Etsy Etiquette?
September 4, 2011 9:48 PM   Subscribe

Etsy etiquette for neg/neutral/positive feedback?etsy etiquette?

i bought a pair of handmade sandals from a seller on etsy, who has loads and loads of positive feedback and reviews. the seller was very prompt and helpful in our communication before my purchase. the shoes broke within hours of wearing them outside for the first time. warn't no jungle neither, just some average pavement.

i explained to the seller the circumstances and that i was very dissatisfied with the quality of the shoes and would like a refund. profuse apology extended, refund granted. i left neutral feedback for the seller, commenting on their great communication and customer service, and chose to not mention that the shoes had broken. it may have been a fluke, however incredibly inconvenient and annoying, of a faulty batch of glue or whatever, and the seller had had a lot of other customers who were pleased with their shoes.

however, seller has contacted me and explains they would like me to change my neutral feedback to positive, as my comments suggested the overall transaction was positive. they haven't left me feedback yet, and i'm concerned they will dock me when they do (happened the last time i left neutral feedback for a diff. seller). i've bought very few items on etsy, and i'm worried their feedback would negatively effect my standing as a buyer. but of course, i'm pissed off they're requesting positive feedback when i normally would have just left negative feedback for a bad product.

total plate o' beans here.. but i really hate confrontation. what to do? i've heard some horror stories about sellers berating buyers for leaving neg feedback, and i feel that neutral feedback is nothing to complain about, but is that normal in the etsy world?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Leave positive feedback, but change the comment to reflect that the item broke immediately and the seller was happy to issue a refund?
posted by Nomyte at 9:50 PM on September 4, 2011 [21 favorites]

Yeah it sucks to get excited about a new pair of shoes only to have them break within hours of wearing but if the seller handled the refund in a timely and professional manner, I'd leave positive feedback. Actually what Nomyte suggests is perfect. Sometimes flukes with products happen, but the true test of a good business is how they handle the negative problems. Seems like the seller earned a positive feedback despite the defective shoes.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 9:58 PM on September 4, 2011

My stance is that if they hadn't broken it would have been positive, and if the return hadn't been smooth it would have been negative. Everything else is details.
posted by rhizome at 9:59 PM on September 4, 2011

I agree with Nomyte. The point of feedback is to help other buyers decide whether to make a purchase. Your glowing but neutral feedback doesn't help anyone; it doesn't give the buyer information s/he would probably want (I know I would, especially for something like shoes where quality is really important), and it doesn't really help the seller since the nice things you said are still marked as neutral. I have seen positive feedback marked as neutral and I always wonder if the leaver of the feedback messed up and checked the wrong box, or if there was really something wrong and they're just afraid to say so.
posted by kitty teeth at 10:44 PM on September 4, 2011

As a frequent etsy buyer, I value honest feedback and hope people will leave an accurate accounting of what happened because it helps me as a customer. Personally if it were me, I'd have left a neutral but I would have explained the situation in great detail - by laying out the problem with the shoes breaking, and then also talking about the positive steps the seller took to make the situation right. By leaving a neutral but only writing glowing comments, other potential buyers will have no idea what the issue was and it won't really help them make an informed decision about buying. Also, even though the seller did the right thing to fix the situation (which should be noted in the comments for sure), the product was not up to par quality wise and it's important to note that as well.

Also, etsy has a no retaliation rule so there is no reason to be afraid the seller will come back with negative or neutral feedback just because you left honest feedback for them. If this does happen and they have no basis to back up their feedback rating, you can talk to etsy and get it removed.
posted by katy song at 11:44 PM on September 4, 2011 [4 favorites]

I tend to agree with katy song - I would leave accurate, neutral feedback - and I would explain to her that the feedback would have been positive with a non-defective product, and negative if she had not been so good about dealing with the refund process.

Etsy can be weird, but if you are honest and the record backs you up, I agree that she shouldn't "retaliate" according to Etsy's own rules. It might be obnoxious to bring it up in your next communication with her, but worth reminding her she can't punish you for being polite and accurate.
posted by Medieval Maven at 6:46 AM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

I would leave positive feedback (but explain the situation, as Nomyte suggested). Things break sometime, you know? From her feedback, it doesn't sound like this is a common problem, and from your description she's definitely a responsible seller.
posted by robinpME at 8:13 AM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

I would have also left neutral feedback. That seems like the exact perfect time for its use, actually.

I know that you can use the "kiss and make up" deal on Etsy to strike a deal on feedback. Tell her to send you a pair of shoes. If they break quickly again, then you'll send them back (on her dime!) and keep the feedback as neutral. If they end up being good wearable shoes, pay for the shoes (sans shipping) and give positive feedback and a detailed explanation. If the seller doesn't agree to this, leave it as neutral. Your feedback should only be positive if you got something out of the exchange. After all, that was the original point, and ultimately, the seller's ONLY goal, really. Don't give her a freebie.
posted by two lights above the sea at 8:36 AM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Please do not leave neutral -- neutral on Etsy and eBay are for sellers who've dropped the ball a bit. Etsy doesn't let people quickly and easily view all comments associated with neutral feedbacks, so future customers are just going to see: ah, potential ball-dropper, hrm. And the seller could not possibly have handled things better. Describe what went down in your positive-feedback comment.

It may not seem fair but anything below 'positive' on these sites is very damaging to the seller. Many people won't get past the percentages; a neutral with "but she was great" is still, for the overwhelming majority of her business, just a black mark on her record.

You are certainly entitled to be the sort who would leave a black mark for a these-things-happen mistake handled with grace, but I really don't think it's optimal, either for karma, etiquette, or good advice to future buyers.
posted by kmennie at 8:40 AM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Neutral. Look, the shoes broke. They failed. The product didn't work. It's great that the seller was so cool about handling the return/refund, but that's how a seller *should* behave.

If the seller doesn't want to be seen as "dropping the ball" enough to have earned less than stellar feedback, he/she should have made a pair of shoes that didn't break.

Neutral is not negative. If there are sites that treat it as such, then sellers need to take that up with the people who make the policies on those sites.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 10:50 AM on September 5, 2011 [3 favorites]

Please do not leave neutral -- neutral on Etsy and eBay are for sellers who've dropped the ball a bit.

Isn't this exactly what happened?

Look, I'm sympathetic to the plight of the independent retail vendor, but this obsession with avoiding anything less than positive feedback is not helpful to anybody. If someone earns an average grade, you give them a C. Selling shoes that break in an hour is not a positive experience for the customer.
posted by rhizome at 11:19 AM on September 5, 2011 [6 favorites]

I've found that the Etsy community (especially those that post on the forums) over-value pleasantness between users, hence the expectation of positive feedback just for doing something "nice," regardless of the actual quality of the product.

They refunded a broken item - that's not a bonus, that's the minimum you would expect any business to do.

There's a lot of crap on Etsy. One of the very few ways for the not-crap to rise to the top is the feedback system. Be honest and stick to the neutral response. It's fair feedback. You'd be making Etsy a better place for it, too.
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 4:51 PM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

If you're a buyer and not a seller, don't worry if someone leaves you retaliatory feedback. I have a couple of black marks in my feedback, both from a seller who absolutely deserved the negative she got from me and then tried to bully me into changing it. It hasn't made a single difference. It's not like anyone has refused to sell to me.

If you feel she deserves the neutral feedback, then leave it as-is. Other customers need to know what they might encounter. If you want to be nice and change it to a positive, I can understand that. She may have flubbed the shoes, but she responded the way she should have. My point is - it's up to you, but don't change it because you're afraid of your rating.
posted by katillathehun at 9:39 PM on September 5, 2011

I also don't understand those who are saying that the feedback should be positive. Your feedback is about the product the seller made, as well as the seller's service. Service was good, product was not. Neutral seems to fit the bill.
posted by mingodingo at 1:36 PM on September 8, 2011

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