I’d like to preface this post by saying that I have been reluctant to publicly discuss this issue, but as time has gone on, I do feel an obligation to inform our readers to the situation.
In the five years that Haute Macabre has been publishing, we have always prided ourselves on being a conduit for our readers to discover independent retailers and artists, and we do our very best to help to support and promote those individuals that share their talents with us. It deeply saddens me that not all of them return the respect that we, not only as publishers, but as customers, extend to them.
In November, artist Chad Merritt, better known as Mon Petite Fantome, advertised that he had original pieces for sale. I immediately contacted him, as I have been a fan of his work for some time now. We’ve even featured him in the past here on Haute Macabre (the posts have now been removed), and have reposted his work on our Instagram, Tumblr, & Facebook pages. After a few back and forth emails, we privately arranged for the purchase of one of his original pieces entitled “Where Do They Bury Witches” via PayPal. He assured me that it would be shipped within one business week, and I was beside myself with excitement to own it.
A full week passed with no word, and then some. After two full weeks, I contacted him inquiring on the status of my shipment. He quickly replied with a heartfelt apology explaining that there had been a severe winter storm in his area which prevented him from shipping the piece, and assured me he would be sending it within the next few days with expedited shipping at no additional cost. I know he is a one man operation, and from my own experience running the shop here at Haute Macabre I know how difficult it can be to fit everything in, so I told him everything was a-ok, and please just send me the tracking info as soon as it was available.
Another week passes with no word from Chad regarding shipment or tracking. I tried to contact him via email, and when I received no reply, I tried again through Instagram and Facebook. I asked him that if he had not yet sent off the piece to please refund my money. At this point, I had no hard feelings, although I was starting to become apprehensive after reading through comments other customers had left on his Instagram. There are multiple comments from multiple people inquiring about the whereabouts of their purchases from as far back as August, requests for refunds on incomplete orders, and pleas for him to simply return their emails.
Once I saw his track record of defaulting on orders, I tried once again to contact him. I informed him that if I did not receive a refund by the end of the day, I would have no choice but to file a claim with Paypal. I let three more days go by, and then contacted Paypal to open a dispute.
It has now been approximately four days since I have filed my claim and I have still heard no word from Chad. Instead, I’ve started to open dialogues with other customers that he has defaulted on. It has now come to my attention that the original art that I purchased from him for $200 was also sold to another customer for $350 (please read edit added to bottom of post). She has not received her “original”, either, nor has he replied to any request she has made for a refund of her money.
I am now beyond appalled, and absolutely livid. Had I been the only person that was scammed by Chad, I would have quietly filed my claim and dealt with him privately. I am not one to air my dirty laundry to the public, but I will also not stand by when our loyal readers are also being victimized, especially when I do feel partially at fault for the situation. Haute Macabre has publicly supported and promoted this individual in the past, and introduced many of our readers to him, sending customers his way, only for their orders not to be fulfilled and their customer service requests left unanswered.
It is entirely up to you whether or not you would like to support Chad Merritt and his endeavors. I do not know him personally, but he and I share a number of mutual friends, all of whom I respect and admire as individuals and as artists. Until now, any interaction that I have had with him has been friendly and professional, and I do consider him to be an immensely talented individual. Unfortunately, this talent is not met with any sort of professionalism or even curtsey to his customers and admirers. I do hope that whatever it is that is preventing him from fulfilling his end of duty is something that he can resolve, and that he can live up to the potential that he has.
Thank you all for taking the time to read this, and thank you all to the many independent artists, businesses, sellers, and retailers that we have featured here that provide outstanding service to your customers.
Edited to add :: Since posting this earlier this afternoon, myself and a number of the other customers have received messages from Chad stating that refunds will be issued and / or orders will be fulfilled. I’ve also received this message privately, and would like to share it, as it does state that I was incorrect in stating that the same piece was sold to multiple parties ::
I received a call from a friend pointing me in the direction of your article. I’m not mad at all…a bit disappointed that this is happening during an already crushing time. All I can offer anyone who is waiting on an order a refund and apology. Those, like yourself, whose items are already packed, will receive the item and a refund. There is one glaring mistake in your article that is completely incorrect. I did not sell you and my other customer the same piece. I created four of the Witches piece. One hangs in the gallery, you purchased one as well as my other customer. I create multiples of important pieces when I do shows. Please understand that I do not sell one item to multiple people. Again, it is your complete right as an upset customer to post your piece, and I will not retaliate online at all. All I have now is my name and will begin the process of repairing it.
02.05.14 Just a quick update :: I have since received my funds back, due entirely to Chad never replying to the PayPal dispute I filed against him. I know that the woman that was sold the other identical artwork also won her claim by default, but I do not know if other customers that had past the PayPal time frame to file ever were reimbursed. It was pointed out to me that he was deleting all requests and inquiries regarding refunds posted to his various media pages, so all I can do is hope for the best for everyone.