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I Received A Bad Review on Etsy… Now What?

No news is good news, as the old adage goes. But what happens when you do get news – and that news is bad? More specifically, what happens when you get a bad review on Etsy? It’s a bit of a disappointment, for starters. It’s unexpected, and it can feel like a real kick in the gut. Especially after spending long hours creating a unique piece for an enthusiastic customer.

So, what should you do now that this negative review is putting a blemish on your entire Etsy shop? Get angry? Get even? Not even close.

bad review on etsy pinnable graphic

So there’s a bad review on your Etsy shop. Don’t panic. Don’t get mad.

People are entitled to their own opinions (even when those opinions aren’t entirely accurate or justified).

Even after bending over backward to create a product that is exactly what’s described in your listing, bad reviews on Etsy are bound to happen. And if (when) you get a bad review, it’s best to keep a cool head about it. The most important thing to remember when it comes to a bad review on Etsy is that one or two bad reviews aren’t the end of the world. Ultimately, it’s how you respond to a bad review that matters most.

It’s not uncommon for Etsy buyers to leave bad reviews on your product, even if it has nothing to do with the item you actually created.

bad review on etsy - hands packaging box

“Tracking shows my package was delivered, but it’s not on my doorstep.”

“Product arrived in a damaged box.”

“Delivery from LA to Sri Lanka took more than 2 days.”

“I emailed Etsy, but got no response.”

The most important thing to remember when it comes to a bad review on Etsy is that one or two bad reviews aren’t the end of the world. Ultimately, it’s how you respond to a bad review that matters most.

So when you do have the first read of a bad review, take a deep breath, don’t take it personally, and understand that there is a way (quite often several ways) for you to handle and possibly even remove this negative review. 

Does your bad review on Etsy go against Etsy’s guidelines?

Etsy has a stringent set of rules that your customers must abide by when leaving reviews. 

bad review on etsy - screenshot of etsy's review policies
Etsy’s House Rules when it comes to reviews.

Reviews cannot:

  • Contain private information
  • Contain obscene, racist, or harassing language or imagery
  • Violate Etsy’s Anti-Discrimination Policy
  • Contain prohibited medical drug claims
  • Contain advertising or spam
  • Are only about things outside the seller’s control, such as a shipping carrier (mentioned by name), Etsy, or a third party
  • Contain threats or extortion
  • Include shilling or otherwise falsely inflate a shop’s review score

As mentioned earlier, many Etsy buyers often leave reviews for things out of your control, like shipping times or lack of options. 

If you feel that your negative feedback goes against any of these guidelines, go ahead and report it to Etsy

Remove emotion from getting a bad review on Etsy

If you find that your review doesn’t go against Etsy’s guidelines, it’s then time to actually think about the source of the negative review – what’s the customer actually saying?

The best way to start looking at your bad review objectively is to remove the emotion. 

bad review on etsy - upset woman

Much easier said than done, yes, but critical if you’re to get to the source of the problem. 

How would you interpret the feedback if you weren’t selling the product, operating the shop, or running the business? Are you ‘hurt’ by the bad review because you spent a lot of time going the extra mile for the customer, or does the customer actually have a point?

Try your utmost to remove the ‘personal’ out of the negative review, and you’ll make inroads as to finding out what really made your customer leave this review. 

Respond privately…

The next best step is to follow up with the customer privately and ask for more information about the negative review.

Quite often, negative reviews are left on the pages of Etsy sellers who… well, simply don’t care. By reaching out to your customer and asking for them to articulate the problem a little more, well, that may be all that’s needed to clear the air and get them to remove their bad review. 

You can do this by sending them a message under “Orders and Shipping.”

From here, you can ask for more information and try offering a solution to make them happy. Remember, you’re reaching out to ask questions, so be open to listening. Focus on clearing up any misunderstandings and finding a solution, rather than finding excuses and trying to pass the blame. A quick response and focusing on the solution rather than the problem will help you get your lousy review changed sooner rather than later. 

…then respond publically

If you’ve tried to solve the problem privately, but your customer won’t compromise and work with you, then it’s best to follow up with them in a public reply to the negative review itself. 

woman using megaphone

Remember to:

  • Keep it short and to the point
  • Be professional
  • Address their concerns and what you’ve done as a result
  • Explain what you’re willing to do to solve the problem
  • Focus on your product and the service, not the reviewer

Keep in mind, if you respond publically to a review, the buyer won’t be able to change their original review or rating, even if you delete your response. So it’s best to give it some time after you reach out to them privately, since that may encourage the buyer to change their review.

Check out your product listing.

Have another read of your negative review, and then go over your images and product listing with a fine-tooth comb. 

Is the information on your listing correct?

Next, ask yourself if the information could be better?

Are your listings describing sizes accurately, and are your photos presenting your colors correctly?

Giving your product pages the once over and updating shipping information, returns and descriptions once you get a negative review can help you ensure that the same negative review doesn’t happen again. 

Conclusion 

To sum up, a negative review on Etsy isn’t anything to lose sleep over. But, on the other hand, ongoing bad reviews are something you should seriously nip in the bud. 

But, in conclusion, perhaps “worry” isn’t the correct term. When warranted (and that’s an important disclaimer), constructive criticism can give you a chance to make improvements, providing a better product and experience for your customer. 

That being said, it’s crucial that you put the proverbial olive branch out to your customer and try and find a solution for both parties. If a solution can’t be reached, a public response to your negative review can show that you wanted to fix it and perhaps even do more good for your shop!


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7 replies on “I Received A Bad Review on Etsy… Now What?”

This is an obviously outdated post. Etsy no longer allows the seller to dispute a claim by simply replying to the comment publicly. We are only allowed to message the customer privately and not allowed to reply publicly. Also, if it is not 5 stars only! it will effect the star seller badge standing, they are only recognizing 5 stars only. Also you can only now reach Etsy through the help center with preselected prompts nothing about disputing a bad review is covered. The phone calls for sellers ended on 10/5/2021 here in the United States.

Hi April! Etsy still allows sellers to respond to reviews publically, but only for reviews that are 3 stars or less. However, if you want to dispute the review with Etsy (if it goes against Etsy’s House Rules for instance) you can report it directly from the review itself. Just hit the “Report this review” button with the little flag next to it 🏴

Hi Marissa! You can go into your Shop Dashboard and look at your reviews under Recent Activity if it’s a brand new review. Or you can click on your shop name from your Sales Channels to see all your reviews for that shop. You can respond publically to any review that’s 3 stars or less and not older than 100 days. Just keep in mind that if you respond publically to a review, the buyer won’t be able to change their original review or rating, even if you delete your response. So it’s best to give it some time after you reach out to them privately, since that may encourage the buyer to change their review. Good luck!

As an Etsy seller for one year now I received my first bad review recently (2 stars). The complaint was about the size being smaller than expected when I had clearly stated measurements in 3 different places and had for scale photos and video.
It was difficult not to take it emotionally but I think I handled it well. I tried to imagine myself in their position and acknowledged their concerns. The conversation ended on a positive note. My question is – how do you introduce the thought of changing the review? As of right now the negative review is still posted. Should I have mentioned changing the review in the initial conversation? (It’s been about a month now) I have not posted a public response- should I do that?

Hi Glenna! We’re sorry you received a bad review, but we’re glad that you were able to handle it well and end the conversation with your buyer on a positive note — It’s all too easy to dig yourself into a deeper hole sometimes.

Definitely wait to see if the buyer will change their review before you comment publically. After you post a public comment, that review will be locked in and the buyer can’t change it or delete it (unless they reach out to Etsy directly).

I think you did good by not suggesting the buyer change their review in your initial outreach to them. First and foremost, you want the buyer to know that you’re mostly concerned with making their order right/clearing up confusion, and not that you’re only worried about your review.

If you resolved their issue and turned them into a happy buyer, reach out to them the same way you did before and ask if they would consider changing their review. You can let them know that their feedback was helpful for your shop and how you conduct business. It also doesn’t hurt to just be honest and let them know that honest 5-star reviews really goes a long way in helping your business.

If you don’t get a response from that, you may want to post a public comment so would-be buyers know that you addressed their concerns. We hope this helps — good luck! 🧡

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