UPDATE: Ecologica Malibu
This past Saturday, I told you about Etsy featured seller Ecologica Malibu (AKA Howard and Mariana Schechter).
The Etsy featured seller spot is highly prized, as it can result in thousands of dollars in sales. So when it was discovered that the Schechters are actually distributors for Balinese wholesale furniture company All From Boats, the handmade turd hit the upcycled fan.
All this with the help of just four carpenters!
The timing of this couldn’t have been worse, as Etsy is currently promoting their latest crackdown on resellers, aggressively trying to change their growing reputation as purveyors of mass-produced goods from China and India. Frustrated Etsy sellers responded by flooding the Etsy feature with over 600 complaints, which Etsy has now thoughtfully removed. By hand.
Yes, it was a very rare step to delete both positive and negative comments. Usually it’s just the negative ones that get taken down.
In any case, Etsy attempted damage control by issuing an apology, which they then watered down twice. They also reworked Mariana’s interview to make her appear more sympathetic. And finally, they announced that Ecologica Malibu is a collective but they just forgot to mention that before.
This has enraged the Etsy community (#scumbagetsy has been popping up on Twitter for 24 hours). An importer with 8 employees is not a collective, at least not according to any rules that you’re expected to follow. Sellers are now demanding the removal of Ecologica as a featured seller altogether.
Etsy has responded by closing down all threads on the issue for two days.
The Shucksters have also issued a a bizarre rebuttal, which includes this statement by Kurt Eichorn, owner of All from Boats:
“We have hired workers specifically to produce Mariana’s design products with Mariana’s selected materials.”
Now, I’m no expert, but it seems to me that admitting that your designs are being built by workers in Indonesia is not a good defense against allegations that your designs are being built by workers in Indonesia. But what do I know? Unlike Etsy’s featured seller, I’m only one woman.
Why don’t we let Kurt answer this one? Here’s an email forwarded by a reliable source, making it very clear that Mariana may be crafty, but she isn’t very handy.
And now, as the cherry on the outsourced sundae, Howard Schechter – that rare breed of attorney who can neither spell nor use punctuation – is starting to send out the Cease and Desists.
The following C & R was sent to the Etsy seller who started this thread, calmly calling upon Etsy to issue a formal statement. Sadly, I have not received one myself, but how much can we expect these poor bastards to do in a day? Overstock.com isn’t going to stock itself!
- Emphasis of particularly tortured spelling and grammar is all mine
From the Office of:
Howard Roy Schechter Attorneys
State Bar of California #58828
10866 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, 90024
Ref.: Ecologica Furniture Mariana C. Schechter
We have discovered that you are source of the negative comments posted on etsy.com and on your personal Facebook account. You understand that you may think reflect a true state of facts. We further understand that you may think that some sort of privilege may exist to comments made on the internet that you are somehow protected against slander liable and unfair competition as well as other torts. Be advised that the allegations that you and other have made are completely false. All Ecologica’s products are handmade and all other miscellaneous charges are equally false.
It goes without saying that is obvious from your comments that your intention is harm us in a trade or business. There’s no privilege to utter falsehoods on the internet.
Were one of the statements to be true, truth would be absolute defense. Many of the people making these comments are wreck less fools but the burden of proof is on the person making the comment each of which may be sued individually requiring separate counsel or at our election in such group as we decide. Obviously jurisdiction will lie in California with venue in Los Angeles. There is a requirement under California law that a retraction filled immediately upon request may mitigate damages. So you are hereby notified, and I failure to retract under certain circumstances allows for allegations of punitive damage which will certainly be our intention.
Those of you who have business or business contact with etsy.com are also committing the TORT OF UNFAIR COMPETITION. Some of the egregious comments may also be considered ASSAULT or INTENTIONAL INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL INJURY which always carry punitive damage some of the direct treats are also crimes under California law, and if they are repeated we shall immediately contact the Los Angeles Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office.
If you are currently represented by an attorney, request hereby made for his name address and telephone number. If you fail to provide this information we will be forced to conclude that you are unrepresented by an attorney and serve you personally should any litigation and sue.
If any of you communicate and assist each other this may well constitute the crime of conspiracy under CA and Federal Law.
If you hold any state license in any state you reside or do business these comments may be grounds from discipline, be further advised that the law is most state is that “a tale bearer has the same responsibility as the a tale maker”, so there’s no defense that you are only repeating something you heard elsewhere.
I am hopeful that your comments were an inadvertent error and will be retracted as this might be better for everyone.
Govern yourself accordingly.
Howard Roy Schechter
State Bar of California #58828
Attorney for Ecologica Furniture
I realize it’s a lot of mistakes for a legal document, but cut them some slack.
They probably had one of their four carpenters write it.