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Etsy vs. eBay: You May Be Paying More for the Same Thing

I have officially decided to forgo the $260 hair piece that MOST of you advised me against buying. ;) Instead, I looked for something a little bit more understated, a little bit more budget friendly, but still has that vintage flare I love. Etsy presents a myriad of chioces of headbands, fascinators, combs and brooches, and I fell in love with a hair brooch in the shape of a peacock feather. That is, until I went on to eBay and realized that there are brooches that look almost exactly the same, that I can buy for half the Etsy price. I’ve put up a screenshot below – you can see that the Etsy item costs $33.50, while the identical brooch is sold on eBay for $16.99. But at least that Etsy seller has changed (or “upcycled”) a brooch into a clip.

The proof is in the pudding screenshot

etsy vs ebay3 Etsy vs. eBay: You May Be Paying More for the Same Thing

I believe in supporting artists and paying for quality products that requires real craftsmanship, but this excursion into Etsy has been a little disappointing. To be honest, I feel misled. Putting a clip on the back of a brooch you bought on eBay doesn’t strike me as an “original creation” as that Etsy seller proclaims. And it’s not an isolated case. I found several other examples of people who seemed to have simply purchased items on eBay and then turn around and sell it on Etsy for triple the cost. See this $5.50 brooch? It reappears for $18 here. This Etsy comb is selling for $30, whereas an identical comb on eBay has a starting bid of $9.99 and no bids 2 days before the close of auction. Further googling revealed that there are websites devoted to outing Etsy resellers and calling out Etsy knockoffs. I guess the moral of the story is: do your due diligence!

Have you discovered serious pricing discrepancies between identical products on Etsy vs. eBay?

  • MakingSenseofCents - Etsy is pretty well-known for selling knock offs. I love Etsy but all of the fraudulent sellers makes it hard. ReplyCancel

  • Little House - Perhaps the Etsy sellers think that their time and innovation to place a clip on the back of a broach is worth the extra money. It doesn't seem completely unique or like an original creation, but for those who are clumsy or not as creative, it saves them time. Or they think that Etsy shoppers don't shop on Ebay, which is a fallacy. What did you decide to do? ReplyCancel

  • Life [Comma] Etc - This is something near and dear to my heart as an etsy shop owner. When I first started, I had a really hard time pricing things because to me, it seemed like taking hot glue, a clip, and some creative-finagling to turn a flower into a flower clip didn't seem worth a 100% (or more) markup like I was encouraged to make.

    So… I agree with Little House! Sometimes Etsy is about creative, awesome independient artists making original crafts and art, and sometimes it's about saving less creative people the time and money of doing it themselves.

    As for me… I hope to have a mix of the two and keep things reasonably priced. ReplyCancel

  • Cait - I don't spend much time on Etsy or eBay but I was fascinated by a story about Urban Outfitters stealing a necklace idea from a jeweller who was finally selling enough to be able to quit her full-time job! Haven't walked in UO since and I think I will always be willing to pay an independent designer (Etsy) more for a unique idea than a knock-off from a retail store. http://imakeshinythings.tumblr.com/post/585571631ReplyCancel

    • Well Heeled Blog - I agree – I'd be willing to pay a premium for an independent designer for a unique idea / better craftsmanship. My problem is that I see things that are CLEARLY not a unique design, not better craftsmanship, not even a different product(!) being sold under the guise of "handmade" or "crafty" for a higher price. As a consumer, that makes me very uncomfortable. ReplyCancel

  • Modest Money - In my opinion that's actually pretty smart business. Sure there will be people who end up finding the original item on ebay, but others will just go ahead and pay the marked up price. It is a shame that it lowers the overall quality and concept of etsy though. ReplyCancel

    • Shawanda - I agree. And just because someone takes hours to make a product doesn't mean it's higher quality. Their workmanship could be just as shoddy as a mass manufacturer's. Some people don't shop on eBay, so if an Etsy seller took something from the site and made it attractive enough (financially and aesthetically) for you to buy it, then it sounds like a winning business model to me. If you were so inclined, you could just make it yourself, but as several commenters have already pointed out, you may either lack the creativity or the willingness. ReplyCancel

  • shopping2saving - I always find things like this on Etsy which is why I generally avoid Etsy and select Ebay for shopping for those types of items. With Ebay they have a protection program for buyers so that you are protected in case you have been sold a fake or if your item was not in the condition it was described. I have been successful twice with filing ebay claims so I tend to stick with ebay! I like Etsy for real handmade items and for works of art. I bought a ring from Etsy once and you could really tell it was handmade, yet I appreciated it more because the seller donated all profits to charity. ReplyCancel

  • @momoneymohouses - Interesting! I had no idea that you could get a better deal on ebay instead of etsy. Good to know as I start looking for some bridal jewellery. ReplyCancel

  • Sean@OneSmartDollar - I find a lot of things on Etsy to be over priced. ReplyCancel

    • Zachary D. Irby - I believe people over price on Etsy due to the fact that its one set price regardless of how high or low the price is, plus you get 4 months listing time. On Ebay, Unless you are using your freebie listings, you pay more listing fees for higher priced items, plus you have to pay those every listing in an auction. ReplyCancel

  • Jessica - I absolutely love browsing etsy and I bought several things off Etsy for my wedding. My naive self did not realize that there's so many resellers on there. I will definitely check the websites you listed before making another purchase. Thanks for the heads up! ReplyCancel

  • Emily @ evolvingPF - What a rip off! ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - I save Etsy for truly unique items. Usually it's pretty clear to see if something is really vintage or handmade. I usually check prices on both shops before buying. You can get really great deals on both sites if you shop carefully. ReplyCancel

  • Kathleen - Check out Regretsy, which has a whole section related to stuff like this! ReplyCancel

  • Housewife Empire - I've never used Etsy, but people have gifted me some really cute personalized stuff sellers on there have made and embroidered for my kids. I actually had no idea people jacked stuff from eBay to sell on there. Rip off! ReplyCancel

  • Jason - That's pretty interesting! The problem is that I don't know if most people would look that hard and compare both sites. Frankly, it's a fairly smart business idea if it's working for the people on Etsy. If they're taking advantage of other people's laziness and lack of properly shopping then it isn't their fault, is it? ReplyCancel

  • Julie @ Freedom 48 - Wow! I seriously had no clue!
    I mostly buy from Ebay, but I do browse Etsy regularly. I just thought that Etsy was for crafty type people to sell their wares. I'd never imagined they'd be buying them elsewhere and RE-selling them. I'm so naive! ReplyCancel

  • Katie - I have never bought from Etsy but I did read an article the other on how people could buy off of Ebay and sell on Etsy for a higher profit. I'm glad you found the same thing on Ebay for a lower price and didn't get ripped off. ReplyCancel

  • masterp1976 - There are a ton of fraudulent sellers on ebay too. Take a look at Nike sneakers. Most of them for sale on ebay are fakes. I don't have a problem with the same item being different prices online. That's how the world works. The example in this post is no difference from Target and Walmart having different prices on the same item. Its the smart people that can find the best deal but many people won't take the time to find the best deal. ReplyCancel

  • belowhermeans - I feel the same. This is a bit disconcerting. ReplyCancel

  • lisacng - I woulda never even thought ppl on Etsy were producing non-original peices! Tks for the wake up call! ReplyCancel

  • fashiongirl - The same guys on etsy sell the stuff for cheaper on ebay. It doesn't mean its fake, or knock off. I work in fashion, and accessories have high markups. These etsy guys have problem moving some product at a higher price on a niche site. So they sell it cheaper on ebay. ReplyCancel

  • ebay seller - Wellheeled – sorry to trample on the comparison but, The $35.00 Etsy one has Swarovski crystals and the others do not , hence not actually an identical comparison nor would they cost the same , twice the price might not be , a " rip-off " . And I am an ebay seller of 10 years . ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - Yes, I see things all the time on ebay and they are being re-sold here for more. Somtimes much much more! Many people are also buying "swarovski crystals" (which they are not) off of ebay for dirt cheap about $1-2 and putting them on a chain and re-selling for $50 or more…

    If you go to the official swarovski site, one tiny bead can go for $50 alone…and those are the real ones. ReplyCancel

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