Etsy Shop Suspended – Prevention and reinstatement

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Etsy Shop Suspended

What would you do if all of a sudden you received an email with the title “Etsy Shop Suspended”.

Until today, I could honestly say I would have had a meltdown.

The many hours of setting up shop listing details to perfection, the images, the titles, the pricing, not to mention the reviews, all gone. If you haven’t heard the horror stories, let me tell you, they are out there, and they are real! A simple google search will turn up tons of Etsy Shops that have been shut down.

The good news is that you can easily prevent a suspension from happening to you. You can and should also backup your shop and prepare for a worst case scenario situation.

It Can Happen To Anyone.

Whether you make $5 dollars a month or you make $15,000 a month. No one is exempt from having their account suspended. All it takes is one person to flag your shop.

Termination By Etsy. We may terminate or suspend your account (and any related accounts) and your access to the Services at any time, for any reason, and without advance notice. If we do so, it’s important to understand that you don’t have a contractual or legal right to continue to use our Services, for example, to sell or buy on our website or mobile apps. Etsy may refuse service to anyone, at any time, for any reason.

If you or Etsy terminate your account, you may lose any information associated with your account, including Your Content.

Prevention -168,000 shops were closed in 2014, could yours be next?

In 2014 in a move to better inform its users, Etsy published a Transparency Report.

This Transparency Report is divided into four parts:

  • Intellectual Property Takedowns
  • Policy Enforcement
  • Resolving Member Disputes
  • Requests for Member Information

The most obvious reasons to get an Etsy shop suspended is not paying your dues, and selling products that are not allowed. But there are other not so obvious reasons that your Etsy shop can get suspended, like listing items not appearing to be hand made, having multiple accounts or drop shipping.

If you sell items with images (for example. Disney characters) that do not belong to you, this is known as a trademark infringement. At this point it’s not if, but when, will your shop be shut down. Just don’t do it.

Etsy’s Do’s and Don’ts list is long. Very long.

It’s now actually broken up into 14 sections known as the House Rules Seller Policy. Although it is long, and not actually a page turner, I suggest your read it! There is no better way of avoiding suspension than to be informed of the rules.

Reinstatement – What To Do If It Happens To You

If you are one of the unlucky shop owners that get your shop suspended, here is what goes down. First, you will either visit your Etsy shop and find out the worst way possible (not that there is a good way to find out) or get an email. If you visit your shop you will find an image like this:

Damn scary, right?

If you received an email first, you will find a questionnaire that reads a little like this:

Hello, Etsy is a venue for independent artists to sell their own handmade items. We take the integrity of our marketplace very seriously and work hard to ensure that all items qualify to be sold here. We reserve the right to investigate any and all items sold on the Etsy Marketplace. Any shop that is unable or unwilling to comply with the inquiry may be subject to suspension.Please answer the questions that follow. This information is for internal use only, we value your privacy and will never share your responses. Please keep in mind that this inquiry is used to verify that your items are handmade. Incomplete, incorrect or false information may result in your selling rights being revoked. This inquiry has 3 parts:

Step 1- Information about your shop
Step 2- Information about your Handmade Process
Step 3- Specific Item inquiry

Step 1 — About your shop:
1. How many people are involved in your shop?
2. Write out the name of each person and their role in the shop.
This includes making things, creating listings, running the shop, and shipping items.
3. Where are you located?
4. Where are the items shipped from?
5. Who takes the photographs for the listings?
6. Do you have any other Etsy accounts? If yes, what are the usernames?+ Please upload pictures of yourself and members of your shop.

Step 2 — About the Handmade Process:
7. How are your items made? Please be as specific as possible.

8. Are the items made from scratch, or do you alter/assemble them?
9. How long does it take to make your item?
10. What materials are used?
11. Where do you purchase the materials?
12. What tools or equipment do you use?
13. Do you receive any production assistance, or do you outsource any of the production?
14. Are your items made to order or ready to ship?+ Upload Pictures of work space
+ Upload Pictures of raw materials
+ Upload Proof of purchase for materials (receipts or links)
+ Upload pictures of equipment/tools
+ Made to order items — show pattern and materials

Step 3 — Specific Item Inquiry
https://image1.etsy.com/ xxxxx. In detail, please outline the steps used to make this item. Include as much information as possible.In all of the photographs, please include a piece of paper with the words “ETSY ORANGE”. This will show us that the photographs are current and taken by you.

+ Upload pictures of the raw materials used
+ Upload step by step photographs of your handmade process
+ Upload picture of finished productThank you for helping us maintain Etsy’s integrity as a site for handmade goods. We look forward to hearing from you!

Best,
xxxxx
Etsy Marketplace Integrity
http://www.etsy.com/policy/dosdonts

The reinstatement process is not easy.

Even If you decide to provide Etsy with all the information they ask for, it does not guarantee that your shop will get reinstated. Information that you provide will get reviewed and you will either get a response that says your shop is reopened or closed for good.

The truth is most of the shops that are closed are shops belonging to rule breakers. That is not to say that some shops did not deserve to have been closed.

Talking Bad About Etsy Can Get Your Shop Suspended

Say what? You heard right.

Everyone participating in the Etsy forums must follow the forum guidelines.

Having your shop shut down for talking bad about Etsy in its community forums is not unheard of. Etsy takes pride in being a community of positivity, so if they find that you are arguing, disrespecting, or misrepresenting Etsy in the forums, you will get formally warned. If the negativity continues you will get banned and possibly even shut down.

Preparing For The Worst Case Scenario

Hopefully, by now this post has been a wake-up call. Tell me the truth, are you prepared? I know I wasn’t until today. Knowing that I could lose all of my hard work in a blink of an eye really made me want to prepare for the unexpected. So here is what I did, and what I suggest you do too!

Start your own store on your own website. Although I have not launched it yet, I have everything ready to launch my store on my own website. What that means is that although you can find my shop on Etsy by visiting : www.etsy.com/shop/SweetPaperTrail you could also buy my items through my personal website: www.sweetpapertrail.com under the tab shop. Right now if you click on the shop link, it links directly to my Etsy shop. If anything would ever go wrong, I could remove the link to my Etsy shop and sell directly from there.

Not only is this a great idea for the “just in case” scenario but it is great for marketing purposes. I send a ton of customers to Etsy from my personal website. I will go more into detail on how I market my shop using my website in a later post.

Backup everything. Really back everything up. Listing titles, shop info, pricing, pictures, policies, shipping, EVERYTHING. It’s pretty easy to do too.

To download a CSV file:

Go to : Your Account > Shop Settings > Options > Download Shop Data Tab

This pretty much downloads it all. The only thing missing is one of the most important things you need to backup… your reviews.

Why backup Reviews?

There are many reasons why you should focus on backing up your reviews but the most important is, social proof. According to Econsultancy, 61% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase decision.

I admit to being one who always checks out reviews when ordering online. So if it’s between a shop with no reviews and one with 200 positive reviews, I will go for the one with the reviews. I will be creating a video showing my process in saving my reviews in pdf format. Keep a lookout.

Final Thoughts:

Although getting your Esty Shop suspended is not very likely, you most definitely should get prepared in case it does. It’s just one of those things, like setting up Shop policies, that needs to be done. Set a reminder on your calendar and backup frequently. You can’t beat peace of mind.

Now tell me, do you backup? Do you sell only through Etsy or use alternatives as well.

Useful Links

 

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