Tiny Details is a work-at-home company that pays hobbyists to make little dollhousey things. You buy the materials from Tiny Details for $55, make the assigned object(s), and Tiny Details buys them back. Unfortunately, many customers have complained about problems getting payments or refunds from the company over the years—here’s their less-than-stellar BBB entry. Yesterday Kristopher Buchan, the owner of Tiny Details, emailed one former customer/client to tell him his complaints amounted to libel. Buchan demanded the customer remove them from teh interweb, and threatened him repeatedly with a lawsuit. And now we’re posting about it on The Consumerist! See how that works, Tiny Details?
This is an excerpt of Stephen’s original complaint, posted over 18 months ago:
My most recent bout came with a company named Tiny Details based out of Syracuse, NY. My wife was interested in earning some extra money for us from home, a prospect that I found very appealing. What with our son and all, it’s really not feasible for her to go to work, so finding her a way to draw income at home was ideal.
I found Tiny Details while researching along those lines. I considered the link pointing to it to be more legitimate than most (and trust me, I know a lot about links). The site seemed a bit unprofessional, which should have been a big tip-off, but I didn’t find anyone saying anything negative about it. My wife was very excited at the prospect, as much as she loves arts and crafts.
Unfortunately, I didn’t do my research as thoroughly as I should have. It wasn’t until after we had bought a kit for my wife that I came across these Tiny Details customer complaints and some more recent warnings about Tiny Details. I also managed to find the Tiny Details Better Business Bureau report. I’m ashamed to say that I missed such glaring stop signs. I guess I must have been dreamy eyed over their false promises rather than incredulous as I rightfully should have been.
At any rate, I’ve cancelled our order and plan to seek reimbursement through whatever means necessary, up to and including legal action. I don’t expect them to make it easy; companies like this never do. I fully suspect it’s money that I’ll never see again one way or another, in which case I’ll take it as $55 worth of valuable education: If it seems too good to be true, it is. Do your research first, and do it right.
It now pops up on the first page of a Google search for “Tiny Details,” and apparently Kristopher Buchan just discovered the power of search engines, because yesterday was the first time since posting it that Stephen heard anything from the company. Here are the two emails Stephen received, which his friend Simon posted on his website:
I am writing about the substantively incorrect postings that you have on your website.
I am asking that you remove this point immediately. Your representation of Tiny Details is inacurate and libelous.
I have forwarded this information to our company attorney, along with your domain registration information.
Please govern yourself accordingly.
Tiny Details, LLC
You will be hearing from our attorney.
What you have posted is indeed libel.
I am in the process of seeking your address through your domain registrating information. You will be hearing from us shortly.
Well, just for fairness’ sake, here are some of the complaints about the company we found online on various pages:
“You also reminded me that I had sent them a kit (to Christian Miniatures actually) on Nov. the 30th. I added a “Delivery Confirmation” on the package, and it states that they received it on Dec. the 2nd. I had returned a completed kit that needed corrections. It’s the 21st already and I’ve heard nothing. I just called and they just have a recording stating that they’re unavailable and to leave a message for a return call (yeah, like THAT’S gonna happen!). So, I just sent them an email with Deliver Receipt Proof. Two weeks ago they had told me they’d never received it, so they couldn’t tell me anything about it. The receipt showed that they HAD received it. Hmmm, something fishy’s going on here!!!”(posted by rtanza, December 2004)
“Well, I finally heard from Tiny Details today – it seems as though my returned materials were also “never received”. I filed a complaint with the BBB. I foolishly did not send my materials with a return receipt so I really can’t prove anything… but it’s really not the money part of this that is so annoying to me, I just can’t stand the idea of folks being taken advantage of like this. Oh well, live and learn…” (posted by scarletbrook, January 2005)
I decided to try sending them back their own perfect samples as my first sample to see if they were accepted. They made sure to reassure me that they wanted one sample sent back to them so they could inspect it and save me any trouble making a bunch of mistakes. The only problem with that was that I had to send them a sample and wait longer to see if it even passed their ridiclous inspection. Suprise! It didn’t pass. Wow, go figure. Now I know I have been scammed. I even sent an e-mail to them saying that I sent them their own sample to see how truthful they were and they rejected it. I have yet to get a response. I’m sure that this is just another scam and that I’m out $55 because I was fooled into falling for it. (posted by Leila, April 2006)
To be fair, we can imagine a build-tiny-objects business has its fair share of customers who think the task will be easier than it looks, and who then blame the company when they can’t assemble miniatures at a professional level. (Here’s a defense of the company.) In other words: there’s a chance Tiny Details isn’t a big scam.
But you can’t get all ham-fisted with complaints about your service and try to sue former customers into silence, Buchan. Besides, Stephen’s initial post is so vague that it doesn’t say much more beyond “I decided not to do business with them.” Based on Buchan’s aggression towards an unhappy former customer who was just stating his opinion, we think Stephen made the right call.
“Tiny Details” [Project Paradox]
“Rather than listening to its critics, president of company threatens blogger with libel lawsuit” [Bloggasm]