Rules & Guidelines

ShopsBuyLocals Guidelines

We want ShopsBuyLocals to be a positive and fair environment for both buyers and sellers. In order to maintain a healthy marketplace, we have put the following provisions in effect.

Content and Review Policy

By posting content on ShopsBuyLocals, you agree to abide by this Content Policy and other policies. We reserve the right to remove content, in whole or part, that violates these guidelines or our Terms of Use, or for any other reason in our sole discretion. Please notify us if you believe any content on ShopsBuyLocals violates this policy. Keep in mind that content on our site may be disagreeable to you without being in violation of this policy.


Genuine, thoughtful reviews provide the trust our community relies on. To that end, we prohibit:

-Reviews not directly related to a seller’s professionalism, interactions, or performance on a project started or completed.
-Reviews that do not represent users’ actual, personal experience.
-Reviews unrelated to the actual product or service, such as political or social commentary.
-Reviews that are not posted after a reasonable and sensible period following the transaction. Reviews must be posted within a year after the customer engages in the transaction.
-Content that endorses or promotes illegal or harmful activity or violence, or is profane, vulgar, obscene, threatening, or discriminatory.
-Content that violates another person or entity’s rights, including intellectual property rights and privacy rights (for example, personally identifying information).
-Commercial promotion of products or services.
-Content that discloses confidential information related to a ShopsBuyLocals Marketplace Trust and Safety investigation.

To maintain trust on our site, ShopsBuyLocals doesn't edit, change, or delete reviews that comply with our Content Policy.

Assess The Business Profile

Profiles are designed to give you helpful information relating to the product or service. So please take a look through:

-Customer reviews. See what past customers say about the business. You can also see how a business responds to reviewers, which can help you understand how they interact with their customers. Please note that our app is not the only credible resource when researching reviews, do your due diligence.

-Business information. The profile gives the business a chance to tell you about their business —and explain why you should purchase from them. You’ll see things like pictures of their work, a description of their business, why they love what they do, a link to their website, and how many times they’ve been hired on ShopsBuyLocals.

Learn More About The Business

Ask questions. We make it easy to talk to a business without revealing any of your contact info. Ask as many questions as you need, and tell them exactly what you’re looking for. You might want to ask about:

-pictures of past work
-references from past customers
-links to external sites

You can also send a business pictures or ideas of what you’re looking for if you are looking for custom work. Don’t be afraid to schedule a phone call or Facetime/virtual meeting.


It’s always worth seeing what other information you can find about a business or product you’re considering. Think about resources like the Better Business Bureau or a web search to look for more information.

Report Suspicious Activity

The majority of the entrepreneurs you meet on ShopsBuyLocals are trustworthy. If you do come across a business or situation, you’re not sure about, let us know by reporting it.

When To Report Something

It’s always a good idea — especially as you meet and work with businesses online — to be careful about sharing your personal information. Let us know when a business asks you to:

-Share unnecessary personal information (like your social security number or banking information).
-Contact or forward money to an outside party.
-Wire funds via Western Union, MoneyGram, or another wire service.
-Receive payment through or sign up for an unfamiliar payment service.
-Pay more for your products/services so you can pay other professionals.
-The business is not a small business.

If you’ve experienced any of the situations listed above — or another behavior that makes you feel uncomfortable — please report it.

How To Send Us A Report

Your reports are an important part of our trust and safety efforts and help us keep track of behavior that isn’t allowed on our site. To report something:

-Go to the item.
-Click Report.
-From the pop-up window, select the reason for your report.
-Write a short description and click Submit.
We’ll review your report as soon as we can and share an update on any next steps we took. If you still have questions, use the option at the bottom of this article to contact us.

ShopsBuyLocals is a marketplace to make our local environments work better for all of us. While you use ShopsBuyLocals, remember we’re all human. Treat others with respect and follow the guidelines below.

Guidelines For Customers

When engaging with businesses on ShopsBuyLocals, please respect our business owners and make sure you:

-Don’t use profane or sexually suggestive language in your interaction.
-Are serious about your inquiry (no fake or fraudulent information).

Don’t reply to postings:
-Asking for sexual services.
-For full-time jobs or internship positions.
-Advertising or offering your own service.

Guidelines For Businesses

When building your business on ShopsBuyLocals, make sure you:

-Don’t use profane or sexually suggestive language in your messages or on your profile.
-Don’t offer fraudulent, sexual, or otherwise inappropriate services.
-Are honest about your business details (like your name and business information).
-Don’t create a test account.
-Offer your service in the United States or in a U.S. territory
-Are qualified, as required by law, to perform the services you’re offering on ShopsBuyLocals (this can vary from state to state).
-Don’t sell used or second-hand items unless you are a certified second-hand reseller (ex. Legal thrift store)
-Provide services, not products (although products accompanying services are permitted).
-Don’t offer lending services.
-Offer a service currently listed on ShopsBuyLocals. If you don’t feel like what you are offering qualifies for an existing category please reach out to receive a recommendation.
-Work directly with the customer (no referral or third-party services).
-Don’t ask customers to download additional apps or complete duplicate request forms outside of ShopsBuyLocals.
-Don’t offer duplicate services.

Guidelines For Both Businesses and Customers

As you start, make sure you:

-Are at least 18 years old.
A-re located in the United States.
-Are honest when filling out your account information (i.e. name and/or contact information).
-Don’t barter or exchange a service for another service.
-Make or receive payments in U.S. dollars and have a working PayPal account.

Using the ShopsBuyLocal Contact Methods

The ShopsBuyLocal Community is a public feature where members can interact with one another. Members who use any of the community spaces must be over 18 years old. To make sure that ShopsBuyLocal continues to be a place that’s safe and respectful, you agree to comply with the following policies in all community spaces:

-Respect everyone’s privacy. Don't share private or personally identifying information in public areas of the site.

-Be honest and transparent about who you are. Don't use a fake identity.

-Be respectful towards other members. Don't use community spaces to publicly disparage a specific member, shop, or item.

-Don't use community tools or spaces to interfere with another member’s business.

-Don't spam. This includes unsolicited or duplicate posts or links to your shop, fundraisers, surveys, social media, or other promotional content.

-Don't use community spaces to discuss coordinating pricing with other sellers.

-Don't use community spaces to harass other members. Similarly, don't post content in community spaces that may promote, support, or glorify hatred.

-Don't publish or post threats of violence against others or promote or encourage others to engage in violence or illegal activity.

-Don't engage in illegal activity or activity that infringes someone's intellectual property, or encourage others to engage in that type of activity.

-Don't use community spaces to encourage others to violate ShopsBuyLocal's policies.

ShopsBuyLocal reserves the right to take action against any account or content that violates this policy. For example, we may remove your content, temporarily or permanently suspend your community posting privileges, or close your ShopsBuyLocal account. Continue reading below some additional policies that apply to you while using specific community spaces.

Direct Messages

Members may send each other direct messages using the Community's built-in messaging system. By using direct messages in the ShopsBuyLocal Community, you agree to all of the above policies. In addition, you may not send messages that are considered:

-Abusive, threatening, defamatory, harassing, or otherwise in violation of our discrimination policy.

-Obscene or vulgar.

-Unsolicited advertising or promotions.

Policy decisions are nuanced. We consider many different and often divergent factors before coming to a decision about what is best for our community. Because we are a creative community, we err on the side of freedom of expression. We also tend to allow items that have educational, historical, or artistic value, but we know that even those items are subject to a variety of valid and sometimes conflicting interpretations and emotional responses.

In order to help provide clarity and insight into our policy-making process, we have included the rationale behind our decisions and details about how they will be enforced, including some representative examples below of what is allowed on ShopsBuyLocal. We reserve the right to remove listings that we determine are not within the spirit of ShopsBuyLocal. Violating this policy may result in the member's selling privileges being suspended and/or terminated.

Alcohol, Tobacco, Drugs, Drug Paraphernalia, and Medical Drugs

Alcohol and drugs are prohibited on ShopsBuyLocal. These substances face serious legal restrictions and in many cases are considered controlled substances under applicable law. Our policy also applies to other substances that have or are claimed to have an intoxicating or healing effect. Possible legal restrictions aside, these substances are not in the spirit of ShopsBuyLocal.

The following are examples of items that may not be sold on ShopsBuyLocal:
-Tobacco products, smokeable products, e-cigarettes, and e-liquid.
-Drugs and certain herbal substances, including substances used for recreational and medicinal purposes, regardless of their legality.
-Drug paraphernalia, including, for example: items with a carburetor; slides and/or items with a slide; bongs and bubblers; vaporizers and their components.
-Medical drugs, regulated medical devices, and pharmaceuticals.
-Restrictions on descriptions of purported health benefits:
-A medical drug claim is a statement or suggestion that an item prevents, heals, or treats a medical condition or disease. Medical drug claims are subject to varying degrees of regulation. If you make claims about the purported health benefits of an item for sale on ShopsBuyLocal, we urge you to speak with a qualified expert about which regulations apply to you. It is your responsibility to know and comply with all laws and regulations that apply to the items you sell.ShopsBuyLocal prohibits certain medical drug claims based on our values, such as claims likely to deceive or pose an unreasonable risk to our community. ShopsBuyLocal may remove claims that we deem to be inappropriate, excessive, or otherwise unsuitable for our marketplace. We also remove content that promotes prohibited medical claims, such as anti-vaccine items. If ShopsBuyLocal receives proper notice from a legal authority, we may remove an item.

Examples of What is Allowed:
-Beer brewing kits
-Baked goods containing alcohol
Example: Mini Baba au Rum Cake
Example: Vintage Hookah
-Tobacco pipes
-Empty alcohol bottles and items made

Animal Products and Human Remains

Certain animal products are highly regulated and prohibited on ShopsBuyLocal due to the risk of harm to live, companion, or endangered animals.

The following are examples of animal products that may not be sold on ShopsBuyLocal:

-Live animals.
-Items created using any endangered or threatened animal species. We define these as animal species designated as threatened or endangered.
-Items made from cat and dog parts or pelts.
-Ivory or bones from ivory-producing animals, including tusks, elk ivory, fossilized ivory, and wooly mammoth ivory.
-Items made from human remains or products from the human body, except for teeth, fingernails, and hair.

Examples of What is Allowed:

-Non-Ivory Animal Bones and Antlers
Example: Snake Bone Necklace
-Leather Goods
Example: Leather Bag
-Textiles Made from Animal Hair
Example: Authentic Mohair Scarf
-Human Teeth or Hair

Dangerous Items: Hazardous Materials, Recalled Items, and Weapons

For safety and legal reasons, we prohibit certain dangerous items from our marketplace. Due to the potential harm caused by hazardous materials, as well as complex legal and shipping regulations surrounding such materials, hazardous materials are prohibited on ShopsBuyLocal. While not exhaustive, the following materials are examples of prohibited hazardous materials:

-Explosives (fireworks or sparklers)
-Flammable items
-Radioactive material
-Toxic substances (such as poison)
-Recalled Items or Items that Present Unreasonable Risk of Harm

Items that have been recalled by governments or manufacturers are prohibited from being sold on ShopsBuyLocal. A few examples of items that have been recalled are certain vintage Corning Ware percolators, lawn darts, and drop-side cribs.
Items that present an unreasonable risk of harm are prohibited, even if they have not been the subject of a recall. This would include, for example, items that present a choking hazard. We generally rely on information from various government agencies to identify these items.


Context matters when it comes to defining what is or is not a weapon. When in doubt, it’s safe to assume that we won’t allow any item intended to be used as a weapon to inflict harm. The following items are generally not allowed on ShopsBuyLocal:
Guns, knives, or other blatant weapons, even if they are vintage.

-Imitation or fake weapons that look real or are prohibited by US Law.

Examples of What is Allowed:
Culinary knives or other knives used as tools
Example: Vintage Kitchen Knives - Collectibles
Letter openers
Toy slingshots

Airsoft guns and other non-harmful toy guns

Hate Items: Items that Promote, Support, or Glorify Hatred

We want ShopsBuyLocal to be a community where people of all backgrounds, nationalities, religions, political affiliations, and even different types of artistic taste and humor feel welcome. Art is incredibly subjective, and what is offensive to one is not necessarily offensive to others.

ShopsBuyLocal does not allow items or listings that promote, support or glorify hatred toward people or otherwise demean people based upon: race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity, disability, or sexual orientation (collectively, “protected groups”). We also prohibit items or content that promote organizations or people with such views.

The following items are not allowed on ShopsBuyLocal:

-Items that support or commemorate current or historical hate groups, including propaganda or collectibles. Examples of hate groups include Nazi or Neo-Nazi groups, Ku Klux Klan (KKK) groups, white supremacist groups, misogynist groups, or groups that advocate anti-gay, anti-immigrant, or Holocaust denial agendas.
-Items that contain racial slurs or derogatory terms in reference to protected groups.
Examples of What is Allowed:

We tend to allow items that have educational, historical, or artistic value, but we know that even those items are subject to a variety of valid and sometimes conflicting interpretations. Recognizing that there may be no consensus on their educational, historical, or artistic value, the following items are generally allowed on ShopsBuyLocal:
-Religious symbols, including swastikas when used in peaceful or religious contexts (often in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism)
Example: Vintage Buddhist Swastika Pendant
-Items that use idiomatic expressions that include the word “nazi,” such as “grammar nazi” or “soup nazi”
Example: Grammar “Nazi” Print
-Items denouncing or mocking groups or historical figures that have a history of organized, targeted violence against protected groups

Illegal Items, Items Promoting Illegal Activity, and Highly Regulated Items

We respect the law and expect ShopsBuyLocal sellers to respect the law as well.

-Illegal items, items that promote illegal activity, and stolen items are not allowed on ShopsBuyLocal. Neither are certain items that are subject to complex legal regulations or registration systems. Because ShopsBuyLocal is a global company, it’s important to abide by the laws of the markets in which you are selling. What is legal in one country may be illegal in another. All forms of illegal activity are strictly prohibited. Listings may not facilitate or promote illegal acts.

Counterfeit or unauthorized items are prohibited on ShopsBuyLocal. We consider counterfeit or unauthorized goods to be items that imitate an authentic good, particularly by using a brand’s name, logo, or protected design without the brand owner’s consent. Examples of prohibited counterfeit or unauthorized goods include replica luxury bags and branded apparel.
Additionally, due to complex legal restrictions that vary by location, ShopsBuyLocal does not permit the sale of real estate, housing, or motor vehicles (for example: automobiles, motorcycles, boats, travel trailers, etc.).
Internationally Regulated Items

ShopsBuyLocal provides a direct connection between buyers and sellers around the world. If you buy or sell an item from another country, or if you enter into a transaction with someone across international borders, you are responsible for complying with laws and regulations of the country of destination as well as your local laws.

Some transactions may require licenses, permits, or other documentation. If you have questions about how to comply with the law, we recommend that you speak to a qualified professional.

ShopsBuyLocal reserves the right to request that sellers provide additional information, disclose an item's country of origin in a listing, or take other steps to meet compliance obligations.

You should be aware that third-party payment processors, such as PayPal, may independently monitor transactions for sanctions compliance and may block some transactions as part of their own compliance programs. ShopsBuyLocals has no authority or control over the independent decision-making of these providers.

Pornography and Mature Content

As a creative community, we tend to be fairly liberal about what we allow on ShopsBuyLocals, but we draw the line at pornography. Beyond that, we restrict mature content so that people who are offended by this kind of material don't have to see it. If you are selling mature content, we ask that you be respectful of differing sensibilities.

Pornography of any sort is prohibited on ShopsBuyLocals, whereas mature content is restricted.
Although pornography can be difficult to define, an item generally qualifies as pornography when it contains extreme or explicit version of sexual content.

We define mature content as depictions of human genitalia, sexual activity or content, profane language, sexual wellness items, violent images, and explicit types or representations of taxidermy. Not all nudity is considered mature, and examples are listed below. If you find yourself questioning whether your item is mature, then it is likely a good idea to assume that it is mature content, and you should label it as such.
When deciding whether mature content crosses over the threshold into pornography, we take into consideration the explicitness of depictions of sexual activity or content.

Examples of What is Allowed Without Restriction:
-Non-pornographic nude photography and depictions of breasts
Example: Authentic Tribal Photograph
-Non-pornographic depictions of buttocks
Example: Fine Art Photograph of Nude Man
-Abstracted or cartoonish depictions, within reason

Violent Items: Items that Promote, Support, or Glorify Violence

We want ShopsBuyLocals to be a safe place for everyone. While violent content can be a legitimate part of historical, educational, or artistic expression, it should never be used to promote or glorify violent acts against others.

We do not allow items or listings that promote, support or glorify acts of violence or harm towards self or others, including credible threats of harm.
The following items are not allowed on ShopsBuyLocals:
-Items that glorify human suffering or tragedies, including items that commemorate or honor serial killers
-Items that attempt to exploit natural disasters or human tragedies
-Items that encourage, glorify, or celebrate acts of violence against individuals or groups
-Items that encourage self-mutilation, starvation, or other self-harm

Examples of What is Allowed:
-Fictional literary or art work (such as zombies, vampires, or other fictional works that tend to contain violence)
Example: Real Looking Zombie Photo
-Items that have educational, historical, or artistic value
Example: Real Photograph of a Protest in Ukraine
-Items that show support or bring awareness to those at risk of self-harm, including those with eating disorders
-Example: Suicide Awareness Poster
-BDSM items
Example: BDSM Ball Gag & Whip

We hope these guidelines are helpful, but we cannot catalog every permitted or prohibited item. If you see something on ShopsBuyLocals that appears to violate these rules, you can report it to us. At the bottom of a listing page, you can click Report this item to ShopsBuyLocals. To report copyright or intellectual property infringement, please contact us at