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You opened your new Etsy shop with so much enthusiasm and then – Bam! – You get an email that your brand new shop has been suspended or deactivated.
While this is a bummer, it's not the end of the world, and there are several steps you can take to get your Etsy shop reinstated. An Etsy store is a fantastic avenue of (mostly) passive income. Here are a few steps to avoid getting that dreaded suspension in the first place, as well as what to do if your account has already been deactivated.
Before Your Etsy Account Gets Deactivated
Before we get into what to do if/when your Etsy shop gets suspended, make sure you are following a few general practices to protect yourself.
First, back up your store information. This is especially important if you have best-selling products or an active shop. Save your shop data to a CSV. If your store does ever get suspended (knock on wood), you will be able to recreate it with your backed up data.
Next, make it a habit of transferring money from your Etsy account to your bank account on a regular basis. If your account is suspended, your funds will be frozen. Keep as little money in your Etsy account as possible.
Another good business practice is to build your email list. If your shop does get suspended, you can communicate with your customers via another platform. (I use Flodesk.) There are STRICT Etsy rules for how you can use your customer emails. You cannot just add customer emails to your mass email program. Instead, include an opt-in or landing page URL in your shop banner, about page, or even as a page in the product itself.
How Do I Know If My Etsy Account Was Suspended?
You'll definitely know when your account is suspended. You will get an email – well, you're supposed to, but not everyone does – and also won't be able to access most features of your account. If you have a balance, those funds will be frozen.
Why Was My Etsy Shop Deactivated?
Some of you reading this post may have just opened your account and then got suspended right away. Others may have had a store for years with no problems and then find themselves in this suspended status. It's a major pain regardless of your selling history. There are several reasons why your Etsy shop might be deactivated. Sometimes, it is just a glitch in the Etsy algorithm with no clear reason. Your suspension notice should give you the reasons for your shop deactivation.
Etsy has clear rules and guidelines. All sellers (and buyers) are expected to know these respective guidelines and to follow them. If you don't follow the guidelines, it's more likely that your account will eventually be suspended.
Here are some of the reasons why your Etsy account might be inactivated:
- Violations of Etsy's Terms of Service or Community Guidelines (like selling Disney designs etc)
- Overdue balance to Etsy
- Unresolved customer complaints
- Incorrectly claiming an item as handmade when it is made by a third party provider (Print on Demand products)
- The algorithm is being glitchy (most common reason for brand new accounts getting suspended)
Psst… sorry to interrupt, but this is important! 🙂 I'm teaching a free webinar about how to sell more digital products on Etsy without raising your prices. I'd love it if you'd join me!
How to Avoid an Etsy Account Suspension
Understand What You Can and Cannot Sell on Etsy
Although Etsy gives creators a lot of leeway regarding what they can sell, there are a few parameters. For example, Etsy doesn't allow the sale of alcohol, drugs, weapons, or “adult” items. Any materials that are considered to embrace hate speech or harassment are also forbidden. All items must also be tangible (no selling hopes and dreams).
Another common reason for account suspensions is trademark infringement. Make sure all of your content is original work. If you are using graphics or elements from sites such as Creative Fabrica or Canva, make sure to read the terms and conditions of use. Avoid mimicking trademarked items such as licensed sports teams, Disney items, or corporate products (Starbucks or Yeti, for example).
You will definitely see trademarked items on Etsy, and you might wonder how those sellers get away with it. It's a mystery no one has solved yet, but don't be tempted. The risk of having your shop shut down for trademark infringement is not worth it. You could also be held legally liable. Here is a whole post of product ideas that will not put your shop in jeopardy – use them!! I know it's “easy” to steal artwork from Disney etc and make money but it's not the right thing to do. Not sure if something is trademarked? You can check for trademarked phrases in the United States here.
Etsy Likes Active Sellers
It is common for new sellers who haven't even gotten a product in their shop yet to have their accounts suspended almost immediately. No one seems to have a good explanation for this other than it's a glitch in the algorithm that marks these zero product shops as potential spam. To resolve this, add a few listings as soon as you make your account.
This means creating your digital products before clicking this link to get your 40 free listings.
Disclose Your Production Partners
Etsy's website says they are a marketplace built on trust. If you are using other business partners to make your final products, it is important to be transparent about this in the description.
If you have a print on demand shop, that's totally allowed on Etsy but you must to disclose your third party production. Etsy gives great directions for creating listings that include production partners in your shop. If you aren't transparent about this information, it can put your shop at risk.
Rectify any Open Cases
If your shop has any open disputes or cases, resolve those as soon as you can. Etsy favors stores with higher customer ratings and reviews. It's important you find solutions to any customer service issues or complaints that are lodged against your store. If you have too many complaints or unresolved cases, Etsy will suspend your account.
Etsy tells you what to do if your shop is suspended. You can read their instructions here.
What to Do if Your Etsy Account is Already Suspended
Okay, so you've read why your account might be suspended and how to avoid suspension, but what should you do if it's too late – your account has already been deactivated?
First of all, take a deep breath. Frustrating? Absolutely. Major Pain in the ass? Definitely.
Fortunately, Etsy has clear steps for contesting your Etsy account suspension. If these steps don't work, contact Etsy here.
Temporary or Permanent Shop Suspension?
Etsy may either permanently suspend your account or give you a temporary suspension. Your suspension email will tell you the status of your store.
If your suspension is temporary, you will still be able to access your account from a browser, respond to and send messages, and fill orders. However, you won't be able to make any new listings or receive any new orders. You also won't be able to shop. You will have the chance to rectify the situation by following the steps Etsy outlines for you. If they don't give you concrete steps, then you can email them for further clarification.
If your suspension is permanent this means it is a more serious infraction of Etsy's policies (or sometimes the glitchy algorithm). Your only chance for getting your shop back is to appeal the suspension. Before you complete your appeal, though, it's important to make sure your shop is otherwise in good standing. This means paying any overdue balances, addressing customer complaints, and fixing any other shop issues.
How to write an appeal to Etsy
In your appeal, list a brief history of your shop, reasons for the suspension, solutions to the infractions and what steps you will take to prevent it from happening in the future.
If you believe the suspension was an error, make sure to include documentation, screenshots, previous emails, etc. as evidence for your case. Transparency is key. The Etsy specialists read appeals all day long. I promise you are not going to sneak something by them.
This appeal is your FINAL chance to get your account back. If the appeal is denied, there is no further chance of having your store reinstated. Take your time and make sure you have addressed every issue listed in your suspension notice before submitting your appeal.
Open a New Store
You're allowed to have more than one Etsy shop but please follow these instructions before opening a second store.
If you read the beginning of this post, I told you to back up your store data. If your store is permanently suspended even after an appeal, you might be able to open a new and separate store. You will need a different email address.
Use your backed-up data to recreate the original store. However, keep in mind, if your store was not reinstated after the appeal, there was a reason. Double check all your listings and content to ensure it follows Etsy's policies. If it doesn't, your second store will soon be suspended, too.
Etsy actually tracks your shops by IP address, so you will quickly be busted if your shop was suspended for a legitimate reason.
If you can't get your old shop back and can't set up a new Etsy shop, it's okay – there are other ways to make money online. I suggest starting with a blog! You can use a plug-in like WooCommerce to start your own website to sell your goods and go from there.
Also, if your shop is good to go, attend my Etsy workshop so you can learn how to make MORE money without raising your prices! 🙂