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Etsy is an online marketplace where you can find a huge selection of homemade, vintage, and unique goods. Because of Etsy’s unusual collection of items and independent sellers, some people are often left wondering, is Etsy legit?
As someone who’s scoured the site for one-of-a-kind gifts, jewelry, home decor, and more, I made it my mission to find out the truth before I bought anything. To do so, I did the dirty work for you, uncovering facts about the company, looking into real customer reviews, and learning more about what’s involved when you sell on Etsy.
After my research, I came to a final conclusion and am now equipped to answer all of your burning questions. Wondering why Etsy is (in some cases) so cheap? Need to know if you can trust all sellers? Unsure how the platform even works? Let’s get into what you need to know, as well as a few tips for how to save money while you shop the site.
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A Little About Etsy
Etsy is an e-commerce company where you can buy and sell unique, handmade, and vintage items. You won’t find any physical Etsy stores, since it’s just an online platform where independent sellers manage their own orders and inventory and ship their items worldwide.
According to their press site, Etsy’s marketplace had over 120 million total items as of December 2022.
You can find all sorts of things for sale on Etsy, like clothing, jewelry, home decor, craft items, furniture, and more. What makes Etsy stand out is their vast selection of items, all of which can sell for relatively reasonable prices.
The company has been around since 2005.
Etsy got their start by three friends (Rob Kalin, Chris Maguire, and Haim Schoppik) who wanted to create an online shop where they could sell their handmade goods. After creating the company in 2005, the platform took off in popularity. Now it’s worth over $16.66 billion. Today, Etsy is owned by the parent company Etsy, Inc, a publicly traded company.
You won’t find any physical Etsy stores or warehouses.
All of the 120+ million products in the Etsy marketplace come directly from independent sellers. Because of this, there are no Etsy stores or warehouses. Every seller has their own online storefront on Etsy.com where they sell their items.
Sellers set their own prices, so you’ll sometimes pay up.
In most cases, Etsy products are affordable. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this is not always the case since Etsy sellers don’t mass-produce their products. Because of this, their prices could be higher than the prices you would see at a big retailer like Target or Walmart. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a great deal on Etsy items.
Shipping times can vary, but you can typically pay extra to get your items faster.
Shipping times for products you buy on Etsy depend on the seller. If the seller is based across the country or overseas, you may be looking at a longer shipping time. Many times you can choose priority or expedited shipping to get your items faster.
Why Do People Think Etsy Is a Scam?
For one, the sellers are just people.
Since Etsy is made up of a large group of individuals who sell their own items, they don’t have the instant “street cred” that well-known retailers like Target and Walmart do. With Etsy, shoppers are often worried that the seller isn’t real — and that they’re someone who’s trying to take their money.
Etsy scammers do exist.
While scammers do exist on Etsy, Etsy will usually step in and help any buyers who have been scammed so they can get their money back. (More on that in a minute.) Etsy scams can consist of counterfeit products or low-quality items that don’t match their product information page.
So … Is Etsy Legit or Not?
Yes, Etsy is a legit online shopping platform.
Etsy is a legitimate e-commerce platform where you can buy and sell goods. Despite people being worried about shopping from independent sellers, Etsy is a reputable brand that’s been around for more than 15 years.
Plus, Etsy has a handful of resources shoppers can use if they have any problem with their orders. They have a reachable customer service team as well as help pages where you can find answers to many common questions.
Etsy offers purchase protection if something goes wrong.
If you don’t get the item you ordered for some reason or another, Etsy will help get your money back.
According to Etsy’s Help Center, “If you contacted the seller more than 48 hours ago, choose “Open a Case” so Etsy can help you. You’ll receive a refund for any item that doesn’t arrive, arrives damaged, or doesn’t match the item description or photos.”
So if something goes wrong, first reach out to the seller. If that doesn’t work, Etsy support will step in to help get your money back.
Related: We found 15 stores with amazing return policies you have to see to believe.
Tips for Shopping From Etsy
Set the right expectations.
When buying something from Etsy, remember that you’ll typically be buying an item from someone’s small business. This means that the item will not be mass-produced — and it might not be the best quality. To make sure you’re getting a good-quality item that’s worth your money, read customer reviews about the item and the seller before you buy anything.
TIP: You can also reach out to the seller directly if you have any questions before placing your order.
Know how to get help with an order and how to contact Etsy support.
Etsy offers a handful of ways to get help with your orders. You can reach out to the seller directly, open a case, or reach out to Etsy customer service (call them or chat with them online). In my experience, Etsy has great customer support, so make sure you loop them in if you’re having trouble.
Always read the product specifications before you place an order.
When it comes to online shopping, it’s important to check out a product’s specs before you order anything. You should look at what material it’s made of, how big it is, what size it is, etc. so you know if this item will fit you, your house, and so on.