Following issues at the beginning of 2016, the latest problem with Etsy payments hit over the American Fourth of July holiday weekend, but has also affected a number of UK Etsy sellers as it continues into this week. We’ve taken a look at what the problem is, how Etsy are handling it, and what Etsy sellers can do to minimise the impact on their business.
Etsy Direct Checkout payment problems
Etsy has spent a lot of time encouraging sellers to use the Direct Checkout payment system, however there have been a number of issues with it over the last six months. In January 2016 there was disruption to PayPal payments, and confusion about whether sellers could still use stand alone PayPal if they chose to turn off Direct Checkout. Another problem in February 2016 caused a delay in the processing of card payments through the Direct Checkout system.
The current problems started on 1 July with order payments taking a long time to process. An engineer on the Payments Team, Bill Massie, acknowledged the problem on the bugs forum: “One of our partners [Worldpay] is having a technical issue that is delaying the last step of payment processing. We’re working with them to help resolve the issue. Once the issue is cleared up on their end, all the payments that currently say “processing” will be able to finalize.”
The problem is affecting all credit, debit and Etsy gift card payments, and the delay in processing payments has been anywhere from a few hours up to a few days.
Worldpay has said that it’s “aware of an isolated issue on one of our gateways, resulting in a delay to settlement for small number of customers. We are working to resolve this issue urgently.”
Most transactions that were initially affected over the weekend have now had their payment processed. However, new payments are still being delayed because of the ongoing system outages.
What to do if your orders are affected by Etsy payment problems
The payment issues aren’t just frustrating, they’re having a negative impact on a number of Etsy businesses. Customers are becoming understandably annoyed, and even cancelling orders due to the delays. There’s not a lot that Etsy sellers can do until the payment problem is fixed, but these are a few tips about how to handle the delays.
1. Update your Etsy shop
While the issue continues update your Etsy shop with a warning about the potential delays.You can also advise potential buyers that they can still pay by PayPal without any issues. If you still have stand alone PayPal then you can switch off Direct Checkout.
2. Don't fulfill orders until payment is processed
Etsy has been advising sellers not to fulfill orders until the payment has been processed, but this is a really big problem for buyers purchasing items for a specific deadline. Some sellers have been shipping orders anyway, especially those offering digital products, hoping that the payments will process eventually. Etsy has said that “if a buyer affected by this issue mentions it in a review or contacts you directly about it, please contact Etsy support for assistance”.
3. Contact your buyers
The pending order email has also been updated to include a warning to buyers that they are currently experiencing delays. It could be worth reaching out yourself to buyers just in case they’ve missed Etsy’s email. Communication with buyers is the most important thing when any issues occur.
A few sellers have also been advising others to offer buyers the option to order again but use PayPal instead, and cancel their first order - this might be a solution some buyers are happy with but the original order needs to be processed before the seller can issue a refund.
Etsy has offered no estimation of when the current issue will be resolved, but you can find their status page here. In the meantime sellers can only keep an eye on their shop and be ready to fulfil orders as soon as they are processed. Follow us on Twitter and we'll keep you updated on when the problem has been fixed.
For more information and advice from Etsy about the payment problems take a look at this discussion on the Etsy forum.
Update 13/07/2016: Etsy last updated its status page on 10 July to say that they were "continuing to monitor processing payments" and that new orders were processing normally without delays. However, there are still some Etsy sellers posting on the bugs forum about orders that are taking a long time to process, as well as further issues with refunds being reversed.
In response to the refund issues, Etsy has announced that they have changed the way refunds are processed to expedite them while the problem is being solved: “If a seller doesn’t have the balance to cover a refund in their Shop Payment Account, we will add the remainder to their bill, rather than charging the card on file. Sellers will pay for the refund with the rest of their bill at the end of the month.”
Update 19/07/2016: There are still a few buyers waiting for orders to process, but for most this issue seems to have been resolved. However, as well as ongoing problems with issuing refunds, some buyers have been charged twice for their purchases. Etsy initially responded saying that what appeared like two charges was an ‘authorisation’ payment, and the actual payment, and that there was a delay in the authorisation dropping from buyer’s card statements. On 18 July, Etsy acknowledged that the duplicate payments were a bug and said they are refunding the extra payments. Find out more about duplicate Etsy charges here.
If you or one of your buyers has been charged twice, contact Etsy Support with the details and supporting documentation.