I’ve been running my Etsy shops since early 2017 (now about 5 years) and with being a seller, you run into all kinds of people. The good, the great, the bad, the ugly. Then, there’s the petty customer. And they’re on a league all their own. Today I’ll share a story about the most petty Etsy customer I’ve ever encountered, and you’ll see just why Etsy shops like mine have the policies we do, and also why we don’t put up with bullshit.
I’m a digital creator, which means that the items I sell are available to download. My items cannot be “returned”. Once the customer has been granted access, they have the product and keep it. It’s not like I can get it back. I once had a customer years ago tell me “I promise not to use it if you give me a refund.” And I did, and months later, I found her using my templates, even though she claimed the pink I used wasn’t blush enough for her and that they weren’t loading into her account correctly. She had put up quite a stink, and I obliged. It’s customers like her that make creators like me stick to their policies.
The most petty customer I ever had was named Lauren, and she hailed from Calgary in Alberta, Canada. Lauren had picked up my Lady Coach bundle (at a nice discount). You should know that Lady Coach has been my most popular bundle, and I’ve received numerous compliments from customers on it both for the design as well as the value. Lady Coach took two (2) months of my life to complete. It was time away from my kids, and a financial investment for me to take on as I had to pass on other projects to complete it.
So to get a petty complaint from a customer such as Lauren about entirely ridiculous, minuscule issues she had, wanting a full refund, is of course, a low blow for any Etsy seller who has invested time and money into a project.
Lauren messaged me to complain about two things: 1) she didn’t like the thinness of the icons I used, claiming they weren’t thin enough or of good quality and 2) she didn’t like how dark some of the patterns were for the Instagram set, which was just one piece of a very larger bundle. She had selected “Item Not as Described” as her basis for the complaint and opened up an Etsy case. I’ll show you why this basis for justifying opening a case is not valid, at all.
Not liking something does not mean that the item wasn’t described accurately.
Let’s take the icon complaint. First, the icons were described by me in the listing as thin. They are, in fact, thin. However, thin as a word is subjective. Second, the icons were provided by Canva. I had no control over the level of thinness or their quality; they’re simply elements Canva provides so that customers can tweak their color and size. Frankly, they were some of the best icons I had found on Canva. They were much more thin and fine line than most of what Canva offers in its element selection.
So in relation to other icons with a much thicker line, yes, they are thin. Were the icons as described? Yes. However, they just weren’t thin enough for her. The icons were displayed on the demo images, in a video, and on several documents for the preview. There was ample opportunity to see how they look on previews. So does the argument “item not as described” work for the icon argument? No. If a designer says that fine or thin lines are used, that is to provide context that in relation to other icons and lines, the elements chosen are thinner or the thinnest available. They certainly were not medium lines, either.
Next, let’s take the “many of the graphics are dark and mostly black” complaint on the Instagram set. In the listing description, I specifically provided the color hexcodes of the custom patterns, in black and beige. When Lauren had first messaged me complaining about the patterns, I let her know of a simple solution – just delete the layer. In her case filed with Etsy, she complains that she would have to “overhaul” the templates just to use them, and she’d be better off making her own. That’s quite laughable when all you have to do is hit the delete key if you don’t like the specified black and beige patterns.
So again, a pretty petty complaint to make when there’s a simple solution in place, especially when the preview images on the listing showed the dark and black patterns in use, and referenced their specific colors. So was the pattern use and “dark and mostly black” graphics as described? Yes, according to the description, although I didn’t say dark and mostly black but rather, their specific colors and showed previews of those graphics. It’s not like the templates were in pink and purple, right?!
Not liking something specific and small about a much larger design set and demanding a full refund for it is petty. Especially when everything is referenced in the description with previews.
The thing with a lot of Etsy customers is that the bulk of them do not read descriptions or item details at all. Several Etsy users come back on the messaging app with “oh I must have missed that” after I respond to a question. I’ve been using the personalization feature that requires the customer to acknowledge that they have reviewed the item description, understand what they are buying, and know the no refund policy. That still, unfortunately, does not prevent them from trying to get product for free.
All this hassle over icon line thickness and patterns that could be easily removed. It’s sad. Petty. And customers like that on Etsy are sometimes the absolute worst. They don’t even know just how petty they come across.
I’m all for pleasing the customer and providing excellent customer service. But when you know the customer is just trying to rip you off by choosing something to nit pick at or make something small a huge issue, you get tired real quick of grifters like that taking advantage of months of your time and effort.
The gratitude I have for normal customers on my own shop cannot even be expressed. I’m beyond grateful for my own customers who support my shop(s) on kerrielegend.com. They understand the value of my work and come back for more time and time again. With Etsy customers, you end up rolling the dice. You get some good customers, but a lot of bad ones, too.
If you’re on Etsy like me, be sure to stick to your policies and don’t let petty customers get away with this kind of behavior. Even when they open up cases against you. Be strong, and carry on!