How to Deal with Lost Etsy Shipments
At some point, through no fault of your own, one of the packages you ship to your Etsy customers will disappear. Dealing with missing shipments efficiently helps keep your Etsy customers happy and your ratings high. You have a few options for dealing with lost shipments:
Ask your buyer to give it a few days: More often than not, "lost" packages are merely delayed. Shipping times vary depending on destination and time of year.
Use the tracking number to locate the package: Assuming that you sprang for delivery confirmation with the United States Postal Service or opted for a higher-end carrier, such as UPS or FedEx, you can track the package. Visit your carrier's website for more information.
Report the missing package. If you sent the package via USPS, you can report it missing — even if you didn't pony up to pay for delivery confirmation. If you're lucky, the Postal Service will find your package. (If not, at least you'll have done your part to improve the system.) To report a missing package, fill out the missing package form.
If all these efforts fail, you'll unfortunately have to send a replacement item or refund the buyer's money (or, if you're feeling especially customer friendly, both). Yes, it hurts — but it's part of running a legitimate Etsy shop. The exception? If you feel that you're being scammed. Although you can't know for sure whether your buyer is pulling a fast one, checking her feedback rating may give you some insight. If she's received 1,298 glowing reviews, she's probably on the up and up. If, on the other hand, she's garnered multiple negative marks, you have to trust your gut.
Even if you suspect that you're being taken, it may be worth it to refund a buyer's dough for the sake of your own feedback rating. It's your call.
One more pointer: If you do refund a buyer's money for an item lost in the mail, you need to cancel the order. That way, you'll at least receive a refund from Etsy for your transaction fee.
Although Etsy urges buyers and sellers to work through problems related to nondelivery themselves via civilized means (such as with convos or e-mails), buyers sometimes feel compelled to report nondelivery cases to Etsy. If this situation happens to you, you'll receive an e-mail from Etsy outlining the details of the case and instructions for resolving it. The case will also appear on the Reported Cases page in Your Account. (Click the Reported Cases link under Orders to view the reported case.)
After you've taken the appropriate steps to resolve the case, as outlined in the e-mail Etsy sent you, you can request that the case be closed by clicking it on the Reported Cases page, checking the Request Closure check box, and leaving a comment that explains why you're requesting that the case be closed. Unless the buyer responds to your closure request within seven days, the case will be closed automatically. If the buyer does respond to the closure request, the case remains open and unresolved — which can lead to the suspension or termination of your Etsy account. To avoid these egregious outcomes, you must quickly take the necessary steps to resolve the dispute. (If you need Etsy's help in resolving the issue, contact Cancellations.)