For me personally, the most difficult part of the Plaid ordeal has been not knowing the fate of my Etsy shop, should I continue to refuse to share my private financial data with this sketchy third party.
I’m in an early wave of the rollout of Etsy’s forced connect-to-Plaid policy. It puts me in a perfect position to let everyone else know what to expect, as we continue to fight this violation of our rights to privacy.
This past Tuesday, my 30 day timer had only one day left on it. My shop was in vacation mode, with this away message:
Etsy is now forcing its sellers to connect their bank accounts to a sketchy third party – Plaid – and I have not yet found the time to register a throwaway bank account to use with Etsy. So vacation mode it is!
My vacation mode message wasn’t true anymore, technically. By that point, I had a free “throwaway” checking account with Ally bank ready to go, just in case. I didn’t think Etsy would suspend my shop while in vacation mode, but if they did, I planned to connect ASAP, because I did not want potential customers to think I’m the sketchy one!
Wednesday morning came. I looked inside my shop, and breathed a sigh of relief. No suspension! And since most US-based Etsy sellers are on a later wave than me, I can tell you exactly what to expect, if you refuse to connect your bank account to Plaid.
Stage one: Day Zero to Day 15
Stage two: Day 15 to Day 30
When it’s been 15 days since you received your notification, you might see a different version of the notice. This version includes a warning that your shop “may be suspended” if you continue to refuse to share your private financial data with Plaid.
When you get very close to the end of your 30 day timer, the message will turn red, like this:
Stage three: Day 30 and on
At this point, Etsy will stop paying you for any sales made on their platform, but they will not suspend your shop – or at least, that has not happened to anyone in the early waves whose 30-day timer has expired. Instead, you’ll get a second 30 day timer. The message inside your shop will now tell you that you will be suspended if you haven’t connected to Plaid by the end of the second 30 day timer (a total of 60 days from when you received your first notice).
The “28 days” in the first sentence appears to be an error on Etsy’s part. It said “30 days” on the day my timer expired, and has been counting down since then along with the latter number, which doesn’t make sense!
I hope that helps clarify things a bit, and let you know what to expect.
Based on our research, we believe that Etsy forcing us to sign up for Plaid violates antitrust law. Antitrust law is about breaking down monopolies but it’s also supposed to protect consumer choice in general, and we certainly are not being given a choice here!
Earlier this week, ISG members filed quite a few reports with the US Federal Trade Commision, a government organization dedicated to “Protecting America’s Consumers”. If you haven’t filed yours yet, please do so as soon as possible. The more reports filed, the more likely it is that the FTC will open an investigation into this issue.