Janet Boyer on the Into the Parabnormal Show with Jeremy Scott
Coffee Tarot Majors .GIF

It's Not Nice to Rip Off Hard Working Tarot Creators

I've always stood up for artists and authors trying to make a living, especially in the face of childish boycotts, petty blackballing and rampant slander. Now, I'm standing with my colleagues James Battersby and Christine Aguilar. Read on for their harrowing experience with the "Bully from Cyprus"...

James and Christine

Most customers we deal with are honest people . Tarot artists build their businesses on reliable customers, deck sales, and a good reputation for quality service and products. Every once in awhile, someone problematic comes onto the scene who challenges this. Recently, it's come to our attention there's an individual who targets indie deck makers in an elaborate scam to build his Tarot collection. While I understand deck prices are high, that's no excuse for this deplorable behavior. Deck costs are high because production cost is high. We also have shipping to consider, which has gone up considerably in the last couple of years. It takes an artist lots of man hours--months, and even years in some cases, to produce a quality deck of cards. For example, Twisted Tarot Tales took almost two years to complete.

Meanwhile, we have to rely on profits from previous work and side projects to pay the rent. It's not easy living off your craft. So when someone comes along who routinely tries to score a free deck of cards, it comes out of our pockets. This is not just a hobby for some deck creators: it's also a means of livelihood .

People who buy from "Battersby Tarots" get a quality product. We also attempt to do our best to please customers, as well as shipping products in a timely manner. We just ended our first Indiegogo campaign and so far we managed to ship out all the decks on time and include our special printed tarot bags with the higher tier contributions as a way of saying thanks for the support.

7 of Swords Twisted
7 of Swords from Twisted Tarot Tales

Returning to the topic: there's a "customer" whom we will call "Mr, Cyprus" (yes, I'm including his country because I feel deck creators need to be able to identify him. Also. his victims will know who I'm talking about). Unbeknownst to me, he is notorious for pulling a non-receipt scam. One person I spoke with called him an "evil genius". He orders decks from indie tarot artists, claims non receipt, inundates the victim's email box with threats--as well as foul language and abuse (he called me, Christine, a c*nt--demanding a refund . He's done similar things with charge-backs in the Kickstarter campaigns he participates in. The shocking thing about all this is he's been getting away with it for a couple years now. Artists don't really want to speak out about Mr. Cyprus for fear of reprisal or revenge. His messages are quite nasty, trust me.

We first became aware of his potential for being problematic with the last Tarot deck we published. He ordered a deck from us, claimed non-receipt and I promptly refunded him. Jimmy and I take great care to keep customers happy. Like other artists, we don't want negative feedback about our business. We also just published a deck which proved to be very controversial (Cultural Revolution Tarot). The last thing we wanted was a bad feedback about our service posted in some retaliatory thread on Aeclectic or some other card collector's forum. I promptly contacted the printer who can back up what I'm saying about Mr. Cyprus's complaint. He told me they didn't receive a returned parcel with his details on it.

Fast forward a year later. Mr. Cyprus orders our new Twisted Tarot Tales deck. In between this time, another Tarot merchant complained to us about Mr Cyprus on his Kickstarter. He was pledging, cancelling and sending nasty messages. He did this several times driving the seller nuts. Ultimately, the artist barred him from making a contribution to his campaign. I kept this in mind. Again, he claimed non-receipt. This time I gave him the tracking number from the printer. I also contacted the printer who told me to wait a few more days, because decks could take as long as 25 business days to arrive in the post. The customer service representative said he would issue either a refund or deck replacement if the customer hasn't received the item by that time.

Mr. Cyprus then emailed me and told me he couldn't make sense out of the tracking number. He then accused me of trying to save money by getting a bogus tracking number. I replied I most certainly did not save money; it cost me extra for the number. I purchased the tracking available through the printer who uses Hong Kong Post. I set up a replacement deck, but he was pressing me for a refund. It was at this point I decided to talk to a few close artist friends about Mr. Cyprus. We discovered they also heard of him and were among the artists who had unfortunate encounters with him resulting in a loss of money, decks and time for all involved. JImmy went a step further and posted Mr. Cyprus's name on his Facebook wall. A few artists responded via messages and gave us quite a story about his scams, abuses and threats going back a couple of years. They all agreed he was notorious for his "forced refunds", "vile words" and spamming inboxes with nasty, profanity-laced emails.

8 of Swords twisted
8 of Swords from Twisted Tarot Tales

Mr. Cyprus decided I was next on his spam list after I confronted him with my suspicions. He informed me of his numerous orders and, of course, some of them are bound to get lost in the mail. I inform him of all the orders for decks, books and bags I've received over the years, and how I have never had a parcel go completely missing until I started dealing with him. Initially, I told him I would require another address for shipments, but in lieu of new facts, I would never deal with this person again.

Meanwhile, the printer has dispatched yet another deck to this customer who, instead of feeling some remorse for his abusive language and veiled threats, has taken it upon himself to contact another Tarot artist and accuse him of giving me information about his shady dealings! The funny thing is, that particular artist never came to mind--and I never mentioned him at all.

So, his list of past victims grows.

Scam or missing decks? You decide. I decided this customer isn't worth the risk. Between the printer and myself , his claims of non-receipt cost us about $200.

Note from Janet: John Yiacoupis from Cyprus--the jig is up.

-- Janet

Comments

Christiane Hayes

Oh my goodness! Thank you so much for the warning. We need a kind of central blacklist of people like that.

Janet Boyer

You're most welcome, Christiane! From what I hear, this may be the only guy on such a list though... :oP

Christiane Hayes

Lol thank the gods for that, but perhaps we can fill the list with other bad eggs, such as those who produce counterfeit decks, trolls etc. but I know this would be difficult to manage. At least these people do tend to get exposed sooner or later.

Janet Boyer

I've never had any experience with those types--just self-appointed "authority" figures who blacklist, boycott and slander. But, they're already here on my blog somewhere, so... LOL!

christine aguiar

I wish there were some kind of bad customer or scammer list. If I would of known about him it might have saved us a bit of money and grief.

Janet Boyer

Thing is, the person who MAKES and maintains such a list would have to be objective and above reproach. Otherwise, it could end up being a slanderous Blackball list... Too bad so many in Tarot are so darn untrustworthy.

Andrea Condie

Hi there,
I found you by looking this guy up! He's just done the same thing to me and I only sold him the Julia Cuccia Watts Journey into Egypt deck and book, brand new, for £80 on Ebay. He would've paid around £150 if he'd purchased directly from Julia's website, he complianed it arrived late, then complained that I'd listed the deck as OOP to "get more money", he harrassed me all the way through and gave me terrible feedback, I've had 100% feedback for years. This man is a very nasty individual and I feel very sorry for anyone who has to deal with him. He makes one feel awful. I'm so sorry you've been at the end of one of his nasty scams but I have to say I do feel better now I've learned I'm not the only person to be unforunate to cross paths with him. I'm going to do all I can to tell as many people as I can about him.
Andrea

Janet Boyer

I am so sorry you had this happen to you, too, Andrea. Did you happen to use PayPal? They're really good about rectifying sales. You could even report this guy as a repeat thief. Thanks for stopping by and take care. -- Janet

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