How to Return on Etsy

So, your order from Etsy just arrived, and you gleefully open the package to have a look at your newly-gotten goodies… but something’s not right.  This item isn’t the right colour.  That item got broken during shipping.  And that other item is missing parts entirely.  What do you do?

The Etsy returns policy

Etsy leaves its policies for returns up to each individual shop owner.  You can read a shop’s policies by clicking on the shop’s name, which takes you to the shop’s page on Etsy.  Then, click Policies under “Shop Info” on the left-hand side.

You can also find these policies by clicking on an item to take you to its page on Etsy.  Then, click on Shipping and Policies underneath the item’s picture to see the policies of the shop that sells that item.

A seller may have specific policies on returns, exchanges, and refunds.  For example, a seller may offer to exchange a defective item for a new non-defective one, but will not offer an outright refund for a return.  Others may simply send you a replacement item, and let you keep the defective one without having to return it.  In short, check a seller’s policies carefully to know what they will or will not be willing to do for you if there is a problem with one of your items.

How to return on Etsy

Before you return an item on Etsy, you should let the owner of the shop who sold you the item know that you’ve had a problem with the item (and send them a few pictures of the item as evidence).  You can then work out whether the shop owner wants the item returned for a refund or exchanged for a new item, or whether they will just send you a new item as a replacement.  Again, though, this will depend on the seller’s policies.

If the seller doesn’t respond to your problem, or doesn’t appear to want to work out a reasonable deal, you can report a problem with an item directly to Etsy within 60 days of the item’s estimated delivery date.  This will let you open a case against the seller, and the seller will have a week to respond to and resolve the case.  If they don’t, Etsy’s customer service department will step in and review the case, and may offer you a refund on the seller’s behalf.

See our How to Contact Etsy tutorial for instructions on how to contact a shop owner if there’s a problem with an item that they sold you, or how to contact Etsy in order to open a case against a seller.

In general, though, all that you have to do to return an item on Etsy is just pack it back up, apply return postage, and ship it off to the shop owner.  However, depending on the seller, they may have specific instructions that you need to follow in order for them to accept your return.  So, again, be sure to read their returns and exchange policies carefully.


Anyway, that’s a bit of information on how to return an item that you bought through Etsy!

How To Leave A Review On Etsy

Once you buy and receive your item(s) from Etsy, let the seller(s) know how they did!  Was your item everything you wanted?  Beautiful?  Functional?  In good condition?  Or were you disappointed on some front?  Was the workmanship not up to par?  Did the order take too long to get to you?  Whatever your opinion, let it be heard!  It will help the Etsy community know who has the top-notch merchandise, and who gives raw deals and should be avoided.

When can I leave a review for a product on Etsy?

You can only leave a review for an item on Etsy that you have actually purchased yourself.  This is to prevent people from leaving fake reviews, or getting their friends to gang up on a seller that they have a grudge against.

In addition, you can only leave a review for the product after its estimated delivery date (see our Etsy Shipping article to learn how this is calculated).  Furthermore, you can only post or edit the review for 60 days after that point.  The exception is if you leave a review that rates an item lower than 3 out of 5 stars, and the shop owner publicly responds to your review; this prevents you from editing your review any further.  (But hopefully, you won't receive an item or service bad enough to cause you to leave a negative review in the first place!)

Finally, the only way you can delete a review is by cancelling your order.  The only exception is that Etsy can delete your review if it violates the website's rules.  So think carefully about what you want to say before you say it!

How to write a review on Etsy

  1. Go to in your web browser and log in.

  2. Click on You (i.e. your account) in the top-right corner, and then click Purchases and Reviews.

  3. Now, find the item that you purchased that you want to add a review for.

    First, click one of the stars to give the item a rating out of 5 (clicking a star further to the right will light up all stars to the left of it, resulting in a higher rating).

    Next, click in the box labelled "Write a Review for This Item" and type in some additional comments on what you thought of the item, as well as the seller's service in getting it to you.  You must write at least five words.

    When you're all set, click Post Your Review.  Your review will show up on the seller's store page, and people can use it to find your profile on Etsy (just so you're aware).

  4. If you want to edit your review after you've posted it, just repeat steps 1 and 2, find the item that you've reviewed, and click Edit Review.

    From there, just repeat step 3. 

    Remember, though, if you've passed 60 days since your item's estimated delivery date, or you've left a negative review that the seller has publicly responded to, you won't be able to edit your review.

Those are the basics of writing a review on Etsy for an item that you bought!

How To Search On Etsy

Sure, it’s fun to browse around Etsy and see what kind of merchandise you can discover in different categories, and from what Etsy recommends for you.  But what if you’re looking for something in particular?  Etsy makes it relatively simple to find a specific kind of item based on its class, category, price, colour, and more!  You can also search for specific shops and the users who run them, too!

To search on Etsy:

  1. Go to in your web browser (you can log in, but you don’t have to).
  2. Click in the box beside the Etsy logo labelled “Search for Items or Shops” and start typing in what you want to find.

    As you type, Etsy will come up with a list of suggestions as to what kinds of items you may be searching for.  For your most probable results, Etsy will even let you search for those results within a specific class of items (i.e. “Handmade”, “Vintage”, or either).  Click a suggestion to search for items that contain those search terms.

    If you’re looking for a specific shop or the name of a user who runs a shop, instead of an item, you can click Find Shop Names Containing [Your Search Terms] at the bottom of the suggestions list.

    If you want to search for any item that contains your search terms, click the Search button.

  3. You will be taken to a screen that will display your search results; this one is for items.  Click one to go to that item’s page.

    You can click one of the options under “Show Results For” to filter your results by a category or subcategory.  You can also click an option in the breadcrumb trail across the top to go back to a previous category or subcategory.

    You can also click the drop-down menu beside “Sort By” and choose:

    Most Recent to sort by how recently the items have been listed
    Relevancy to sort by how closely the items match your search terms
    Highest Price to sort items from most expensive to least expensive
    Lowest Price to sort items from least expensive to most expensive

  4. You can sort your results in other ways by using the “Refine Your Search” options along the left-hand side.

    Filters available to you include:

    — Whether items are classified as “Handmade”, “Vintage”, or either
    — Minimum and/or maximum price for items
    — Colour of the item (click Clear to see items of all colours)
    — Whether or not the seller accepts Etsy Gift Cards
    — Whether or not the seller will allow you to custom-order the item
    — Sellers in a specific city, territory, or country (click Anywhere to see all sellers)
    — Items that ship to a certain country

  5. At the bottom of the page, you can click on an option underneath “Related to [Your Search Terms]” to search for items using search terms similar to the ones that you entered.

    You can also click one of the options beside “Looking for Shops?” to take you to a shop page that contains your search terms (or click See More to switch to searching for shops).

    Finally, you can click the left and right arrows here to move back and forth through pages of results, or click a number to go to that specific page of results (the one highlighted in black is the current page you’re on).

  6. Searching for shops is much the same as searching for items, except that it’s simpler.  You can just see the shop name, the shop’s owner, a preview of some of their wares, and how many items they have publicly listed.  Click on any of these to take you to the appropriate page.

    You can also click the drop-down menu beside “Sort By” and select:

    — Relevancy to sort shops by how closely their names match your search terms
    — Most Recent to sort shops by how recently they were opened (with newest ones first)
    — Alphabetical to sort results by shop name, from A to Z

  7. You can also use the usual results page controls at the bottom of the page, and you can click Find Items Containing [Your Search Terms] to switch (back) to searching for items.

That’s a quick primer on how to search for items, shops, and users on Etsy!

How To Buy On Etsy

Is Etsy safe to buy from?

As we covered in a previous article, buying items on Etsy is about as safe as it is on many other popular and trusted online marketplaces, such as Amazon, Ebay, and Overstock.  While scams and other problems do crop up from time to time, most of them are avoidable by researching an item and who’s selling it ahead of time, as well as exercising a bit of common sense when it comes to your privacy and security.  Visit our “Is Etsy Safe?” article if you’d like some tips on how to stay safe as a buyer on Etsy.

Things to buy on Etsy

There’s lots of unique and interesting stuff to buy on Etsy!  There’s fine art, home decor, toys, clothing, accessories, jewellery, craft supplies, supplies for special occasions like birthdays and weddings, and more!  In general, though, most items sold on Etsy fall into one of three categories.


These are unique items crafted by individual artists and artisans (with perhaps a bit of outside help).  The bottom line is: you’re not going to see them on superstore shelves any time soon, so Etsy’s the place to get them.  Whether you’re looking for something to help create or add to your own original style, or trying to find a gift idea that’s a little out of the ordinary, there’s bound to be an item for you!


These are products that were made by big companies (or at least ones that were big at the time), but have since gone out of production.  As a rule, an item must be at least 20 years old to be listed as “Vintage” on Etsy.  It’s probably difficult to find items like these anymore, so if you’re a collector of curiosities, this is your chance to get your hands on them!

Gift Cards

Not to be confused with cards that you send with gifts, such as for a wedding or birthday (which you can also buy on Etsy), you can buy Gift Cards that let other people you know who use Etsy (partially) pay for all of the cool stuff that they find on the website.  You can send the Gift Card to the person through email, or you can print it out and give it to them directly.

How to buy items on Etsy

  1. Go to in your web browser and click Sign In.  The process for signing in is pretty much the same as it was outlined in the last step of our How to Join Etsy tutorial, so visit that if you need help.
  2. Find an item on Etsy that you’d like to buy, either by browsing for it or actively searching for it.  Then click on it to select it.
  3. On the right-hand side, you will see the item’s details.  You may have to click a drop-down menu to select the quantity of the item that you want to buy (if you can buy more than one at the same time), or select a version (if there are multiple variations of the same item).  Then click Add to Cart.
  4. Once you have added an item to your shopping cart, you can click Keep Shopping to find and add more items to your order (by repeating steps 2 and 3).  Otherwise, click one of the buttons under “How You’ll Pay” to select a payment method (we’ll assume you want to pay by credit card), and then click Proceed to Checkout.
  5. If you haven’t set an address for Etsy to send your items to, you’ll have to do that now.  Click the drop-down menus here to select your country and province/state/region, and then click in the text boxes and type in your full name, street address, unit number (if applicable), city, and mailing code.  Then click Deliver to This Address.After you’ve entered an address for the first time, Etsy will save it, so you can just quickly select it instead of having to input it all over again.
  6. If you haven’t submitted billing information to Etsy yet, you’ll have to do that now.Click in the text boxes and type in your credit card number, your credit card’s security number, and your name as it appears on your credit card, then click the drop-down menus here to select your credit card’s expiry date.  Leave the check box here marked if you want your bill sent to the same place that your items are being sent to (if you click to unmark it, you will have to select or enter an alternate address when you get to the next page).

    Like your address, once you enter your credit card information, Etsy will save it.  This way, you can simply select it the next time that you want to buy something from Etsy, instead of inputting it all over again.

    You can also use an Etsy Gift Card here, if you have one (and the seller accepts them).  Click in the box labelled “Enter Your Redeem Code” and type in the code on your Etsy Gift Card.  Then, click Redeem Now.

    When you’re all done, click Continue.

  7. The next screen will allow you to submit your order.  This will be your last chance to do any of these things:– Change your delivery address
    — Change your payment method or billing address
    — Use an Etsy Gift Card towards the cost of your order
    — Change the quantity or type of an item in your order
    — Remove an item from your order

    If you’re totally fine with how everything looks, click Submit Order.

You will receive an email confirmation of your order, and you can also confirm your order by clicking You (i.e. your profile) in the top-right corner, and then selecting Purchases and Reviews.

Based on the seller’s policies (like the shipping options that they choose) and how far away you are from the seller, you will be given an estimated delivery date for your order (see our Etsy Shipping article for a more detailed explanation).  We hope that you enjoy your item(s) once you receive your order!

Where to buy Etsy Gift Cards

  1. Go to in your web browser and log in (if you haven’t already).
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page, under the “Discover and Shop” section, and click Gift Cards.
  3. The next screen is a bit big, so we’ll split it into two parts.  The first part lets you personalize your Gift Card.Click on a design that you want to give your card (or click the arrows at either end to browse more designs).  Then, click in the text boxes marked “To” and “From” and type in the name of the person you’re giving the Gift Card to, and your name, respectively.

    You can click in the text box below that and type in a personal message to the recipient that’s up to 500 characters long.  As Etsy suggests, you can tell the recipient why you’re giving them the gift card (perhaps for a special occasion), or suggest some items that you found on Etsy that they might want to use the Gift Card on.  This part is totally optional, though.

  4. On the second part of the screen, click an amount that you want the Gift Card to be for (click Change Currency if you want to change what currency the Gift Card will be issued in).  Then, click one of the buttons under “Delivery Method” to decide whether you want to send the Gift Card to the recipient by way of email, or whether you’d prefer to print it out and give it to them yourself.(Note: if you want to send a Gift Card to a person at their email address, you’ll have to click in the two boxes below these buttons, as highlighted in the screenshot below, and type in the recipient’s email address twice.)

    When you’re all done, click Add to Cart.

From here, simply follow steps 4 through 7 in the “How to Buy Items on Etsy” section above to complete the purchase of your Gift Card.  Once the recipient of the Gift Card has it, they can use it by following steps 6 and/or 7 in the “How to Buy Items on Etsy” section.

How To Sign Up For Etsy

Are you ready to go hunting for vintage and handmade treasures on Etsy?  If so, then the first step is to create an Etsy account.

To sign up for Etsy:

  1. Go to in your web browser.

  2. Click Register in the top-right corner.

  3. If you have an account on Facebook or Google Plus, you can use it to sign up for Etsy.  (You will need to log into the account that you choose to complete the registration process.)  For the purposes of this tutorial, let’s assume that you don’t have either, or you’d simply prefer to sign up the old fashion way – by filling out a form.

    First up, Etsy will ask you to enter your first name and last name, and select your gender.  This information is public and can be seen by anyone on Etsy.  If you’d like your account to be a little more private, you can skip filling in these details.  Otherwise, click in the appropriate boxes and type in the information, and click the button beside “Male”, “Female” or “Rather Not Say” to select your gender.

    Next, Etsy will ask you for your email address, a password, a repeat of that password (to confirm it for security reasons), and a username (if you don’t enter your real name, people have to be able to identify you on Etsy somehow, right?).  Click in each box and type in the appropriate information (Etsy will give you a suggestion for your username, based on your email address; you can keep it or pick your own).

    If you’d like to receive an email newsletter from Etsy on products that are popular at the time, click the check box at the bottom to mark it.  Otherwise, click Register when you’re done.

  4. Etsy will send a confirmation email to the address that you used to sign up for Etsy.  Log into that account and open the email from Etsy titled “Confirm Your Account: Get All Things Etsy”.  Then, click Confirm Your Account.

  5. After confirming your account, you will be asked to sign into Etsy again.  Click in the boxes marked “Email or Username” and “Password”, and fill in the appropriate information.  Then click Sign In.

That’s all there is to signing up for Etsy!  Happy shopping!