Refunds

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anchev
Member is a Silver contributor and has 2,500 - 9,999 Photo downloads
Posted Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:18PM
"Additionally our compliance enforcement team handles unlicensed uses."

Could you please have a look at this thread because it is directly related to CE and our files mirrored on Getty. I will wait for your answer there.
iStockLawyer
Member is a contributor and has less than 250 Photo downloadsForum Moderator
Posted Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:18PM

Posted By Box5:
Does that mean that if we get a refund from a file downloaded more than 14 days ago, it isn't refund for purchase but action related to fraud?



It depends. It may be an upsizing, fraud or a regular refund where our customer service reps exercised the discretion that they have.
iStockLawyer
Member is a contributor and has less than 250 Photo downloadsForum Moderator
Posted Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:20PM

Posted By whitemay:

One more question.


Why do we not get a proper reason for a refund as used to be the case? Is it because there is so much fraud that you don't want to tell us?


Our customer service team manages a large number of contacts every day. Standard contributor messaging for refunds enables them to continue to provide quick and effective customer service and to avoid long queues of callers or extended response times for tickets.
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 2:23PM

Posted By iStockLawyer:

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.


So,
1. iStock is taking a percentage of our royalties to pay for customer service when giving refunds after 14 days?

And
2. again, why not set a reasonable time limit on this? We've seen refunds up to and beyond 12 months, which surely goes beyond good customer service.
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 2:25PM
Posted By iStockLawyer:


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.


You are going to have to dumb this down a bit for me.


In the other thread it clearly says refunds are one of the items that is netted from the payment.  Please can you clearly explain what you mean by "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 2:27PM

Posted By fotoVoyager:
How does this policy relate to the assurances we received two years ago after the massive xmas fraud that refunds would not happen like that again?

Has the policy changed or were the previous promises simply ignored?


In March 2010ish, we committed to never doing a bulk refund from accounts. We have not done that since that time. That does not mean that no refunds have been made. We certainly refund fraudulent purchases. See the OP for the reason why.
whitemay
Member is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Photo downloadsExclusive
Posted Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:28PM
Posted By iStockLawyer:



Posted By whitemay:

One more question.


Why do we not get a proper reason for a refund as used to be the case? Is it because there is so much fraud that you don't want to tell us?



Our customer service team manages a large number of contacts every day. Standard contributor messaging for refunds enables them to continue to provide quick and effective customer service and to avoid long queues of callers or extended response times for tickets.



Surely it can't take very long to give the reason for the refund? The customer service team could still have a standard email but just indicate which reason applied in each case. That can't be too much to ask and would go a long way to giving us more confidence that our concerns are being taken seriously.

When money is taken from our accounts it has serious implications on (a) our budgets and (b) our morale.

(Edited on 2012-12-12 14:29:21 by whitemay)
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 2:28PM
Posted By iStockLawyer:


Posted By whitemay:

One more question.


Why do we not get a proper reason for a refund as used to be the case? Is it because there is so much fraud that you don't want to tell us?



Our customer service team manages a large number of contacts every day. Standard contributor messaging for refunds enables them to continue to provide quick and effective customer service and to avoid long queues of callers or extended response times for tickets.


I understand the volume, but out of consideration for your contributors (the only ones financially paying for the refund) it would be very much appreciated as a courtesy to contributors to let us know why you're taking our money. It might be a small step towards contributors rebuilding trust in iStock.
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 2:30PM
Posted By iStockLawyer:


Posted By whitemay:

One more question.


Why do we not get a proper reason for a refund as used to be the case? Is it because there is so much fraud that you don't want to tell us?



Our customer service team manages a large number of contacts every day. Standard contributor messaging for refunds enables them to continue to provide quick and effective customer service and to avoid long queues of callers or extended response times for tickets.

I'm sorry, but I don't buy this. The email gives several potential reasons. Their proper response to us can be as simple as checking a box to indicate which is pertinent to the refund. If it truly takes THAT much time, then perhaps an additional employee is in order.
iStockLawyer
Member is a contributor and has less than 250 Photo downloadsForum Moderator
Posted Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:31PM

Posted By lostinbids:
Posted By iStockLawyer:


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.


You are going to have to dumb this down a bit for me.


In the other thread it clearly says refunds are one of the items that is netted from the payment.  Please can you clearly explain what you mean by "Revenue from returns is netted from the money that contributors are paid royalties on."



What I think you are worried about is that iStock is double counting the return? That is not happening. Where a file is returned, you are not paid a royalty on that original revenue. There is no further adjustment made regarding the return.
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 2:33PM
When customers buy a file, do they get notification that the refund period is 14 days? Is it information that is displayed prominently, or is it buried in the fine print of the license?
iStockLawyer
Member is a contributor and has less than 250 Photo downloadsForum Moderator
Posted Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:34PM

Posted By EdgeofReason:
Posted By iStockLawyer:


Posted By whitemay:

One more question.


Why do we not get a proper reason for a refund as used to be the case? Is it because there is so much fraud that you don't want to tell us?



Our customer service team manages a large number of contacts every day. Standard contributor messaging for refunds enables them to continue to provide quick and effective customer service and to avoid long queues of callers or extended response times for tickets.


I understand the volume, but out of consideration for your contributors (the only ones financially paying for the refund) it would be very much appreciated as a courtesy to contributors to let us know why you're taking our money. It might be a small step towards contributors rebuilding trust in iStock.


Understood.
SemmickPhotoCLOSED
Member is a contributor and has less than 250 Photo downloads
Posted Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:36PM
Istocklawyer, Why doesnt IS absorb the refunds for fraud? 
pidjoe
Member is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Photo downloadsExclusive
Posted Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:38PM
Posted By SemmickPhoto:
I think its absolutely not fair to take fraud commited on your site out of the pocket of the contributors. In fact I think its completely unethical and ridiculous. Fraud is a business risk and should be absorbed in the cost price of an image.  Especially when its a credit card chargeback because the contributors are sitting at the frontend of the sale and not at the backend. 


Supermarkets deal with theft as well and its covered in the price of goods. I am sure they will not underpay their distributor because someone stole a can of coke from THEIR store.

 
And punishing the good for the bad is outdated.

(Edited on 2012-12-12 13:43:29 by SemmickPhoto)

True, how would you feel that your boss takes a bit of your salary back 5 month later. 
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 2:38PM
Posted By synthetick:
When customers buy a file, do they get notification that the refund period is 14 days? Is it information that is displayed prominently, or is it buried in the fine print of the license?

I see nothing on the page. Just my payment information.
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 2:54PM
Posted By iStockLawyer:


Posted By lostinbids:

Posted By iStockLawyer:



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.



You are going to have to dumb this down a bit for me.


In the other thread it clearly says refunds are one of the items that is netted from the payment.  Please can you clearly explain what you mean by "Revenue from returns is netted from the money that contributors are paid royalties on."




What I think you are worried about is that iStock is double counting the return? That is not happening. Where a file is returned, you are not paid a royalty on that original revenue. There is no further adjustment made regarding the return.

I understand this to mean that refunds are subtracted from the net at the time they are granted....within 14 days or 4 years.
karenhermannCLOSED
Member is a Bronze contributor and has 250 - 2,499 Photo downloadsExclusive
Posted Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:57PM
Posted By SemmickPhoto:
Istocklawyer, Why doesnt IS absorb the refunds for fraud? 

Particularly when contributors let you know about the sites, and also report suspicious downloads.
iStockLawyer
Member is a contributor and has less than 250 Photo downloadsForum Moderator
Posted Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:57PM

Posted By SemmickPhoto:
Istocklawyer, Why doesnt IS absorb the refunds for fraud? 


from my OP


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.
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 2:58PM
Posted By iStockLawyer:


Posted By lostinbids:

Posted By iStockLawyer:



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.



You are going to have to dumb this down a bit for me.


In the other thread it clearly says refunds are one of the items that is netted from the payment.  Please can you clearly explain what you mean by "Revenue from returns is netted from the money that contributors are paid royalties on."




What I think you are worried about is that iStock is double counting the return? That is not happening. Where a file is returned, you are not paid a royalty on that original revenue. There is no further adjustment made regarding the return.


Not really.


I am worried that a percentage of the toal amount paid by the customer goes to some refund budget somewhere. After that has been taken off (with other things like currency hedging, bad debt and various undisclosed taxes) I get my royalty percentage on what is left. 


What I don't understand is why I do not get my payment as a percentage of what the actual client paid (less vat/sales tax but all the prices quoted here are less vat or sales tax anyway).  Shouldn't the things you take out of the gross before you calculate my royalty be part of your cost of doing business?  Afterall you do take the lion's share.  If a customer spends $10 before tax on one of my images surely I should get my percentage based on that not some Net figure calculated in some undisclosed manner.
Feverstockphoto
Member is a Bronze contributor and has 250 - 2,499 Photo downloadsExclusive
Posted Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:58PM
Hi again iStockLawyer, is this thread to communicate how refunds are handled or are you considering possible ways of improving 'amending' the refund policy and looking for some feedback?
This thread has been locked.
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