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What Can I Do if Someone Stole my Shop?


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I have a site selling personalised baby items and hairbows. I have a regular pool of customers. I just found out one of my regulars had set up her own site, pinched all my images and reselling my items at mark-up prices.

I have never given her permission to do that. Nor had she told me her intention. She always tell me that she was ordering on behalf of her friends.

What can I do now?

I would appreciate any advise.

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Guest Brivtech

If you stop supplying her, and she's started to sell in enough volume, she could go directly to your or another supplier, so while you are selling to her, at least you are getting some business in.

If she's adding something onto your prices, bear in mind that she has hidden costs, such as shipping, re-packaging, that affect her profitability, and while she may think she's making some money, much of that will slip through her fingers.

It's really up to you whether you supply her or not.

Also, in my Terms & Conditions, I have a clause covering use of images / breach of copyright, saying that "We or our licensors" reserve the right to take legal action, giving an amount per object, and per impression that will be demanded in compensation. Also be sure that you have a clear copyright symbol on each web page. Look up Copyright Protection on Google, for more information.

Also, I'd suggest you buy some commercial images from a professional image library, and throw them into the mix. If she uses these, you can contact the image library company directly, and make them aware that some of their images are being used outside of their licensing terms & conditions. This is a good solution if you don't want to persue a legal case on your own.

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She cannot buy in bulk from me as all the items ordered are on personalised basis. So each item would have a different name. Hence, there was never an intention for me to wholesale my items.

Thanks for the tip on Terms and Conditions. I will have to add that onto the site now. I will Google for the information.

I spoke to a lawyer and he said a stolen image is a stolen image. And it was pretty obvious that she took lock, stock and barrel of all the images from both my sites.

I am hopping mad right now. So I need to calm down and think through carefully what needs to be done. Thanks for the tip! I will check it out.

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Although what this person did was wrong, at least the good side of this is that she is generating some extra business for you.

As long as she is paying you for the products and paying your normal rate, then you're not losing anything, are you? Personally, if it were me, I'd appreciate the extra business.

The big problem would be if this other person tries to cut you out of the picture and find another supplier.

One lesson to take from this is to notice that people are willing to pay a higher price for the same products, which means you could raise your prices.

Brivtech - thanks for the suggestion of purchasing copyrighted material and letting the bigger company pursue the copyright infringement lawsuit. I'll see if there might be a way I could apply it to my own situation.

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When you say 'your images' are they just that. Did you take the pics yourself or purchase them ?? or are they stock images from the supplier, did you need to agree to any terms of use for them.

This is the first question that needs to be asked as they could just say they got them from the same source as you did if they are from a supplier.

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  • 1 year later...

If this is a US based store, or the alleged store is under US law, then its worth swatting up on the DCMA- if you see this as a commercial problem.

Its probably more annoying that they didn't contact you. Personally, its worth calling them for a chat about the situation. How much are they actually buying off you?

Possibly, draft some kind of reseller agreement where you ship direct with their paperwork (for a small fee). This would save them the hassle and cost of 2 lots of postage.

This would also make it less attractive for them to seek alternative suppliers.

Essentially, if they are selling your customised products and generating repeat business, then its time to talk on the phone/skype or meet face to face (if they are local). Meeting each other 1/2 way could result in a beneficial relationship.

Running your own store is fine, but simply supplying demand should be more profitable and less grief if the resellers handle the consumer end.

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