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Author Topic: Alamy Refund Policy - Totally Unacceptable  (Read 7860 times)

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Goofy

« on: January 15, 2014, 23:11 »
+1
Just had a refund tonight! The customer purchased the image on November 12, 2013 and returned it on January 15, 2014. Than they repurchased it again thus get another free 30 plus days before they have to return which I am sure they will do!

Here is the email I fired off to them tonight- My blood pressure it through the sky right now. Had it with there LAME REFUND POLICY!  >:(

"The image purchase on the 12th of November of 2013 and refunded on January 15, 2014. First of all why the refund after it has passed the 30 day requirement.  Than it looks like you allowed the customer to keep it again for another 30 days? Please explain to me in great detail since this is totally unacceptable! "


« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2014, 23:49 »
-2
Alamy doesn't refund any more sales than anyone else. I don't like the refunds but I don't think they should lose customers to satisfy a 30 day policy. Don't worry, be happy.

« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2014, 11:13 »
+10
Alamy doesn't refund any more sales than anyone else. I don't like the refunds but I don't think they should lose customers to satisfy a 30 day policy. Don't worry, be happy.
Disagree on all points.

ShadySue

« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2014, 11:25 »
+4
Alamy doesn't refund any more sales than anyone else. I don't like the refunds but I don't think they should lose customers to satisfy a 30 day policy. Don't worry, be happy.
If I buy anything from a shop or website with a 30 day return policy, I don't get unhappy if I don't want it and don't return it within the 30 days - that's the deal. And that's (usually) having to either get a train up to Glasgow or wrapping it all up again and taking it to the Post Office to get proof of posting for a web return, both costing time and money. How difficult can it be to contact Alamy online within 30 days?

Goofy

« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2014, 11:25 »
+1
I got a fast reply from Alamy Support today- basically, they told that is the way it is and to accept it. 

I ask them why I never get refunds from other companies where I have had thousands of sales.  Maybe I just have bad luck with them where others have never had refund.

« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2014, 11:52 »
+1
It's normal in the world in photography and especially RM. It's typical for people to be planning possible publishing ventures many months ahead. Microstock has given people very unrealistic expectations.

Suppose you are planning a text book. That is not going to happen over 30 days. The thing probably needs to be planned out months ahead even years sometimes. Long before you know where it is going to be printed. And then it might get cancelled.

You either let customers do refunds whenever or else you give them full-sized comps.

Goofy

« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2014, 12:01 »
0
Hi Bunhill,

This is a good education for me. Some of the things you mention were discussed in my response email from Alamy.

Thanks



ShadySue

« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2014, 12:03 »
+1
I got a fast reply from Alamy Support today- basically, they told that is the way it is and to accept it. 

I ask them why I never get refunds from other companies where I have had thousands of sales.  Maybe I just have bad luck with them where others have never had refund.

Is someone going to bother asking e.g. SS for a refund on a file which might have cost them c$1 and which they can use in future projects?

ShadySue

« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2014, 12:04 »
+2
You either let customers do refunds whenever or else you give them full-sized comps.
Alamy already has try-before-you-buy for approved buyers.

« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2014, 12:39 »
+10
The thing being missed in this discussion is that when a "buyer" gets an image free for months on end, it's very likely that the image is used to make money in some way.  If the "buyer" is a designer, that image might appear in presentations or mock-ups used to land prospective clients or new jobs.  Even if the customer ultimately goes with another image, your image helped make the sale. 

Or maybe your image, being part of a temporary version of something, ended up sparking ideas or being replaced by something amazingly similar, commissioned for that purpose,

You can argue that in such scenarios the designer wasn't the "customer", but I don't buy that.  In a real sense, someone made money from your image - and you didn't.   If Alamy charges some sort of fee for a returned image, what they actually did was rent that image without paying you a royalty.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2014, 12:41 by stockastic »

Goofy

« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2014, 13:11 »
+1
stockastic-

Great reply!

« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2014, 13:34 »
+1
The thing being missed in this discussion is that when a "buyer" gets an image free for months on end, it's very likely that the image is used to make money in some way.  If the "buyer" is a designer, that image might appear in presentations or mock-ups used to land prospective clients or new jobs.  Even if the customer ultimately goes with another image, your image helped make the sale. 

Or maybe your image, being part of a temporary version of something, ended up sparking ideas or being replaced by something amazingly similar, commissioned for that purpose,

You can argue that in such scenarios the designer wasn't the "customer", but I don't buy that.  In a real sense, someone made money from your image - and you didn't.   If Alamy charges some sort of fee for a returned image, what they actually did was rent that image without paying you a royalty.

I have no doubt whatsoever that any sort of refund requires a proper conversation. Especially if the refund takes places outside of the normal Alamy 30 days. So it isn't something which crafty designers are going to be able to casually regularly exploit.

Bottom line, especially with RM, is that buyers are paying for a specific use. If they end up not going with the image they should be entitled to a refund.

(Think about when you take something back to say an Apple store. There is a good chance that if you approach them right and are honest then the staff in the store will replace a thing even if it is outside of the warranty period. The staff are given a good degree of flexibility to provide a level of service which goes far beyond what the customer if necessarily entitled to under contract etc. And that is exactly how it should be. Because good customer service = repeat business.)

Ron

« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2014, 13:37 »
+4
Ow bunhill please. Its not normal at all. Especially with digital goods. Its not our problem you bought the wrong image or the project got cancelled. So I buy shoes for a wedding. The wedding is in 6 months. After 5 months the wedding is cancelled, even if the shoes are still in the box, there is no way in hell I will get a refund or get to pick different shoes. Tough luck.

« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2014, 13:49 »
+2
Ow bunhill please. Its not normal at all.

Yes it is. And it has always been like that. I worked in a picture library btw.

« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2014, 13:59 »
+6
I bought a new Nikon last year.   When I got it home I saw that someone else's name was already programmed in.  I dumped the shutter count and it was over 1,000.   The dealer was totally apologetic and embarrassed, and told me the camera was a return that had only been out for a few days but should have been sold as "refurbished".   In those cases, the dealer takes a hit.

Since I had the guy's name, and had bought from a local shop, I found his Facebook page.  Turned out he'd just gotten married and taken a honeymoon trip.  He "bought" the camera, used it for 3 or 4 days, posted some of the photos on FB, then "returned" it.

What a jerk.

Ron

« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2014, 14:40 »
+3
Ow bunhill please. Its not normal at all.

Yes it is. And it has always been like that. I worked in a picture library btw.

I work in e-commerce and it is not normal that digital goods are returned, let alone AFTER the refund period, and get refunded. Its absolutely not normal at all. Agencies try to make it sound like normal, but it isnt, all it does is line their pockets, and take it out of yours.

Agree to disagree.

« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2014, 15:03 »
0
Many books would not get published if publishing worked your way Ron. Especially some of those big coffee table editions which are produced more or less to go directly into the remaindered market.

Ron

« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2014, 15:22 »
+1
You know what, let me rephrase. I know little of image libraries, so it may be normal for them, but I manage a portfolio of 50 odd e-commerce merchants and refunds are not as common as it may be in image libraries. I think its ridiculous.

I know little about books. But I am not sure when you return a book after 6 months if you'll get a refund.

« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2014, 15:40 »
0
I know little of image libraries, so it may be normal for them, but I manage a portfolio of 50 odd e-commerce merchants and refunds are not as common as it may be in image libraries. I think its ridiculous.

I know little about books. But I am not sure when you return a book after 6 months if you'll get a refund.

Yep. People returning finished goods which they have bought online is a completely different thing. Sure you cannot send back a cheap toaster six months later unless it went wrong.

But think about how long it takes to put a book together. Imagine what goes into it as the layout comes together. And it's the final use which the customer would be licensing.

I think we need to be a little more flexible with our thinking and less all or nothing. What applies to say cheap RF, and especially subscription, it's going to be completely different when customers are potentially paying much more - perhaps ELs or RM.

Ron

« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2014, 15:45 »
0
But thats no longer the case Bunhill. Alamy sells RM for 20 dollar. And then refund it after more then 30 days. Is a book publisher really expecting their 20 dollar back after more then 30 days. I can understand if they bought an image for 1000 dollar. But thats not the case on Alamy. Istock refunds RF images bought for pennies. Its not right.  SS absorbs that cost.

« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2014, 15:56 »
0
SS absorbs that cost.


I doubt that many SS customers download their monthly subscription quotas. Therefore I doubt that there is much to absorb.

Also they clearly do refunds:

http://submit.shutterstock.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=2497822#2497822

Negative amounts on footage sales are now appearing on the earnings page at Shutterstock. Some people were questioning these amounts. Since SS dont do refunds, it was quite surprising to see the answer from Shutterstock.

Quote from: VincentJansen
Hi,

I asked the billing department for clarification and they confirmed that these are in fact refunds.

Goofy

« Reply #21 on: January 16, 2014, 15:57 »
0
all good points here! I feel that the MS (RF/RM) should do their best to minimize returns which I feel some do not compared to Shutter....

« Reply #22 on: January 16, 2014, 16:06 »
+3
Many books would not get published if publishing worked your way Ron. Especially some of those big coffee table editions which are produced more or less to go directly into the remaindered market.

But it's not my goal to simply help other people make money off of my photos, in any way I can.  My goal is to be paid for uses of those photos. 

Goofy

« Reply #23 on: January 16, 2014, 16:11 »
0
It looks like Alamy refund model really needs to be modified to suit the changing times. RM are no longer that pricy and folks can use the digital images without us every knowing...

« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2014, 17:29 »
+3
One valid reason for a return I feel is..... (especially when they purchase the same image - something I've had happen on Alamy).  Say they buy an image at size small then realize they need a larger size or more rights or something.  Returning their original purchase and buying the larger size makes total sense.


 

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