Fake discounts and buyers misleading on Envato

I know this topic will soon be unlisted because of censorship (since Envato does that for every topic where authors identify serious problems about Envato), but I hope to get some replies before it happens.

I’m sure many of you saw some authors offering “discounts” and “special promotions”. Usually, they do so during product launch. If they price item at $49 (just an example), they add fake advertisement text to preview images like “special introductory price, only $49” and add higher price (like $89) next to it, misleading buyers that item’s actual price is $89 and they can buy it for $49 for very limited time only. Some authors run fake campaigns for months (found one who did it for 2 years straight) even if it’s clearly against Envato TOS - https://help.author.envato.com/hc/en-us/articles/360000471763-Discount-Promotional-Pricing-Guidelines

So, almost 2 months ago I found an author who violated TOS much more seriously. Not only he was running “special promotion” for years on some products, but he also added extra badges to preview images. These badges claimed "unconditional, no questions asked money back guarantee" and similar stuff, which also violates TOS. This is what happened after I reported him…

1 week of waiting - no single response. So I raised this question on forums and it was unlisted the same day. Thankfully, moderator who unlisted this topic contacted someone from Envato asking to take a look. And they did. One of author’s items was temporarily disabled, but was re-added next day (with false badges removed from preview images). Not great, not terrible…

Then I discovered the same author runs more fake offers and misleads buyers. He added fake discount badges to his new item, claiming that item price will be increased from $49 to $89 after “special offer” ends. So I waited 30 days, hoping author will honor his words and increase item’s price. Of course, that never happened. So I reported him again. And guess what…

1 week of waiting - no response.
2 weeks of waiting - no response. So I contacted the same moderator, asking to take a look again. He promised to do so, and several days later I received an email from Envato that ticket was assigned to a wrong person and this time they will surely take a look at this. Sounds good…
3 weeks of waiting - no further response.
4 weeks of waiting - no further response.
Finally, today I received an email that Envato took actions against the scammer. Do you want to know their actions? They asked seller to remove fake discount badge from preview image. Seller did so and continues selling products again without a single consequence. And one of his items was already disabled in the past because of same violations!

At this point, I completely lost my trust in Envato. I realize they don’t care (because if some authors mislead buyers into buying products, Envato earns a great share), but it shows a great disrespect to honest authors who strictly follow every single rule of Envato. Because some scammers continue violating TOS multiple times and everything Envato does is ask them to stop doing so for a while…

I would like to hear your thoughts before the topic gets locked/unlisted. If you have any success stories (how your reports caused removal of some item or even author account), let me know and restore my trust in this marketplace…

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Yes, you are correct. Moreover, lots of authors in WordPress niche offer money-back guarantee, promises of future updates, free customization/installation services as a bonus with the purchase etc etc. The funny thing is it’s not 1 or 3 authors who are doing this, but almost everyone (including Elite authors as well).

Envato don’t care about those violations because they earn a flat cut per each sale. And these authors don’t care as well.

@phpmillion, this will definitely not be unlisted. Please tweet your ticket number to @envato_help. They are dealing with a lot of tickets lately and maybe this is why they have a slower response time. But trust me, for a second issue like this, that author will most likely be disabled. That’s called pushing his luck.

Cheers mate,
Enabled

I realize it might take some time to take actions, that’s why I waited patiently 4 weeks until they solve the issue. And they replied to me (so there’s nothing to complain about), but the outcome of asking author to simply remove fake badges was… well, unexpected. Especially because his another item was temporarily removed just several weeks ago for TOS violations.

Hence, I don’t know if I should tweet it to Envato help because I have no complains about response time, I’m just surprised by the outcome. I replied back to the ticket asking why they didn’t take any other action this time, hopefully they will tell me the reason.

I just received a final email from Envato regarding this issue. As expected, they didn’t tell anything why no actions were taken against misleading - Please understand that we are not at liberty to discuss actions taken against other accounts.

Furthermore, they asked me not to post these issues on forums… Censorship is still very strong at Envato - Additionally, whilst your diligence in regards to the health and wellbeing of the marketplace is super appreciated, kindly refrain from posting forum posts on these issues

While I can understand the frustration, the intention behind it is right.

Just to reiterate, as MODs neither we nor @Enabled work for envato so this has nothing to do with taking sides or censorship.

Regardless of the complaint, not being able to share or disclose confidential discussions or actions against users with a third party with no official connection is basic privacy law, would be exactly the same in any other marketplace or business, and has nothing to do with censorship.

On the point about not sharing in forums, while again I understand your post was genuinely raising concern, there’s 2 points to consider here:

  1. ultimately we/anyone else reading this simply don’t know the full details of the complaint.

That’s not to say it is not true but it doesn’t change the fact that there is a risk with these types of discussions that not everything is fully informed. This often leads to conspiracy theories or unfair comments about authors, buyers or envato.

  1. it remains important that this type of thing is flagged to envato (if anyone has a viable way for them to actually police millions of files then they would definitely want to hear it!), but as only support can act on it, there is a right way to do this by speaking to envato rather than opening up potentially blurred conversation among people who unfortunately cannot do that much, whilst also highlighting and inspiring bad practices to other less genuine users who may well end up using this to accelerate the issue, making it even harder to manage.

Again, contrary to how it may appear - envato do care and do appreciate the help, it’s just that as with so many discussions here, there is a bigger picture that has to be considered.

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What is surprising about this? Envato themselves are misleading marketplace buyers all the time with that infamous banner that promises unlimited downloads. They set the tone for the kind of environment they want to offer their customers. How can, and why would, they ask authors not to do the same thing?

This would require more than mere words to be believable.

@charlie4282, your post really makes sense. Before posting this on forums, I realized some people will have some doubts about the issue because there are always 2 sides of each story. And it’s perfectly fine because I also saw many “horror stories” on forums where people were complaining about some problems, but they “accidentally” “forgot” to mention some important details. So you are 100% right here!

In other hand, if you check my posting history, you will see I post very rarely, but once I do, I only post accurate and not misleading information. If I’m not 100% sure about something (or can’t provide evidence), I choose not to post at all. The same applies here - I still have full evidence about seller’s scam and lies and would be more than happy to share it here, but I know it’s against forum rules to do so… Hence, you can only have my word :confused:

@PurpleFog, actually, I can also say many good words about Envato and its support, but it’s really hit or miss. Being with Envato for a few years, I can instantly tell if support request will be solved or not just by looking at the name of support agent.

If I receive email that my ticket was assigned to an agent from UK, I know this person will go far beyond original request to carefully review everything, listen to both sides, collect all the evidence, and make the decision based on facts. Somehow, most of my requests get assigned to support member Will (don’t know if he uses forums) and I absolutely ensure you he provides the most incredible support. He is fast, always checks all the facts before making a decision, and so on.

But if I see that my ticket was assigned to someone from Australia, I know question/problem will be ignored for days or weeks (or months, in this particular case) and they will send an canned reply like “Thank you for your message. We carefully reviewed it, but there’s nothing we could do in this situation. We appreciate your cooperation”. And this happens every single time my ticket is assigned to some person (I won’t mention her name) in Australia. This is absolutely crazy…

Well, the author is really lucky. Tweeted @envato_help and they told me they sent me an automated response that problem is already “solved”. To sum up, abuser is Level 6 author (it happens after he sells for $75.000, right?), which means Envato earned at least $30.000 from his account, so it’s natural they don’t want to close his account or at least remove items that violate TOS. The only possible situation to proceed if Envato respects other authors and/or care about their reputation more than they care about chasing profits, but that’s another story…

Oh well, the life can’t be always fair…

so it’s natural they don’t want to close his account or at least remove items that violate TOS.

This is actually not true. I’ve seen Power Elite authors that made millions removed from the market.

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Over $40K.

Great, another $20K and I’ll be allowed to offer fake, never-ending discounts too :wink: