Updated: Sep 17, 2020
Before we begin with our campfire stories. I just want to clarify that this collection is not about bashing or hating on manus and customers. This is just a storytelling of unfortunate interactions. This collection of horror stories is about bringing awareness to common misunderstandings, possible scam modus operandi, and to help our community to express our side of the story as artists and sellers. This is also for those who are perhaps thinking about making merch as a new career or hobby so they can have a peak of what struggles one might have to encounter.
I am hoping that bringing this to light will spread kindness and empathy to our art communities. For artists who have cried over hurtful words or unnecessary pain, I want you to know that you are not alone. Let our stories bond us and maybe bring some entertainment and camaraderie in this time of need.
Thank you for all the contributors for sharing your stories and thoughts. If you would like to tell us your story you can email it to firstname.lastname@example.org It can be as short or as long as you like. (just no cursing). All business names will be omitted and writers can remain anonymous. This blog or post will be constantly updated with new stories and will always be open to more anytime.
[Was This A Scam?] by Anon
“Up til this day I am not completely sure if this was a scam. A man sent me a private message in my shop saying that he was interested in getting 3 of my shirts and was asking for a discount. As a seller who had just started, I of course was sorta desperate to sell anything. This was a $120 transaction with a $30 shipping cost. He said he was willing to forgo the tracking and insurance which I stupidly agreed to. Most packages going to this country didn’t have problems after all. The shipping cost was lowered to $15.
For some reason, he bought the items separately and paid for one shirt first, told me to discount the other two because he already paid for shipping for the first one. So I did. I got the payment, and shipped it like the way he asked me to.
A day after I marked the items as shipped, he messages me and says that his address registered on his account was wrong. He wanted me to go to the post office and “retrack” the package. Is that even possible? There was no tracking number so I couldn’t. It was headed for a different country too. He said there was nobody to receive the package in the address he had written down. So I said that the only solution was to wait until it will supposedly get sent back to me and then I can forward it to their correct address.
After 2 weeks he immediately reports me without sending me a message first. He demands a FULL REFUND. I couldn’t understand why this should be my fault. He gave me the wrong address, asked to not have a tracking number. He said he will report me to the admins because I was the scammer who didn’t send him his items. I know for a fact that I did. It was frustrating to be accused.
Truth be told, I pondered if I really did anything wrong. I was scared and hurt because more responsibility befalls on the seller. The shirts costs me $80 to get made. I sold it for $120. I shipped it with $15. This would cost me $215 over all. Not to mention the emotional toil that made me feel so foolish as to agree to his terms.
He marked only one of the transactions as “not received”. Our conversations about skipping the tracking was all on the first shirt listing. I was wondering if the admins would take his side since they couldn’t read back on our conversations about the discount in the other listing. In the end, I let the admins be the judge. It’s been months since this incident and I’ve kept at least $200 on my PayPal if ever the admins decide to give him a refund from me forcibly. Luckily, I haven’t seen deductions. I also countered his claim with “report a customer” so I’m not sure if that actually did anything.
I just want to say that I did what I believe to be an honest transaction.”
[Commissions. Revisions over load.] by Anon
“I had somebody ask me for a $15 artwork of a cat. I asked them what kind, what style and all that. They said they’ll leave it up to me as long as it’s cute. So I did. I submitted it and an hour after they resend it with a “request revision” note. This website I was using gave the buyers an option to ask for revisions until they are satisfied. What was frustrating for me was that they asked me to revise it 17 times! No exaggeration! First it was the color, then it was the face, then it was the whole breed of the cat! Seriously this was frustrating because they wouldn’t accept what I made but they didn’t gave me instructions on what to fix exactly. I probably gave them 17 very different looking cats. I feel like they were just screen capping all of my work and juicing me for every drop of free art they can get. Also in that website there is a timer which gives you an allotted time to finish the work. Every time they resent the artwork the timer would start counting down. My timer already expired and that person was still asking for more revisions which would then penalize me for “submitting late”. I think they fixed this function in the website now but this was years ago. The system was really messy. Anyway, they finally accepted the cat and then gave me a one star review because I was “uncooperative.”
[Irresponsible Manufacturer] by Anon
"I ordered 4 pins and was shown only two picture of my pins for a while while they told me that the other ones would be done next week. So I messaged them the next week and they weren’t done yet so I contacted them again and they told me they would be shipped to me soon and I waited a bit more for any shipping info but nothing came about yet so I messaged them again and no responses for a couple days so I informed another person and they finally got them to message me back. They told me then that they would take photos of my pins and ship them out that day and asked me what shipping I wanted with either fedex or ups and I chose ups. But I waited that day and nothing came so I waited a couple more days and nothing and then I saw on my orders that it said completed and shipped out to someone on Uk so I was scared that my pins were sent to someone else. But I’m assuming that they mistook my name with i someone else’s name.
But they didn’t really tell me about that either way and so I’m assuming it was a mistake but it did scare me quite a bit thinking someone else got my pins. And that’s pretty much it just got a hold of them last night and they shipped it out to me today. Took about a month and almost 2 weeks"
[Middle Man? No Thank you!] by tobi2moodring
[Customer is King??] by Anon
Someone bought a keychain order from me off my store at the end of may. I shipped the item out, provided tracking, no problem. the item was going international to Austria.
Yesterday, they opened a paypal claim because they hadn't received their items yet & wanted a partial refund PLUS wanted to keep their items.
I checked the tracking & the tracking said that the items had left the US (Your item arrived at our USPS facility in CHICAGO IL INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION CENTER on May 21, 2020 at 10:28 am. The item is currently in transit to the destination.) they have never once reached out to me about the location of their items before opening a paypal claim.
When i asked them why they opened a paypal case instead of reaching out to me first, they replied w:
"Why shouldn't i open a Paypal case? i have a time limit till July 27. after that period there is no other chance to receive my money back or a guaranty anyone is going to send me my items"
I'm actually really angry that this is happening because it feels like someone who either a. doesn't understand that theres a pandemic happening &/or b. someone trying to take advantage of a small business & get free merch plus their money back.
I dont really know what to do. i just ended up replying with:
"If you checked the tracking of your items, it says that they currently left the US & are in transit. due to covid-19, you need to wait a minimum of at least 8 weeks for your item to travel international & get to you. because your items have been shipped & your tracking has been updating, i cannot do anything & i request that you wait for your items to show up. we are currently in a pandemic which is minimizing how many postal workers are working & how fast mail moves. all this information is also on my shipping policy & refund policy."
This whole thing just rubs me the wrong way really badly & im at a loss of what to do.
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**LOOKING FOR MORE CONTRIBUTORS. Feel free to share to other artists as well.**