How to deal with non-paying customers, update 12/04/07.

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Original Post

BeaG says

(Since I wanted to update the information, and forum threads cannot be changed, I decided to start a new one.)

Almost all sellers on Etsy face non-paying customers on a regular base. This is how I handle it. I hope to help others with it. Please feel free to add your own advice.

I send an e-mail like this:
"Your order from William's Giftshop at
Thank you for your order!
I have not yet received your payment though. I know the Etsy checkout can be a little confusing.
You can still pay me by logging into Etsy, go to 'your Etsy', 'purchases', 'receipt', and use the direct PayPal link over there.
If I receive your payment today, I can send out your package tomorrow.
Kind regards,

If I get no response within approx. two days (not everybody reads their e-mail every day), I send a reminder, through convo or e-mail. If that doesn't work, I send a PayPal invoice ('request money' option). And if there is still no reaction, I send a PayPal invoice reminder.
This approach will turn approx. 90%-95% of the non-paying customers into paying customers.

I leave negative feedback for customers that both don't pay and don't communicate, after approx. 4 days (payment should be made within 3 days, according to Etsy rules), I relist the item if I want to, and I have Etsy cancel the transaction and refund my fees (using the 'cancel a sale' form in 'your Etsy').

If a 'customer' returns to my shop and places another order without paying and without communicating, I politely ask them not to buy from my shop again, untill they have educated themselves on how to pay for their orders.

So, in short:
1. Politely explain to your non-paying customers how they can still pay you, because most of them are non-payers by accident (most of them are not very computer savvy).
2. Give them a few days to reply, because not everyone spends as much time at their computer as we do.
3. Don't hesitate to leave negative feedback for non-paying and non-communicating 'customers' after you have done everything within your power to explain the situation to them. They bought something and are therefore obliged to pay for it.
4. I don't accept 'customers' changing their mind about a purchase. Purchasing by accident is not possible on Etsy. If they completed the checkout process they are obliged to hold their end of the deal, just like you are. You don't always have to be nice at your own expense.
5. Don't be afraid for retaliatory negative feedback. I never got any, but I know that Etsy will remove it if it is not deserved.

If you have done all the above, have waited the proper amount of time (minimum of four days, since customers are obliged to pay within three days), but after all the buyer DOES pay, this is what you can do.
Contact support [!at] and have them delete your transaction report (you know, the form to cancel a sale).
Also ask them to undo your feedback, so you can leave new feedback from scratch.
But hurry, because this has to be done before Etsy cancels the transaction (which might take up to a week).

Enjoy your Etsy shop and good luck with sales!

Posted at 10:31am Dec 4, 2007 EST


pookeh says

great advice, beaG!

i have a couple of non-payers i have to deal with right now, arghhhhhhhhdkfjalkdjflaf! there seem to be a lot more newbie etsiers signing on these days and it's getting a tad frustrating tracking them down and explainig to them how this whole checkout system works. oh well, comes with the territory being a seller here i guess. . .

i'll try this approach and see what happens. . .

Posted at 10:35am Dec 4, 2007 EST

enigmachck says

I'm having a hard time with that as well. Unfortunately, my buyer wanted to pay with a money order! Now I don't know what to do about it. I think I'm just going to have to cancel the sale, and maybe stop accepting money orders. Does anyone else accept MO's or is it just easier to go through paypal?

Posted at 10:39am Dec 4, 2007 EST

AngelQ says

Thank you, BeaG:) You rock!

Posted at 10:41am Dec 4, 2007 EST

thanks for the info, I'm sure this will come in very handy some day:)

Posted at 10:42am Dec 4, 2007 EST

kellirene says

enigmachck, Be cautious with the money order thing. There are so many bogus ones going around. I almost got scammed once, so I no longer accept them. Please be careful.

Posted at 10:43am Dec 4, 2007 EST

Thanks, BeaG! I have used your advice with my non-paying customers. I'd never had one until about two weeks ago.

Posted at 10:46am Dec 4, 2007 EST

Great post BeaG! My additional advice (after going through it a couple times recently) is be patient, and don't panic! Easy to say, I know, but it'll all work out!

Posted at 10:47am Dec 4, 2007 EST

Thanks for the post--that was helpful. I have found some of the people think they paid when they clicked on the button to buy it. They didn't realize that they hadn't paid for it yet. So your explanation of how to do it was very good.

Posted at 10:47am Dec 4, 2007 EST

thanks Bea. I was just getting ready to send a final request on a NPB. Thanks.

Posted at 10:48am Dec 4, 2007 EST