Etsy is an incredibly popular marketplace with over 89.40 million active buyers. With such a mixture, it's inevitable that there will be varying opinions on products and sellers.
As a marketplace that relies heavily on customer reviews, Etsy takes its review process seriously. Reviews are essential as they help customers when they are buying and help sellers build trust and credibility with potential customers.
However, what happens when the review is inaccurate or violates Etys’ policies? Can you get a review removed by Etsy?
Why Would a Buyer Leave a Negative Review?
When you encounter a negative review of your store, it may feel like a personal attack as it's your business and, for some people, their primary source of income.
However, it's important to put yourself in your customer's shoes and see where they are coming from. Here are several reasons a customer may leave a negative review
- If the customer service was subpar
- If the product/items were faulty
- They encountered shipping problems
- Misunderstanding between you and them
- The item didn't meet their expectation
- In some rare instances, a customer is leaving the negative review out of spite or is trying to extort you(more on this later).
How Do Etsy Reviews Work?
When a buyer buys an item off the site, they can leave a review of the store. This review can be on customer service, the item itself, and the seller.
Customers can rate the store out of five stars and leave written feedback on their experience. This goes both ways, and sellers can respond to the reviews but not edit or delete them.
The review system is built to be transparent and impartial to neither seller nor the buyer. A review can only be deleted if it violates Etsy’s policies or if there is evidence of manipulation or coercion by the seller.
Reviews count towards your shop's quality rating, listing, and seller quality. These things go a long way in how you place on the Etsy search engine.
When Does a Review Go Against Etsy's Policies?
Etsy may only remove a review if they feel that it goes against their policies. Here are instances when a response may go against Etsy policies,
- If the review contains private information -There may be instances where a customer may doxx you and reveal your personal home address, phone number, or email address.
- If the review contains objectional language -If the customer has used profanity in their review.
- If the review contains racist, hate speech, harassing, threatening, or obscene language.
- If the review contains spam -There may be instances in which a customer may leave a link to their own stuff as a review of your shop or leave spammy messages.
- If the review is about things that are out of the seller's control- This includes issues with the site itself, a shipping carrier (mentioned by names), or a third party.
- Contain threats or extortion – You may encounter a certain breed of buyer who will message you asking that you either refund them or send them free products so that they dont post a negative review of your store. If you encounter such a buyer, you should always forward the message to Etsy immediately.
- If the response Violate Etsy Anti-Discrimination Policy
How to Handle a Bad Etsy Review
The best way to handle a negative Etsy review is to respond to the buyer via messages or mail as soon as possible.
This shows the customer that you care and are willing to address their concerns. Sometimes, this may lead the customer to edit their review if it's not been over 100 days. However, in some instances, you may have to respond to them publicly on the site.
You can choose to either respond to the review publicly or privately by messaging the buyer. When engaging with the buyer, keep these tips in mind,
Take a Moment to Breathe
When you receive a negative review, you are frustrated and upset. This can cause you to be irrational and respond in a less-than-professional manner.
Take a step back, and refrain from responding publicly and privately on the site, as you may say something you might regret later.
Open the Lines of Communication.
Start by telling the customer that you are happy to help with anything relating to their order and that you are open to their feedback regarding the situation.
An apology can do wonders when it comes to softening the situation.
Start with something like, “I apologize that the item got damaged during shipping.” While you’re not explicitly blaming the shipping company, this shows the customer that you understand how a broken product is not what they ordered/expected.
This is important when it comes to any sort of communication. This shows the customer that you understand how they feel. You can give an example of a time when you were in a similar situation, such as, “ I'm sorry that the shipping took longer than you expected, I also had a similar thing happen to me when I ordered from another store, and the product took longer than I had anticipated, that's why it's incredibly important for me that my store offers fast shipping.”
Offer Options to Fix the Solution
This is where you show you are ready to help fix the mistake. Strive to be clear on what you can and cannot do, as it may affect your bottom line. You can offer discounts or a refund if that's the best course of action. Never send customers additional products if they threaten to post a bad review.
Ensure that your action is in the best interest of you and the buyer.
If you have come up with a solution that works for both of you, don’t go ghost on the customer. This will hopefully help you retain the customer and resolve the issue they had in the first place that led them to post the negative review.
When is Etsy Unable to Remove a Review?
Etsy cannot remove a review that complies with its policies, even if the seller feels it's unfair.
Etsy can’t remove a review even if the tracking shows that the item was delivered.
If the seller has already responded to the review – this locks it in. Neither the seller nor the buyer can edit their review. The only option a seller has is to delete their review entirely.
If the review doesn't violate Etsys policies
Possible Outcomes of the Review Removal Request
If Etsy's review team determines that the review does violate their policies, they may remove it. However, they may also determine that the review does not violate their policies and will not remove it.
Alternatives to Review Removal
While requesting a review removal may be an option, other ways exist to address negative reviews and may be better.
One option is to respond to the review publicly, offering an explanation or solution to the buyer's concerns.
This shows potential customers that you are responsive and willing to work with buyers to resolve issues. Respond professionally. Ensure the response is not snippy or rude, as you are no longer talking to the previous customer; you are talking to the customers who will come after.
Another option is to encourage positive reviews. This can be done by providing excellent customer service and following up with buyers after purchasing. You can enclose a paper asking them to post photos of the products in use to help other buyers make informed decisions. Images are only allowed to be published as part of 5-star reviews.
Finally, taking steps to improve the customer experience can help prevent negative reviews from happening in the first place. This may include improving product quality, providing accurate descriptions, and ensuring timely shipping and delivery.
While the latter, in most cases, is out of your control, you may choose to enclose a leaflet thanking them for their order and asking them to reach out to you in case of any issues with their products.
Steps to Take to Avoid a Negative Review
When you encounter a negative review, this is the best time to look at your processes within your shop and make specific changes.
If, for example, you've received feedback that the sizing could be better indicated, adjust accordingly.
You could also ensure that you have the shipping information accurately displayed. If the lead time is 1-2 weeks, ensure you have that displayed across several locations in your store.
A negative review is never an easy thing for a seller to see. However, there are alternatives to review removal, such as responding publicly to negative reviews, encouraging positive reviews, and improving the customer experience. Ultimately, the best way to avoid negative reviews is to provide excellent customer service and quality products and to address any concerns or issues promptly and professionally. By doing so, sellers can build trust and credibility with their customers and improve their overall rating on Etsy.