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Leonidafremov Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Dear Friend Hello,

Iím the artist Leonid Afremov, I would like to share with you a little story that keeps happening to me almost every month. As you all know, I make 99% of my sales online. In most cases I receive credit cards as the form of payment. Every month I have at least 2 or 3 customers that scam me by abusing the online sales protection system that card companies offers. In my opinion, such abuses are straight examples of online fraud and scam committed against the seller.

Customers purchase art from me and pay by credit card. Then after they receive the paintings, they call their credit card company and ask for a charge back saying they never received the paintings. The credit card company immediately gives them the money back. My ecommerce takes the money from my account as soon as it happens and forwards it to the credit card company. Although, I have a UPS tracking number proving delivery, the customer claims that he/she never received the merchandise paid for. With the online sale protection system, there is barley any chance to win such a dispute. I can only say that I repeatedly become a victim of scam and fraud by customers online. In a few cases, I tried to report this fraud and scam to the police and the FBI, but the law is on the customerís side always.

Especially with American Express that allows charge back up to 11 months from the transaction. I had a couple customers scam me and cancel 8 months after the delivery. I would be fine with the cancelation if the customer returned the paintings, but they claim they never got anything and decide to scam me and the online trading system. When I send them delivery confirmation from UPS , they deny the delivery and say nothing ever arrived and say itís not their signature on the confirmation. They basically steal my paintings that I invested my soul into. This is unacceptable online fraud and scam against me, artist Leonid Afremov. Sometimes customers are being jerks and write on compliant sites about me saying they never got their paintings, when the actually have the paintings and the money refunded. I feel completely vulnerable and unprotected from this type of fraud and scam, especially when such scam also affects my reputation.

Please advice, How can I protect myself from such fraud and scam. What can I do? Maybe someone has experience with this and can give me advice.

Best Regards,
Leonid Afremov
(22 Replies)

Devious Comments (Add yours)

Art-chan Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2014  Student Interface Designer
You should hire an assistant and not make everything so automatic. The only way you can prove that they receive the painting it's  if they sign a voucher. What we do at work is asking for the scan of the client's ID and we made them sign a voucher via moto. Also when we do the delivering we made them sign a voucher that confirms the reception (of course it is easier for us because we don't work internationally).

Hope you don't have more problems 
GabrielBriscoe Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2014
An UPS tracking number only shows where your painting is at some given moment (e.g. whether it is being with the UPS or whether it has already been delivered). But it is not proof that the customer actually received it. That's why it would be good for you to use a delivery company, offering a return receipt option. 
The return receipt option means that the delivery agent will actually see the customer, ask for his authentication, make him sign his name on a receipt paper and then hand over the painting.
You can then receive the receipt with the signature of the customer, which would serve as proof that the painting was delivered.

Your paintings are amazing and I think you deserve to be well protected against scams. Gifted artists should respected, not robbed.
ORIGINALLAPAPA Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2014
ORIGINALLAPAPA Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2014
Send it by US Mail, this will be a goverment business,,,, all scams are investigate by Federal Agents, They will not be able to denied they received the painting because is government official receiving a signature from your customer. Always insured the payment so the goverment will pay you just in case they do not received the merchandise. That way if they file a report stolen or not received, you will always get pay one way or another. If you live in Mexico hire somebody at the border to cross the paintings in USA soil and send by US Mail..... good 
Beauty4Beast Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2014
Sell through  reputable art galleries. Love your paintings
rashielx Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2014
Tracking and signature, it's very inexpensive addition to the shipping. I always use it and I've always had signature proof if anyone contested delivery. 
Sylzezter Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2014  Student Photographer
That,... ^^^^^^ a very smart idea.... o.o.... 
I never fully understood why those signatures had to be given in the past. xD
....It makes so much more sense now... <.< lol
ianvicknair Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
What you should do (its what I do) is have a signed from from both you and the client agreeing to the selling of the painting. Have the date, the way its shipped, how much it is, how they are paying for it, your address and theirs. Makes this a legal document saying that they now have to pay for it. Get it confirmed by a lawyer which they will help you make it and make it real. Then anything they sign and then try to scam you out of, they cant win on it. Worked for me :)
Try it out :)
MarisaOriginalArt Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Get all your postage tracked and signed their end!!! That way you have all the proof you need!
dewdropvelvet Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2012
I have never had this happen to me before- i've spent a lot of money buying beautiful art on this site- but recently I ordered a whole bunch of mugs and such- art gifts- and it was set into two packages instead of one. Anyway, I only received one of the packages. I went to UPS, it says I received it. I checked with neighbors. I do not understand what can happen. So I am filing a complaint with deviant art I hope they will help. But Ups says I received it I never signed for anythning- and the other package I DID receive- they left it at my door I never sign for anything with all the packages Ive gotten I have never once been asked to sign. I live in a very secure condo building so this is very strange. My point is the scam can go on both sides.. I really hope I get the art but I dont know what deviant art will do because UPS says it supposedly arrived a week ago and IT DID NOT arrive! This is so frustrating.
dustybeijing Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2011   General Artist
I have no experience of this, and I could be very wrong, but it seems that if your cheating customers are usually from the USA, then you are a foreigner in a foreign country (you live in Mexico?), so American laws won't protect your rights.

Could you send your pictures to a trusted gallery in the USA (maybe for a small commission) who could then send the paintings on to the customers? That way, if you get paid first by the gallery, it is the gallery who will be cheated by the cheating customer - but they will have the ability to accept different forms of payment, and chase people up/follow through with lawsuits etc.
random-is-i Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
there's a reason i asked if you do cash on delivery, there's a paper trail all the way!! (monies and product)
no one is in throuble then! If they do not pay, the post company takes care of it! yes? or that's how it is where i am....
either way, it's a suggestion.
also. these lying ppls should go die in a hole.

good luck with future customers!!
leotheyardiechick Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
*sigh* Why must people be such dishonest s.o.b.s? >:(
Brummerstedt Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2011  Hobbyist Interface Designer
In Denmark, we can only recieve a parcel, if we sign that we've got it.. There must be some sort of system that works like that in the rest of the world too..?
Shelby13 Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'm so sorry also people take advantage like this & feel nothing in regards . Some people have way to much time on there hands .Your works are beautiful & plan to save for one hopefully will be able to order if others don't mess it up for the rest of us.Good luck
SamuelColtrane Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2011
I'm afraid, there ain't any possible ways to protect against such online robbery. Paypal is the most safe payment method that we all know about for the moment.

But the authorities shall come up with something better. Me too I'm ashamed to hear that people literally steal the paints from you dear mr afremov.
tunnelinu Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2011  Student Artist
Is it possible to contact Paypal and get them to contact these credit card companies? There must be some way to to prevent them from getting away with this, cause stealing art that is original is just wrong. Plus you are kind enough to give them your art for great bargains.
If possible you should put a tracker on your art so you know exactly where your art is and make sure to save the progress of where your art is. And if the customer says he/she does not have it, you can prove that they do since your art is tracked down. I wish I could help, but I don't have the knowledge have PayPal and I never use credit cards.
vforvengeance Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2011
Watermarks would be the cheapest way to prevent and to cripple the thievery coz traces of retouch-ups would be more visible

JonMWells has a point there, bank checks would be the safest way to cash out your money even it is slow
Leonidafremov Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you for the comments. I do all of the above what you have mentioned. The thing is that people that pay with paypal using a credit card for the paypal balance call their card instead of paypal. The credit card companies take their word and if there is a signature, they say its not mine. The credit cards , especially Amex always take the buyers side
BL8antBand Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
I would do what retailers do, increase the cost of your painting by 5 dollars each (you decide if 5 dollars is enough).

Then it is like you are insuring yourself against the loss.
GeekChyck Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2011  Student Photographer
I would say to go through PayPal and tell them of your situation. Next, send your items via Fedex, where you can see a digital copy of their signature online. Copy and save that. Also write up an buyer's contract, which states that by signing it,they agree that once the item is signed for, it is now theirs with no refunds, and by claiming a refund, they then forfeit their rights and will be subject to a lawsuit. You don't always have to go through with the lawsuit. The threat of it sometimes will be enough. And like we've mentioned, work with Pay Pal. They are very good with buyer and seller protection.
carlylyn Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2011  Professional General Artist
Can you send your packages in a way that forces the customer to sign for the package?
mylittlebluesky Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
Yes! that's a good solution!
FollowinTheBlackBird Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Stop taking credit card orders. I to am sorry to hear you're being taken advantage of. There should be a way to combat this sort of thing.
DoloresMinette Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
yes use paypal and only ship registered mail this way you have proof they received it I'm sorry people have done that to you
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