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Author Topic: refund and repurchase at a lower pricea half a year later  (Read 2467 times)

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« on: February 25, 2022, 21:50 »
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I was casually browsing my sales history page and notice a lot of licenses were refunded and repurchased with the same term, at a lower price, some as far back as half a year ago.  Based on my estimate, this affects about 20% of my sales in the past 12 months.  None of the single digit sales were refunded, only for licenses above 50.  Is this a common for others contributors?  Is this a standard practice in the stock industry? Does it mean after a license sale I could be waiting half a year before getting paid? 


« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2022, 22:14 »
+1
Refunds do occur from time to time at most agencies, but Alamy is in many ways not like other stock agencies. I'm in the process of leaving Alamy after 15 years, so I don't feel positive about the changes in the last year or so.

Some of the things that have always rankled are the huge time lag between a customer downloading an image and it even showing up as a sale, topped off by the very long waits for the customer to pay for the image after that "invoice". In one case a delay in getting paid meant that I received a lower royalty rate. I had to chase up the sale - saw the image in use but no sale in my list. When they used it my rate was 50% of the sale but when it was finally "invoiced" it was only 40%.

Alamy support's response?: "Really sorry but unfortunately the commission is calculated at the time of invoice rather than publication date. We understand this is frustrating but lots of customers report uses after publication date and this is industry standard."

In a world where all the other agencies record the sale when the download happens, it isn't industry standard to do what Alamy does. Waiting up to 6 months to be paid (I think 9 months was my personal longest wait) happens quite often - not because of refunds but because you don't get paid until Alamy gets their invoice paid in full.

Alamy makes all sorts of accommodations to its large customers - and I'd guess that's where the lower price by way of a refund and a new sale came to be.

Bear in mind that as Alamy lowers its prices (retroactively as you found or for initial purchase) this affects your ability to keep the current 40% royalty rate.

« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2022, 01:12 »
+1
No, it is not standart practice in the stock agency. Refunds yes, though they are usually rare and happen within the same/next month.

Alamy is the only agency that seems to allow customers to refund images indefinitely and it happens way more often on Alamy than on any other agency, at least if you take into account how Alamy has much less sales than other agencies. If you have 1000 sales in a month on Shutterstock and one gets refunded, it's not the same dimension as 1 refund on Alamy out of 10 sales.

I had refunds as far back as over half a year on Alamy myself, which even put me into negatice balance with them. That's why nowadays I am not even happy if I have a higher amount sale on Alamy - you never know whether you actually get to keep the money.
In my case the buyer didn't even repurchase the image with a lower licence, just had the money refunded, but I knew the image had been used ( I found it credited back to Alamy and it had only sold on Alamy once). I had to run after customer support for months to had it resolved and then ended up with a much lower amount of money for the image. The explanation from Alamy was that the buyer had bought a wrong licence - which he noticed half a year later?  :o

I already had a couple of refunds on Alamy this year as well, but "at least" they were only for smaller amounts.  ::)

« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2022, 02:17 »
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I had a refund and repurchase for the same amount but a lower percentage for me over the course of one of Alamy's grabs for a higher percentage. I was pretty pissed, but as usual the sites control the terms. Refunds do seem to happen fairly often on Alamy, a surprising number are bought for the same price, but most are either not purchased again or are for a lower price.

« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2022, 02:38 »
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I had to chase up the sale - saw the image in use but no sale in my list.

Can I ask you how you do that Jo Ann?
I mean, if I understand it correctly, you saw the image in use, credited on your name via Alamy, but did not see the sale in your report?

I assume you use Google search alerts, but matching new entries with sales reports is still a lot of work?
Maybe not for Alamy, as sales are rather slow, but if you do this for all agencies... Impossible to keep track I would say.
Unless I'm missing something here.

« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2022, 13:20 »
+2
I had to chase up the sale - saw the image in use but no sale in my list.

Can I ask you how you do that Jo Ann?
I mean, if I understand it correctly, you saw the image in use, credited on your name via Alamy, but did not see the sale in your report?

I assume you use Google search alerts, but matching new entries with sales reports is still a lot of work?
Maybe not for Alamy, as sales are rather slow, but if you do this for all agencies... Impossible to keep track I would say.
Unless I'm missing something here.

I don't do anything thorough or systematic, but I have a couple of Google alerts set up so I get email when one of them triggers. Many uses don't include my name though, so that covers only a small portion of uses. In the Alamy case I was credited by name with the agency - it's an image that's sold a lot, so if I hadn't seen a specific agency credit I wouldn't have had a clue.

Once in a while I use Google image search for best selling images to see where I find them - largely because it helps me understand how the images are used (which is helpful in figuring out what might be good to do in the future). I keep "tearsheets" in a folder when I do this. It's not a regular activity - too time consuming.

« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2022, 13:45 »
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It sounds like alamy customers are abusing the refund policy.  Instead of fixing the policy, alamy chose to reduce contributor payout % in order to recoup the lost revenue.


 

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