Is Etsy Safe and Legit? How To Safely Buy and Sell on Etsy

Categories: Sell on marketplace
Updated: January 08, 2021


Is Etsy Safe and Legit? How To Safely Buy and Sell on Etsy

The presence of e-commerce sites like Amazon, eBay, or Taobao is a testament to the cross-border exchange of goods. This is a becoming trend for businesses to expand their business abroad, as well as customers who want to buy whatever service they want. In addition to the outstanding names above, one of the online marketplace that you have heard about is Etsy. However, Etsy is still quite unfamiliar to many people. So what is Etsy? Is it safe? And how to trade securely? Join us to find out in the article below.

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What is Etsy?

In the same way as eBay or Amazon, Etsy is an online shopping platform that gathers a community of online buyers and sellers. What characterizes Etsy from the two names is that it focuses on handmade crafts or antiques. Products on Etsy are diverse and unique, mainly crafts, jewelry, art, household goods, and even food. Esty allows you to sell items as digital files for buyers to pay and download.

According to the company’s mission introduction, Etsy is a place to “keep human connection at the heart of commerce” by supporting the sellers’ ideas into successful businesses. As a company, Etsy is putting more efforts to spread ideas of sustainability and responsibility in today’s era of automation development.

Etsy is the first major online shopping destination to offset 100% of carbon emissions from shipping.
Etsy is the first major online shopping destination to offset 100% of carbon emissions from shipping.

Established in the US in 2005, at present, Etsy has 69.6 million active buyers, 3,7 million active sellers with more than 81 million items. Obviously, Etsy is a legit platform.

Etsy’s website has clear and specific product categories that make it easier for buyers to find: jewelry, apparel, home & living, festivals, entertainment, art, craft supplies.

Who sells their products on Etsy?

Almost anyone can become a seller on Etsy.

If you can sew, paint, embroider or do any decorations by hand, you can sell on Etsy. This platform is created for artisans to sell their products, but because of the easy access, many scammers take advantage of it, turning Etsy into an insecure marketplace. Many of the reviews on Etsy are from buyers for the sellers. Scammers use images from other sources and sell to customers poor quality products. Other issues related to credibility such as delivery time not as promised, no exchange policy - return if the product is defective.

Why should sellers experience Etsy?

Etsy itself is a platform with supportive policies for both sellers and buyers.

On the part of buyers, if they suspect or detect seller fraud, the Etsy system will also check and consider removing a booth if it receives too several complaints. For sellers, Etsy also offers many growth-promoting policies for their businesses. Some notable terms that can be mentioned are:

Lower selling costs and easier to receive payments than other sites

Overall, the cost of selling on Etsy is lower than that of eBay or Amazon, saving a certain amount of money for sellers. Etsy provides different payment methods for both users and sellers, not only Paypal. As a result, As a result, sellers can withdraw money quickly and easily.

To become a seller on Etsy, it only costs $0.2 to get started
To become a seller on Etsy, it only costs $0.2 to get started

Since October 2020, Etsy has removed the cost of opening a store for sellers. Therefore, the cost of selling on Etsy that the seller should be concerned about is the listing fee and transaction fee. It includes:

  • Listing fee: US$0.20/approved post: Listings are active for 4 months, or until they sell
  • Transaction fee: 5% of the value of the product. When selling an item, there’s a small commission and standard payment processing fee.
  • Payment processing fee: 3% of product value + $0.25

Example: You sell a handmade toy for $10 and post a total of 5 items approved on Etsy. The cost you’ll pay for Etsy will be:

  • Listing fee: 5 * $0.2 = $1
  • Transaction fee: 5% * $10 = $0.5
  • Payment processing fee: 3% * $10 + $0.25 = $0.3 + $0.25 = $0.55

Also, you will still need to pay for additional Etsy costs such as shipping and packaging materials fees. If this level of cost is in line with the benefits that Etsy gives the seller, this fee is indeed very friendly. That is not to mention, Etsy is considered the largest e-commerce platform in the world today for handmade crafts. If you are a seller of this item, your percentage of sales on Etsy will be very high.

Free advertising when selling on Etsy

When a seller posts a product on Etsy, the platform automatically uses Google product listing ads. This advertising is done totally free by Etsy. The seller does not need to spend any advertising costs. To put it simply, when a customer searches for “handmade toys” on Google, Etsy will turn on ads and point to handmade toys that you sell. Besides, Etsy also provides an advertising service package for sellers if there is a need to push higher revenue.

Detailed sales statistics on Etsy

Not everyone has the programming or technical knowledge to create a professional sales website. When selling on Etsy, sellers have access to a source of valuable information such as store views, potential customers, web traffic, visitor’s country location, etc. To improve your appearance, Etsy helps you to generate coupons, giveaways, and other promotional tools to help you sell. Having sold your products on this site, you can email your purchased old customer and invite them to buy a new product with Etsy without fees.

Is Etsy safe?

Selling on Etsy

In the past, most artisans and craftsmen opened counters and sold their goods at fairs and markets. While the Internet opens the door to reaching consumers outside of their local area, many artisans don’t want the hassle of setting up their website, credit card processor, or an e-commerce platform to sell online. E-commerce sites like eBay and other DIY sites have helped, Etsy has provided a niche for artisans. Etsy allows each merchant to set up a custom online “store” with full e-commerce features using a simple setup wizard.

What buyers love about Etsy is its uniqueness. Each product is carefully made by artisans and it is not mass-produced.

With millions of buyers, Etsy is strict with the quality standard of every shop owner, make sure that they are legit and qualified. Here are some rules a seller must follow on Etsy:

  • If want to be considered “vintage,” the item must be at least 20 years old.
  • When describing an item that you want to sell on the website, it is compulsory to state the size, material, and characteristics.
  • Etsy is a unique marketplace. Buyers purchase items that they might not find anywhere else. Everything listed for sale on Etsy must be handmade, vintage, or a craft supply.
  • All handmade items are made or designed by you. If you work with a production partner, disclosing your partner in relevant listings is a must.
  • Stock photos, artistic renderings or others’ photos are not allowed.

Besides these rules, Etsy gives out some advice for sellers to avoid scammers. One of the most common scam tricks is “419 scam” - a scam attempting to advance-fee fraud.

The number 419 refers to the section of the Nigerian Criminal Code dealing with fraud, the charges and penalties for offenders
The number 419 refers to the section of the Nigerian Criminal Code dealing with fraud, the charges and penalties for offenders

This scam works as follows: For example, if you have a product listed for $ 1000, the buyer will offer to pay for the item with checks worth $ 1500 to cover shipping or shipping costs or other surcharges. When you deposit this fake check in the bank, he or she will ask you to send him $ 500 back through the bank.

During this time, the money was transferred, but the bank is still determining if the money is counterfeit. Once the payment has been done, the bank has finished confirming that it is not real money. However, that person has already received the money, and you have to pay the bank an additional $500. So, the scammer has both acquired the item and just won $500 from you

Shopping on Etsy

When deciding to buy a product, Etsy allows you to pay with a variety of payment methods, most commonly Paypal, credit cards, debit cards or Etsy gift cards. There are also other payment methods such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, Klarna Invoice (Germany), iDEAL (the Netherlands), Sofort (Austria and Germany). When it comes to providing credit card information, Etsy commits to encrypt using Secure Socket Layer technology (SSL) and stored in a PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant environment

The security while shopping online is the most significant point. Because no one wants to lose money on scammers. Be cautious when communicating with sellers on Etsy. For safely buying, Etsy recommends that users check out the following categories when shopping here:

Money-related information:

  • NEVER give your credit card information or your password to sellers or other buyers.
  • Check your credit card statement with your bank frequently to make sure everything is safe. To be more cautious, you can keep track of your account’s activities to check if anyone uses your money.
  • During the transaction, do not let anyone see your password or speak it loud. Keep the receipt of your order when you finish shopping.

Server safety

  • You should change your password every 1-3 months. Security experts suggest setting complicated and unpredictable passwords.
  • Do not sign in any strange website if it is suspicious and unnecessary. Go search for that website to check for legit.

On Etsy

  • Check for the shop’s review before buying any product from its owner. Do not hesitate to send Etsy a message if you concern anything.
  • Contact Etsy’s specialist via [email protected] to help you investigate if you recognize an unidentified charge on your bank account.
  • Your transaction on Etsy Payment or Paypal to safely verify the payment process

Some extra tips for safely buying and selling on Etsy


Be aware of Etsy forums and discussion: The forums and community discussions on Etsy could be a place for many to take advantage of. Shoppers can set up chat groups, find out about your interests for information. You can easily have your personal information stolen while filling out answer sheets. Remember that this is a public space, and it is never advisable to provide personal information such as home address, financial situation, or account number.

In case getting an advance-fee fraud, firstly, there are some hints you need to question yourself:

  • Does the buyer offer to overpay you more money than listed?
  • Does he or she insist you reply them back via private email and out of Etsy?
  • Does he or she refuse to check out within Etsy Payment?
  • Does he or she use strange links or formatting in the message?

Scammers will usually ask you to pay them by check or wire transfer. These documents are actually fake, and will usually take a few days for the bank to verify them. In the process, the bank still allows you to transfer money. Once you transfer the money to the fraudster, the money never returns, but you are responsible for the card activities under your name

Therefore, to prevent this, you need to do some action before it is too late:

  • Sign in to Etsy website and choose the icon “Your Account”
  • Click the “Messages icon” and choose the suspicious message.
  • Click the “More” and “Mark as Spam” link at the top of your inbox.
  • It will move the message to your Spam folder and send a copy of the message to a queue which is reviewed by Etsy Admin daily.


Make sure your server is on official website of Etsy before sharing any personal information.

Use the most reliable payment methods from your experience: As Etsy recommends, using Paypal and Etsy Payment as a checkout option is a safe choice. Paypal is trusted globally and it is considered as a buyer’s money protection

Activate 2 layers protection (two-factor authentication) in your Etsy account.

Be careful of phishing messages: Phishing is about tricking customers by sending emails. This kind of trick looks as if they come from a real reputable businesses to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers.

Phishing looks like as if they come from a real reputable businesses to induce individuals to reveal personal information
Phishing looks looks like as if they come from a real reputable businesses to induce individuals to reveal personal information

Before replying email, look for some signs that properly tell it is Phishing:

  • Claim some trouble with your payment information
  • Poor spelling and grammar
  • Require you fill in your passwords, bank account details or card verification value (CVV)
  • Say you are eligible to register a government’s refund
  • If you get a suspicious email that claims it is from Etsy, forward it to here!


The article has introduced you to what Etsy is - an e-commerce platform that specializes in handmade crafts. Etsy, like other online shopping sites, is facing the threat of scammers. However, looking at the advantages that Etsy brings to users, it can be seen that Etsy is a platform that strives its best to bring services to people. We need to be wary of scammers who take advantage of the internet. If you are an artisan or a business that sells handicrafts, handmade items or antiques, do not hesitate to try Etsy right now! Hopefully, we have brought you some major information and suggestions to help you experience a positive environment while trading online!

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About Author: Helen
Hi! I'm Helen. I am a content marketer at AVADA Commerce who is into music, writing, reading, traveling, and discovering new things. Also, I have been purchasing international communication and digital marketing for 4 years. I’m ready to help customers find solutions for their troubles, especially in business development
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