It’s Etsy’s Fault

I’ve been debating a bit whether to post today. Not because I don’t want to but because, well, I’m just so grumpy – and it’s only Tuesday.

Nothing has been catastrophic, but it’s one of those times when it wouldn’t take a lot of convincing to believe that the world really does just like messing with me. Things have been that way for a while, but this week started with an email from Etsy…

We’re writing to let you know that Australia has introduced new goods and services tax (GST) rules that will apply to cross-border supplies of digital products and other services to Australian consumers beginning 1 July 2017. You can learn more about the new Australian regulations here.

What this means for your shop

Beginning 1 July, Etsy will begin charging GST on seller service fees and Etsy Payments processing fees (“Seller Fees”) for Australian sellers unless they are registered for GST and have submitted an Australian Business Number (ABN) to Etsy.

Do you sell digital items?

In addition to the changes above, if you sell digital items in your shop, Etsy will be responsible for collecting and remitting the GST on those items. Etsy will automatically include applicable GST in the purchase price, and you do not need to collect GST on those items separately. If you’re wondering what this means for your business, we encourage you to contact a professional advisor.

I like Etsy, but by my research so far, it was already the most expensive way to keep a shop front with listing fees (that expire and need renewing), transaction fees, processing fees, so on and so forth. Now this? Now it’s even more expensive.

On top of that, they’re automatically increasing prices on my digital items, which pisses me off.

It’s not just me bearing greater fees – it’s people who want to buy my zines.

Thanks, Etsy. Thanks a lot.

“It says you can register for GST, Nyx. Don’t be grumpy.”

Yep, I could register for GST, be spared the fees and ignore the fact that people have to pay more for digital products. That’s business, right?

Here’s the thing, though: GST registration is a requirement for businesses that have a $75,000 turnover. I have absolutely no doubt that there are Australian sellers making that much, but I am far away from being one of them.

So what’s the big deal? That I don’t know if it’s a big deal. That I need to make an appointment and pay $80 to someone who knows whether it’s a big deal. If I do register for GST, it could mean quarterly reporting, which means paying someone $80 four times a year to deal with the whole GST thing.

This all when I’m operating at a loss as it is.

The big deal is that Etsy is popular and it knows it, so it doesn’t give a damn about the small sellers who are hoping to better their lives and get out of their current financial situations by offering something to the world.

There is a culture of non-profit and trade within the zine community, and I’m okay with that. What I’m not okay with is being stuck with more – not new, not the first – fees on a website that touts itself as being so wonderful and helpful to creators.

Oh, I know the response I’ll get about how it costs money to run a website, have staff, so on and so forth, but that is no comfort when there were already listing fees (that expire), transaction fees, and processing fees. They’re piling on fees with absolutely no thought as to the ramifications of people who were hoping to be granted the promise that Etsy so temptingly waves in the faces of those who are able to do little more than make their handmade creations in an economy and a society that doesn’t value them or what they do anywhere else.

That, my friends, is why I am grumpy today. I’m tired of forever ‘surviving’ and then being told to ‘just do better’ when I stop being okay with merely existing.

6 Replies to “It’s Etsy’s Fault”

  1. It’s been frustrating to see how, basically as soon as they managed to become the biggest player in the field, Etsy has stopped being a platform for their original demographic.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Exactly. Then for the seller, it becomes the tired old argument of ‘why don’t you just sell somewhere else?’, and Etsy becomes a ‘necessary evil’ rather than the platform it still promises but fails to be.


      1. Yeah, and where would that “somewhere else” be? They are the biggest and most well known platform. And indeed, yet another “necessary evil” if you want to keep selling your zines.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah damn, I was considering getting an Etsy account, also because there exists a local Etsy team that seems nice (a team of sellers). It would be cool if there was a platform for zines though, something more horizontally and non-profit/less commercial. Although I also like the combination of different self-made things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s a lot of good things to be found within Etsy, but the financial side is ridiculous. The good news is that there are a lot of people want a similar platform for zines, so at least you’re not alone in thinking about it.

      Liked by 1 person

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