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Author Topic: Alamy Refund Policy - Totally Unacceptable  (Read 8025 times)

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Goofy

« Reply #25 on: January 16, 2014, 17:37 »
0
Leaf you are so RIGHT ON!  ;)



« Reply #26 on: January 16, 2014, 19:48 »
+1
bunhill - your points are valid, I don't doubt there are times when a 'return' of an image would be allowed and would make sense.  It just seems like there's w-a-a-y too much of this happening at Alamy and it makes me very suspicious that Alamy profits from it and we don't.

ShadySue

« Reply #27 on: January 16, 2014, 19:56 »
+3
bunhill - your points are valid, I don't doubt there are times when a 'return' of an image would be allowed and would make sense.  It just seems like there's w-a-a-y too much of this happening at Alamy and it makes me very suspicious that Alamy profits from it and we don't.
Hard to say, but as I've posted here before, I had a file refunded after a year, well after it had been paid for; but it was a 50% refund. Support said it was a very good client and the project hadn't gone ahead. I've found it's my higher value sales that tend to get refunded, which is particularly cutting, but it's easy to understand why someone might want a refund on a file costing over $100 rather than a low value sub micro sale.

« Reply #28 on: January 17, 2014, 00:25 »
0
Bunhill's publishing experience jives with my own. I deal with publications a lot and they often need photos and written copy many months in advance. Often, the contract will include a negotiated price for a "kill fee" if the story doesn't move forward - but this is generally for assignment work - which is not the same as stock. The point is, even in that case you can do a lot of work - work that often can't be sold elsewhere - and end up getting less than you anticipated. The world of book and magazine publishing is run very differently than the world of small business buyers licensing photos for their websites for pennies on the dollar - and as Sue said, it's more likely that the refunds will be on the higher cost images because the client has more to lose. It's to Alamy's advantage to keep their customers happy and we can't fault them for that, even if losing the license profits are a big disappointment.

I had a return the first week in January last year, after the sale in December - of an image sold for over $250.00 - I contacted Alamy and they said the project was scrapped. I was bummed and angry - but just in general -  it wasn't a great way to start off the year but it wasn't Alamy's fault. Prices may be down, but Alamy is still a traditional agency dealing primarily with traditional buyers such as magazines and book publishers.

Ron

« Reply #29 on: January 17, 2014, 01:10 »
+2
Alamy needs to get with the times then, because its a traditional agency selling at modern prices. They themselves have said they discount up to 80% to make a sale. Refunds maybe makes sense when you sell actual photos, which CAN be returned, not when its cheap digital material. It can never be returned. There is nothing stopping a buyer from asking for a refund and still use the image. The system is inviting to be abused.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2014, 01:13 by Ron »

« Reply #30 on: January 17, 2014, 05:04 »
0
There is nothing stopping a buyer from asking for a refund and still use the image. The system is inviting to be abused

No different from the era of prints and transparencies. You could not know that they had not used them before returning them either. The fact of things being digital makes no difference.

Business works on relationships and trust. I would assume that people at an agency would be aware enough to notice if some client did this more than seemed reasonable or typical.

Ron

« Reply #31 on: January 17, 2014, 05:20 »
+1
The fact that things are digital makes all the difference.

« Reply #32 on: January 17, 2014, 05:36 »
0
The fact that things are digital makes all the difference.

What difference does it make ?

How is that different from the customer having a print or a duped transparency ? How could you tell previously that they had not already used it ? (You couldn't btw).

« Reply #33 on: January 17, 2014, 16:41 »
+1
Easier to tell today if it's been used than in the past since things can be found online - though I know at least back in 2009-2011 the folks at Alamy would be looking through magazines to see if images had been used. Trust can be abused but without it you'd have no customer relations. Alamy is still very different than the micros - people can call up Alamy, have them do searches for them, their clients buy fewer licenses for generally higher prices and most of them are buyers who are used to the traditional RM system.

We trust the agencies to tell us how many times they've licensed our photos and how much we've earned from it. Are they more trustworthy than Alamy's clients?

« Reply #34 on: January 17, 2014, 16:48 »
+1
We trust the agencies to tell us how many times they've licensed our photos and how much we've earned from it. Are they more trustworthy than Alamy's clients?

So true.  I think if we actually knew all the crazy games that other agencies are playing - or are planning to play - with our images, we'd pull out tomorrow.  Alamy basically lends images for periods of months before requiring payment.  The weird part is that they report this possible sale as a sale, then claw back the money later if the customer doesn't buy.   And the bad part would be if Alamy makes money off of what amounts to a rental, without sharing it with the contributor.  I haven't seen any statement from Alamy that this is not the case.

What they're all looking for is ways to make money off our photos without actually "selling" them - meaning no royalties have to be paid.  For example, SS just announced that fabulous deal with Facebook that pays "royalties" of around 35 cents, but I suspect the big money was in up-front payments which SS would claim they don't need to share with contributors.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2014, 17:53 by stockastic »

Ron

« Reply #35 on: January 17, 2014, 17:14 »
0
Ok, not commenting on anything you say, but that 35 cent is wrong.

Not that it matters much, but FODs* are paid depending on your level.

0.25
0.33
0.36
0.38

*FOD = Facebook SOD  :)

« Reply #36 on: January 17, 2014, 17:54 »
0
Ok, not commenting on anything you say, but that 35 cent is wrong.

Not that it matters much, but FODs* are paid depending on your level.

0.25
0.33
0.36
0.38

*FOD = Facebook SOD  :)

Sigh.  Ok, I corrected my post.

« Reply #37 on: January 17, 2014, 18:45 »
0
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 completely agree with this assessment. Comparing digital goods to store bought merchandise makes no sense. I have to ask myself, do I really believe that they didn't keep the image on their hard drive or didn't use it all after they asked for a refund a month later? No, I really don't. I don't care if traditional agency-partner relationships worked on such an honor system. I've seen enough abuses in the last several years which makes me wonder how much worse the abuses I don't know about are. I choose not to place blind trust in such a system.

I don't think the image should be digitally released until the customer decides they really want it. Let them use a lo-res mockup in the interim. Once you make the commitment, no returns. Hey I don't get to return an MP3 if I decide after 30 days that I don't like the song so much anymore.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2014, 18:50 by djpadavona »

Goofy

« Reply #38 on: January 17, 2014, 21:14 »
0
at this point I am just glad Alamy didn't ask me for money  :(



Noedelhap

  • www.colincramm.com

« Reply #39 on: January 21, 2014, 20:50 »
+4
Because good customer service = repeat business.)

Who would want repeat business from a customer who returns his images after the 30-day warranty period?
« Last Edit: January 21, 2014, 20:59 by Noedelhap »

« Reply #40 on: January 21, 2014, 21:34 »
+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! "

I posted this in another post early today. I hope this will make you feel a bit better. Depositphoto refunded more than $210 this morning. You are not alone and I know how it feels. It's sad but we have to accept it. That's just the game we play in.

Goofy

« Reply #41 on: January 21, 2014, 23:10 »
0
OMG $210! Heck, if they did this to me I would have to perform community service or go to jail time since I would OWE them money! 

timd35

« Reply #42 on: January 22, 2014, 11:20 »
0
OMG $210! Heck, if they did this to me I would have to perform community service or go to jail time since I would OWE them money!

That sounds like a good "How do I know when I am doing bad in the Microstock Business?"

- When your refunds add up to more than your sales    :)

« Reply #43 on: January 23, 2014, 10:07 »
0
Checking fotolia stats this morning. $51 dollars in return. 2014 couldn't start any better. -$101 Balance on Depositphotos and -$27 Balance on Fotolia. Might have to get a part time job to pay of my debts. 
« Last Edit: January 23, 2014, 10:40 by bspudd »

Ed

« Reply #44 on: January 23, 2014, 10:25 »
+1
This isn't specific to one agent...it's a part of the business and unfortunately, part of the times.

Fotolibra even blogged about it a couple of years ago....here's the scam and here's how it works...

http://blog.fotolibra.com/?p=727

This is something that has happened at the micros over and over and over again...the difference is the dollar amount involved.

I wouldn't be surprised if image libraries are seeing charges from credit card numbers that were recently stolen from Target - you should see those refunds coming through in late February or March.

« Reply #45 on: January 23, 2014, 10:39 »
0
This isn't specific to one agent...it's a part of the business and unfortunately, part of the times.

Fotolibra even blogged about it a couple of years ago....here's the scam and here's how it works...

http://blog.fotolibra.com/?p=727

This is something that has happened at the micros over and over and over again...the difference is the dollar amount involved.

I wouldn't be surprised if image libraries are seeing charges from credit card numbers that were recently stolen from Target - you should see those refunds coming through in late February or March.


Thank you for posting this blog post. I was just talking to a good friend of mine about exactly this. The charge back/return doesn't bother me what bothers me is that they have my photos/videos and probably will resell them on some sort of forum as a package with thousands of other stolen images/videos.


« Reply #46 on: January 23, 2014, 20:30 »
0
Just wanted to post a follow up. Just as Ed wrote the FBI has sent out a warning in regards to the Target fiasco.
http://www.engadget.com/2014/01/23/fbi-tells-retailers-to-expect-more-credit-card-data-theft/

« Reply #47 on: January 23, 2014, 22:16 »
0
I think the larger problem is from technology like these card skimmers that thieves place inside the pump.
http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/23/four-indicted-for-installing-undetectable-card-skimmers-inside-gas-pumps/

In the US is supposedly the worst in Florida and Texas.  The thieves commonly "rig" multiple gas stations on several exits in the same town, collect the data for several hours, then remove their hardware to avoid detection.  They discovered that most service station owners are too cheap to change out the universal locks on the pumps to custom ones, the thieves know this, use the universal key to put their "hardware" inside the pump where it can't be seen.

Last year near where I live in Florida, they rigged the end pumps at the Wal-mart gas station during a busy weekend.  Then like the target breach, they sell the collected numbers over the internet, so they rarely get caught.


 

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