What: Etsy is one of the oldest and most widely used sites to sell crafts, art and hand-made items.

Expected pay: variable

Husl$core: $$$$

Commissions & Fees: 20 cent listing fee, plus 6.5% +  25 cent, transaction and payment processing fees (for U.S. sales/sellers; fees vary in other countries)

Where: Nationwide

Requirements: Be age 18 or age 13, with parental permission.

Review:

Etsy is one of the oldest and most widely used sites to sell crafts, art and hand-made items. The site’s age and scope serves as both a benefit and a detriment to sellers. It’s helpful because you have a well-established community of shoppers to view and, possibly, buy your goods. It’s a problem because it also means that there are a lot sellers competing for page views. And there’s no guarantee that you are going to make a single sale.

You can pay extra to advertise, but there are no guarantees there either. That said, the site charges just 20 cents per listing, so you can list 5 items for sale for just $1. If you sell anything, additional fees will kick in — a 3.5% transaction fee; a 3% plus 25 cent payment processing fee; plus shipping.

180-day “hold”

The biggest complaints that sellers have is that Etsy sometimes boots people off the platform without warning or appeal. When it does so, it can hold buyer payments for up to 6 months. (This is spelled out in the terms and conditions.) This is particularly painful if the seller has orders outstanding that need to be filled while their pay is being held.

While this is a legitimate issue, it appears to hamper only a small fraction of the site’s sellers. That said, when sellers have a problem, Etsy’s customer service appears to be missing in action.

Other sites to consider: Ruby Lane, for crafts, antiques, art and collectibles; Society6 or RedBubble, which are print-on-demand services that print your art on t-shirts and coffee cups; and, of course, Craig’s List and eBay where you can sell almost anything. 

What their sellers say: (from ConsumerAffairs.com)

“Today Etsy sent me an e-mail stating that My Etsy shop of over ten years is being suspended because they believe I am not making my items I sell. Further they are freezing $158.00 in my account for 180 days in case they get any requests for refunds from orders. This home based business accounts for a significant amount of my retirement earnings. I have always made my leather products by hand and consider each order a custom made product which includes the customers name and customer stamps they want included. I don’t know how much more hand made one can get! 

“They said I was selling things that were not allowed. I disputed account being closed and they refused to let me sell again. That is not the huge issue. The issue is them saying they are holding my funds for 180 days which is seriously messed up! I am now out of my merchandise and my money and there is little I can do about it. 

A buyer who has had 4 items for 5 weeks, wants money off and wants to keep the items! If I don’t comply, Etsy will allow her to whack me with a bad review for each item. There is no preemptive action I can take short of allowing this buyer to rip me off by refunding her and allowing her to keep 400.00 worth of my merchandise. Merchandise she says is defective… But wants to keep. 

From Reseller Ratings:

“If you email with a question or concern (there’s no phone number), Etsy will send you an obviously canned and entirely unrelated response. Write again and they’ll repeat themselves and tell you that they won’t be responding again. Complain in the community forum and they will “muzzle” your account so your not allowed post messages. Express any further concern they will invent a reason to close your shop entirely, and keep any funds that were in your shop account. The internet is loaded with sellers and former sellers who have had similar experiences with this site. “

From SiteJabber:

My sincere advice is take your money and dreams to another platform – Amazon, shopify and rubylane are more professional outfilts that value sellers just as much as their customers. I am soo angry with their absolutely obtuse dispute resolution…I can’t put the words online. I am sorry I started there and invested so much time and effort.

From the Better Business Bureau:

“Etsy customer service is AWFUL! They are holding my funds and every time I email and get a call back, they lie about the disbursement date. When you ask to speak to someone in management, they act as if they have to “find” somebody. I will be so glad when they release my funds so I can pay them their fees and close out my account and I will never sell on that platform again. Ever.