Will Etsy Remove A Bad Review? The Whole Story.

One of the most common questions in my public Facebook group is “Will Etsy take this review down?” The review is usually about something that the seller feels is unfair, but sometimes it’s about something out of their control.

It seems that Etsy should be able to remove reviews that aren’t accurate, but can they? And if they can, will they?

As a general rule, Etsy doesn’t remove reviews unless they violate Etsy’s own policies. Because of consumer laws that vary from country to country, and the fact that Etsy operates internationally, there are restrictions on how Etsy is legally required to handle bad reviews, including prohibitions about removing them.

So in general, Etsy can’t remove reviews unless they fall within certain strict parameters, and it’s not only the Etsy seller policies that will decide whether the review can be removed.

Wll Etsy remove a bad review

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Federal Trade Commission Building
Federal Trade Commission

How do consumer laws affect Etsy removing reviews?

Every country that has laws in place that protect consumers from false advertising or manipulation by sellers has some sort of guidance around removing online reviews. Most of them allow for false reviews to be removed without penalty, but legitimate reviews are generally considered to be information for consumers to decide whether to purchase.

The US passed the Consumer Review Fairness Act in 2016Opens in a new tab., and it prevents sellers from restricting the ability of consumers to post honest reviews even if they’re bad.

This law prevents Etsy from removing reviews in order to suppress truthful comments about products or services, so Etsy has to be careful about what it does and doesn’t remove.

Other countries have similar laws that are meant to protect consumers, such as the UK’s Consumer Protection From Unfair Trading Regulations.

Both of these are examples of how consumer protection agencies are trying to prevent people from basically being ripped off by NOT receiving accurate information about a company or product if all of the negative reviews are taken down.

The problem is that there isn’t a clear line about what’s okay to remove, so for the most part online companies have to be really careful not to remove reviews that would be considered legally fine to post.

Etsy can state its own policies so that they can remove reviews that are clearly out of line, but there’s a fine line with a lot of reviews that we, as sellers, know are just wrong.

If they don’t fall under the laws about what can be removed, taking them down could cause legal trouble.

What reviews will Etsy remove?

Etsy can remove reviews that violate their site policies, including reviews that contain personal information, profanity, racist or harassing language, are threatening, or contain spam or advertisements. The guidelines for the removal of reviews is fairly strict, and not every review that the seller feels falls within the stated guidelines will be removed.

The most common type of review that sellers seem to want removed are the ones that involve complaints about shipping and delivery,

It would seem that these are clearly reviews that don’t reflect on the seller if they’re referring to the shipping service, but Etsy may or may not remove them if the seller reports them.

I’ve had reviews that said the package wasn’t delivered when the tracking said that it was, and Etsy wouldn’t remove the review. So the rules about what qualifies for removal aren’t as clear-cut as they seem from reading the policies.

Neither of these reviews qualified to be removed even though it seems that they do fall within the policy about them being about a third party:

Etsy wouldn't remove this one even though the tracking said it had been delivered!
Etsy wouldn’t remove this one even though the tracking said it had been delivered!

So the logic of what will and won’t be removed is up in the air and probably depends on which Etsy representative gets the request and makes the decision. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of consistency in the decisions.

To see the Etsy policies, click here: Etsy seller policyOpens in a new tab.

To read an article about how to handle bad reviews on Etsy, including details on how to report a review to try to get it removed, click here.

Click to see the video.

When will Etsy remove a review?

Etsy is inconsistent about removing reviews even if they see that the review violates one of the site policies. It depends on the subjective decision of the person who reviews it, and if there’s any question, Etsy tends to err on the side of caution and will leave the review up.

Etsy will remove reviews that clearly contain harassment or threatening language, or that contain personally-identifying information.

They’ll also remove reviews that mention Etsy itself.

In my experience, they’re less likely to remove reviews that are about shipping, but they will sometimes. It seems to depend on whether the review ONLY talks about that, or whether it also mentions the seller, but that’s not going to guarantee that they remove it.

If a review mentions the seller’s customer service, then it’s probably not going to be taken down, since that’s part of the overall “experience” of the transaction.

If you want to report a review that you think should be removed, you’ll be given some options to do that after you click “report this review” next to the review in your shop.

You can choose the reason why you think it violates Etsy’s policies, and then someone will decide whether it should stay or go.

Just be prepared for the review to stay, since the legal aspect of removing reviews is really what they’re looking at first and foremost.

Should I respond to a review if I’m going to report it to Etsy?

Responding to a review will lock that review in and make it non-editable for the customer, but you’ll still be able to edit your response using the Etsy Seller App. Don’t respond to a review if you want to report it to Etsy, do the reporting first so that the response isn’t locked in.

You can delete your comment to a review and post another one on the Etsy seller app, but not on desktop. The customer can’t change a review after the seller responds, but they have 100 days to edit it if there hasn’t been a response.

If you’ve reported a review to Etsy and they don’t take it down, you can respond to the review in order to clarify details if need be.

The problem is that if you’re mad about the review, you might respond in a way that’s not very professional, and that can make you look worse, not better.

I’ve seen review responses on Etsy that were so rude you have to wonder how the shop owner is still in business, or why anyone else buys anything from them.

This is the key…You have to remember that anything that you post in response to a review isn’t for the person who wrote the review, it’s for every future customer who would potentially be buying from you.

If you post a calm and reasonable response to a review that’s really wacko, it will make you look professional and future customers will see that you’re paying attention and tried to fix whatever the issue was.

If you get all emotional and write an angry or defensive response aimed at the customer, that can hurt you in the long run.

If you try to get a review removed and Etsy won’t take it down, just take a deep breath and respond professionally, pretending that you’re explaining the situation to a potential customer. Don’t say anything nasty about the first customer, and don’t address your comments to the first customer.

one star review

If you do report a review to Etsy and they won’t remove it, you’ll have to decide whether to respond to the review at that point.

Part of the decision is probably going to depend on whether the customer has contacted you directly, and whether you’re dealing with the problem or not.

If you’re in the process of figuring out a solution with the customer, I wouldn’t respond to the review yet. Wait until you have a resolution, then give the customer some time to change the review.

HOWEVER… Most people aren’t going to change the review even if they’re satisfied with any solutions that you give them. You can’t force people to change a review, so if they don’t change it after a week or so, you might want to contact them one more time to see if they will change it.

If you don’t want to contact them, just go ahead and respond to the review to say that you solved the problem. This will tell future customers that you do pay attention and will work to fix problems.

Here’s the link to the article about doing that, read this next: How To Respond To Bad Reviews On Etsy

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 51,000 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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