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Unread 12-04-2012, 05:01 PM   #1
HoudinisGirl
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cosplay scam- looking for advice

Hi there,

This is my first post in the forums, so hello to everyone and thanks for having me.

In early August, I bought one of the famous "chesthugger corsets" from Carlos Blanchard of Rage Custom Creations after seeing it linked on Yaya Han's Facebook page. Carlos strung me along for about two months, saying there was a problem with the corsets he'd ordered and promising to do things like giving me a free Xenomorph necklace as an apology for the wait.

It's now been 4 months (corset was supposed to be shipped within 2-3 weeks) and Carlos has not answered any of my emails or my requests for a refund of the $263.95 I paid for the corset. He has basically dropped off the face of the earth. Paypal will not help because they have a 45-day limit on disputes from the date of purchase.

I thought Carlos was trustworthy. He is the Cosplay Director for Florida Super Con and has been all over the cosplay community with interviews and photo shoots. But he scammed me out of more than $250- and I know I'm not the only one. At least one other person who ordered the corset is having the same problem.

What should I do?
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Unread 12-04-2012, 05:14 PM   #2
Ithlia
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Well, the first thing I would do is maybe ask Yaya Han how he is as a person, while giving this story to her (only make it a little shorter). I mean, I would imagine she knows more about him than you do since she has worked with him. However, she is also busy so she might not get back to you quickly.

Second, I would try to continue and look for people who have also purchased from him. If this is a first time thing, I would honestly assume that he is extremely busy, or something personal has happened where he can't deal with business right now. It's important to understand that sometimes important family things come up.

However, I would keep sending him e-mails periodically. If he doesn't respond soon, I would go to your bank and see if they can do anything about it :\
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Unread 12-04-2012, 07:32 PM   #3
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Get in contact with your bank and tell them the situation, sometimes they can get your money back. I wouldn't wait any longer, the longer you wait the harder it's going to be to get you your money, and if he hasn't been responding, I doubt suddenly he'll pop up and send you your corset.

Make sure to wright a review of this guy too in the commissioner review section so people can avoid this guy!

Good luck, I hope you can get at least some of what you gave him back!
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Unread 12-04-2012, 09:07 PM   #4
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I was an idiot and used BillMeLater through PayPal. I should have used my credit card- they would refund it with no issues! I'll call BillMeLater tomorrow and see what they say, but I've definitely learned my lesson.

Thanks for the replies. I will see if I can get in touch with Yaya too, and yes, I will definitely write a review of this guy!
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Unread 12-04-2012, 09:55 PM   #5
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I am not quite sure I understand the sort of business that you bought this through, but if it is a legitimate business you can file a report through the better business bureau.
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Unread 12-12-2012, 08:50 PM   #6
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I think you should remember one thing:

Yaya Han may have had a good experience buying from this person. However, she is one of the better known cosplayers in the western world. Thus, it is likely that she was given preferential treatment above non-name customers.

It's just like the case of a notoriously scummy talent agency that signs everyone and relies on kickback schemes... They have one real working actor with a recognisable face if not name signed, and he is the only one that they treat well and make genuine commission from.
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Unread 12-12-2012, 09:52 PM   #7
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I'm really glad usuyukisou came in here and pretty much said what I was thinking. You said it a lot more politely than I would have.

It's friggin' ridiculous enough as is that there's well-known cosplayers who are happy to rely on B.S., broken, "look at meeeee I'm (pretending to be) famous" behaviour and hardly care about how much beauty-pageant-style elitism it enforces onto everyone else. (And why would they care? They benefit personally from that system. As long as they're the centre of attention on a pedestal, there's no problems).

The fact that this seller is now, whether intentionally or not, giving preferential treatment is unprofessional and irresponsible. So, frankly, I don't think you should bother finding out "how he is as a person", especially not from someone who has nothing to do with your business situation. ESPECIALLY not from someone whom the seller has deliberately placed you on unequal footing with. Your money is as good as anyone else's. He took your money and refused to give you the product. He failed to provide any reason or notice as to why the delays have been happening. Short of being abducted or stranded in the desert, I'm really not seeing why you should bother with a character reference. You are his customer, not an audience member on Oprah. Wasting your time to find out about his feels only scams you further.

Talk to your bank, and keep contacting the seller if you can. Hell, if it doesn't end up costing you more money, look into small claims? It's a bit of a political headache, but it might be a viable option for getting the money back.
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Unread 12-13-2012, 07:43 PM   #8
HoudinisGirl
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Yaya was actually very helpful. She replied within 2 days apologizing, saying she would not endorse a product that was not being delivered, and saying she had emailed Carlos and advised him to refund my money.

Around the same time, a very kind member of this forum directed my post to the person who runs Florida Super Con 2013 (where Carlos Blanchard is the cosplay director). It is my understanding that the Super Con bigwig said he'd talk to Carlos about this issue.

After those two things happened, Carlos finally posted on his FB timeline apologizing. Still no refund. Still no corset. Still no response other than that FB post, in which Carlos asked that his customers refrain from contacting anyone not involved with the situation, since Carlos is "solely responsible."

There's a bit more to the story, but I don't want to ramble too long. My lawyer, who also happens to be my dad, has gotten involved now and I don't know what's going to happen. I do know, this being my first time actually commissioning an item rather than making it myself, that I will be steering clear of the process in the future. I'd rather have a half-ass item I made myself than go through all this again.
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Unread 12-14-2012, 12:04 AM   #9
Ithlia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HoudinisGirl View Post
Yaya was actually very helpful. She replied within 2 days apologizing, saying she would not endorse a product that was not being delivered, and saying she had emailed Carlos and advised him to refund my money.

Around the same time, a very kind member of this forum directed my post to the person who runs Florida Super Con 2013 (where Carlos Blanchard is the cosplay director). It is my understanding that the Super Con bigwig said he'd talk to Carlos about this issue.

After those two things happened, Carlos finally posted on his FB timeline apologizing. Still no refund. Still no corset. Still no response other than that FB post, in which Carlos asked that his customers refrain from contacting anyone not involved with the situation, since Carlos is "solely responsible."

There's a bit more to the story, but I don't want to ramble too long. My lawyer, who also happens to be my dad, has gotten involved now and I don't know what's going to happen. I do know, this being my first time actually commissioning an item rather than making it myself, that I will be steering clear of the process in the future. I'd rather have a half-ass item I made myself than go through all this again.
I'm glad Yaya took the time to actually contact the guy. She is one of those very well-known cosplayers that actually helps other people out and doesn't sit on a high horse. However, I still think it is bad on his part to not refund you your money, but he isn't getting endorsed by Yaya anymore either. At least your father is a lawyer, I really hope he gets this sorted out for you
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Unread 12-14-2012, 02:44 AM   #10
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The "would not endorse a product that was not being delivered" bit confuses me. How would one enact that? Pulling down photos of the product? Withdrawing support for advertising? Although granted, it's genuinely helpful that someone whom the seller would actually listen to has stepped in to try rectifying people who have been screwed over. It's pretty ironic that he's asking people not to involve third parties when that appears to be what got him to step up and (kinda sorta) take responsibility.

I just can't believe you got messed up with your money like this. People shouldn't pull this kind of crap in the first place. Did someone with that much visibility just think he'd get away with this and that nobody would say anything ever? :S


That aside, if you have someone who is a legal representative involved, even if they're your family, it would be best to keep things quiet until after this issue is resolved. Better to be careful and keep the issue to your personal life and not write or post much about it because it could potentially compromise your case. Good luck, though, I hope you get your money back. I'm sorry to hear this happened. I'm so nervous to commission or order pre-made costumes because of how often I read stuff like this on the forums, so I can't blame you. It makes cosplay times unhappy and it makes it harder for the legitimate commissioners who work hard to get the business they need.
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Unread 12-27-2012, 05:32 PM   #11
HoudinisGirl
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refund received

I finally received my refund this past Friday, 12/21/2012. Carlos refunded the full $263.95. I will be updating my review soon to reflect this, but I want to collect my thoughts about the situation first.

This refund happened after 3 very serious developments:

1) My lawyer contacted Carlos and advised that this would become a legal issue if something wasn't done to remedy the situation.
2) Yaya Han contacted Carlos as well, because his actions were obviously affecting her reputation as well.
3) The head honcho at Florida Super Con 2013 was notified of what Carlos was doing, and from what I understand he discussed the situation with Carlos also.

Before these things happened, Carlos had been ignoring my emails and inquiries for three months straight. Within a week of these other people getting involved, Carlos posted on his page explaining that he'd had personal issues and that the corsets would be sent out soon. Within 3 weeks of that post, Carlos refunded my money. Carlos has been very inconsistent with his account of what happened (I have an email from him dated 09/07/12 saying he had all the materials for the corsets, but now he is saying he only got the materials a few weeks ago) and it does not seem likely that the complete story will emerge any time soon.

I have kept an eye on Rage Custom Creations' FB page. The corsets have not yet been delivered. I still would not recommend Rage Custom Creations to anyone. I still feel like I gave Carlos an interest-free loan for nearly five months, and that bothers me. I am irritated by the fact that I had to involve my lawyer (who also happens to be my dad), because the average person doesn't have a lawyer who will help them in situations like this. I was fortunate to have that connection.

However, the situation has been resolved and I can now move on. I'm glad I got the refund. Thank you to everyone who offered advice and especially to those who helped bring this matter to resolution.
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