Reporting to the BBB

10 Dec

Etsybitch had a great post about getting your valid concerns taken seriously…by reporting them to the BBB.

Valid Complaints Being Sent to the BBB

By The Sneaky One

We had a comment in the last post, that made me want to make it a headline post. It is important enough for it to be front and center in our blog. I encourage everyone with LEGITIMATE complaints to contact the BBB. Report all instances of shilling, reseller complaints, customer service issues, ethics issues, NPB non-resolution, stalking, copyright violations, etc to the BBB.

Keep it civil, folks. If you see something in my list that you don’t think should be reported, skip over it and move on. If you see something I missed, please add it in the comments. If you have specific incidents you would like to share, please do.

The BBB Is Your Friend said:

On a more serious note: Venting is all very well and fine, but if you have a genuine complaint please report it to the Better Business Bureau. I am here only to have a little fun and provide an outlet for my frustrations over the frequent BS I see, but the only way for real issues to be taken seriously is to report them to the correct agency. Please don’t rely on this blog, Etsybitch, Regretsy or any of the other bloggers to “get the message through to Etsy. Maria, Rob, DanielleXO and all the rest don’t take any of this seriously.

They WILL, however, take reports to the BBB seriously and if they don’t, their apathy will be there for all the world to see.

You’ll need their physical address, so here it is:
Etsy , Inc.
55 Washington Street, Suite 512
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Report your legitimate issues here:

http://www.bbb.org/new-york-city/business-reviews/internet-shopping/etsy-inc-in-brooklyn-ny-104233/

If everyone who had a genuine issue with Etsy reported to it the correct agency, then you can bet your butt that A- rating would plummet.

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13 Responses to “Reporting to the BBB”

  1. Life During Wartime December 10, 2009 at 11:15 am #

    I think reporting might be useful for situations like shilling, vicious personal attack feedback, being ignored by customer service, and other issues related to your business or your reputation as a buyer in the Etsy community.

    I don’t think this would work for reselling, over-the-top tag abuse, and stuff that is not directed specifically at you, or your shop, by other sellers or buyers.

    However, if you bought from what turns out to be a reseller under the impression the item was handmade by them — and can’t get a refund from the seller or help from Etsy — then I think that is reportable as fraud.

    Interesting idea. Don’t know how it will work.

  2. MadeByM**** December 10, 2009 at 11:42 am #

    But when you “falsely advertise” that this is a handmade venue…..there’s got to be something there!

    “Congress originally enacted the Lanham Act, including § 43(a) (which is codified at 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)), in 1946 and amended it in 1988, but in both instances provided scant guidance on how courts should construe § 43(a). This provision prohibits any use of a false or misleading description or representation in commercial advertising or promotion that “misrepresents the nature, characteristics, qualities, or geographic origin of. . . goods, services, or commercial activities.” Courts have formulated the following elements for a claim under § 43(a):

    – The defendant must have made a false or misleading statement of fact in advertising.
    – That statement must have actually deceived or had the capacity to deceive a substantial segment of the audience.
    – The deception must have been material, in that it was likely to influence the purchasing decision.
    – The defendant must have caused its goods to enter interstate commerce.
    – The plaintiff must have been or is likely to be injured as a result. ”

    http://www.rkmc.com/Lanham_Act_Also_Applies_to_False_Advertising_Claims.htm

  3. MadeByM**** December 10, 2009 at 11:45 am #

    Not that I’m an attorney, but it sounds like you could go after both the venue AND the seller! But, who wants to file a lawsuit for a $15 or $30 item???

  4. Life During Wartime December 10, 2009 at 12:13 pm #

    Most of the reseller items are actually handmade, but not by the seller. I think the reselling shop owner can always claim they misunderstood the TOU, while Etsy can claim they have to presume the shop owner read and understood the TOU.

    I do know that on antiques venues that are not juried, there isn’t anything the venue can do — or wants to do — about shops selling undisclosed reproductions, outright fakes (new designs that are similar to older styles), or deceptive listings about the age or rarity of an item. The policy is always CAVEAT EMPTOR. However, most venues do require that shops be willing to accept returns in cases of such ‘misunderstandings’. You have to complete the Policies section of your shop in order to open, and there is usually a list of topics your shop policies must cover.

    Etsy doesn’t even require that a shop must have a completed policies page.

    Shopping on Etsy is very much like visiting an online flea market, potentially rewarding but very risky for an inexperienced shopper. To run such a huge venue with so few requirements for sellers, Etsy must have all the legal angles covered.

    And they are counting on people not going legal on them over inexpensive items, as MadeByM said above.

  5. Kirsi December 11, 2009 at 2:16 am #

    Not understanding the TOU is not a valid defense, unless the TOU are misleading.

  6. crazy cat lady December 11, 2009 at 7:17 am #

    There have been a couple people who have posted here who should probably go to the BBB with their etsy complaints. One woman who posted recently who said her friend had such a bad experience as a buyer because etsy admin wouldn’t even mediate and she lost money because the seller never sent the item and it was past the paypal date. I know I’ve read of another experience on here – I think it was a couple months ago – where etsy told the seller to “take it to court” over something that ebay would have settled with one email.

    Going to the BBB is a great idea.

  7. Gila December 11, 2009 at 11:35 am #

    I get the BBB for really bad experiences… But I’m an Etsy seller myself, so why would I want to ensure that Etsy’s rating crashes?

    I still believe in Etsy as a whole. I still know that it’s a great venue. And just because a tiny percentage needs to be tied to the pole from time to time… that doesn’t make the whole of Etsy suck.

    Just my 2 cents.

  8. Life During Wartime December 11, 2009 at 11:49 am #

    Kirsi, the TOU are misleading. There are thousands of items listed in the various handmade categories that are eiher vintage or not suitable for Etsy under the TOU.

    I don’t know about the typical seller considering opening a shop on a site, but first I read the rules (the TOU) and then I search exhaustively for items that would compete with mine already listed. If you’re a reseller, drop shipper, a vintage seller, or just a straight-forward flea market table in cyberspace, a careful look at Etsy will tell you that you can set up shop and list in the handmade category whose name is the best match for where you would list it on Ebay.

    Because while the TOU may be clear enough, it is being enforced in a limited selective way on Etsy. To me, this means misunderstandings are bound to occur.

  9. whatadrag December 11, 2009 at 2:47 pm #

    its pretty serious and a bit of bad karma to just report them to the BBB for incompetence which is what this is. you arent going to get them to change one little bit- they are too invested in maintaining their status quo. there simply arent enough employees to police each vendor as they are simply a venue as they state. it completely stinks and it sucks that the same people are featured over and over. just focus on your business and making your stuff better than ever and you will see the light at the end of the tunnel…

  10. Kirsi December 12, 2009 at 6:28 am #

    I don’t find the TOU misleading, but I do agree that Etsy’s way of enforcing them might be used as a defense in a trial. And Etsy would be in deep **** if it worked…

  11. Shadejewelry December 13, 2009 at 2:49 am #

    The BBB is sort of a joke, for instance, the “A-” rating that etsy has is the highest rating that a business can get, unless they are a “BBB accredited” business, which will increase their rating from A- to A+ over night, and a business can keep a high rating with the BBB simply by becoming an accredited business at various levels, in other words, if a business is willing to pay, they can get a good rating.
    Since the BBB is not a government agency they can’t really do squat, but if you have a real problem with etsy, report them to the IC3
    http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx
    A lot of what etsy does really is illegal, for instance accepting gifts or “bribes” is illegal, if a site tries to claim it’s equal opportunity. For instance, if the Admin of a site select items for some sort of adverting, and someone buys an admin of that site an article of clothing and that gets them favorable placement in that advertising, that’s illegal, unless it’s fully enclosed to all parties.
    selling non-hand made items as handmade items is fraud.
    selling non-vintage items as vintage or antique is illegal.
    Claiming the items on a site are handmade when they clearly don’t conform to the federal laws on handmade, is illegal. (The FCC doesn’t consider “putting a little love into it” handmade)
    both selling and facilitating the sale of the above is fraud.
    however abuse of the a website, like miss-taging or title spam probably isn’t fraud.
    -Chris

  12. MM July 12, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

    I’m way late to the party, but thanks for posting this. I’m currently trying to resolve an issue regarding my $1000 Etsy wedding dress failing to be finished in time for my wedding.

    Etsy’s response? The seller may choose to refund you, but we can’t guarantee anything. Also, you can leave bad feedback.

    Thanks.

    I feel foolish for not realizing how vulnerable the site left me and am not looking forward to trying to get them to take me seriously. I will be keeping the BBB in mind.

  13. l.china mayhew July 26, 2016 at 9:13 am #

    Sadly reporting to the Better Business Bureau is fruitless, Etsy sends a comment back abdicating all responsibility in the actions of the many talented shop owners, and makes very clear that they are not the ones required to make any returns. Not that you’re asking them for that. What you want is someone to take your dispute seriously. It’s the BBB that requires a dollar amount and possible resolution to continue. Etsy completely ignores the fact that their tool designed to get a phone call from them is rarely functional. Hence your need to contact the BBB. The return message borders on rude, shows a failure to fully read the complaint they were sent, sends you back to the ineffectual trust and safety info all of which you’ve tried to no avail and is signed by a rep with no last name who insists the matter is closed. If you then try to post a revue on the BBB about your experience with Etsy which does or doesn’t include the contents of said response, the BBB refuse to post it because you opened the case. They also make it extremely difficult to recontact Etsy even after Etsy closes your dispute based on a statement that is a flat out lie on the part of the seller. A strange practice for a company who states their wish for no involvement. Basically Etsy Trust and Safety is useless, and Etsy goes out of it’s way to avoid actually speaking to complainants. Quite simply their resolution service does nothing to resolve the issue. As for the BBB, make your choice, file a review or a complaint. Neither will do much, as revues have no effect, Etsy will still maintain their rating even with their blatant avoidance of customer service. With a complaint you will be shut down by so and so, Etsy Inc. who tells you under no uncertain terms they’re responsible for nothing, use the widget that doesn’t work, go back to the system that created your need to complain to the BBB in the first place, or go to their legal department as if contacting anyone there is any easier than what you’ve been through so far.

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