Our House Rules

Get to know Etsy's legal terms and policies

Our House Rules

Cases for Buyers

1. Opening a Case
2. Case Eligibility
3. Ineligible Disputes and Transactions

1. Opening a Case

If you're looking to return an item or get a refund from an order on Etsy, the first thing to do is contact the seller directly. Each seller sets their own shop policies regarding issues like these. If you've reached out to the seller and haven't heard back, or if you're unable to resolve your issue together, you can file what’s known as a “case.” With Etsy’s case system, members work together to resolve disputes around orders that are not delivered or are not as described in the listing.

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • You must have an Etsy account to open a case. If you purchase an item using guest checkout, you'll have to register for an account on Etsy before you can file a case. Click here for more information.
  • To learn how to open a case for an order placed on an Etsy-powered website, please take a look at this Help article.
  • You can only use one method of dispute resolution against sellers on Etsy. If you have filed a chargeback with your credit card company, you cannot also file a case. If you file a chargeback after opening a case on Etsy, that Etsy case will be closed.

If you've already opened a case, check out this Help article for more details.

2. Case Eligibility

Eligibility to open a case is based on an order's estimated delivery date (if applicable) or processing time and “ship by” date. This Help article explains case time eligibility. If you paid through PayPal, Etsy may advise you to contact PayPal for a refund.

A buyer can open a case for non-delivery or an item being not as described.


A non-delivery occurs when a buyer places an order but does not receive the item. Non-delivery cases include when:

  • There is no proof that the item was shipped to the buyer.
  • An item was sent to an address that is not on the Etsy receipt.

Etsy doesn't hold sellers responsible for shipping delays or errors, as long as the seller can prove that they shipped the item on time to the address on the Etsy receipt. If the item was shipped and has a tracking number, you may be able to contact the shipping carrier directly to open a claim.


An item is not as described if the buyer can demonstrate (through photos or other documentation) that it is significantly different from the seller’s listing description and photos. Here are a few examples of not-as-described cases:

  • The item received is a different color, model, version, or size.
  • The item has a different design or material.
  • The seller failed to disclose that an item is damaged or is missing parts.
  • The buyer received the incorrect quantity of items (e.g., the buyer purchased three items but only received two).
  • The item was advertised as authentic but is not authentic.
  • The condition of the item is misrepresented (e.g., the item is described as new but is used).

Not-as-described cases can also be filed for late delivery. An order may be considered a late delivery if:

  • The item(s) were ordered for a specific date or event.
  • The item(s) are rendered useless after that date.
  • The seller did not ship the item(s) according to their processing time or the date agreed upon in Messages.

Note: Etsy does not hold sellers responsible for shipping delays or errors, as long as the seller can prove that they shipped the item on time to the address on the Etsy receipt.

If an item is significantly similar to the seller’s listing description and photos, it is not eligible for a not-as-described case.

3. Ineligible Disputes and Transactions

Some disputes and transactions are ineligible for the case system, including:

  • Items that are damaged by shipping carrier (if properly packaged by the seller).
  • Items that have been altered, used, worn, washed, or discarded after receipt.
  • Items that are received after the agreed-upon delivery date due to shipping delays.
  • Items that are returned without a return agreement.
  • Items that are accurately described but don’t meet a buyer's expectations.
  • Cost of shipping disputes.
  • Items that are purchased in person.
  • Items prohibited from sale on Etsy, including services and intangible goods.
  • Transactions where payment is not made via Etsy’s checkout system.

If a seller doesn't respond to or resolve a case, the buyer can escalate the case for Etsy's review. Etsy reserves the right to escalate a case early for circumstances such as seller inactivity, harassment, refusal of service, case manipulation, and undermining the integrity of the case system. Etsy may close or resolve a case due to lack of participation from either party. If the seller doesn’t resolve the case, Etsy may issue a refund on the seller's behalf.

Last updated on Oct 31, 2019