
A shop owner can request to have a review removed from Etsy if it contains any of the following – this is not a limiting list, and each case is looked at individually.
- Mentions of violence or acts of violence
- Contains personal or private information
- Is racist
- It is a review that you can prove is shilling.
- Another shop owner has purchased from you and intends to leave a bad review to hurt your shop. (difficult to prove, of course)
This list is not limited – and you can also have a review removed if the complaint is incorrectly directed at you or your shop.
For example – something is lost in the post, damaged by someone other than yourself, was eaten by the neighbor’s dog, etc.
For example – you send the product, but the shipping time was way off since it was lost in the post or damaged.
In this case – Etsy would consider removing the review as the error was not in your hands and could not be controlled by you.
How to report a bad review to Etsy
Suppose the review in your Etsy shop is still within 100 days of the estimated delivery time. In that case, you can report a review using the link below the review in your shop. You can even report a review with 5-stars if you wish too.
You will need to explain why you would like to report this review and, of course, request to have it removed.
Now the big question.
Should you respond to a bad review on Etsy
Firstly – if you see a bad review in your shop – don’t respond right away. Go away, have a cup of tea, and think about your next actions.
It’s often our nature to just write a defensive rebuttal about how you try really hard to make everything perfect. What the reviewer is suggesting is just not true.
Don’t do this.
If the review doesn’t go against Etsy’s policies – it’s up to you to manage as a shop owner. (Big girls’ pants time).
Look at ways you can resolve the issue with the least amount of hassle. Is there a way you can please the customer without feeling you have lost too much?
- Now respond to the review IN A PRIVATE MESSAGE.
- Do not use the public platform to air your displeasure.
- Contact the buyer via the email system in Etsy in the first instance.
- Keep your responses light and cheerful – remember every sentence you write is part of your brand, and this is no exception.
An example of a reply – (even if the review said your item is a load of poo and they wouldn’t recommend anything from your shop)
Today, I noticed you left a 3-star review in my shop for the item (insert item). I would like to understand your difficulties, and I wonder if you could take a few minutes to give me some further details.
I understand you were disappointed with the product. As this is the first time I have received a negative review – please help me resolve the issue for you by explaining what I can do to rectify the problem.
Your feedback is important to me, and everyone at (insert shop name)
So – at least this will open up the conversation as to how you will deal with it.
If they say – they would like a refund, and your item is digital, I would say give it to them. By lunchtime the same day, you can move on with your shop and have a cup of tea. Problem solved.
But – refunding the item might not solve the buyer’s problem. You will need to use your expertise to rectify the issue directly with the buyer.
Once you have deemed to have solved the issue with the customer –
Can I ask the buyer to change their review on Etsy?
If you have solved the issue to the best of your abilities and everyone seems happy – it’s now time to ask them to change their review.
They are under no obligation to do so. Indeed much of the advice out there is never to ask anyone to change their reviews, however, if you have resolved the issue, I see no reason why not.
But this is the best-case scenario for you.
Here is an example
Dear customer, Further to our previous conversations regarding the (insert name ) purchase, I hope you will agree that we have resolved the issue for you in a (timely) and (professional) manner. We work hard to ensure all our customers are sincerely happy with their purchase from us and hope you will return again soon. If you agree, we would be very grateful if you returned to our shop one final time and amend your review to reflect these efforts. Of course, you are under no obligation to do so, and totally understand if you do not wish to. You can find the link to do so under purchases and reviews. (Insert link). Once again, thank you for your custom, and hope to see you again soon. Kind regards
Now, suppose the customer goes back to amend their review. In that case, it is beneficial as it means you have not had to get involved publicly. Hopefully, the whole thing can be sorted in just a matter of a few emails.
If the buyer does not go in and amend their review –
Now, what – they don’t want to amend their review.
Well, you are now safely able to go in and respond to the review publicly on the shops’ platform.
Again – write as though you are speaking to the buyer. Be considerate and honest in your writing.
Acknowledge that you made a mistake on this occasion and say what you have done to resolve the issue. Other buyers will read your response, and as long as you have been sincere – the majority of buyers will know that your customer service is good and that they are safe to buy from you.
Don’t worry if this is you – I make a tonne of mistakes when I first started on Etsy
Honestly – this can benefit you if it’s done correctly.
Explain in brief what you did to resolve the issue and clarify the customer is now satisfied with the outcome.
Use your response to sell your products and branding – say thank you and be kind.
What happens with a buyer opens a case against your Etsy shop
If the issue can not be simply resolved, and the buyer still feels there is a case to answer. They can formally open a case against you.
Once a case against you has been opened, you can find the information under your shop settings, community and help, and cases. I didn’t see a tab for it in my shop- so perhaps you only see it if it is relevant.
To close a case, you must achieve one of the following
- The buyer closes the case because you have ratified the problem and is no longer disputing the transaction
- You have issued a full refund to the buyer
- In the case of missing items in the post – you provide delivery proof confirming the item was delivered as per instructions.
Each case is separate – and it’s best not to get into a dispute with the buyer in the first instance if you can avoid it.
How to avoid bad reviews on Etsy
Your Etsy shop is a business, and you should treat it the same, whether it’s making over 10,000 a month or as little as 50$. Every penny counts because you are now an entrepreneur and not a hobbyist.
While it would be almost impossible to control everything, here a few things, which may ultimately mean the difference between a bad review and an excellent review.
Manage buyers’ expectations. Ensure you have told the buyer what size the item is – that your photos give an overall representation of the product. Don’t try to trick the buyer with pictures – because when they receive the product, you can’t hide.
Delivery times– this can be the biggest gripe for buyers. If the product is going to take an additional 20 days, then say so. Be honest and manage their expectations.
I recently purchased some paints on Etsy, and as I’d checked out as a guest, I didn’t see the email to say it had been dispatched. When I contacted the shop to ask where my item was, their response was – I don’t understand, and I’ve already told you when it was shipped. Hmmm. – now, why would I be asking then?
Paints still haven’t arrived and it’s been 5 weeks, but the shop owner has already told me – no refunds.
Ensure you are selling the best product you can. This might mean taking a product off sale if you receive a complaint – As I did once, a customer complained of the poor quality print.
Listen to your customers and build your shop with their wants and needs in mind – not yours.
Keep an eye on and encourage feedback on your items. Adjust your products based on that feedback, as this will guarantee you don’t spend time making products no one is interested in.
Include a message to buyers. Build a connection with your customer and always seek feedback where you can. Many sellers work hard to include personal touches in their products, from additional gifts to handwritten notes.
Remember to make your product memorable.
Does this mean you should always give away the farm to keep the customers happy?
No – not at all. You have shop policies in place to protect you as a seller, and if you stick to your policies, then Etsy will back you up. (For the most part) –
So – you don’t always have to refund a digital item – your shop policies can be broken if you wish. I choose to refund in the majority of cases. Simply because – the buyer didn’t read the ‘it’s a digital print’ in large capitals mentioned 4 times in my shop.
Use your common sense; you can also be a happy shop owner when doing business on Etsy.
Frequently Asked questions
You can have negative feedback removed from Etsy by clicking the ‘report this review’ flag underneath the review in your shop. Etsy will remove the review if it goes against Etsy’s policies, such as mentioning violence or racism or is a direct result of something or someone not under your control as a seller. See Etsy policies
Yes – you can contact the purchaser and ask them to remove or amend their review. Try to resolve the issue through the Etsy email in the first instance before you ask them to do so. The buyer is not obliged to remove their review, though.
You may leave a review on Etsy at any point within 100 days of the estimated delivery times or, in the case of digital downloads, immediately the following download by the customer.
The shop owner can contact Etsy by reporting the review and dispute it because it goes against Etsy’s policies on reviews.
Your shop policies are there to protect you from buyers. They provide a framework to work to. You may or may not stick to your shop’s policies during any transaction if it is beneficial to both parties. It is not wise to go against your own shop policies if it is detrimental to the buyers.
The shop owner can not delete a bad review on Etsy. They should contact the buyer privately and attempt to resolve the issue. Or in Etsy can remove the review if it goes against Etsy policies.
Firstly – don’t panic. It happens and is hopefully a minor issue; both parties can sort out quickly and move on. Please do not respond to a nasty review on Etsy. If you feel the review is unfair or has no grounds, contact Etsy and report the review.
It is thought that a bad review on Etsy does affect your rankings. Still, Etsy has said that negative reviews only marginally affect your place in search and have only a slight impact on your shop ranking. So yes, and No.
Well, simply put – Etsy will suspend your shop if they see fit to do so. Administrators can close your shop or suspend it at will. As well as when you have failed to pay your Etsy shop bill on time.
Final thoughts on Dealing with a bad review on Etsy – Remember to respond to reviews with a business attitude and be polite and considerate in the first instance. Try to resolve the issue outside of the public reviews first.
This might mean refunding the customer or delivering a new replacement item. Treat your reviews as a gift and not something to deal with – remember to use the tips above to ensure a perfect 5-star review every time.
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I hope this post was helpful, let me know in the comments if you have any more thoughts to add on how to Deal with a bad review on Etsy.