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Negative Reviews on Etsy | How to Deal with Negative Reviews on Etsy

As an Etsy seller, I understand the impact that negative reviews on Etsy can have on a business. Recently, I received a one-star review that I felt was unfair. The customer had ordered stickers but mistakenly thought she had ordered a flyer.

After I explained the situation and provided evidence that she had indeed received the stickers she ordered, she left a negative review anyway. This review lowered my chances of achieving the star seller status and possibly impacted my earning potential.

Negative reviews can be frustrating, especially when you feel they are unjustified. However, it is important to remember that customers may leave negative reviews due to their lack of knowledge or understanding, rather than any fault on your part.

As a seller, it is important to handle negative reviews professionally and avoid responding publicly until you have attempted to resolve the issue through private message first. This can give the customer an opportunity to update their review and can prevent further damage to your business.

The Nuts & Bolts

  • Negative reviews can impact your star seller status and earning potential.
  • Customers may leave negative reviews due to their lack of knowledge or understanding.
  • Handling negative reviews professionally and attempting to resolve the issue privately can potentially result in an updated review.

Customer Interaction

I recently received a DM from a customer who ordered stickers instead of a flyer. Upon checking the screenshot she sent, I noticed that it was indeed the sticker she ordered. I asked if she had pressed “use template” to open it up and see the circle, to which she replied yes.

I realized that I was receiving messages from her in two different places, which made it a bit confusing to answer her. However, her cousin jumped in and explained that she had helped her and everything was fine.

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Later that day, I checked my star seller status and noticed that it had dropped from 5.0 to 4.6. Upon checking my reviews, I saw that the same customer who had messaged me earlier had given me a one-star review. I was a bit upset about it because I felt it was unfair.

The customer had received what she ordered and paid for, and it wasn’t my fault that she didn’t know how to work the Canva template. I think some people leave bad reviews because they lack knowledge and understanding, instead of the seller actually doing something wrong.

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dee willis

I understand how negative reviews can negatively impact a shop’s earning potential, and it’s not fair when the seller didn’t do anything wrong. In this situation, the customer did receive the product, and her cousin even helped her, so I thought the situation had been resolved. However, she still left a one-star review.

Instead of replying to her directly inside of the reviews, I messaged her on the back end and asked if she would be so kind to update the review. I explained that I spoke with her cousin, who verified that she got what she ordered, and I was glad that she was able to help her.

I messaged her in both locations because I was getting messages from two different places, hoping that she would see it and update the review.

If you ever get a negative review that you feel is unfair, don’t reply to it publicly. Try to solve it on the back end through the DM first before replying publicly on the review. Once you reply, the customer cannot go back and change the review. Give them the opportunity to update it.

I know negative reviews can be hurtful and impact a shop’s earning potential. It’s important to handle them professionally and give the customer the opportunity to update the review if possible.

Impact of Negative Reviews on Etsy

As an Etsy sell, it’s inevitable that at some point, you’ll face a negative review. It has happened to the best of us. Even when you’ve done everything right, misunderstandings or miscommunication can result in unsatisfied customers.

Take, for instance, the interaction I had above. Though evidence was presented and she got what she ordered. I was still left with a negative review on Etsy. This dampened my spirits because I knew what that could possibly do to my shop.

Handling Negative Reviews on Etsy

To handle negative reviews on Etsy effectively, it’s important to first understand why we get them. Oftentimes, it comes from a lack of knowledge or understanding on the customer’s part, rather than the seller’s.

For example, in my case, the customer did not know how to utilize a Canva template properly. This lack of understanding led her to believe she received the wrong product, even though she got exactly what she had paid for.

However, it’s also important to not let those negative reviews on Etsy discourage you. Keep striving to provide excellent customer service and quality products, and the positive reviews will eventually outweigh the negative ones in the long run.

The Direct Impact of Negative Reviews on Sellers

Every Etsy seller understands the value of maintaining a stellar rating. Ratings play a vital role in attracting potential buyers on the Etsy platform.

With a higher star rating often correlating with trustworthiness and quality. So, when a one-star review appears, it can significantly lower an overall rating, thereby affecting the shop’s visibility and appeal to new buyers.

As in my situation, that one negative review took my rating from a perfect 5.0 to a 4.6. To achieve star seller status, you need at least a 4.8 rating.

This kind of drop is not only discouraging, but also has tangible effects on the shop’s overall performance, pushing the shop further down in the Etsy search and influencing potential buyers’ decision-making.

Many Etsy sellers aim to achieve or maintain this status. This status is an acknowledgment of a seller’s dedication to excellent service and high-quality products. Unfortunately, even one negative review can hinder the achievement of this goal.

Strategizing Your Response to Negative Reviews on Etsy

When you get a negative review on Etsy, the immediate instinct might be to defend your business publicly. However, this is NOT the approach you want to take. It won’t benefit you to do so.

Here’s on to handle it.

Private Resolution

As I previously stated, try to solve everything privately first in the DM (Direct Messenger) on Etsy. This is because Etsy gives a customer/buyer 100 days from the date of purchase to leave or edit a review.

Once you have responded publicly, your buyer will no longer be able to edit the review. Etsy’s review system prevents them from doing so. By addressing the issue behind the scenes first, you provide a way for the customer to rectify their initial reaction to the situation. Which could lead to a positive review.


Even when you’re convinced of your innocence in a situation like this, always approach the customer with understanding and empathy. Refrain from becoming confrontational. Instead, listen to their concerns and be willing to provide solutions.

Seek Clarity

Sometimes, a negative review on Etsy might stem from genuine confusion. As was the case with the Canva template. It’s essential to provide clear instructions and offer help when needed. Learn from the situation and see what you may need to clarify on your product listing to prevent this confusion in the future.

Which is exactly what I did. I added more details informing new buyers that they will just see an image first, but once they open the template they will see the circle so that they can make their sticker or button.

Leverage Feedback

Use every negative review on Etsy as a learning and growth opportunity. Regardless of whether the negative review as justified or not. Those reviews provide insights into areas of improvement. Analyzing your reviews can pave the way for a even better customer service experience in the future.

Etsy’s Review System: A Double-Edged Sword

Etsy’s review system is designed to provide transparency and trustworthiness, giving potential buyers an insight into the quality of products and services they can expect from an Etsy seller.

While this system is beneficial in maintaining quality standards, it can sometimes feel unfair and unforgiving for sellers. Especially, when faced with reviews that seem underserved.

Every review system has it’s pros and cons, and Etsy’s review system is no different in that aspect. The key is to navigate it strategically, understanding the potential pitfalls and leveraging it’s strengths.

You can check out the full details regarding Etsy’s Review System here.

The Long-Term Effects of Negative Reviews on Etsy

While a single negative review on Etsy can feel like a major setback, it’s important to look at your business growth as a journey. There are going to be a lot of pitstops along the way. Etsy is a marathon, not a sprint.

Overtime, with consistent quality and excellent customer service, positive reviews will outnumber the negative ones.

Though, don’t ignore the ripple effect that negative reviews can have on your shop. They don’t just impact immediate sales, but can deter potential repeat customers or word-of-mouth recommendations.

This can overall mess with your money.

Final Thoughts

While it can be tempting to respond publicly to negative reviews, it’s important to handle the situation privately first.

Negative reviews can be damaging to your shop’s reputation and earning potential, but it’s important to be accountable for any mistakes you may have made.

It’s important to remember that not all customers will understand the process of designing and printing products. As sellers, we need to be patient and provide clear instructions to ensure customer satisfaction. And if a negative review does occur, handle it privately and professionally to avoid any further damage to your shop’s reputation.

Learn from the experience and see what you can do to prevent such a misunderstanding in the future.

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Who is Dee Willis?

I am a digital product fanatic & writer who loves building businesses that produce semi-passive income. A woman deeply passionate about exploring humanism, building semi-passive income, and lifestyle design.