Etsy, ( $600 million co; nearly $1 billion in sales) is an online venue hosting small entrepreneurs selling handcrafted goods. Without warning, my shop was closed. Within 24 hours, my entire livelihood was gone, thousands in revenue, lost. Only a sentence, on the shop said to expect an email, for reasons why & actions to take to reverse. No email was received. 30 emails to Etsy went unanswered. No phone contact exists. Weeks later, I received a curt explanation, citing a vague policy which didn't apply; and no other replies thereafter.Doing online research, I found many others who'd experienced same, also lost thousands, and seeking to build a class action lawsuit. Complaints are mounting to agencies. Is a suit possible? How do I bring them together? If so, how?
Whether you have a case that is suitable for a class action or an individual case is a complicated question.
For it to be appropriate for a class action, you need a sufficient number of persons who have been harmed by this company (a minimum of 40-50). All members of the proposed class would also need to have claims that are substantially similar -- the so-called "commonality" requirement. While the claims do not need to be identical, you would need to establish that the members of the class have similar contracts with Etsy, and that these contracts have been breached in a similar mannerby the company.
In addition, if you wish to serve as a named plaintiff and proposed class representative, then you will need to show that your individual claims are typical of those of the rest of the class.
Finally, you will need to show that you are an adequate class representative, meaning that you are capable of representing the class and do not have claims that are antagonistic to other members of the class, and that you have retained counsel experienced in litigating class actions.
If the above requirements are met, then you need to show that the common issues of law and fact predominate over individual issues in the case.
Bottom line: you need to consult with an experienced class action lawyer.
Without knowing the specifics of your dispute, I cannot opine on whether you [or a potential class] have sustainable claims. However, after reviewing some of Etsy's policies, it appears to be procedurally burdensome to initiate a class action. Specifically, as you will see below, any user of Etsy is bound to settle all disputes by arbitration.
Excerpted from Etsy's policies:
2. Membership Eligibility
Age: Etsy's services are available only to, and may only be used by, individuals who are 18 years and older who can form legally binding contracts under applicable law. You represent and warrant that you are at least 18 years old and that all registration information you submit is accurate and truthful. Etsy May, In Its Sole Discretion, Refuse To Offer Access To Or Use Of The Site To Any Person Or Entity And Change Its Eligibility Criteria At Any Time. This Provision Is Void Where Prohibited By Law And The Right To Access The Site Is Revoked In Such Jurisdictions.
Individuals under the age of 18 must at all times use Etsy's services only in conjunction with and under the supervision of a parent or legal guardian who is at least 18 years of age. In this all cases, the adult is the user and is responsible for any and all activities.
Compliance: You agree to comply with all local laws regarding online conduct and acceptable content. You are responsible for all applicable taxes. In addition, you must abide by Etsy's policies as stated in the Agreement and the Etsy policy documents listed below (if applicable to your activities on or use of the Site) as well as all other operating rules, policies and procedures that may be published from time to time on the Site by Etsy, each of which is incorporated herein by reference and each of which may be updated by Etsy from time to time without notice to you.
9. Resolution of Disputes and Release
In the event a dispute arises between you and Etsy, please contact Etsy.
Any dispute arising from or relating to the subject matter of this Agreement shall be finally settled by arbitration in New York County, New York, using the English language in accordance with the Arbitration Rules and Procedures of Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services, Inc. ("JAMS") then in effect, by one commercial arbitrator with substantial experience in resolving intellectual property and commercial contract disputes, who shall be selected from the appropriate list of JAMS arbitrators in accordance with the Arbitration Rules and Procedures of JAMS. The prevailing party in any arbitration or other proceeding arising under this Agreement shall be entitled to receive reimbursement of its reasonable expenses (including reasonable attorneys' fees, expert witness fees and all other expenses) incurred in connection therewith. Judgment upon the award so rendered may be entered in a court having jurisdiction or application may be made to such court for judicial acceptance of any award and an order of enforcement, as the case may be. Notwithstanding the foregoing, each party shall have the right to institute an action in a court of proper jurisdiction for injunctive or other equitable relief pending a final decision by the arbitrator. For all purposes of this Agreement, the parties consent to exclusive jurisdiction and venue in the United States Federal Courts or state courts located in the Southern District of New York. Use of the Site is not authorized in any jurisdiction that does not give effect to all provisions of the Agreement, including without limitation, this section. You and Etsy agree that any cause of action arising out of or related to the Site (including, but not limited to, any services provided or made available therein) or this Agreement must commence within one (1) year after the cause of action arose; otherwise, such cause of action is permanently barred.
Depends on the nature of your contractual arrangement with them--which is anchored in the specific provisions of your contract.
Vagueness as you expressed it is a matter for the court to decide in light of the contract.
See a lawyer specializing in class action suits in your state to assess whether you actually have an actionable claim.
Best of luck to you.
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