International Etsy purchase gone wrong - what to ask for?
July 15, 2016 6:27 PM   Subscribe

I bought a rug on Etsy. Item was misrepresented. What is reasonable to ask he seller for?

I'm in the US and I purchased a rug from an Etsy seller in Morocco last month. I received the rug today and it is almost an entire foot shorter than was stated in the item description. I am also not as crazy about the rug in person as I was when looking at the photos, but that is not so much the seller's fault. The size issue is the main problem here, so we'll focus on that.

I've just sent the seller a message stating the problem and that I am dissatisfied, but I have not yet asked for anything specific. I figure I have two options: Ask for a refund and send the rug back, or keep the rug and ask the seller for a partial refund.

Ideally, I would like to return the rug and get my money (several hundred dollars, so not a trivial amount of money) back, but I have reservations about this. I do not want to send the rug back without getting a refund first. The seller has good feedback but not much of it, and they were not very communicative during the buying process. Also, the rug took way longer to ship than they said it would. Because of these things, I am not completely confident that the seller would refund my money upon receipt of the rug. Is it unreasonable to ask for the refund first before sending the rug back? If I were a seller, I would be uncomfortable with this.

Additionally, if I send the rug back, who eats the shipping cost? Seems like it should be the seller since they misrepresented the item in the description and I was looking for a rug with specific dimensions.

My other option is to keep the rug and ask for a partial refund. This seems like the easiest option for both parties, but the number I have in my head that would make me happy is about 30% of what I paid, including shipping. Does this sound reasonable?

What would you do?
posted by kitty teeth to Shopping (3 answers total)
Sorry to say that the seller is probably not going to refund you before you send the item back, nor are they obligated to do so. They cannot keep both the money and the item but they do not have to refund you before you return it. There is definitely a please the customer culture on Etsy which results in many sellers refunding without getting items back just to avoid negative feedback, but I highly doubt this seller will do that, seeing that the item cost several hundred dollars. You are protected via Paypal or Etsy's Direct Checkout (your credit card company is what you used on Etsy if you used DC) if you open a case now and use "item not as described" as the option. Open a case now. The seller will be much more motivated to work with you if their shop has a case open against it. The seller will be forced to return your money if you return the item. Not knowing the laws in Morroco, I cannot say whether or not there are things such as delivery confirmation to prove that the seller did, in fact, receive the item back.

What would I do? If I thought I could look at the rug every day and be happy with a 30% discount, I would definitely take that option. I think that 30% is a reasonable amount to request for the annoyance, and it IS the seller's fault that they either mistyped the size, or mismeasured it. If the seller does refund you an agreed-upon amount, you can then close the case.
posted by the webmistress at 6:44 PM on July 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

First - don't wait. With etsy, they will try to push stores to try to make things right, but ultimately if you paid via paypal you have about 90 days.

Second - if I was a seller and you asked to return an item AND to get a refund prior to returning it, I would refuse outright.

I think you're right about challenges with international sellers. I would consider asking for a partial refund, however - we can't give you a sense on what the right refund is unless we know a little more about the scope of the issue. You're right, the size is the only thing that pertains here. Is the total length 5'? 10'? or 2'? This significantly impacts how much of a refund you should request. I'm going to assume that the rug is 3' by 5'. With that in mind, I'd think about asking for a refund in the range of 15-20% of the purchase price, not including shipping.

If you really don't want the rug (it sounds like you don't) I'd consider either selling it on ebay (which I did for an international etsy purchase that didn't work out for me - selling it on ebay worked great!) or contemplating returning it.
posted by arnicae at 7:06 PM on July 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

We had a similar thing happen to us - sort of. Seller was in Ukraine. Sold us a watch that was defective. We sent watch back (at not a small expense), he replaced it, with a totally different watch that we didn't want or like.

Basically, he said "tough rocks" when we let him know we didn't like the replacement. Paypal was no help. Etsy was no help - we were outside the 45 day window on both. The only recourse we had was to leave him bad feedback - which we did. (I don't leave retaliatory bad feedback, but just said exactly what happened). As soon as we did that, the seller sprung into action and offered a refund if we would take the feedback down. I'm not particularly proud, but I did it. It wasn't a small amount of money for us.
posted by getawaysticks at 12:09 PM on July 17, 2016

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