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Author Topic: Refunds?  (Read 2860 times)

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« on: December 08, 2011, 20:42 »
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Just saw this thread about the large refunds from so many contributors in the last few days :

http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=337937&page=1

Strangely, these refunds seem to be around the time that the system broke (didn't last downloads stop showing up about the 21st of November, and STILL not showing up between then and the 5th of December?), and just before the "maintenance".  At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, this seems oddly coincidental to me.  :(


« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2011, 22:03 »
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I haven't seen any refunds yet (fingers crossed -- not many sales lately, so hopefully no refunds either).  I agree, this is a really worrisome coincidence . . . if it is one.  But then again, I don't think there's any chance that we'll ever know what is really happening. There was such a stink about the fraud last year that I don't think they'd EVER admit it if it happened again.

« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2011, 22:31 »
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About 20days ago I had similar loads of refunds in the email. It was strange because I never got that many refunds before. So I called up customer relations and they said they were all legit sales from a big buyer and they decided not to use the images for their project. I was told there were several other contributors that were having similar refunds.

Holy crap, contributors are posting 20 - 40 - 80 refunds from the third week of November. 

Good plan.  Download 10000 photos in case you need them.  Maybe use them, maybe don't.  Get a refund.  Start your own photo agency. 

That place is soooooooo (insert word here that the forum will change so why bother :) ). 

« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2011, 22:40 »
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And we still can't see our downloads between November 21 (??) and December 5 -- and although I've not seen anyone specify yet if their refunds were from downloads during that period or not (although some of them definitely close to the time the site went down), wouldn't that suck to have to give a refund on a download you haven't even been able to see yet!  It's annoying that they can be so quickly clawing back money for refunds, but they still can't get a month-old system failure fixed to show missing royalties and downloads. 

lagereek

« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2011, 02:17 »
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No refunds here, not yet anyway. Another bug/glitch ?  to add to the never ending story of issues?

« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2011, 02:37 »
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About the only benefit of sales being wretched for me is there's not much to get refunds on :)

I saw the posts about this, but one person said they'd contacted CR about 20 or 40 refunds and were told it wasn't an error, but a large customer had changed their mind about a project and decided not to use the images! That sounds more like a Getty kind of practice than a microstock site practice.

Haven't seen any forum comments from admins and the numbers of refunds sounded scarily high. Especially as we are now given no explanations whatever as to the specific reason for that refund.

Can't pay the back royalties but can deduct refunds...I don't see conspiracies but priorities seem to be skewed so the ones that pay out money get much lower on the list.

ETA: I read the last few threads and one diamond contributor said they had 235 refunds in the last week

Two hundred and thirty five.

If it's not a bug, that's some sort of business practice that iStock has to put a stop to. That is totally insane.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2011, 03:15 by jsnover »

« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2011, 03:13 »
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Isn't that just suspicious?
So many refunds from the month that reporting crashed so bad.

I have a conspiracy theory: they have to give a result for this quarter and they are short for it and will try anything to alter the numbers, from crashing reporting to applying refunds and so on. Then they go to G masters and report a wonderful quarter and get a bonus.

ShadySue

« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2011, 04:21 »
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Can't pay the back royalties but can deduct refunds...I don't see conspiracies but priorities seem to be skewed so the ones that pay out money get much lower on the list.

ETA: I read the last few threads and one diamond contributor said they had 235 refunds in the last week
Two hundred and thirty five.

If it's not a bug, that's some sort of business practice that iStock has to put a stop to. That is totally insane.


Couldn't agree more, on both counts.
 >:(

lagereek

« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2011, 06:41 »
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Who said it was refunds, for all we know, we might be paying for the Pub!  pint of lager please. getting zozzled and pissed, like Sue and Stacey :P

helix7

« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2011, 09:14 »
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About the only benefit of sales being wretched for me is there's not much to get refunds on :) ...

That's exactly what I was thinking. Not much to be concerned about. Maybe I just have to buy a small coffee and bagel today with my istock earnings instead of a large coffee and bagel. ;)

Edited to add what I posted in the istock forum:

It's way too early for an "I told you so," but assuming this is fraud again (and I don't see how it's not unless someone can accidentally download 235 images), I was pretty confident in my prediction the last time that this would happen again, this year. Ok, so I cut it close on the "within 2011" part of the prediction. But hey, it looks like I still may have gotten it right.

Everyone wanted to ignore the little gem of info from that conference call in which istock promised to not take back fraudulent purchase funds from contributors while the new security measures were being put into place. That left us open to the possibility that later on they could resume the take-back policy, which right now it looks like that is what's happening.

We don't have all the info, and until we do I'll keep an open mind about this. But right now, this reeks of fraud all over again, and if it is, I'm not surprised that istock would be taking back funds again.

They left themselves that nice little loophole to resume take-backs once the security measures were put into place. No surprise that they're taking advantage of it.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2011, 09:28 by helix7 »

« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2011, 12:08 »
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I haven't followed the post, but when I looked yesterday it seemed that they all had crown icons.  Did this happen to any indies?

ShadySue

« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2011, 17:09 »
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I haven't followed the post, but when I looked yesterday it seemed that they all had crown icons.  Did this happen to any indies?
Good work, Sherlock!
There's only one indie on that thread, and he had one small file refunded which might be within 'normal' tolerance.

Very intriguing: the plot thickens.

« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2011, 17:49 »
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I haven't followed the post, but when I looked yesterday it seemed that they all had crown icons.  Did this happen to any indies?

Yes. I had 3 refund notices between 23rd Nov and 1st Dec. Normally I only get 4-5 in a year if my memory serves me correctly. I always keep the notices so I'll check later.

I'm starting to lose count of the number of 'broken' things on Istock. It is truly unbelieveable. I do pity those who have trusted Istock with their entire microstock income though.

ShadySue

« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2011, 20:19 »
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I haven't followed the post, but when I looked yesterday it seemed that they all had crown icons.  Did this happen to any indies?
Good work, Sherlock!
There's only one indie on that thread, and he had one small file refunded which might be within 'normal' tolerance.

Very intriguing: the plot thickens.

And also, as noted by crossbrain66, the amounts of many seem to be exactly $2.50, even between exclusives on different royalty rates.

This is going to take an awful lot of explaining.

« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2011, 20:39 »
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I am small on IS and yes a refund. It is probably severe for some. Dot sliders, broken updates and fraud? Woo YAy, IS is god.

Stop whinger you independent IS haters. Exclusives will rewrite the software for them soon and chase down the thieves ( it is the resonsibility that comes with the crown)

« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2011, 22:49 »
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And we still can't see our downloads between November 21 (??) and December 5 -- and although I've not seen anyone specify yet if their refunds were from downloads during that period or not (although some of them definitely close to the time the site went down), wouldn't that suck to have to give a refund on a download you haven't even been able to see yet!  It's annoying that they can be so quickly clawing back money for refunds, but they still can't get a month-old system failure fixed to show missing royalties and downloads. 

I just checked, and last download data is missing from myUploads from November 26 - December 2nd, still.  I did get the money for downloads during that time, though.

ShadySue

« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2011, 08:46 »
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@Sean: I see you worked out the $2.50 puzzle.  :D
For those not following over there it was from the days when everyone was being paid at base rate, whether indie or exclusive.

« Reply #17 on: December 10, 2011, 09:00 »
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Isn't that just suspicious?
So many refunds from the month that reporting crashed so bad.

I have a conspiracy theory: they have to give a result for this quarter and they are short for it and will try anything to alter the numbers, from crashing reporting to applying refunds and so on. Then they go to G masters and report a wonderful quarter and get a bonus.

I think you might be on to something. It's far easier for contributors to believe that there are a bunch of incompetent fools running the IT dept at istock than it is to believe that istock would actually be stealing and messing around with their money. A few names come to mind...Bernie Madoff, Enron, mortgage companies, etc. etc.

helix7

« Reply #18 on: December 10, 2011, 10:08 »
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I think Sean's theory from the istock thread is probably more likely the right answer, that these refunds are from referral credits given for free to new sign-ups, and people were gaming the system and signing up multiple new accounts to get 10 free credits repeatedly.

And as he says in that thread, it's wrong that the contributors are being held financially responsible for screw-ups in the referral program.

« Reply #19 on: December 10, 2011, 10:27 »
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I think Sean's theory from the istock thread is probably more likely the right answer, that these refunds are from referral credits given for free to new sign-ups, and people were gaming the system and signing up multiple new accounts to get 10 free credits repeatedly.

And as he says in that thread, it's wrong that the contributors are being held financially responsible for screw-ups in the referral program.


Agreed.  However, there are at least two reports (and not everyone reports them here) of credit card fraud in the month of November here.
http://800notes.com/Phone.aspx/1-403-265-3062/5

« Reply #20 on: December 10, 2011, 12:28 »
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I think Sean's theory from the istock thread is probably more likely the right answer, that these refunds are from referral credits given for free to new sign-ups, and people were gaming the system and signing up multiple new accounts to get 10 free credits repeatedly.

And as he says in that thread, it's wrong that the contributors are being held financially responsible for screw-ups in the referral program.

It's always something, isn't it?  ::)

« Reply #21 on: December 10, 2011, 17:45 »
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could be probable that during maintenance currently on the site and during the past weeks there was a big fraud, using stolen credit cards? ... how if at that time the protections of the site were lowered....just IMHO

« Reply #22 on: December 10, 2011, 17:47 »
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The whole credit card fraud system was supposed to be fixed! Remember the whole phone call with the chosen ones, guaranteeing them something was being done, but of course it was an ongoing investigation so no details could be discussed? Right.

« Reply #23 on: December 12, 2011, 20:04 »
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I haven't followed the post, but when I looked yesterday it seemed that they all had crown icons.  Did this happen to any indies?

Yes I had some.

« Reply #24 on: December 12, 2011, 20:38 »
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I just received a 6 cent refund which is hilarious because I didn't know I've even had a sale there.  I think I have a grand total of 3 images in my IS portfolio :)


 

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