Buyer Beware

Or: if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

A couple days ago Leah sent me a link to a quarter sheet she had seen for sale on saddlesworld.com, asking if it was my photo.

Not only was it definitely my photo, it had been photoshopped. The original photo is this:

clearly showing a HUGE PS of Sweden logo that had been quite obviously photoshopped out of the version on the saddlesworld.com site. Stealing someone’s photo for advertising use on your website is one level of shady… photoshopping said photo to remove another brand’s logo is a whole extra level. I emailed them and tagged them in a facebook post about the photo, and within half an hour they had taken the quarter sheet’s page down, offering an apology and a coupon.


Gee, thanks. Steal my photo, photoshop it, use it for false advertising, and then offer me a coupon for my troubles. You shouldn’t have!

No really… you shouldn’t have.

Because if you take a quick jog around their site, it’s absolutely chock full of stolen photos. This is clearly not an accident or a one off situation. You can recognize photos from SmartPak, Dover, Fairfax, Mattes, Sabre, Zaldi, Bates, Weaver, etc etc etc. Some photoshopped to remove branding, some that didn’t require alterations. All of it at super low, fairly unbelievable prices, of course.

And if you, the consumer, do a cursory look around the internet to see if the site seems legit, you would find that it claims to be based in Massachusetts, even sporting a Massachusetts phone number, and their facebook page has over 13k likes. Yet a closer look at some of the endless find print reveals that it’s clearly based overseas, most likely in India. My email was answered by someone supposedly named “Sam Seth”.

Bottom line, who knows what you’d actually get if you ordered something. Maybe they do their best to very cheaply knockoff whatever item is in the photo. Maybe they just give you the total runaround. Either way – YIKES. Come on, Saddles World, if you want to sell a bunch of uber cheap knockoffs, at least have the decency to take photos of your own products and only use THOSE for advertising, instead of stealing and photoshopping photos from other people and companies.

Sites like these are becoming more and more common, it seems. While most aren’t this blatant about stolen photos, there is definitely a huge influx of cheap knockoff products, often of extremely questionable quality. For some things, like saddle pads, it doesn’t matter much. But do you really want to be riding around in a bridle, girth, saddle (or other crucial piece of a equipment) that has been cobbled together by one of these sellers? Best case scenario – it’s hideous and uncomfortable. Worst case scenario – it breaks while you’re using it and you’re screwed.

Before ordering from one of these super cheap discount places, definitely do your homework. If there’s one thing the horse world teaches us, it’s that if something looks amazing in photos but the price is next to nothing, there’s probably a catch.

24 thoughts on “Buyer Beware

  1. I’ll say it again….their poor grammar and half-assed response screams scam. Even though they took your photo down, it’s obvious that this is a common practice for them and they just hedge bets that they will not be caught. Take a look at http://www.copyright.gov, to see if they can be reported or at the very least put on their radar. I have a feeling that this isn’t the first time.

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  2. I read their response like three times and still can’t completely understand it. Whoever wrote it *definitely* isn’t based in Massachusetts. Places like this are so harmful to the legit small stores trying to create an online presence.

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  3. What a shit website. Some of the labeling and photos are comical (the ones that aren’t stolen), so I guess if anything at least its entertaining??

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  4. Definitely a Buyer Beware!
    I took a quick look at the Shipping & Return Page. Just copying the text, a POPUP with the $20 ‘Your Discount Code is Welcome appeared’. Restocking fees, return addresses different from shipping address , it definitely doesn’t give me the warm & fuzzies. They are trolling hard for business.

    …. For customized items we do not return any item. We are always looking forward to give you the best of products at the best of prices and with the best of hopes that we continue our relations till time abides with your love for Indian Things! However if due to some unforeseen situation you require the return of the product then the following terms apply for a mutually consented return. …..

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  5. I’m still a little sorry I didn’t go ahead and order the quarter sheet just to see what showed up 😂 but yes, site was very clearly sketch AF! Glad they at least removed your photo quickly! (Not that that excuses what they did, but at least it didn’t turn into a protracted battle to get it down).

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  6. Yikes. Anything to make a buck I guess. I try to stick to buying online from well known retailers or from places that have come recommended by friends I know in real life and can use them as guinea pigs to see if the products are as advertised haha!

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  7. I saw this on my FB timeline via Leah’s feed. So crazy that they’re so good at photoshop and this is all it amounts to. So lame. At least they took it down and apologized. That’s probably more than you would get normally.

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  8. We are considering watermarking everything….this guy is a broker and not a manufacturer, lots of critters like this in the swamp.

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    1. Seems like it would be a good idea, at least if it was subtle enough to not affect the view of the product. Granted, people like this might try to photoshop it out anyway…

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  9. These days any photo shared on the web should be watermarked, with the watermark overlapping the main subject so that it will be difficult to be effectively photoshopped out. Hate to say it this way, but with a good watermark the photo thieves will find another photo to steal and leave yours alone. Over the last few years more and more amateur, as well as professional, photographers are putting more specialized watermarks on their web-share pics. It’s actually not hard to do. :).

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  10. Ugh yeah that sounds horrible. I stay off of most sites, and usually try to order from companies I know are tried and true like RW, PS of Sweden, Smartpak, Amazon (on most things) and Dover (even tho Dover sucks you know what you’re getting), and a few others. If I see something that’s more than a $15-20 difference in normal price I get skeptical lol. I bought these 2 sweaters off of amazon, they didn’t fit and I sent them back. Waiting a while, finally email them when I don’t get my money refunded, and they say they haven’t received the items back. I have never been so happy that I sent the clothes back via USPS and got insurance on those things because I told them that I called USPS and they’d be investigating why the package didn’t get there. Refund sent lol. Never wanting to do that again lol.

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  11. I always wonder that about eBay listings that have clearly stolen a photo of a much higher end saddle to use for their $300 saddle. Like….how do they even get away with it, especially on eBay. You would think that one unhappy customer raising hell with eBay customer service would put an end to it, but there are tons of them. I frequently flag them when I see them, even though I know it is a hopeless uphill battle.

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