How To Cancel An Etsy Order (For Buyers)


Sometimes you make a mistake and order the wrong thing, or you accidentally buy from two shops because the Etsy shopping cart combines orders. At some point you might need to cancel an order that you placed on Etsy.

It can happen to anyone, so read on about how to cancel an Etsy order if you’re a buyer who ordered the wrong thing.

How to cancel an Etsy order (for buyers)

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How to cancel an Etsy order before it ships.

To cancel an Etsy order, the customer will need to contact the owner of the Etsy shop as soon after placing the order as possible.

All cancellations and refunds are handled by the individual shop owner, and each shop owner has different cancellation policies. If the order can be canceled according to the shop policies, the owner will have to handle the cancellation.

You can contact the shop owner by using the message button on the shop’s homepage, or by going to your Purchases and Reviews page in your personal profile to find the order and sending a message from there.

Whether you’ll be able to have the order canceled or not might depend on the shop owner’s policies, though. To check on this, go to the shop’s homepage and navigate to the policies at the bottom of the page on desktop, or to the About tab on the app, then to policies.

Etsy shop policies page
Shop policies page.

In the shop policies, scroll down to see the shop’s returns and exchanges policies.

The message that sellers see when an order is canceled.
The message that sellers see when an order is canceled.

For an article about how long refunds take on Etsy, click here.

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How to send a message to an Etsy seller.

Etsy seller policies.

Each Etsy shop has its own set of shop policies with different conditions for returns, exchanges and cancellations. To see whether a cancellation is possible for the order that you placed, scroll down to the section in the shop policies that details how that shop handles cancellation requests.

If it says that the shop does not accept cancellations, you may not be able to cancel the order at all. If the shop accepts cancellations, and your request falls within the stated window in the shop policies, you should contact the seller to arrange the cancellation.

The reasons for not being able to cancel an order generally include the item being customized or personalized in some way, or when something is made to order. If the seller has started on the order and it’s custom, they might not be able to resell it, so it would be a loss to the seller to cancel.

If your order was custom and you no longer need it, the seller might be willing to cancel the order and issue a partial refund to cover the cost of materials used and time involved in creating the order up to that point.

This will clearly be less of a refund than the full purchase price, but it’s only fair to the seller to charge for the time and cost involved in the work that they did.

If the order wasn’t custom, and your request is within the cancellation window, the seller should be able to cancel and refund your entire purchase price.

If it’s outside of the cancellation window, and the seller has put time and materials into the item to start making it, you may be able to negotiate a partial refund if the seller is willing to do that.

In general, it’s a good idea to check the policies of the shop before you purchase from them, especially in the case of custom or personalized orders. If you don’t like the cancellation policy, don’t purchase from that shop, because when you buy from the shop you’re agreeing to abide by its policies!

For an article about how many messages Etsy sends when you buy something on Etsy, click here.

Different countries’ policies for cancellations and returns.

If you’re not located in the US, the seller policies may be superseded by your country’s policies for returns and exchanges, but this will vary by country.

Check the regulations for your location to see if the cancellation policy covers custom or personalized items, but don’t assume that consumer protection laws will allow you to cancel or return every order.

There are exceptions for all consumer laws surrounding return and cancellation policies, so you need to verify that you’ll be covered based on where you live.

In addition, you may be responsible for return shipping if you wait too long to cancel and the order has shipped, which I’ll discuss in the next section!

What happens if you don’t cancel before the order ships?

If you don’t cancel the order and it’s shipped by the time you send a message to the seller, you may be able to return the item to the seller if they agree to let you do that. However, you need to contact the seller and arrange for this before you send packages back, because they’re not obligated to accept forced returns.

Additionally, the buyer is generally responsible for the cost of return shipping, so it’s to your advantage to contact the seller as soon as possible if you do need to cancel for some reason. The seller may be able to give you instructions on managing the return to minimize your cost.

The basic Etsy return and exchange policy
The basic return and exchange policy.

To see the full directory of all of our verified members, click here.

Keep in mind that there are exceptions to what can be returned, too. Anything that’s custom usually can’t be returned, but there are also limits on things that are edible, and some clothing like underwear, face masks, hats, and bathing suits.

Items that are on sale are generally not returnable, and neither are digital files that have been downloaded.

A lot of vintage sellers don’t accept returns at all since those items are generally sold as-is. And many wedding vendors don’t accept returns for various reasons, so always check the store’s policies!

If you do end up having to return an item, it will need to be returned in unused, resellable condition to qualify for a refund.

The best practice when buying anywhere online is to check the cancellation and return policies BEFORE you buy anything!

Make sure that you are okay with the seller’s policies before purchasing, and feel free to send a message to the seller beforehand to ask questions if you have any!


Kara Buntin

Kara Buntin has run a profitable home-based business since 1999, and has a background in art, theater design, and cake decorating. She's a top Etsy seller with over 53,000 sales on Etsy and her own website, and helps other home-based business owners with their business goals and SEO. She founded the Artisan Shopping Directory website to promote the artisans who are members of her EShop Success marketing program.

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