Etsy featured seller Ecologica Malibu threatens to sue anyone who questions the bone fides of their products
I buy a lot of crap on Etsy. By crap, I mean random stuff that I purchase because I think it is pretty and unique. Or at least I assumed the stuff was somewhat unique. I was under the impression that items on Etsy are generally made by individual artists or craftspersons.
But not necessarily so. Etsy apparently has a rampant problem with resellers. (Resellers are the folks that buy mass-produced items and then sell them on Etsy pretending to be artisans that made the products.) That there are resellers on Etsy is not so surprising — Etsy is a great place to try to sell stuff; if you are a reseller you can probably undercut the prices of those people that actually make their own goods.
But Etsy’s handling of resellers is somewhat troubling.
Take the most recent Etsy-reseller dispute. Etsy listed Ecologica Malibu (aka Howard and Mariana Schechter) in the highly-coveted spot of “featured seller” on Etsy.
According to Ms. Schechter, she along with four carpenters make all the furniture pieces. Or that is what she claimed originally.
So far so good. But not so fast.
People were suspicious as to how Ms. Schechter could produce so much work product. So Regretsy did some digging. Regretsy discovered that Ecoligica Malibu builds so many products that they have to sell some on Overstock.com too. You can read the full story of what else Regretsy found at this link. But the long and short of it is that it appears that Ecologica Malibu sells furniture imported by All From Boats, a company that has the same address as Ecologica Malibu. It isn’t entirely clear how Ecologica Malibu defends itself, but they seem to claim that they are some type of collective because they hire people to make their stuff for them.
It gets crazier.
Instead of Ecologica Malibu trying to end this dispute quietly, they sent a cease and desist letter threatening to sue a bunch of folks who commented on a thread asking Etsy to respond to the situation. As it happens, the cease and desist letter didn’t make a whole lot of sense and received a scathing response from an attorney who knows more about this area of the law than just about anyone.
By threatening legal action, Ecologica Malibu is trying to bully its critics into silence. I find this conduct to be despicable. Luckily, there are attorneys like Kenneth P. White an attorney at Brown White and Newhouse LLP who take on these bullies.
Meanwhile, Etsy still has these bullies listed as a “featured seller.” Boo.