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Getting a charge back is a little worse than having one’s lunch money taken away by a bully. Friendly fraud is cyber theft by a bully online, who steals money, which we have earned, straight out of our accounts.. They do this by utilizing their rights to initiate charge backs. It is not payment gateways or credit card companies, but the buyers’ issuing bank, reversing the charges and depositing the designers’ fees back into the buyers account . . . no questions asked.

 
It is getting very tiresome to keep reading about designers getting ripped off for their services. This is key; when someone hires a designer to do create a project involving a website or graphic design; they are not paying only for the finished product, but also the time, expertise, the “use” of our purchased programs like Photoshop and all this is figured into the designer’s project fees.

 

What are the issues with automatic charge backs?

There are at least three problems with this. For one, design is subjective. One of the many “charge back codes” states the reason If it is a custom project then there is no way for the designer to really “describe” the product because while we may have a concept in our minds, we don’t generally disclose this up front. The reason for this is that there are too many trying to just pick our brains. For example if I say your logo will have a blue and green wave and the font will be _______ then that potential client, can just take that idea to a less expensive designer and there goes our idea and our fees.

 

 

The second issue is that electronic files can be copied and sent somewhere else. For example if I deliver a website to a client, then they download those files and send them to another domain name, they have the site and they can claim that they just deleted the site so they deserve to have a refund. Well there is no way for the designer to prove they are not still using the website in another host or domain so due to the nature of this type of transaction, it is not fair for any of us to have to provide a refund for any websites. If a site that is delivered is indeed defective in some way, ( a bug or links do not go where they are supposed to go or a form does not send the information entered) then of course these issues should be fixed. That is the responsibility of the designer to produce and deliver a working, functional site.

 

 

The third issue is that we cannot recover the time spent on the project. So while we have the expertise to create a site or graphics way faster and more efficiently than a potential client with no experience can do, once the time is spent it is gone and we need to have the fees for those hours. We cannot just keep giving them up on a client’s whim, as any of the current charge back codes for credit card companies do not even fit into the industry of web or graphic design. They try to frame the situation and they cannot keep getting away with this unlawful and unjust practice. Some clients actually believe that it is just ok to initiate charge backs cause they did not get the site or service they envisioned. Actually it is their responsibility to provide concrete feedback on what is “wrong” and what the designer should do instead. This however leads us to the scope of the project and the contract terms. Most designers will ask for a springboard site or some visuals along with a questionnaire form so that they are not just designing off the top of their heads. Most projects of course go smoothly and a group of revisions is generally included in the contract, so that the client is not forced to just take the first and only design which is presented. However there are those clients who may do the following:

 

 

• Believe they are entitled to endless revisions for one flat fee
• Become angry once they realize that endless revisions are not available and they are told that they will need to pay additional fees, even though this is clearly stated in the contract
• Initiate a charge back because they can get away with it, even though they have received a website or graphic design that was perfectly acceptable within the contract terms.
• Believe that they can just “try out and test” numerous designers all over the web, then initiate charge backs on those they simply do not want. For example they will hire a designer and submit the deposit, only to be doing this with several different designers on the web. This could be one at a time or simultaneously. So what they have been doing is collecting visuals and design concepts for their project folder.

 

The plan however is to initiate the charge back; after lots of work has been done and they have gathered lots of ideas from their “quest”. Then they can take the one web design or graphic they choose to “keep” and initiate charge backs on all others. In essence, they are creating their own “contest” for who will “win” the project, only the other unsuspecting designers believe they are the one who was hired for the project. If we wanted to enter contest sites then this is what we would be spending our time on and not jumping through hoops to please clients.

 

So they have used our time to try us out and may possibly have, all along, planned to do a charge back if they just think another designer’s work is better. Time cannot be recovered. We may be able to use some of the files we have created in other projects, but a custom job is time consuming and once a charge back is done, and we have fees basically stolen right out of our accounts, It takes a long time. . . now even more time used . . . to recover from all of this mess the client created and the majority of the time I would bet they are the only one being dishonest. Not to mention the time needed to fight the charge back. News Flash!!! Web and graphic designers do not go into business and work on the web to design crap on purpose and steal client’s monies. So we are the ones who deserve the benefit of the doubt.
• This is probably the worst scenario. The taking of screenshots. Unscrupulous individuals will actually take screenshots of the visuals of the design work presented to them, be that a logo, an illustration or a website design and layout and then use any of this to do the creating on their own or take the idea to another designer to tweak it with the plan to save money. So they can actually have us work, show our work, then take screenshots of our work and take it to another designer who is charging less per project or per hour and then initiate the charge back to the original designer who is essentially the original designer of the work. It is for this explicit reason that when I see some very good graphics or web layout, I always ask where it came from and what rights they have to use these submissions.

 

 

AND ALL THIS IS IF THEY ARE NOT JUST DISHONEST AND INTENDED TO STEAL FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE PROJECT.

 

I want to know who is reviewing my work at the issuing banks.

 

Are they qualified to analyze a website design and the functions of a site or the quality of a logo?

 

It is not fair for the buyer to have “protection” if merchants are not afforded the same luxury. Status quo until the verdict is in should be the standard practice where, the buyer must be the one to submit the initial “proof” that they have not received what they paid for.

 

There needs to be an overhaul on charge back codes because at the present time, none of them genuinely and truthfully categorize potential issues with virtual items, specifically websites, logos and other graphics

 

With this present code system, it is like they are trying to force a square peg into a round hole. Blanketing the code to try to make it “fit” with their complaint is just pure fraud in itself and complete invalidation of web based workers around the world.

 

We work just as hard and maybe even harder than someone who works for a company, as most of us wear all the “hats” necessary in a company; designer, marketer, accountant and more.

 

I think there should be an online “courtroom” where buyers and sellers get online with the credit card mediator to discuss what was provided and what the buyer supposedly did not receive or for what specific reasons they are so dissatisfied and have to prove their case with us listening to them so we have the opportunity to rebut what is said and immediately send whatever documents to the mediator be they graphics, website links, contracts or emails from the client.

 

So that is my opening argument.  I have much more content to add, but I want to test the page loading and I will probably be spacing out the content, the organizational plans for future within other pages and blog posts.  I am currently determining the site structure.

 

Soon I will be adding information on how I won my PayPal charge backs.  There is a formula that I wish to share, which seems to help with the leverage, in our favor.