…then it probably is.
A chance encounter online with someone claiming to be a customer of a yarn subscription service (that hasn’t even started running yet) when they were clearly linked to the ‘company’ involved (the shared e-mail address was the first clue) reminded me that it’s all too easy to get caught up in the pretty as a fibre artist. Remember to engage your critical thinking skills and do your research before handing over your hard-earned (or not so hard-earned) money.
If the only information you can find out about a ‘business’ is a facebook page that’s been active for about a week and asks for your paypal details with little to no information about what you’re going to get, then take a step back and have a think about it.
My facebook page for Doggrell Designs is linked to my personal profile (look, I’m a real person that actually exists, though my personal page is pretty locked down to only friends). My number of likes is modest (as I have been busy full-time studenting instead of designing and promoting myself), so you can be pretty sure I haven’t bought them as a way of seeming legitimate and/or popular. It’s also linked to my actual website where you can find out a bit more to decide for yourself whether I really exist or may disappear in a puff of your money (including my ravelry profile where I’ve been a member for over 6 years (which would be a long con).
Do the most basic of checks – run a google search for the business name, for any contact details or names listed. There’s no reason why you have to be the first to jump on a bandwagon (there is a not insignificant risk to doing so). Also check to see if there are any real names used, it can be good to put a face to a name, but failing that just a name is a start.
Remember that paypal only offers limited protection. Depending on what you sign up to, paypal may not be able to help you more than 45 days after you hand over your money (and details, which in the case of a yarn subscription includes your name and address), and even if they do find a dispute in your favour that money may take a long time coming back to you (and I should know as I’m currently going through the courts to reclaim money due to me from a company that fully checked out and is still trading).
Yarn and fibre is what many of us our passionate about, and we want to trust people who appear to have similar tastes to us, but if it involves handing over money and/or personal details, be aware of the risks and take that little extra time to do your homework.