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Error causes Etsy to make unauthorized withdrawals from sellers’ bank accounts

By Marjorie van Elven

20 Feb 2019

Online retailers selling products via Etsy had an unpleasant surprise last weekend, when they discovered the online marketplace had made unauthorized withdrawals from their bank accounts, ranging from a few hundred dollars up to tens of thousands of dollars.

Sellers flooded Etsy’s Community Forum with comments, complaining about the lack of a support telephone line. “This is totally unacceptable. There is never anyone (live person) to respond”, said a user named Woolhearts. “I find it pretty disgusting, Etsy, that you continue to charge sellers higher and higher fees for zero customer service”, added another used called BedazzledWitchery, who claims 395 dollars were taken from her bank account without her consent.

Some users wondered whether the company had been hacked, while others advised sellers not to link their Etsy shops to their bank accounts. “This is exactly the kind of thing I imagined when I refused to link a bank account to my shop. I never had an issue like this with PayPal and I’ve been with them for 16 years”, wrote a user called jlyndesigns.

Etsy issued a statement on Saturday saying only 1 percent of its worldwide sellers were affected by the issue and that all those affected would be contacted by email. “We are very sorry for the trouble or concern this may have caused”, said the company. “This was not a fraud issue, but instead an error related to a site change which affects a small group of sellers and is unrelated to buyers’ purchases”. The marketplace added that all incorrectly charged amounts have been refunded, but it may take several days for the deposit to appear on the sellers’ bank accounts. Lastly, Etsy said it does not expect the error to impact any more sellers.