Apr 27, 2023
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Which? probe finds rip-off pricing, fake 'handmade' goods on Etsy

Apr 27, 2023

Last week, online retailer Etsy was riding high on a glowing report that the business was regarded as the best online marketplace for sellers and buyers. This week, it was facing accusations of sellers listing goods claimed to be handmade that aren't and overcharging customers.


Etsy, which bills itself as a marketplace for “unique and creative” goods, has been investigated by consumer group Which? that found rogue operators selling fake ‘handmade’ products while charging up to seven times more than on other websites for the same items.

It found that 23 of the 192 ‘handmade’ products it looked at were available on other online platforms or retailers and all but two had a higher price on Etsy.

In women’s clothes, Which? found some Etsy sellers claiming items were handmade that were also on Amazon and eBay from apparently unlinked sellers. One of these Etsy clothing sellers had made thousands of sales.

The report also shows one Etsy seller had ‘handmade’ items on sale that actually came from Asda, Dunelm and B&M.

Etsy rules are that everything listed for sale must be handmade, vintage or a craft supply. And sellers have to be upfront about whether others are involved in the manufacturing process.

“Our research shows some Etsy sellers are brazenly ripping off customers by making misleading claims about their products,” Which? director of policy and advocacy, Rocio Concha, said.

Concha urged Etsy to crack down "on dodgy claims and advertising online". 

Meanwhile, Etsy said: “Protecting the integrity of our marketplace is critical to our business. Our policies prohibit counterfeit and resold merchandise on Etsy, and we use a combination of automatic controls, manual review, and user flags to continuously monitor the marketplace and identify policy violations.”

In its annual transparency report, it said potentially non-compliant content was flagged 36 million times last year, and it removed 1.9 million listings for violating its policies in 2022.

Last week, Etsy was praised in a Chattermill report that showed the site was regarded as the best online marketplace for sellers and buyers and is the brand to be followed by other companies operating in this space. 

Analysis of over 42,000 performance-related responses to some of the most popular online marketplaces, pointed to Etsy “excelling in all aspects evaluated”.

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