General Etiquette > Techno-quette

Etsy shop: paypal dispute as a first line of communication

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I have a friend, let's call her Steve  8).

Steve ordered something from an Etsy shop: a custom-made item, in the beginning of November. The item is to be used at a wedding in June, so there is no real rush to get it. Steve paid the item through Paypal because of the buyers protection. It was the first item she ever bought online.
The order was to be delivered by the end of November, but Steve did tell the shop owner that there was no rush.

Today, Steve decided to contact the seller, to see what the delay with the item was. Steve e-mailed the shopkeeper through the Etsy shop, and decided to have a look at the Buyers protection, just in case. Buyers protection has to be started within 45 days of payment, in order to be eligible. Realizing that there is not enough time to confer with the seller (time-differences and pending travel), Steve decided to open a dispute with Paypal right away.

The Etsy seller (who has a 5 star review from over 4000 buyers) will have no prior communication from Steve, he will receive an e-mail from Etsy and a dispute-email from Paypal at the same time. If Steve had known about the 45 days, she would have contacted the seller earlier. If the 45 days was not in place, Steve would not have initiated a dispute at this time, but would have waited for a reply from the seller first.

So here is the question: Was Steve rude due to her bad planning? Or is it okay to open a dispute when the expected delivery has been delayed for a month without communication.

Yes, that's absolutely rude. It would be one thing if she had contacted the seller and the seller refused to respond. But to open a case without even contacting the shop to see what's going on is rude.

I had a problem with something I ordered on Etsy - I contacted the seller and explained the problem, and he not only responded within 1 hour but immediately gave me a refund and shipped me a replacement. He was so nice, and I can almost guarantee that I would not have received the same response had I just jumped straight to a Paypal dispute.

If Steve didn't file a dispute within the 45-day limit, Paypal is going to say too bad, so sad. Steve would be out the money no matter what happens, unless the seller chose to refund. The seller may be honest, but after 45 days, you can't dispute or leave negative feedback. Hopefully the store owner will contact Steve with a good explanation as to why the item was delayed. This is a business transaction, not a social one. If the seller wants to refund and wash their hands of Steve and the transaction, at least Steve still has time to order something similar from someone else.

Outdoor Girl:
Since Steve is coming up against the 45 day wall, I would have opened the dispute, too, in order to beat the deadline.  But I would also message the seller and apologize for not contacting them earlier and explaining about the 45 day deadline but that you hoped to get notice of shipping and could halt the dispute process.

Well, Steve certainly won't be Etsy seller's favorite customer... But most sellers on Etsy (and especially one with 4000+ sales) should know that they shouldn't let 45 days go by with no communication. Especially since the previously agreed upon ship date had passed by two+ weeks. I agree with Outdoor Girl that the seller should still be contacted through Etsy and the dispute can be cancelled if everything resolves satisfactorily.


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