Online marketplace Etsy has come under fire over the last few months, as a significant number of products sold there have turned out to be fake. The hugely popular site is a place where creators can sell their handmade products.
But after several reports from buyers, it has come to light that the platform has an authenticity problem. Most handmade and customized products are genuine, but unscrupulous sellers have tried to trick their way into profits. Tap or click here for examples of fake coronavirus gear being sold.
To combat the growing issue, Etsy is investing $40 million to strengthen its policy enforcement and protect genuine creators. But until then, here are some of the products that you would be better off avoiding.
Here are the details
One of the most problematic products on the platform was bought by VICE journalist Joseph Cox. Detailing his experience, Cox explains how he was able to buy a completely fake COVID-19 vaccination card on Etsy.
“The Etsy shop said it offered the card as a way to get your vaccination details on a more long-lasting, convenient sheet of wallet-sized metal. But the seller printed the incorrect information I provided without asking any questions,” Cox explained.
This naturally goes against Etsy’s terms and conditions and is possibly a federal crime. But Cox’s account isn’t an isolated case. Last year Etsy received almost 4 million reports of potentially non-compliant listings. That’s a 400% increase over 2019’s complaints.
“Breaches of our handmade policy were among the most commonly flagged violations. This increase is in large part due to the exponential growth of the marketplace last year,” Etsy explained in a blog post.
Products to avoid on Etsy
You should definitely avoid fake COVID-19 vaccination cards, but several other products are just as concerning.
A review of the products sold on the platform in various categories revealed that dangerous weapons, illicit materials and substances, and even animal remains are for sale. .
According to Etsy, here are some items that are prohibited or restricted:
- Alcohol, Tobacco, Drugs, Drug Paraphernalia, and Medical Drugs
- Animal Products and Human Remains
- Dangerous Items: Hazardous Materials, Recalled Items, and Weapons
- Hate Items: Items that Promote, Support, or Glorify Hatred
- Illegal Items, Items Promoting Illegal Activity, and Highly Regulated Items
- Internationally Regulated Items
- Pornography and Mature Content
- Violent Items: Items that Promote, Support, or Glorify Violence
Shockingly, there are reports of a listing for uranium ore, a highly radioactive material.
Etsy explained that only 20% of the shop and listings flags came from users. As part of the $40 million crackdown, Etsy aims to expand the coverage of the content review teams tenfold.