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Author Topic: alamy sale refunded - what the heck?  (Read 11486 times)

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« on: June 27, 2012, 09:59 »
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I guess I just experienced the dark side of Alamy - a sale for $100 from a few weeks ago was just 'refunded'.   Before that happened, I was above payout - now I'm below again.  Now I know what "cleared balannce" is really about - anything above that is pure vapor.

This sucks.  They can just cancel a sale at any time, even weeks later?
« Last Edit: June 27, 2012, 11:00 by stockastic »


RacePhoto

« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2012, 11:19 »
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Cancellation policy

Provided you have not used any images, you may cancel the Licence within 30 days from the date of the invoice. Please notify us of the cancellation by emailing our customer service team: sales@alamy.com.

    You may cancel the Licence within ten (10) days from the date of the Invoice without charge.
    If you cancel less than thirty (30) days after the Invoice date, a cancellation fee of fifty (50%) percent of the Invoice will be charged.
    After thirty (30) days, no cancellations will be accepted and the full amount of the invoice must be paid.

Cancelling the Licence revokes an right to publish, reproduce or use the Image(s) in any manner whatsoever.


I don't know anything more, but that's the policy.

Only one I had, someone bought and image, cancelled then bought the same image, for less, the next day.

« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2012, 11:25 »
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I had refunds before with Alamy. Nothing new.

« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2012, 11:48 »
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To me it seems dumb to expose all this to the photographer in the form of 'vapor' sales and commissions.  The account page shows a sale, then a deduction of Alamy's commission; then - weeks later - a refund of the sale, followed by a refund of the commission.  4 line items, adding up to nothing - it's all just noise to the contributor - there's no point in telling me that I 'might' have just made a $100 sale.  

lisafx

« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2012, 11:51 »
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I had refunds before with Alamy. Nothing new.

Yep.  I just had one for $166.  Ate up more than half my commissions for them month.  Kind of painful! 

On the up side, those higher sales are nice to get, and most of them are not refunded later. 

« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2012, 12:02 »
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Going through this experience of "claw backs" at Alamy really makes me wonder what would happen if one day I get a $5000 sale. I'll be jumping from one leg to the other for a few months until the payment would eventually clear.

It's still quite nerve-wrecking to see a sale and then get it taken away again.

« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2012, 13:16 »
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Going through this experience of "claw backs" at Alamy really makes me wonder what would happen if one day I get a $5000 sale.

Staring at $5K in VaporBucks for a month - now that would really, truly suck.   Thank goodness we have the internet to broadcast this useless information.  Can you imagine - back in the day - an agency calling you on the phone every tine they "might" have made a sale?

Carl

  • Carl Stewart, CS Productions
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2012, 05:05 »
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I've had it happen a couple of times.  It could be due to a number of things - credit card fraud, a buyer inadvertently buys a duplicate image, or maybe a buyer just changed his mind.  It's disheartening, to be sure, but it goes with the neighborhood.  Fortunately, it doesn't happen a lot.

ShadySue

« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2012, 05:15 »
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Going through this experience of "claw backs" at Alamy really makes me wonder what would happen if one day I get a $5000 sale.

Staring at $5K in VaporBucks for a month - now that would really, truly suck.   Thank goodness we have the internet to broadcast this useless information.  Can you imagine - back in the day - an agency calling you on the phone every tine they "might" have made a sale?
It's a sale, then an allowed refund, not a 'maybe' sale.
Just like buying something in a shop then taking it back.

« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2012, 07:59 »
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Having 3 nationalities in the family it's not as easily described as "taking it back".

Technically Alamy allows this procedure but for some people the principle of "taking stuff back to the store" is an unknown one.

For example if I buy a loaf of toast bread in the supermarket here in the US I can take back the empty plastic bag and ask for my money back.
(Yes I know, it blew my mind as well when I first got here...).

If you tried the same in Germany the supermarket would flat out refuse to do that unless you can prove that someone who ate that bread got seriously sick from it and had to go to hospital.

In Thailand on the other hand you would have to consider yourself lucky if you made it back outside the store alive asking for a refund in such a situation.

Different folks, different strokes.  :D

tab62

« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2012, 08:45 »
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My only sale was refunded at day 25! I was so excited on getting a sale and than is disappeared...

« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2012, 09:11 »
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Going through this experience of "claw backs" at Alamy really makes me wonder what would happen if one day I get a $5000 sale.

Staring at $5K in VaporBucks for a month - now that would really, truly suck.   Thank goodness we have the internet to broadcast this useless information.  Can you imagine - back in the day - an agency calling you on the phone every tine they "might" have made a sale?
It's a sale, then an allowed refund, not a 'maybe' sale.
Just like buying something in a shop then taking it back.
I've made only a few sales, and already had a refund.  tab62 (above) had his first sale refunded. So obviously this is part of how they normally do business - a customer chooses an image, then has a few weeks to decide if he really wants to buy it.   If you want to call that a 'sale', ok, but I'd call it 'on approval'.  
« Last Edit: June 28, 2012, 09:19 by stockastic »

ShadySue

« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2012, 09:27 »
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Going through this experience of "claw backs" at Alamy really makes me wonder what would happen if one day I get a $5000 sale.

Staring at $5K in VaporBucks for a month - now that would really, truly suck.   Thank goodness we have the internet to broadcast this useless information.  Can you imagine - back in the day - an agency calling you on the phone every tine they "might" have made a sale?
It's a sale, then an allowed refund, not a 'maybe' sale.
Just like buying something in a shop then taking it back.
I've made only a few sales, and already had a refund.  tab62 (above) had his first sale refunded. So obviously this is part of how they normally do business - a customer chooses an image, then has a few weeks to decide if he really wants to buy it.   If you want to call that a 'sale', ok, but I'd call it 'on approval'.  
Before I started at Alamy, I read of many refunds there (on their forums).
Alamy now has a 30-day approval system ('Try before you buy'), but AFAIK, it wouldn't show as a sale.
iStock is even worse, as they have a refund policy that lasts for months.

« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2012, 09:47 »
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Not too sure why this the dark side of Alamy, there isn't an agency in the world that doesn't issue refunds. It just sucks when it happens to you.

« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2012, 10:09 »
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Unfortunately, it is normal to have photos sold and then refunded one month later. It happened to me once with a photo refunded. Other times, instead, photo was refunded and then immediately re-purchased again by the same customer for the same amount of money. Once, I experienced a refund of a photo of mine which few weeks later was bought by the same client but for an inferior amount of money!

Stefano
Travel Photography

« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2012, 10:44 »
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The approval period gives the buyer time to find the same photo on a micro site for 50 cents   :D

More likely, it lets the buyer put his concept together and show it to his customer, at full resolution, without watermarks; and if it doesn't fly, Alamy won't hold him to the purchase.  Note that in a sense your photo actually got 'used' here without you being paid.

Look, Alamy can run their business any way they want.  I just think it's dumb to post big sales - over $100 - to the contributor, as 'vapor' - then undo them later. Yes some of the micros issue occasional refunds too - they're very rare by comparison, and it doesn't hurt quite so much when it's $10 instead of $100 or more.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2012, 10:47 by stockastic »

ShadySue

« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2012, 11:04 »
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I didn't say I wasn't sympathetic, I don't like getting refunds any more than anyone else.
But I knew about them before I joined Alamy.
H*ll, some people get outfits from shops for a one-off swanky occasion then return them (I never have, though the swanky-outfit-once-worn scenario drives me NUTS!)
If they're on the try before you buy system, they can show it to the client and they won't show up as a sale.

I'm not sure what could be done. Like shops or online stores, people will only buy from businesses with a good refund policy. (Unlike buying other goods online, you can see exactly what you're getting with a digital image, though.)

« Reply #17 on: June 28, 2012, 11:13 »
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The approval period gives the buyer time to find the same photo on a micro site for 50 cents   :D

More likely, it lets the buyer put his concept together and show it to his customer, at full resolution, without watermarks; and if it doesn't fly, Alamy won't hold him to the purchase.  Note that in a sense your photo actually got 'used' here without you being paid.

Look, Alamy can run their business any way they want.  I just think it's dumb to post big sales - over $100 - to the contributor, as 'vapor' - then undo them later. Yes some of the micros issue occasional refunds too - they're very rare by comparison, and it doesn't hurt quite so much when it's $10 instead of $100 or more.

Yep. And even if the money is refunded to the client, how can alamy be certain the digital image was destroyed, or not used? They can't. I think giving refunds after 24 hours is ridiculous. If someone wants to put a concept together, use the comp image...that's what they're for.

Quote
H*ll, some people get outfits from shops for a one-off swanky occasion then return them (I never have, though the swanky-outfit-once-worn scenario drives me NUTS!)

I know people that have done that too, but it's almost as bad as stealing. And tangible merchandise is a lot different than digital merchandise...the store knows they got their merchandise back (even if it might have pit stains), not so with digital.

« Reply #18 on: June 28, 2012, 12:12 »
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Sure the 'buyer' deleted the file.   Maybe he even deleted the Pinterest page which he created for the customer's convenience - of course, the image now stays on Pinterest forever, it would be too much to ask Pinterest to remove it too.  But no one needs to actually buy a photo, just to use it for a little while - that's s-o-o 20th century.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2012, 12:51 by stockastic »

RacePhoto

« Reply #19 on: June 28, 2012, 16:40 »
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For example if I buy a loaf of toast bread in the supermarket here in the US I can take back the empty plastic bag and ask for my money back.
(Yes I know, it blew my mind as well when I first got here...).

Different folks, different strokes.  :D

Bad example. You can't eat something (use something) and then return it?

Try, you buy a pair of Red socks, Get home and decide they are too flashy and you really wanted black socks. You take the red socks back for a refund, unused.

That's an Alamy 30 day refund.

All the rest about used, unused, and maybe not deleted, is conjecture, We don't know that they are honest or not, but the fact is, it's not a physical product, so it gets a bit complicated. How do you prove something "doesn't exist". LOL

ShadySue

« Reply #20 on: June 28, 2012, 17:08 »
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All the rest about used, unused, and maybe not deleted, is conjecture, We don't know that they are honest or not, but the fact is, it's not a physical product, so it gets a bit complicated. How do you prove something "doesn't exist". LOL

And indeed, you can't always rely on 'finding out' that a buyer has used a file beyond the terms of the licence: very difficult with RF. Easier to discover a misuse with RM, but you can't rely on Alamy to take any interest. I've had two that have clearly been lifted from licensed online newspaper uses. Alamy's response:
The company is not a client of ours and the image was previously licensed
for editorial website use and therefore, the image could have been taken
from the internet.  Furthermore, the image was used on a blog by a third
party and we must receive information for individual that actually used
the image..

Which was kinda my point.
I have a current one whereby I found an 'in-use', with my name and Alamy credited on a blog, but the only declared use on Alamy was a print use. That one is "being investigated".

Also an iStock one where I found one of my, and three other, iStock images with watermarks being used on a site. I reported in on Friday, and haven't had a reply other than the auto-reply yet, despite Lobo's assurances that contributor support tickets are "typically replied to within 24 hours" in this thread, which seems to imply that an iStock contributor who is also a buyer isn't entitled to client support by phone:
http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=344943&page=1
That is one heckuva disenfranchisement, even though he offered to help the OP personally.

« Reply #21 on: June 28, 2012, 17:35 »
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All the rest about used, unused, and maybe not deleted, is conjecture, We don't know that they are honest or not, but the fact is, it's not a physical product, so it gets a bit complicated. How do you prove something "doesn't exist". LOL
Not complicated at all. Buy an RF photo, no refunds after 24 hours. Buy RM, no refunds after 24 hours. Want to comp a project? Use the comp image. Want an unwatermarked, high rez image (RM or RF)? Buy the image or make do with the comp image. Deals can be negotiated on images fetching more than, say, $100, but anything under, it's microstock. And in my kingdom, I don't just mean this should apply to alamy, i mean all the stock sites should have this policy. Otherwise, people can go back to paying $300-$400 per image from Getty. Even if they make a mistake and have to buy two or three $40 RF or $100 RM images, it's STILL cheaper than trad images. Stop being such cheap a$$es. <rant over>  :)

« Reply #22 on: June 28, 2012, 19:27 »
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Try, you buy a pair of Red socks, Get home and decide they are too flashy and you really wanted black socks. You take the red socks back for a refund, unused.

That's an Alamy 30 day refund.


I'll bet you a dollar that - unlike those socks - my image actually got looked at during that month.   Maybe it landed some designer a contract, or even a job offer.   Maybe it was used in a one-time presentation that closed a big deal.  Maybe they had their own photographer look at it and do something similar, but more specific.

30 days is a heckuva long time to realize you clicked "buy" on the wrong image. I'd say the real poliicy is that a buyer can use a full size image free for 30 days.  Alamy doesn't know or care what that use really amounted to.  I have a bit of a problem with this, because there are all sorts of temporary uses for images, and we should be paid something for them. 
« Last Edit: June 28, 2012, 20:08 by stockastic »

RacePhoto

« Reply #23 on: June 28, 2012, 21:31 »
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I don't know and I won't disagree, it could have been used for some project proposal. It also could have been found on some micro site for $3 instead of the big price. I don't know that as a fact, but another possibility we'll never know. That's why I won't put Micro on Alamy.

And CC is also right, a whole month is a long time to look at something.

But it's not a loaf of bread. It wasn't harmed or consumed and that's where we get into some interesting legal arguments. (not in our favor) because it's not taken, it's not returned and it doesn't remove the item from our potential to sell it again and again.

The one Shady brings up is another problem where one client pays for an image and supplies it for distribution and some other site picks up the same story, we don't get paid for that use. Should we? It's the web and there are channels. As an odd similarity, if an AP newspaper buys a photo from me and puts it into their distribution chain (on the web), I don't get paid a cent if 2000 other newspapers run that same photo. I sure don't like that either but that's the way the system works right now.

How do we find RM use? LOL that's a good one. I've never found one of my Editorial sales from Alamy, in use. And some are pretty darn specific. Book covers, and I'm never seen a one.  ???

How would we know if someone honestly returned something or not? I don't know that one.

But you do understand, stores allow returns and so does Alamy. It's not the agency that's the problem, it's the buyer.



Try, you buy a pair of Red socks, Get home and decide they are too flashy and you really wanted black socks. You take the red socks back for a refund, unused.

That's an Alamy 30 day refund.


I'll bet you a dollar that - unlike those socks - my image actually got looked at during that month.   Maybe it landed some designer a contract, or even a job offer.   Maybe it was used in a one-time presentation that closed a big deal.  Maybe they had their own photographer look at it and do something similar, but more specific.

30 days is a heckuva long time to realize you clicked "buy" on the wrong image. I'd say the real poliicy is that a buyer can use a full size image free for 30 days.  Alamy doesn't know or care what that use really amounted to.  I have a bit of a problem with this, because there are all sorts of temporary uses for images, and we should be paid something for them. 

« Reply #24 on: June 28, 2012, 22:14 »
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I'd say that it would be fair to charge the buyer 10% of the full price for a "return".   We should get something for 30 days use of a full size, unwatermarked image.  

It also could have been found on some micro site for $3 instead of the big price. I don't know that as a fact, but another possibility we'll never know. That's why I won't put Micro on Alamy.

You're probably right about that.  I don't have the guts to pull the plug on SS, but if I could make just an occasional sale on Alamy, I could drop the rest: IS, DT, GL, and DP.  And maybe even CC, where I've made 20 cents in 2 years.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2012, 22:23 by stockastic »


 

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