Our House Rules

Get to know Etsy's legal terms and policies

Our House Rules

Cases Policy

This policy was published on June 6, 2022. It will take effect on August 1, 2022. The previous version of the Cases for Buyers policy can be viewed here and the Cases for Sellers policy can be viewed here. This policy is a combination and update of both.

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

1. Opening a Case

When a buyer is looking to return an item, get a refund, or otherwise notify a seller of a problem with their order on Etsy, the first thing they must do is contact the seller directly via the Help with Order link within Purchases and Reviews and let the seller know the issue. It is important for sellers to fill out their shop policies to address returns and refunds, and for buyers to read and understand those policies before ordering.

Sellers are expected to regularly respond to Messages, including Help with Order messages, from buyers. If a buyer has reached out to the seller by selecting Help with Order within the Purchases and Reviews section of their account, and hasn't heard back within 48 hours, or if the seller is unable to resolve the issue within 48 hours, buyers can open what’s known as a “case.” With Etsy’s case system, a buyer alerts Etsy that there is an issue with their order that they were unable to resolve with the seller within 48 hours, and Etsy will assist in the resolution of the case between the buyer and seller. This may include, but is not limited to, automatically closing the case and issuing a refund, or reviewing the case further to help both parties work together to resolve the issue.

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • A buyer must have an Etsy account to open a case. If a buyer purchases an item using guest checkout, they'll have to register for an account on Etsy before opening a case. Click here for more information.
  • A buyer can only use one method of dispute resolution against sellers on Etsy. If a buyer has filed a chargeback with their credit card company, they cannot also open a case. If a buyer files a chargeback after opening a case on Etsy, that Etsy case will be closed.
  • If a buyer paid through PayPal, Etsy may advise them to contact PayPal for a refund.

Additional information about opening a case can be found in this Help article. To get help with an order, please take a look at this Help article.

2. Case Eligibility

In order for a case to be opened with Etsy, an order must meet the following criteria:

  1. The order is within the eligible time frame to open a case, based on an order's estimated delivery date (if applicable) or processing time and “ship by” date. This Help article explains case time eligibility.
  2. The buyer has reported the order issue to the seller by selecting Help with Order within the Purchases and Reviews section, and has given the seller 48 hours to resolve the issue.
  3. The buyer wants to open a case because the item never arrived, arrived damaged, or does not match the listing description, as described below.

Etsy’s Purchase Protection Program

In many cases, order issues can be resolved directly with the seller, or items can be returned according to the seller’s return policy. However, we believe that you should always get the item you ordered, or get your money back, so when those expectations aren’t met, Etsy will step in to support you. Buyers will receive a full refund for purchases that never arrive, arrive damaged, or do not match the listing description.

If an order does not meet the expectations in our program, the buyer is entitled to a full refund, including all taxes and shipping costs:

A. Items are delivered. They should be shipped within the seller’s stated processing times, and delivered to the address provided by the buyer at the time of purchase on Etsy. Updates to processing times or shipping address through Messages or other informal channels will not qualify. Please note that if an item was shipped and has a tracking number, you may be able to open a shipping carrier claim by directly contacting the shipping carrier.

B. Items arrive undamaged, and are packaged to withstand handling in transit.

C. Items match the listing description. Items received should not be significantly different from the listing description or photos. We may ask the buyer to provide us with documentation to demonstrate that the item is significantly different. Here are a few examples of qualifying scenarios:

  • 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).
  • The item was shipped from a different location than advertised

Some exclusions apply, subject to review by Etsy’s case system. Eligible buyers must have a registered account on Etsy in good standing (that means not violating any of Etsy's policies). Abuse of this program could result in program exclusion at Etsy’s discretion.

Etsy’s Purchase Protection Program for Sellers

Etsy’s Purchase Protection Program for Sellers helps qualified sellers to resolve eligible non-delivery, damaged, and not-as-described cases. We understand that things can still go wrong, even if a seller has taken all of the necessary steps to ensure a good buyer experience. In these cases, where an order meets all of our requirements, Etsy will refund buyers for orders up to $250 USD (including shipping & taxes) and sellers will not be held responsible.

3. Ineligible Disputes and Transactions

Unless required by law, some disputes and transactions are ineligible for the case system, including:

  • 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.
  • Transactions where payment is not processed by Etsy Payments, for example in an offsite transaction, or via Standalone PayPal.
  • Disputes covered by local warranty or return laws applicable to a seller or their product

Wherever a qualifying case is escalated for Etsy’s review, we will evaluate the claim to the best of our ability. Please be aware that our case mediation capabilities may be limited for certain types of items, which may result in a refund. Etsy reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to change its original decision based on information obtained after the case was originally evaluated.

4. Case Resolution

Once a case is opened, Etsy will usually resolve and close the case automatically on behalf of the buyer and seller. Etsy reserves the right to resolve the case on a seller’s behalf, including, but not limited to, by issuing a refund to the buyer and recouping funds from the seller’s account if payment was made via Etsy Payments.

In some cases, Etsy may need to investigate further in order to resolve the case. Each case must remain open until a resolution has been reached. Etsy may reach out to you to provide more information on the case, and you should promptly respond. Sellers must respond within 2 calendar days.

Etsy reserves the right to resolve an order issue before the 48-hour window for circumstances including, but not limited to, seller inactivity, harassment, refusal of service, manipulation, and undermining the integrity of the case system. Etsy may close or resolve a case due to lack of participation from either party, or reopen a previously closed case to further investigate tracking issues or other aspects of the dispute. To maintain the integrity of the case system, a seller cannot encourage or require a buyer to close a case as a condition of resolving the dispute.

In the unlikely event that a case remains unresolved for more than 365 days, it is considered to be a late delivery, and the only acceptable resolution is a full refund.

Last updated on Oct 27, 2022