Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Big Etsy Ooops!

Today I went through a shop owner's nightmare. I checked my Etsy email addy's inbox and found someone had made a purchase that posted overnight. When I checked to see what it was, I was horrified. Someone had bought and paid for something, and expected it, of course, to be shipped right away, and it was NOT available!

What happened to it? Well, just before Christmas, I had joined in a local Craft Fair. I had taken all my plastic canvas/satin ribbon crosses, plus other stuff, over to the sale. Much of what I took over was also in my Etsy shop. This shopper had ordered my "gold tone" cross. I had sold it just before Christmas at that Craft Fair and had forgotten to take it out of my Etsy listings.

As soon as my nephew came home from work, after 3:30pm today, I headed over to our closest crafter's store, a Michaels, about 15 miles from home. They did NOT have any ribbon of that color in stock. I checked the Walmart in the same shopping center. Nothing there. I came home.

I didn't really expect to find it. This particular color is one that is rarely in the craft shops. Over the almost-fifteen years that I've been making these, I've only seen this color in the past five years. Even then, I only see it perhaps once a year, so when I see it, it is a rare find.

There was nothing I could do after wasting a lot of gas and time today, except to cancel the purchase.

In Etsy, that means I had to go into Etsy, find the Sold transaction, click on the receipt, and cancel it. I had to answer the few questions related to a cancellation. I had to send the customer both an Etsy Convo and an email to her email address, explaining I was refunding her money.

Then I had to go to PayPal, find the transaction, and tell PayPal to issue the refund.

In addition, I felt so bad that I offered to compensate her for her inconvenience (and my stupidity, although I didn't say that) with merchandise, free of charge, in colors that I had available.

The point is - I learned a valuable lesson. I must always be aware of anything that I have listed in my Etsy shop. If I sell one of these items, or if I pull them to give as a gift, I must remember to remove it from my listings.

In this case, the cost was small. But the damage can be very large. First, there is the chance of a large ticket item being involved. I would not want to offer a similar item to compensate, but a small ticket item might work. Second, the damage to an Etsy shop's reputation cannot be measured. I am embarrassed by what happened, but I did learn and hopefully, I will never make the same mistake again.

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