In April Etsy announced that they are pushing on with policy enforcement and removal of infringing items. Unfortunately, the policy-enforcing algorithms deactivate listings or impose Etsy payment reserves on long-term seller accounts with no reason. There are a lot of complaints about Etsy listings getting deactivated with zero policy violations. That’s why we’ve developed a short guide on how to contact Etsy customer service and appeal automated sanctions placed on your Etsy account.

Listing deactivations and payment reserves are performed by internal Etsy algorithms that check for policy compliance. Unfortunately, these algorithms are not always accurate and they may sanction Etsy seller accounts by mistake. Whenever a sanction is placed on your account, you should always appeal to the Etsy support team and try to have the sanctions removed.

1. Check your inbox for emails from Etsy Trust and Safety explaining the imposed sanctions

When it comes to deactivated listings, Etsy usually sends an email to let you know, with the following subject:

Etsy listings deactivated - email subject line
Check for mails with this subject in your inbox when you have deactivated Etsy listings.

You can see if you have any deactivated listings in the Inactive tab of your Etsy Listings Manager. Such listings will show up with a red notice stating “Deactivated by Etsy”:

Etsy listings deactivated
Listings deactivated by Etsy will show up in your 'Inactive' listings tab.

When it comes to imposed Etsy Payments Reserve, this is the subject Etsy has been using most recently:

Etsy Payment Reserve - email subject line
Check for mails with this subject in your inbox when your Etsy shop receives a Payment Reserve.

There may be other subjects of emails so make sure you scan your inbox thoroughly. These are all automated templates and provide little information but it’s still important to go through them and look for any references to specific Etsy policies that may have been “violated” according to the algorithm.

2. Why did Etsy deactivate my listing?

You can find an up-to-date list on restricted items on the Etsy Prohibited Items Policy page. Inside you will also find a number of links for specific categories like requirements for cosmetics, children’s clothing, and others.

Common reasons for listing deactivations include:

  • medical claims on listings - especially for cosmetics the line can be thin;
  • copyright claims placed from a copyright holder;
  • copyrighted keywords in your titles / tags / descriptions;
  • the word "Amber" in your listings also causes prompt deactivations despite years of objections from Etsy sellers;
  • listing images with brand names on them;
  • listings for children items that may not fulfill all necessary requirements;
  • "inappropriate" content that was reported by someone - mature items, nudity, etc.
  • listings that Etsy suspects or were reported as not being handmade.

Visit the link above and do a quick scan of the restricted items list to find out if your category or products have been mentioned. In many cases, a listing deactivation may have happened by mistake so if you don’t find your category, you can move to the next step.

Keep in mind, that Etsy policies evolve over time - new requirements may be added 6 months from now so whenever this kind of situation occurs, make sure to check the above link for up-to-date information.

3. Submit a listing deactivation appeal to Etsy support

As a first step you can submit an Etsy Appeal Form.

Make it clear that you’ve checked all Etsy policies and your deactivated listing(s) violate none of them. You believe the deactivation has happened by mistake and you want this fixed immediately.

4. Reach out to Etsy via chat support

Etsy is notoriously hard to get in touch with and notoriously slow to respond to customer support emails and appeals. That’s why we always recommend reaching them via chat to ensure a real-time conversation.

As of now the chat option should be readily available for almost all stores and you can find it in the bottom right corner of your Etsy Dashboard.

Etsy Support chat in the Etsy Dashboard
The Etsy Support chat icon can be found on desktop in the bottom right of various Shop Manager pages, including the Etsy Dashboard and Etsy Stats.

Pressing the chat icon will open up a chat dialog where you can start a conversation.

Etsy Support chat box
Hopefully Etsy chat will respond in seconds but sometimes you will need to wait longer.

Alternatively, if for some reason you don’t see the chat option directly inside your store, you can use the Etsy Help Center to find it.

Click through the appropriate options describing your situation and finally, click on the “I still need help” button under the FAQ answers.

Etsy Help Center - how to get to Etsy chat
Etsy's Help Center tries to answer through automated FAQ responses. You need to click on the button above to get to the actual contact options.

Your goal is to land on a “Chat with us” button:

Etsy Help Center - 'Chat with us' option
The 'Chat with us' option doesn't show up for every question so you will need to "find" it.

Depending on your location and the help options you’ve chosen, the “Chat with us” button will not always show up. If you don’t find it, browse through other help questions until you land on the “Chat with us” button.

5. How to get your case escalated by Etsy chat support

Etsy chat support representatives may not be able to directly help you with your request but your goal is to put pressure on them and escalate your case for review.

When discussing the situation put focus on the following aspects:

  • you are a long-term Etsy seller and you are certain that all of your listings comply with Etsy policies
  • by having your listings deactivated or your shop’s funds held in Payment Reserve, Etsy is violating their own policies and you are losing money
  • any of these sanctions are due to mistakes made by their automated systems and they need to immediately solve the situation created by the bots

You want to pressure the chat representative into escalating your complaint for review from the responsible team. Unfortunately, cases with no escalation may be delayed indefinitely or simply ignored so make sure you are vocal.

Press on until you get a human response

Persistence is key in this process. If you don’t receive an email within 24 hours, continue showing up in Etsy support chat daily until you receive a definitive response. In some cases, the review team can decide to confirm the sanction. They will tell you this is the final decision and you have to accept it. Otherwise, they can restore your listing and/or payment reserve.

Whatever the case, make sure the decision is made by an actual Etsy team after careful review of your situation, not just an automated response.

Iliyan Oprev
Founder & Managing Partner

Are you looking to grow to $10,000 / month on Etsy?

Take advantage of our rolling discount model for growing Etsy businesses.


Tell us about your Etsy Store


Years on Etsy


Etsy stores supported


Etsy revenue generated