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Sarah Waggoner

How to respond to a bad review on Etsy

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If you are getting consistent sales on Etsy, it’s inevitable that you will get a bad review at some point in time. While bad reviews are never fun, you don’t have to let one unhappy customer ruin your entire business. Keep reading for a step-by-step process for responding to a bad review on Etsy.

Do you need to take the feedback seriously?

The first thing you want to do is decide how seriously you need to take this negative feedback.

It’s easy to catastrophize one bad review even if you’re a seasoned seller.

You might get a bad review on Etsy and start thinking about making changes to your products or your shop as a whole. But one negative review doesn’t necessarily mean you need to change anything.

You’ll want to take into account other feedback you’ve received from previous buyers and look into the situation thoroughly to decide if making changes is warranted. Ask yourself if you could have prevented the situation, if you made a mistake, if you could make your listing descriptions any clearer, and if you value the feedback provided.

Reporting the review

There are a handful of reasons why Etsy will remove a review from your shop. Reviews will be removed if they:

  • Contain identifiable private information

  • Contain obscene or racist language

  • Are advertising or spam

  • Contain a threat or extortion

  • Mention a third party, like a shipping carrier

Reviews that mention a third party include the customer mentioning Etsy themselves or your shipping service (USPS, UPS, etc.)

If you think the negative review violates Etsy policies, you can click the “Report this review” button under the review. Etsy will get back to you in 1-2 days regarding the outcome.

Sleep on it

After you report the review, your next step is to step back and take some time away from your shop. It’s extremely important that you don’t respond publicly or contact the buyer until you are in a good place emotionally.

As handmade business owners, we take our businesses personally. And that’s ok. But future customers are going to see how you respond to buyers who aren’t happy with your customer service.

I’ve never not purchased from an Etsy shop because of a single negative review, but I have decided against purchasing because an Etsy seller responded poorly to a buyer review.

Wait until the next day, go for a walk, read a book, or do something fun before taking the next step so you have a chance to calm down and take action from a place of calm.

Contact the buyer privately

Our next step if the review isn’t removed by Etsy is to contact the buyer to resolve the matter privately.

I make a note to mention in the conversation that I saw their negative review and that I value customer satisfaction deeply so would like to help them get their issue resolved.

Present the buyer with a few options to resolve the issue before you respond publicly. This might include reshipping the product or a full refund depending on your shop policies.

Keep Etsy policy in mind, however. If you made a mistake or the item was damaged in shipping, you are responsible for making it right. That includes paying for return shipping if necessary.

Etsy also has a policy regarding digital downloads. Sellers are not able to accept returns on these purchases. You can, however, still use discretion to refund buyer as needed. Read more on Etsy’s policy here.

While you can’t bribe the buyer into changing their review, providing good customer service can lead the buyer to edit their original review to a positive review.

Respond publicly

Finally, your next step is to respond to the review publicly. Make sure you’ve waited a few days to give the buyer a chance to change their review because once you respond publicly, the buyer won’t be able to edit their review.

There are some important things to remember when responding to a negative review. I’ll detail them below, but the most important point is to remember that one bad review on Etsy won’t likely harm your small business, but your public response can. Keep your response to the review professional and address your potential customers who will see your response.

Remove emotion

Hopefully by this point in the process, you are feeling less emotional about the customer feedback. You’ll want to craft an unemotional response that doesn’t argue, blame, or show disrespect to your buyer no matter what the review actually said.

Address future buyers

Imagine that you are in a room full of your potential customers. They’ve read the negative review and are wondering if they should still purchase from you. What would you say to them?

That’s how you should be typing up your response.

Other customers may want to know how you attempted to resolve the issue with the reviewer or how to find the information in the listing description that they need to read before purchasing.

Keep it short and factual

A professional response will be short and factual. You don’t need to lay out every single date you contacted the buyer or list the entire shipping timeline. Write out a response and then take time to edit it as needed.


Can I remove reviews on Etsy?

As a seller, you can’t remove a negative review on your own. If the review isn’t removed after you contact Etsy, you’ll need to respond to the review publicly or resolve it privately with the buyer.

Is a 4-star review bad?

A four-star review is not bad! In fact, you’ll find buyers who never leave five-star reviews because they truly believe that no transaction is ever perfect.

Can I ask a customer to change a review?

You can ask a customer to edit their review if they are happy with how you resolved the matter. You aren’t able to bribe a buyer into changing their negative review, however. This would look like you withholding a resolution unless the buyer changed their original review.

What if the review wasn’t factual?

Unfortunately, Etsy can’t get in the middle of a dispute when it comes to the facts presented in a review. They won’t remove a review just because a buyer lies about something.

If that happens, you’ll want to craft a public response that doesn’t sound like you’re blaming the buyer for the bad experience. That can be difficult so read through your response a few times or ask a trusted business mentor for feedback.

Will a bad review affect my star seller rating?

To qualify for Star Seller on Etsy, you need a 4.8 review average. So there is room for a few bad reviews on the platform. If your shop’s review score gets lower than 4.8 you won’t qualify for Star Seller. Make sure to focus on getting positive reviews to even out any negative reviews that can’t be improved.


While you won’t get a lot of negative reviews in your Etsy shop, they do happen to everyone. As a shop owner, your job is to try to give every buyer a positive experience even after receiving a negative review. If that can’t be done, create a public response that helps promote trust to future buyers.

Need more help handling a negative review? Click here to get a digital guide for your Etsy shop. Then listen to this episode of The Handmade Shop Podcast to get additional insights.


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About Author:
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Sarah Waggoner is a full time Etsy Seller with over $700,000 in sales. She helps handmade and digital sellers get daily sales on Etsy without all the complications.

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