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Frequent sale reversals

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I'm curious if anyone else is noticing an upwards moving trend for sales reversals? I've had 3 in the last 3 months and it's 3 more than I've had in a year prior. One of the reversals was even for an amount that was higher than the original earnings!

This seems very suspicious that someone would be allowed access to a full resolution file and then be able to return it, without us knowing whether the photo has already been used, or if a copy will be retained by customers. 


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No noticeable increase in refuns here, though I know others will remark on having the same experience as you.


What puzzles me is how a refund can be greater than the original sale. Are you sure it was a not a refund then resale at a higher amount? Currency fluctuations might account for a higher refund, but Alamy shoudl carry the can for currency changes, not the contributor. Have you queried that refund with them? I think you should.

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You made me wonder here and I think you are right. So I went further in the sale history. The sale I saw posted on 10 July 2019, but the reversal, which was the same day, has this description: "Sale refunded - Original sale date (25 June 2019)". There is indeed that same image sold on 25 June 2019, at the same price that was refunded. It was then repurchased at a lower price. So that makes sense. But 15 days seems too long of a period for refunds, especially if the image was purchased for "One time use only". 2+ weeks is more than enough to use it, and get the full value... 

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Alas, sales refunds can appear after many days, weeks or even months. Fortunately, in my own experience they are not too common and many that are refunded are repurchased at a different price later - usually because the new usage licence is slightly different.


I'm not  a publishing professsional but it's my understanding that images purchased may sometimes be placed in a draft publication. which is then rejected by the final client at final proofreading in favour of some other image (or none). These unused images are, by convention, refunded by the agency. Refunding unused images makes business sense for Alamy in the long term as the client comes back to the agency for their next images, though it many not seems to make sense for the individual contributor who loses the sale. The lead time for some publications, especially books, runs into months, hence some long delays in refunds being processed.


It may be that the system is gamed by some purchasers who claim refunds simply in order to get their hands on a high resolution file, but I think that is probably less common than we sometimes feel. I've never tried it personally, but I suspect there are almost certainly easier ways of pirating images than buying them from Alamy and then claiming a refund.

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That's a helpful perspective. I haven't considered clients reviewing/rejecting proposals. Makes sense that it could take time. 


I think I'll continue to observe the frequency and if it continues to grow, I might flag it to Alamy.


Thanks for your help, Joseph

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