Beware of Prime Line Gear / Teepeat / There is No AT-AT

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Since it was brought to my attention from 2 different awesome people that my Bierstadt/Star-Wars homage was sold by Primelinegear without consent, I felt the need to write something about these shopping sites as this is real business and it tends to get worse when people are not in the know.

Please note, the site primelinegear com serves as an educational example here, the points mentioned below should work for any subject and web shop you will stumble upon.


I have to say that the piece itself which can be found as a wallpaper here, is not meant to be sold on the internet. Not on zazzle, not on deviantArt not on Society6 - for the main reason that they have trained staff of people who just crawl the user submitted content and pull down everything that refers in any way to Disney or Lucasfilm, etc.

If it appears anywhere else than on a Wallpaper site, it is most likely not authorized. And if people sell it, they do it at their own risk.

To make your Christmas shopping a bit more safe, here are some ways to spot a fraudulent site or offers if you are unsure.

Following is a list of questions you can ask yourself if a site is legit or not:

Is the artist mentioned?


Tricky situation on this one here because if the site was legit, they would mention at least Albert Bierstadt, Dimitri Kaliviotis, Industrial Light & Magic and my humble self.

Red Flag #1 Set!


Does the site use suspicious tricks to create a sense of urgency?



This site does use a lot of these tricks but they are badly implemented. If they would do it right, they would bind their javascript to individual IP's so that a simple reload does not affect the number of sold items.

Also the counter sets itself back after the time went down. There is no way I could trust this site and that is a bad reputation for the whole business.

Red Flag #2 Set!















Is the offer real? Part 1


You can easily check if the offer is real by waiting for the countdown clock to run out. No worries, if a simple site refresh makes the stock full again, it is highly possible that the offer is still there when the countdown has expired.
Red Flag #3 Set!


Is the offer real? Part 2


Another way, more savvy users can do is to calculate through if an offer might be real. In this case the smallest canvas of this 5 piece wall art uses to cost around $4 at our local printer, now I have 2 of them + 2 that are 1/3rd more and one piece that is nearly twice the size. In my book that makes around 4+4+6+6+8=$28.00 So $1.95 might be their revenue by on-demand. Better rates when having huge numbers in stock of course but the amount of stretcher bars needed for such a piece is ridiculous and that does not allow for a much cheaper base price. TL:DR - The result is that they might have a number of these in advance but they can't make much profit, the profit comes when the orders pour in and after the notification of shipment is out (which will never really happen of course), they have 30 days to shut the site off and leave the country.
Red Flag #4 Set!

Get real feedback | what others say


I had the luck that a loyal supporter fb friend mentioned me in this post from It's Dark Side Thing where you can spot some immediate feedback about their bad check-out experience (just put top comments first)
Either my DCMA report has worked and they just keep the offer on their site to tease people or it is THE scam it seems to be.
Not easy to find this kind of feedback, in this case it helps to find facebook related pages that are legit and watch those items and their commentsections before you plunge into the X-Mas shopping season. Red Flag #5 Set!

What does a "whois" lookup tell me?


This one is less for the casual shopper but the nerd or in my case someone who is being ripped can dig a bit further on what is beneath the ugly surface.
#1 they hide their physical address 
Red Flag #6 Set!

#2 Interesting to note here is the Status: clientRenewProhibited, this means the following:

"This status code tells your domain's registry to reject requests to renew your domain. It is an uncommon status that is usually enacted during legal disputes or when your domain is subject to deletion."
Source: https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/epp-status-codes-2014-06-16-en



Woohoo, who wants to buy from a seller whose website or domain is about to expire?
Red Flag #7 Set!

#3 Another no-no is the time stamp for the domain and when it was created: September 17 -2016, what a nice date for the Christmas season to blow out a shop from nowhere!
But that isn't suspicious AT ALL.
Red Flag #8 Set!

Proof for a Case

Btw. since comments might be deleted, I will keep snapshots from facebook comments as they appear for documentation. But to save privacy, I refrain from posting them here, let me know if you want them for a case, lawsuit, etc.
Personally I refrain from getting a lawyer involved, as these kinda businesses seem hard to catch, chances are very cloudy and time spent - in no relation to a return.
With this blog post I can use their bad for something good.

Final Words TL:DR

Finally this is about YOUR money, if it is a lot money, these simple steps won't take you long but can save you bad feelings and money.

If your desire and budget is high there is hope that this article might find you before you blow money out of the open window.

Another point is that most nerds or geeks are eager to support the artists directly, bad cards for seller who don´t give a shit about artists. Wrong market. These sites come and go.
Real artists are here to stay.


If you still want that AT-AT piece...

...unfortunately there are only a few options from here:

  • You can request a download in exchange for a protective charge by using the contact form here
  • You can keep an eye on my shop where it is available in very limited quantities from time to time (sorry not before x-mas)
  • You can go to the Clubhouse Collective and get it as a unique print on a wooden board
  • You can also stop by on a booth at a Comic Con in Germany (check my fb-page to be notified where)
  • You can go to my deviantArt page and download the Wallpaper, its essentially the same file Prime Line Gear uses, so the quality might be the same when you go to your local printer.


Edit Dec. 2016:

Apparently, the method is not just limited to one site only, as the site Teepeat .com uses the exact same image and site to boot: https://teepeat.com/products/at-at
Only a less original logo on the upper left suggests that this is a different page.
And they use the exact same post on facebook to promote the product via it's a dark side thing:


Edit January 2017

According to the following video from Commenter Oskar Lure, unboxing the ordered 5-piece-canvas from teepeat/primelinegear appears also to be a DIY solution. If you are in luck there are even stretcher bars inside tha package. Not sure if that is what everyone else has received, if you got it mounted, you can count yourself very very lucky.

                       
PayPal refunds:

One loyal person who ordered via PayPal got back to me with some hopefully helpful information, regarding a refund:
"I contacted paypal the other day and they said if articles are not genuine you have grounds to dispute a payment. I disputed it on these grounds and within a day prime line issued me a refund. It currently shows on my paypal account. I'll have to wait and see if it actually makes it through to my account, but its good to know that if anyone has bought any of this stuff via paypal they are entitled to dispute it, and it seems prime line wont even put up a fight. I just said that it was poor quality, and also believed to be counterfeit as it breached copyright laws."

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Written by

Oliver aka Fantasio is a creative blogger who likes to share his insights about art, marketing and social media. Follow Fantasio on twitter or facebook

37 comments:

  1. Anonymous11/25/2016

    Thank you. Very valuable blog.
    Greetings from Germany. Oliver

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous11/28/2016

    Thanks for the blog post. Stopped me from buying this, even though I love the artwork itself. Great job on it. Just out of curiosity, are you able to sell this piece of work, and if so, how would one purchase it from you, instead of this fly-by-night scam website?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, I´m glad you found this article useful!
      Since I got many inquiries over the past weeks, I added some options at the very bottom of the article on where to get the AT-AT piece.

      Please understand, since I´m in a grey-area with the work itself, I have to limit availability to stay in a green spot. If there will be other options in the future, they will be added here.

      Thanks for reading,
      best, Oliver


      Delete
    2. Great piece!

      Thank you for debunking this scam just before I clicked Buy! I promised my son his choice of "5 panel Star Wars poster" for Christmas, and your work was his immediate choice.

      I'd still like to "buy" this for him. I downloaded your wallpaper version (thank you!) but would you consider offering a higher resolution for me to print at BayPhoto (or similar company)? I'd like to return the favor by making a donation (but not a royalty, because then that might put you in a grayer area!).

      Thanks! steven AT-AT kan dot org.

      Delete
    3. @Steven Kan I sent you an email but your mail quota is full ;)
      I have found an option to make limited downloads available upon request, please get in touch via my contact form http://www.fantasio.info/p/contact.html
      With a working email address I can forward the option to you.

      Thanks again for your comment and I'm glad you found this article helpful.
      Best,
      Oliver

      Delete
  3. I unfortunately got scammed... :( I did have a bad feeling, but got SO excited about the work that I lost my senses and just placed the order without thinking it through. I just really LOVE it to bits!

    I'm sorry I helped them profit from using your intellectual property :( ...Also I'm pretty damn sorry and angry for myself, because that money was A LOT to me :(
    I would still REALLY want to get a print of some sort, but now probably can't afford one for a while :( But would it be possible to buy it from you in digital format in a bigger size (bigger than the desktop wallpaper).

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, how did it went for you? Did they just charge your card and you got nothing in return or did you at least got what you ordered?
      I believe it might help others who stumble about this article and fear their money is lost.

      From my end, I have to say I see it realistic and to some extent it is promotion/advertising for my work that I could not afford otherwise.

      Other than that, I´m on my way to a convention, for more information please send me an email through the contact form. A reply might take a few days now though. Thanks.
      Oliver

      Delete
    2. Anonymous12/02/2016

      I also got scammed:'( Fell SO stupid. Over $60 just gone!

      Delete
    3. Anonymous12/27/2016

      I got scammed too I bought 2 prints and never got anything in return :( I paid by card and I really wish I had saw this post before I lost a lot of money.

      Delete
  4. Stop me just in time I was looking for discount coupons when stumble on this.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Also bought this print for my son for Xmas. The reply email they sent looked a little strange and after not hearing anything further from them, I tried to contact them without any success. When you hit the order status icon, it just time you out. Which is how I came to see this article. Thank you so much for writing this,and want to say how much I enjoyed looking at your website. I contacted my credit card company and, luckily, they are going to remove the charge. Over a hundred dollars is a lot to lose at this time of the year, or at anytime for that matter. Will definitely be ordering straight from the artist from now on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot for sharing your experience with us, I hope it helps others as well. I´m glad you enjoyed the site and found this article just in time. All the best and a happy holiday season!
      Oliver

      Delete
  6. I also got caught up in this scam. Ordered the framed print for my son. When I went on their site to check the status, the tracking icon just times out or says page no longer exists. I now have learned a lesson, to investigate the company further. Luckily, my credit card company is going to give us a credit. Thank you for writing this article!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous12/07/2016

    I also ordered the print from them. I tried to get an order number via their site and like others stated, it times out always. A few days ago I got a message from them on Facebook providing an order # and a tracking number. The shipment is coming from China. There has been no update on the shipping other than the acceptance of the request. Waiting to see what happens next.

    I'm waiting to see if anything comes of this before I go try to claim fraud either through Bank or Amazon Payments. If I lose out on the money its a lesson learned.

    I did notice on one of their Facebook posts however they gave another person a tracking number and a link to track it, but when clicked it states the tracking number is invalid.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wrote the previous thread and had been trying for two weeks to get some answers. If you look closely at the number provided, it isn't a legitimate phone number, missing a digit.

      Delete
  8. Anonymous12/09/2016

    So when I saw this item in my facebook news feed, I immediately started googling for scams.
    Couldn't find any bad stuff, and I didn't expect that facebook would shove suggested post advertisement into my face when they are fraudulent.
    Site being amazon and paypal verified according to themselves, I bought it with Amazon.

    I ordered this item on the 23rd of November, so before this post was written.
    No items have been sent to me yet, and I cannot get my order details either because the site times out, but only when I try to look up my order.

    Today I got another similar advertisement in my facebook feed, from another site selling similar canvas paintings.

    I've now filed a claim with Amazon as a result.
    Broken dreams :(

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous12/13/2016

    I bought one of these canvases and they took the money out of my account on the 2nd of december. Ive tried contacting them to see if I could track my item but when it sent me to a china tracking website I kinda realized I got scammed. If I call my bank and tell them it was fraud would they return my money? Please anyone who knows help me out. I shouldve researched the company a bit more but Ive learned my lesson thus far. As of now Im just trying to get my money back so if anyone knows how/if its possible to get my money back that would be great!

    ReplyDelete
  10. So, have people at least be receiving what they purchased? Or is it just a big scam and getting nothing in return?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anonymous12/13/2016

    I ordered a print off these at the beginning of November, they have sent me a tracking number. Sometimes it works and it tells where it is being shipped to other times the tracking doesn't work. I have sent a message to them on the ask a question part and they said it should be here shortly. I really don't know what to think anymore

    ReplyDelete
  12. I ordered from Prime Line back on the 17th of November... started looking into this issue when I hadn't received any notice of it being shipped. The "look up your order" actually worked a few times (like just bringing up a cached webpage) but never said fulfilled. Got anxious and Googled Prime Line Gear and found this article. Thankfully, I used Amazon Payment and was able to submit a claim ... I cited this article in the claim, as well as sending an email to their "support" address with a demand for cancel/refund. I now get to wait to see if Amazon will approve the claim.

    Apologies to Mr. Wetter for aiding these scumbags in stealing his work for their grubby little criminal hands.

    I was so looking forward to offering this AT-AT 5-piece to my son for a "you got into College!" gift. Too good to be true ... is. I should have known better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment and for sharing your case. I hope it helps to forward this article, I can only do so much. I had a talks with a lawyer the other day, but since they have no physical address and the company and the distributor most likely are residing in China or maybe on the moon, it is hard for even company-lawyers to get and catch them. That is the reason this article is the only help here right now in the hope that others are warned at least.

      I don´t mind if someone else gets the money for my art - that is business, in many legally perfect contracts, the artist gets tiny royalties while others rake in the benefits;) In this case it had however publicity effect that I could have not afforded otherwise - I only hoped they could have fulfilled the demand they created, that would have at least not left such a bad aftertaste for many.

      Delete
  13. Anonymous12/14/2016

    I have a similar experience. I ordered the piece shown on Teepeat.com I got an order confirmation email and a shipping email with a working tracking number but I have had that for over a week and the tracking info still says its being prepared to ship. I got an email from them saying they cancelled my order and when I inquired why and that I had not requested a cancellation I got an email back saying it was an error and it had not been canceled and was actually shipped already. My credit card still has not been charged but after reading this I don't have any real expectation of getting the piece.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I ordered a pullover on this website and i feel so stupid. Never came and it's been two months. is there anything i can do to get my money back? they don't answer my messeges, neither comments which got worse cause they all get deleted.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It depends; If you purchased via PayPal you have 90 days to claim a refund if you can send a proof that you not have received anything or if you believe it is counterfeit/ fraudulent offer. I believe their name is in a red list on Amazon and Paypal.
      However, I have not heard yet from anyone having successfully getting a refund. But it also could be because in the pre-holiday season, PayPal also has a lot to do. I´ll keep an eye on that and update the article as soon as I hear anything about that matter. GL

      Delete
  15. damn it.. I got scammed too..! outrageous.. now i feel i was so naive. Didn't even bothered doing a little research before. Just ordered quickly cuz i needed it for Christmas!
    Someone is laughing now, while drinking a cocktail in some random exotic island!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I have the same problem. I ordered a canvas print in November, never received confirmation email or an order #. Yet I did receive an email from them with a 10% off coupon thanking me for my previous order. They charged my account in November. But so far I have not received the item, nor have I been able to contact anyone at the company. I tried emailing them and going to their facebook page with no response. I do not have an order # or tracking # to try on the website, but it sounds like it doesn't work anyway. My bank (USAA) is refunding my $168 as a disputed charge and will be attempting to contact the company themselves to recover the funds. If you have an awesome bank like I do, you might try that route.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Anonymous12/16/2016

    Very useful blogpost. Thank you. Found a canvas on teepeat.com that I was about to order but just had a feeling something was a bit off. Wish i would have been wrong.
    Guess I´ll just haveto keep looking, to bad since i just managed to convince my wife that a stormtrooper would fit in perfectly over the couch =)

    Thanks again.
    Best regards
    nortish@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. Anonymous12/17/2016

    So I fell for this as well. After 2 weeks of nothing I searched and came upon this page as well as pages upon pages of complaints under their advertisements on Facebook. They dated back months and all were the same issue. Ordered and didn't receive their product. I sent them an email saying I wanted to cancel, and after a week got nothing. I then filed a complaint through PayPal. I had a refund message within an hour. The money was in my PayPal account today and I transferred it to my account today. Hopefully by Tuesday next week it will be in my bank.

    I also filed a complaint to Facebook about both Prime Line and Teepeat. I pointed to this page and told of what I had seen in their posts about complaints. I haven't seen it spam on my feed since. Hopefully others don't fall for this and it stays off of my feed.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Got scammed too it seems. Thank god I paid with amazon payments they have a-z buyer protection so I'll get my money back after they're done looking into it!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Anonymous12/22/2016

    Its been over a month for me. Ordered off of prime line gear, and nothing has shown up at my door step. Got charged tho. Tried to track the order and it says that it dosent excist. Tried to check the website and it says to come back later. This sucks.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Anonymous12/25/2016

    They actually have multiple websites that look exactly the same but with different names such as PrimeLineGear, Teepeat,PrintApollo, and PrintGlaze. After reading your article, I was very suspicious of this retailer and noticed they don't even have any kind of customer support information which is very shady. But I really love the way the piece looks so I decided to take the risk and purchase it anyway. Luckily for me, the 5-piece canvas arrived in less than 3 weeks which is impressive considering the tracking info shows that it was sent from China. I'm sorry that the artist isn't getting credit for his work and it's likely that Disney didn't consent to the use of the Star Wars license either. I'm happy with the merchandise I received but I would recommend everyone take caution when making these kinds of purchases.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Anonymous1/08/2017

    Hi

    I have ordered items from Prime Line on 25th October in the order of over $200. Until know I have not received any items and have no reply to emails, facebook messages or even calls to a none existing phone number in California, all from Prime Line Gear.

    Questions has anyone else experienced the same crap service from this fraudulent company and if so did they ever get their money back or any of their items??? Or more importantly get any contact from the company???

    If anyone has had a reply from PrimeLine Gear please share the details so i can call or email them and offer them my special thanks for stealing my money.

    Thanks Tim
    timears@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  23. Anonymous1/13/2017

    Hi good people of the internet. I found this article too late:/

    In this video (In Norwegian) I recived my purchase. Unpacking around 03.40:

    https://www.facebook.com/oskarlure/videos/1794092857509955/


    -Oskar

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Oskar, thanks for sharing your video. Are there stretcher bars at least? It seems it is a Do-it-yourself image. Sorry, don't understand the language. If you can explain a bit more in a comment, I guess that would help others as well.
      Thanks and best regards,
      Oliver

      Delete
  24. Anonymous1/13/2017

    This is a terrible company! I placed an order back in November and no one knows what is going on with it?! This is absolutely ridiculous and unacceptable! I WANT MY REFUND!!!!!! I should have read what everyone else wrote, you steal money from people giving them false promises of products!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I ordered 2 sets from teepeat just before xmas, I only ordered the canvas sets and they arrived yesterday direct from china. I'll make up the wooden boxes myself as cheaper than shipping them

    ReplyDelete
  26. I ordered this (with your artwork) from Prime Line on Black Friday 2016 and have yet to receive them (it's February). Now I know why! Time to try and get a refund...

    ReplyDelete

 

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