How To Respond To A Bad Review on Etsy

So you get a bad review in your shop now what?

Let’s venture in and see what if anything we can do about it.

Getting a negative review is not always a bad thing. Etsy has clear policies on how to handle a bad review. Don’t ever forget you have options. There are steps you can take and ways to respond to help you in these situations. READ ON….

Negative Reviews: Why It Bothers Us So Much

You can’t please everyone! So why do we always try? We try because we know that reviews mean a lot to potential customers. In 2016, the Pew Research Center found roughly two-thirds (67%) of weekly online shoppers said they nearly always read customer reviews before buying new items. We care so much because we are so invested. It takes a lot to open an Etsy shop. These listings are like our babies. A lot of hard work goes into adding items to our shops. We occasionally get that person that is impossible to please. We care because we know that any negative review can potentially impact our future sales. For a positive outcome on a bad review I truly believed it’s all in the way you handle it. READ ON…. Let’s look at our options.

Etsy’s Policy Breakdown

Etsy reminds us that negative reviews are an opportunity to learn how you can improve your shoppers’ experience. As a seller I found it helpful to know that Etsy makes clear rules and policies on shop reviews.

I do want to mention here that in my 400 plus sales I have only had one issue with a review. After contacting Etsy support I found they had gone above and beyond helping me with a resolution with the customer. That being said let’s jump into how to handle the review on your side.

Can A Bad Review Be Removed?

If in fact you believe a review violates Etsy’s policies you can report it for review directly to Etsy. Keep in mind, the review will NOT be removed if the buyers review complies with Etsy’s policy. So what does it mean to be in violation of policy as far as Etsy is concerned?

Etsy gives us a list of what it means to violate Etsy’s policies. Etsy makes it very clear that unless a review violates on these rules established, they can not remove a review.

Etsy’s policies of violation:

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

How To Respond: Publicly or Privately?

As a seller there are a few ways you can respond to a review. You can decide what works best for your situation. You can choose to contact the buyer directly privately or do you want to post a response publicly online in your shop reviews for all to see?

Responding Privately (direct to buyer)

As the seller it’s important to try and understand why the buyer left a negative review and offer a solution. Remain professional in your response. Respond quickly to diffuse the issue and be kind.

To respond privately to a review, contact the buyer through Messages:

  1. On, click the Your Account icon.
  2. Click Shop Manager.
  3. Click Orders & Shipping.
  4. Find the order that the review is referencing and click the mail icon.
  5. Type your message and click Send.

Responding Publicly (posted online in your shop reviews)

Let’s say that you have reached out to the buyer to resolve the issue and you do not have success. What else can you do? I have reached out to Esty in the past for support. In addition you can respond publicly in your review section. Keep in mind these key points:

** You can only publicly respond to a review if you get three stars or less only.

** You can only respond one time to each review.

To respond publicly to a review:

  1. On, click the Your Account icon.
  2. Click Shop Manager.
  3. Click your shop name under Sales Channels.
  4. Click Reviews.
  5. Find the review and click Post a public response.

TIP: If you choose to respond publicly remember to keep it short and to the point. Stay positive in your words as you are representing your shop and showcasing your customer service skills for future buyers to see. Lastly, make sure you focus on the product and service and not the buyer.

Is Getting Bad Feedback All Bad?

Is getting a bad review always a horrible things?

The short answer is NO. Think of your shop reviews as an extended focus group. These buyers have purchased and used your items. The information your received in your shop is like gold. You need to look at the reviews in your shop as an opportunity to learn and grow.

As of the date of this article I have had completed 408 sales. I have gotten all 5 star glowing reviews except for 2 sales. You can see below clear examples of how to take a bad review and truly learn and grow for it to make you a better shop owner.

Review 1: In a rush during Christmas season I sent the sold item to the address on file not the requested address.

Lesson Learned: Note in the order any special requests after purchase.


Review 2: This is a review I got early on in Etsy. I was still learning about product photography.

Lesson Learned: When photographing small items you need to show scale. Photo items next to a ruler or a scalable items to show the size of an item. Not all buyers read the description.

What is important here is you take the bad review and use it to help grow your shop.

Let’s Review

If you get a bad review don’t panic. It happens to 99% of shops on Etsy. It’s just part of the fun. Ok, maybe it’s not fun. Make sure you are clear and up-to-date on Etsy’s policies regarding shop reviews so you can take the proper actions. All bad feedback is not bad. Bad feedback is just an opportunity for you to rock out your shop to be the best it can be. Happy Selling.

Written by Lisa

Lisa Lividoti Blogger and Owner of Homebyliv Etsy Shop

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