You know, I wondered what I was going to say today in my pre-Etsy post… would I extol the virtues of saddle soap and mink oil vs. polishes and waxes for your various leather goods? Or would I tell you how Nelson Day went yesterday? Every day is Nelson Day, so nothing new there.
Nope. What landed in my inbox fixed that right up. Here it is – a screen shot of the message I received from Etsy this morning regarding their new Etsy Payment Policy:
OH! Ok. I didn’t sign up for Direct Checkout however many years ago when they introduced it because it felt wrong. You know what I mean? That tiny inexplicable voice somewhere way back in the backitty-back of your mind that says softly, quietly “Don’t Do It.” You know the one. Plus, I accept Paypal. And money orders. And checks from established customers. That ought to be good enough, and that was that.
Then, the people who fell for it started talking about it. And what they were saying wasn’t good – the biggest complaint was having to wait for access to their funds. It only got worse in the years to come. They reported delays with the transfers that lasted days or weeks, credit card accounts were compromised, customers were being double charged, the customer service was nonexistent, all that jazz. When Etsy is involved at all, these issues are inevitable. At least I don’t HAVE to use Direct Checkout. At least Etsy isn’t in charge of my money. Right?
Bottom line: Etsy wants more money and I will be FORCED to sign up for Etsy Payments (which used to be called Direct Checkout) by May 17th. Or else my account will be suspended. In order to keep my shop open, I must submit an uncomfortable amount of extremely personal, sensitive information to Etsy, who will share it with at least two separate payment processing systems in other countries (Worldpay and Adyen) and who knows how many other UNDISCLOSED third parties. One of those payment processing systems has a history of being glitchy and not exactly doing anything about it. Another layer of this rotten onion is that to be approved to accept Etsy Payments, I could be required to send a copy of my ID to Etsy via the internet (not smart) and have my credit checked. By Etsy. High Court of Hipster Idiots Who Wear Crocheted Beards. I just can’t make myself do this, guys. Innumerable Etsy sellers are very upset about this. It is my opinion, after perusing the Etsy forums, the legitimate sellers who aren’t upset and are being vocal about it are either ignorant or are paying lip service to Etsy in fear of retaliation. Or they’re shills. I’m catching a whiff of fascism in a peculiar shade of orange here. Another sign of the days we’re living in.
Luckily, I was grandfathered in because I opened my Etsy account in 2009; with some digging, I found out that new Etsy shops opened around the end of 2015 only had Direct Checkout as a choice for accepting payments. Paypal figured into that somehow, but I’ve read that it was difficult to find out how to add Paypal as a payment option for any new shops. Either way, it would go through Direct Checkout first, before it hit Paypal, unless you did a fancy e-tapdance to separate the two. Or something. The explanation of how this works was rather muddy. As per usual, with Etsy.
I know that some people hate Paypal for some reason, but I’ve never had any problems like these, nor have I been required to jump through such hoops with Paypal. The most memorable weirdness I had was Paypal posting a payment received date of 1969, and it was unclear if the money was available to me or not. I was able to call them on the phone and get answers immediately. I did not have to request a call back, as I would have to do with Etsy Payments. The weirdness was very promptly made un-weird somehow off in Paypal land.
Sure, you can transfer money from your seller account to your bank account every day, if you’d like. But I think the most bothersome aspect of Direct Checkout/Etsy Payments is that unless you have a balance greater than $25, you can’t transfer that money from the Etsy Payment account to your bank account on a daily basis. If you only transfer weekly or less frequently, you can transfer ALL of the money from your Etsy Payments account into your bank account. That could amount to days and days of waiting for money. At first I was unclear if this meant they get to keep $1-$24 of my money indefinitely… until I read the Etsy forum, where it was clarified – albeit very briefly and practically unnoticeably buried – by Etsy Admin. This information should be available right there in the Etsy Payments Policy, and stated very clearly… but it is not. Now, with Paypal, I have instant access to my money. I can transfer it to my bank account (which usually only takes about a day) and I can use that money to make purchases anywhere. As far as I know, I can manually transfer any amount of money from my Paypal account to my bank account, any time, and it lands there within a day or so. With Etsy Payments I’ll have to wait several days before I have any access at all to those funds. With Etsy Payments, you can’t even use the money in that account for anything, including shopping on Etsy. Transferring money from your Etsy Payments account to your bank account takes 3-5 days – if you’re lucky.
Etsy claims that requiring all sellers to accept Etsy Payments will somehow help make purchasing easier. I call BS. Not once has a client, potential or existing, ever written me and said “Hey, golly gee whiz, if you accepted Direct Checkout, it sure would make my life on planet Etsy so much easier.” It’s already easy. You don’t even need to maintain a Paypal account to pay me. Or to send a money order. Or a check. Most buyers already know this. Actually, most 15 year olds already know this.
So here’s what I’m gonna do, folks. I’m going to wait this out and see if Etsy comes to their senses, or try to find a way to circumvent this absurdity and keep my Etsy shop. Ebay tried to do something similar to this years ago and it didn’t really work out, so there’s a tiny glimmer of hope here. Meanwhile, if it indeed to comes to pass that I am forced to accept Etsy Payments, well, I guess I won’t have an Etsy shop any more. Sorry. What Etsy is doing here is unprofessional, unfair, and quite possibly illegal. I refuse to hand over sensitive information to someone (Etsy) who consistently never bothers to dot their i’s and cross their t’s… and again, undisclosed third parties. It’s needlessly invasive and I don’t think it’s safe. It’s bad enough that Paypal has what little info it has on me, but at least I have a long history of being able to trust them with it. I won’t close my Etsy shop – I will simply remove all the items for sale and keep my shop open in case anything changes, and so that I can continue to make purchases on Etsy.
And a special note to my buyers: I hope that, for all of your future Etsy purchases from me and any other Etsy seller, you will opt to use Paypal to process your payment (or check or money order when permitted, if you so desire) for the reasons I have stated above, and other sorts of screwball I didn’t get around to discussing. Please pay very close attention to how you’re submitting your payments, because those fanged sock monkeys at Etsy will obfuscate whatever they can. Etsy has legitimate small time artists and crafters over a barrel here. Can we please not encourage them?
Other options? I’m seriously considering selling my weekly specials directly from my blog, either with or without the assistance of a shopping cart system. Does anyone still use ebay? That’s another possibility, but not very likely. Craft fairs and bead shows? Not happening. Facebook? Still not sure about that. I’ll keep you informed.
If you have any ideas, information or desires, I would very much like to hear from you.
This is what I’ve put together for this week’s Etsy specials. I’ll get everything ready tonight and the beads will be available on Etsy tomorrow (Friday) afternoon or early evening. I’ll post here again when everything is ready.
Thanks so much for checking in!
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