Could the Etsy Free Shipping Change be ILLEGAL?

Could the Etsy Free Shipping Change be ILLEGAL?

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This is day 3 since Etsy dropped the bombshell on Etsy sellers that they are planning to give priority placement in search for Etsy listings that are offering free shipping in the US for items $35 and over
But a couple of questions have been brought up if the recommendations for increasing prices across the board or changing your policies on refunds to not give a full refund to cover shipping expenses. But if Etsy sellers follow this advice is this actually legal? In some countries it may actually be illegal to artificially inflate prices to offer something ‘FREE’ and in the EU it is already the case if a buyer wants to return something you cannot withold shipping. So although the advice may be OK for Etsy shops selling only in America this might actually be terrible advice for international shops

could the eat see shipping changes actually be illegal let's find out new changes are rolling out on eat see and if you don't know what I'm talking about checking the cards up above to take you to day one of the playlist explaining this new shipping change the DC is rolling out today is day three since this bombshell was dropped and it sees question and answer in the forums is now closed although it is still a fantastic read they are still working through and answering the questions and it's still worth getting there and having a read and seeing what they're saying I'll link in the comments down below to get to that Q&A on the forums and before I get into the meat of this video I just want to share one of the answers in the Q&A where they slipped in a little nuggets that they're gonna be doing a live Facebook demo on July the 16th of how to use some of these new tools that are rolling out so I'll let you know where and when this is going to be in more detail when I find out some more or if you've heard you know leave it in the comments down below and as a reminder eats here telling us just now to hang tight not to make any changes they're just rolling out this stuff and the whole new visibility placement thing that we don't know what they're talking about anyway that's not gonna be rolling out to the end of the month so they're rolling out the tools to help us head for this but they don't want us to do it yet so let's not touch anything until we have a clue what they're talking about I know it's tempting as I say they're rolling out the tools and some of us have the new button the new thing that's gonna get us started on they're doing the free shipping in the US for over $35 it's tempting to hit the button it's tempting to freak out and make all the changes hang tight okay so could these changes that eat see you're talking about accidentally be making us be illegal in some other countries I was made to think of this by a couple of questions I saw yesterday one from the shop epic stitching asked in the QA all about selling in Canada and talking about the laws in Canada that basically it's illegal to inflate prices it's illegal to increase your price to offer buy one get one free so how does this cover things like inflating your price to offer free shipping and also our very own BEC Cebu 88 asked in the comments to my previous video if in the UK selling regulations if it's not illegal to not refund the shipping price to do the thing that eetzi is suggesting of basically changing your policies to state that when when a customer cancels you'll refund them but withhold part of your money as restocking as shipping so obviously this sounds like a worry now you may be sitting and going I'm in America this has got nothing to do with me I'll get to this this might have something to do with you as well so ever and hang on till the end so what exactly did eetzi say in the reply to epic stitching great name by the way well but a whole lot of words a whole lot of words saying do what you think and here's some options and you might find that this makes your shop do-badder and a tiny bit at the bottom to remind us that it's up to us to comply with local laws so gives me the feeling they've not even thought about international laws for this however I will say remember the Q&A that eetzi do in the forums the answers they give there are just to start with quite often they'll finish up making an article out of this with much more in-depth answers but I think we have to keep on asking as international sellers have to keep on asking what about this and what about the UK well I talked about and the relevant document just now since 2014 is the consumer contracts regulation and this covers the rates of buyers when you're shopping online the relevant section here is the cancelling Goods area so if you have cancelled an order the seller has to return the order to you and also refund all the prices refund the price for the shipping that that doesn't include any additional shipping that you've purchased but they have to refund the basic cost of shipping so this is going to be the same whether it's rolled up into your full price or whether it's a standalone separate shipping you can't withhold the price of the shipping if a customer buy something and then decides to return it in the UK this is EU loss of the whole of the EU in fact basically we have to remember that our policies are neat see what we put in eat see does not Trump local laws local laws Trump eat see policy and we do have to know what the local law in our area is however this is for the buyer not for the seller this is for someone buying in the EU now I'm not a legal expert I am just looking at these like anybody can so make sure that you get proper advice before making any changes but for me what this is saying is if you're selling to someone in the EU these are the regulations you have to follow so this could affect anyone who ships internationally if you're planning to just bump up your total cost it's about to remove the free shipping or bump up your costs and then just for the International shipping add the little bit extra so customers weren't being ripped off it doesn't mean that you're gonna get around if customers have to return an item now although this actually hasn't changed as such if they were returning an item anyway and your shipping with separate you would still have to have had refunded in full but a lot of the workarounds that people are talking about is to roll the shipping in to your price and then to put in your policies that if somebody returns the goods then you'll be withholding some of the fee for the cost of handling and shipping so these workarounds at the minute might not be possible or they may be I might be misreading these laws but from each these answers it sounds like they haven't particularly thought of them yet so as they are saying we have to hang tight don't do anything in our shops yet until we know everything keep on haranguing eat see keep on asking them keep on telling them you want to know what's happening with international orders and think about this now I miss zooming this is illegal in the US I hope at least eetzi thought this through they're offering the free shipping and increasing your prices in the US is an OK thing to do but we have to be aware that different countries have different laws so make sure you check that you're ok with the country that you're in and you're ok with the countries that you're shipping to I hope this helps if you want to know more on this discussion don't forget checking the cards to get to the start of this playlist and don't forget hit subscribe and ring the bell to be notified when I put up more videos I'm gonna be making videos as soon as I learn anything new about all of this and remember I have a live stream on Sundays at 4 p.m. UK time if you want to come along with your questions there I'll do my best thank you so much

14 thoughts on “Could the Etsy Free Shipping Change be ILLEGAL?

  1. I am a US-based seller and the vast majority of my sales are within the US, so take my comment in that context.

    I feel very uncomfortable about Etsy encouraging sellers to charge a “restocking fee” to cover the cost of shipping on returned items. If I were a first-time Etsy buyer and I thought I paid $25 for an item with “free” shipping and I paid $7 to have it sent back only to receive a refund of $18 (net refund of $11), I would be likely to leave a bad review and be left with a bad taste in my mouth about shopping on Etsy at all.

    As a shopper, I had some terrible experiences with maybe my sixth and ninth purchases on Etsy back in 2009, and if they’d been my first and second, I would not yet have gotten the hang of the fact that Etsy functions as a matchmaker, not a retail outlet and walked away. Because the other purchases I’d made to that point had been great experiences, I simply raised my standards about which shops I was willing to buy from. I personally think that whatever Etsy can do to support buyers having a great experience helps sellers at least as much as buyers.

  2. Well, I did not control myself and tempted to roll on with the suggested prompts and here is my question. I am a seller from a European country and I informed that all my 35$ items will have free shipping to US, but not everywhere else. I had of course to make some adjustments up to prices of several items. So now European buyers will see these items with a little bit higher prices plus shipping cost ???

  3. They definitely need to add on for shops to put that we will be holding part of the price for shipping. I am currently having a customer cancel an order delivered to her just because she changed her mind. I sell from Africa and the item was labeled free shipping which i used more than half of what she paid to ship this to her and i am so angry having to refund all this money. We as sellers definitely need more protection.

  4. So happy someone has addressed the possible legal ramifications. I’ve been stating the same on many Facebook forums as it really never dawned on me that this could be a direct conflict with the laws in Truth in Advertising.

    True free shipping has been around forever, but Amazon pretty much subsidizes their free shipping so they could get around any legal issues; but to blatantly state free shipping but add the cost to the price of your items, well, this doesn’t seem quite legal to me.

    As far as free shipping, not sure about others but I Must pay to ship my customers orders, so where’s the free?

    Also, if customers realize you’ve inflated your prices to cover shipping and demand a refund, then what, will Etsy rule in their favor?

    As you stated I too hope that Etsy thought this all through as I’m eagerly awaiting their comments on some of these outstanding issues with their free shipping mandate.

    Thanks for posting the video.

  5. Okay, thing is when you refund full price when cancelling – shoppers can't cancel custom orders and perishable items. If you decide to let them cancel / return items that are non returnable, well that is kind of on you. I got a packed lost (my shop is new and I only have 51 sales ) and I got refunded by the post for the lost package. I still was not loosing money because I tend to write the truth on the declaration. And refunding full price when cancelling is only fair – you cancel the order before shipping. After you ship it is returning – buyer pays the shipping back. No matter if it was free shipping or not. I mean I sell quite light things and my shipping is around 6 usd (plus all the nice things we add like thank you cards and so on that we also include in the price) and I sure can add this to items nearing the 30 dollar mark. On some point it is most unfair not to us, but to buyers – they will have all those "free shipping" items priced with calculated shipping all rolled in to ALL the items, so by the nature of how pricing works you will earn more when people purchase multiple items. Hope I can express myself understandably. I myself always look for free shipping as a customer. Yesterday I just thought that I will do an experiment. I had 0 sales for quite a while and I upped few items the shipping price and marked free shipping – what do you know I got a USA sale in a few hrs. Make of it what you want, but freaking out is just doing more harm.

  6. They completely ignored the question about Canadian federal law. They might as well have said: "Oops, sorry. We're a bunch of dumb idiots who think of things and implement them without thinking about the consequences."

  7. I am a US seller, this is why I never offered international shipping. I have had a few requests but Etsy has little support for us so we know what the laws are in different parts of the world. I had no idea that adding the cost of shipping to an item and average it out to increase your price was illegal in other countries. I just feel this free shipping thing is going to backfire in a lot of ways.
    Also, the first time I read about the roll out, I thought it was just for us only stores and us only shoppers. It will be interesting to see how it works.
    Thanks again for awesome videos!!

  8. So helpful, Pam. I’ve begun referring intn’l Etsy sellers who are anxious and/or confused straight here. So, thanks for your service 👍

    On the topic of refunds when shipping is included in the purchase price (aka “free shipping”) I’ve always offered it, on Etsy and since 2015, also on Amazon Handmade.

    Policy there is that if an Amazon seller offers free shipping, when refunding they cannot withhold the cost of outbound shipping. Because it was “free”.

    Policy on Amazon Handmade is that if a customer requests a “discretionary” return — that is, they want to return for “bought by mistake; no longer needed”, etc., — the seller can withhold up to a 20% restocking fee. *But*! The customer can dispute that, and/or can leave bad feedback.

    FYI: Amazon also has a 30 day no-questions-asked refund policy for all sellers, excepting only items that are truly customized / personalized, to the point the item cannot conceivably be re-sold to anyone else. All other sellers must abide by the 30 days refund policy — that is, the customer has 30 days from receipt (and up to 90 days at Xmas time) to request a return, and the seller must accept it.

    (Can you imagine the howling on Etsy if Etsy instituted that?!)

  9. Cute thumbnail❣️

    So, if someone were to prove inflating of prices, how do they go about it? Maybe comparative shopping? And then there's the handling & packaging that we go through as part of the process. Is handling a totally different consideration?

    Hmmm….. I really didn't give this a second thought before Pandora's Box was opened on this topic. I totally agree that it's always good to check the laws in our respective countries and localities, just in case. I stand by my free shipping for now, as it includes my handling. That's because I know what the return is worth to me in the long run. I'm OK with refunding the customer in accordance with my written terms.

    My health is way to important to risk stressing out over minutia at this time. "Don't worry, be happy."

  10. In EU you can't really use that restocking thing and stay 100% legal (if the laws have not changed drastically which I don't think). You have to refund the whole thing and the customer has the right to cancel the order within 14 days.

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