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Etsy sellers say a fraud protection program is destabilizing their businesses

Illustration of the Etsy logo
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

D., a carpenter and Etsy seller of several years, recently sold a piece of custom, made-to-order furniture for around $150. The sale itself was business as usual for their shop — but it came with a sense of exasperation. Their earnings would be tied up for weeks while bills, rent, and expenses pile up.

Since late June, Etsy has had D.’s account under restrictive settings, putting a hold on the bulk of money that’s coming in as customers place orders. In D.’s case, 75 percent of earnings from a $150 order, as an example, are being held by Etsy — in what’s known as a “payment reserve” — for anywhere between two weeks and 45 days. After Etsy fees, taxes, and other expenses are pulled from the remaining 25 percent D. has access to, they’re…

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