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Refunds

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Feverstockphoto
Member is a Bronze contributor and has 250 - 2,499 Photo downloadsExclusive
Posted Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:44PM
Oh another question also. How many individual cases of fraud have there been this year? And many cases/fraudsters have been caught and dealt with this year?
EdgeofReasonCLOSED
Member is a Silver contributor and has 2,500 - 9,999 Photo downloadsMember is a Bronze contributor and has 250 - 1,249 Video downloads
Posted Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:45PM

14 Days? That would be a lot easier to swallow than the reality that I have witnessed over multiple clawbacks of royalties.  


Purchase: 08/01/2012   Refund notice and clawback: 09/17/2012     (47 Days)
Purchase: 07/31/2012   Refund notice and clawback: 08/24/2012     (25 Days)
Purchase  04/09/2008   Refund notice and clawback: 07/13/2012    (4+ YEARS LATER?!) 
Purchase  04/10/2008   Refund notice and clawback: 07/13/2012    (4+ YEARS LATER?!)

I would like an explanation of how you can justifiably refund a 4-year old purchase. I really, sincerely would.

Also, could you provide some clarification on how zero % refunds would mean turning customers away? I don't understand that statement.

The refund policy makes me sick to my stomach for a number of reasons:
- There is no guarantee that the client does not continue to use the file.  
- iStock is not out any money as the refunds are issues in credits.
- Contributor is the only one who pays financially for the refund, giving iStock no incentive to improve their refund policies and rampant fraud.
- When I see money in my account, I count on that money. When it's clawed back, it only feels like getting kicked in the gut (and the wallet).
- No other agency takes money back from their contributors (that I know of), but iStock does.  

- No explanation is given about the nature of the refund.

Today I had two refunds on video files purchased last month. I know it was not because it was the wrong size, or a duplicate purchase, because they were the first and only download of those two files. I am left to assume that it was credit card fraud. It has always been my understanding that the bank/credit card company covers that fraud. Can you inform me? If it is credit card fraud, why is not being addressed? Again, my recent skepticism of iStock leads me to believe that since iStock bears no financial burden in the refund, that you have no incentive to fix the fraud problems, whatever it may be. Can you please give me an explanation of the nature of the credit card fraud that has plagued iStock so badly lately?
vesperstock
Member is a contributor and has less than 250 Photo downloadsMember is a Gold contributor and has 5,000 - 12,499 Video downloads
Posted Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:45PM

Posted By iStockLawyer:
4. What is the refund policy on iStockphoto.com?

Customers have 14 days to return a file for credit.
This reads to me as saying that customers have 14 days from the time of requesting a refund to return a file. Otherwise we wouldn't get notices of refunds for files downloaded several months previously. Yes? If so, why can't there be a simple policy of only allowing requests up to 30, 60 or 90 days from the time of actual download?

(Edited on 2012-12-12 13:45:48 by vesperstock)
jjneff
Member is a Bronze contributor and has 250 - 2,499 Photo downloadsMember is a Diamond contributor and has 12,500 - 99,999 Video downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 125 Audio downloadsExclusiveExclusive iStockphoto VideographerExclusive iStockphoto Audio Artist
Posted Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:48PM
Refunds are completely bogus when you can download a comp! I think we should charge for comps!!!

(Edited on 2012-12-12 13:48:59 by jjneff)
Spencer_Whalen
Member is a contributor and has less than 250 Photo downloadsMember is a Bronze contributor and has 250 - 1,249 Video downloads
Posted Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:48PM

Like synthetick Ive just had an email a couple of minutes ago stating:


We regret to inform you that a refund has been issued for a purchase on your file #21577410


This reference to the file downloaded on:November 26, 2012 for the amont of $36.26


I make this 16 days later!


If customers have 14 days to return a file is everyday counted or do you not count weekends?


As you can purchase files 24/7 I guess everyday is counted?


Please EXPLAIN!


If refunds have been given incorrectly will we recive our royalties back?
karenhermannCLOSED
Member is a Bronze contributor and has 250 - 2,499 Photo downloadsExclusive
Posted Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:49PM
If the fraud system you have is so sophisticated, why is it that a well-known and functioning website is still up there for almost two months now?   I'm not going to give the name in this thread, but surely you know which one I mean.  Several contributors even tried to help give you data with which to track it down.  
sjlocke
Member is a Black Diamond contributor and has more than 200,000 Photo downloadsMember is a Gold contributor and has 5,000 - 12,499 Video downloadsMember is a Bronze contributor and has 125 - 1,249 Audio downloadsMember is a Silver contributor and has 2,500 - 9,999 Illustration downloadsExclusiveExclusive iStockphoto IllustratorExclusive iStockphoto Videographer
Posted Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:50PM

Posted By vesperstock:

Posted By iStockLawyer:
4. What is the refund policy on iStockphoto.com?

Customers have 14 days to return a file for credit.
This reads to me as saying that customers have 14 days from the time of requesting a refund to return a file. Otherwise we wouldn't get notices of refunds for files downloaded several months previously. Yes? If so, why can't there be a simple policy of only allowing requests up to 30, 60 or 90 days from the time of actual download?


Well, you can't really "return a file", so I think that's just slang for "ask for a credit".
synthetick
Member is a contributor and has less than 250 Photo downloadsMember is a Gold contributor and has 5,000 - 12,499 Video downloads
Posted Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:50PM
Posted By vesperstock:


Posted By iStockLawyer:
4. What is the refund policy on iStockphoto.com?

Customers have 14 days to return a file for credit.

This reads to me as saying that customers have 14 days from the time of requesting a refund to return a file. Otherwise we wouldn't get notices of refunds for files downloaded several months previously. Yes? If so, why can't there be a simple policy of only allowing requests up to 30, 60 or 90 days from the time of actual download?

(Edited on 2012-12-12 13:45:48 by vesperstock)

Ah, that makes sense - after requesting the refund, they have 14 days to declare that they have destroyed the file.
Starkblast
Member is a Silver contributor and has 2,500 - 9,999 Photo downloadsExclusive
Posted Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:54PM
Posted By vesperstock:


Posted By iStockLawyer:
4. What is the refund policy on iStockphoto.com?

Customers have 14 days to return a file for credit.

This reads to me as saying that customers have 14 days from the time of requesting a refund to return a file. Otherwise we wouldn't get notices of refunds for files downloaded several months previously. Yes? If so, why can't there be a simple policy of only allowing requests up to 30, 60 or 90 days from the time of actual download?

(Edited on 2012-12-12 13:45:48 by vesperstock)

Could it be that the customer indeed has 14 days after purchase to ask for a refund, but that the actual contributor's balance-withdrawal can be stuck in the system for ages, for whatever reason?
PrairieArtProject
Member is a Gold contributor and has 10,000 - 24,999 Photo downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 250 Illustration downloads
Posted Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:58PM
OH MY GOBS. 14 DAYS??? Someone buy some calendars for HQ.
kcline
Member is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Photo downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 250 Illustration downloadsExclusive
Posted Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:59PM
Posted By cobalt:
Getty/istock take up to 85% of our earnings. If refunds are less than 1% of your sales - why is it not covered by the money you are already getting?


I really see no difference between refund costs and the rent you are paying, the cars you are driving or the marketing you pay for. Everything costs money.


I am also not seeing any other agency claw back such huge amounts from their contributors.


Our product was sold and downloaded. In the digital world, there really is no way to make sure our files are no longer being used. It is not like a car was returned  to the shop, a dress brought back or a book returned to the retailer.


So, I would like to ask you to seriously rethink your refund policy. At least come up with a base cover for exclusives (We won´t take back any money if it is less than 500 dollars a year and if it is above, the cost is shared) or something like that.


It would be a sensible bonus for exclusives who really are completly helpless to do anything.

(Edited on 2012-12-12 13:32:32 by cobalt)

I could not have worded this better myself.
 
PrairieArtProject
Member is a Gold contributor and has 10,000 - 24,999 Photo downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 250 Illustration downloads
Posted Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:03PM
Posted By Starkblast:

Posted By vesperstock:



Posted By iStockLawyer:
4. What is the refund policy on iStockphoto.com?

Customers have 14 days to return a file for credit.


This reads to me as saying that customers have 14 days from the time of requesting a refund to return a file. Otherwise we wouldn't get notices of refunds for files downloaded several months previously. Yes? If so, why can't there be a simple policy of only allowing requests up to 30, 60 or 90 days from the time of actual download?

(Edited on 2012-12-12 13:45:48 by vesperstock)


Could it be that the customer indeed has 14 days after purchase to ask for a refund, but that the actual contributor's balance-withdrawal can be stuck in the system for ages, for whatever reason?

YEARS???
Spencer_Whalen
Member is a contributor and has less than 250 Photo downloadsMember is a Bronze contributor and has 250 - 1,249 Video downloads
Posted Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:06PM

I don't get the whole return the file thing. Do we as contributors just have to take honesty of the destruction of the file to be true? If so what other business does that? Oh mr bank i didn't want the $100 I withdrew so I burn't it at home on the kitchen table, OK?


 


I really think istock should create a refund kitty so it never inflicts on us contributors who get hit everyway possible!
JBryson
Member is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Photo downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 250 Illustration downloads
Posted Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:09PM
This post, and reference to the 14 day window, makes it appear that no one behind the curtain has any clue what the others are doing.
lostinbids
Member is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Photo downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 250 Video downloadsExclusiveExclusive iStockphoto Videographer
Posted Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:09PM

^^ They already do, please look at the 4th post in this thread, it is part of they Net Credit Value that they base their payments to us on.


ETA an extra^

(Edited on 2012-12-12 14:10:23 by lostinbids)
iStockLawyer
Member is a contributor and has less than 250 Photo downloadsForum Moderator
Posted Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:13PM

Posted By lostinbids:

In the other thread you said that refunds are included as a deduction in the Net price

Posted By iStockLawyer:
There have been a few questions surrounding the addition of language to the Rate Schedule when we launched cash sales. Let me see if I can address them.


2. Can we have a definition of NET?

The kinds of items that we net from the payment include taxes or other withholdings, refunds, bad debts and currency hedging. We can certainly look creating a specific definition of net the next time that revisions are made to the ASAs. It takes about 4 weeks of development work for a team to complete changes to the ASA, including translations, uploading new copy, making the notice pop up, disabling uploads until new agreement is approved and creating the email notifications. That is development time that we would rather spend on addressing the other issues that you are raising and further product development until there are enough ASA changes to merit blocking out this development time.


If that is the case why do we have refunds if there is already a percentage of the gross going towards covering the cost of refunds?


There is no percentage of gross going toward covering the cost of refunds. Revenue from returns is netted from the money that contributors are paid royalties on.
iStockLawyer
Member is a contributor and has less than 250 Photo downloadsForum Moderator
Posted Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:14PM

Posted By lostinbids:
Posted By iStockLawyer:

3. Why do we remove royalties for fraudulent downloads?

It stops contributors (real or faked) from self downloading with credits bought with stolen credit cards and absconding with the royalties.

Really???


Yes, really.
kcline
Member is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Photo downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 250 Illustration downloadsExclusive
Posted Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:16PM
Posted By lostinbids:

In the other thread you said that refunds are included as a deduction in the Net price


Posted By iStockLawyer:
There have been a few questions surrounding the addition of language to the Rate Schedule when we launched cash sales. Let me see if I can address them.


2. Can we have a definition of NET?

The kinds of items that we net from the payment include taxes or other withholdings, refunds, bad debts and currency hedging. We can certainly look creating a specific definition of net the next time that revisions are made to the ASAs. It takes about 4 weeks of development work for a team to complete changes to the ASA, including translations, uploading new copy, making the notice pop up, disabling uploads until new agreement is approved and creating the email notifications. That is development time that we would rather spend on addressing the other issues that you are raising and further product development until there are enough ASA changes to merit blocking out this development time.



If that is the case why do we have refunds if there is already a percentage of the gross going towards covering the cost of refunds?

Either someone is forgetting what they are saying here or... there are some wires crossed in the office.  Seems like communication issues are not only a problem with the community...

I'd love to hear an explanation about what appears to be double dipping when it comes to refunds.

 
Starkblast
Member is a Silver contributor and has 2,500 - 9,999 Photo downloadsExclusive
Posted Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:16PM
Posted By PrairieArtProject:

Posted By Starkblast:


Posted By vesperstock:




Posted By iStockLawyer:
4. What is the refund policy on iStockphoto.com?

Customers have 14 days to return a file for credit.



This reads to me as saying that customers have 14 days from the time of requesting a refund to return a file. Otherwise we wouldn't get notices of refunds for files downloaded several months previously. Yes? If so, why can't there be a simple policy of only allowing requests up to 30, 60 or 90 days from the time of actual download?

(Edited on 2012-12-12 13:45:48 by vesperstock)



Could it be that the customer indeed has 14 days after purchase to ask for a refund, but that the actual contributor's balance-withdrawal can be stuck in the system for ages, for whatever reason?


YEARS???

From the company's point of view that would legally not be conflicting with the 14 days refund policy and it would provide a variable cash buffer for when cash is most needed, like these days.. very hypothetical, I admit and I don'tbelieve it myself...
iStockLawyer
Member is a contributor and has less than 250 Photo downloadsForum Moderator
Posted Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:17PM

Posted By whitemay:
A couple of questions:

1. So why do some refunds occur months after the download?






Customer service reps are given authority to manage refunds with customers. You are right - from time to time there are refunds that happen after 14 days. That is part of customer service and maintaining relationships with the people that are buying iStock content.

Upsizing of files (which has a refund impact) can happen at any time.
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