Custom-printed clothing and accessories
Is TeeChip Fake or Real?
Why Is TeeChip a Borderline Scam?
TeeChip is an online platform which sells clothing items such as t-shirts, phone cases, jewellery and many other items. Note that I said ‘platform’ and not ‘store’. This is because TeeChip calls itself a ‘user-generated content platform’ that prints and delivers designs uploaded by users onto merchandise. The marketing of the campaigns is left to the users themselves, though TeeChip does run Facebook ads for some products.
This business model is similar to platforms like TeeSpring and Moteefe, which I had covered in-depth for Scamadviser and has a lot of the same problems as TeeChip.
The way TeeChip works is that users sign up on the platform and create campaigns with their uploaded designs. When a customer places an order, the item is then printed on-demand by TeeChip. They also handle the delivery and customer service. The revenue from the sale is shared between TeeChip and the campaign creator.
These kinds of platforms are great for artists to monetize their designs. However, TeeChip has attracted a lot of controversy for having the opposite effect. Several artists have complained that their copyrighted designs have been stolen by creators on TeeChip. There are also accusations against TeeChip, its parent company OoShirts and CEO Raymond Lei that the platforms have tried to cash-in on tragedies such as shootings and even the Black Lives Matter movement. Copyright infringement cases have been initiated by intellectual property owners such as Jeff Dunham and HBO in the past.
TeeChip has courted negativity not just due to copyright infringement though. There are also numerous complaints against the platform due to its misleading ads on platforms like Facebook and Twitter, as well as supposedly abysmal customer service. There are several Facebook pages and groups created for angry TeeChip customers to congregate. A Change.org petition even called for TeeChip to be banned from Facebook and gathered more than 3,500 signatures.
Looking at TeeChip objectively, it does not seem to be an outright scam. A domain name lookup of the website shows that it was registered on 27th May 2014 and the traffic data confirms that it was been active since that period. The company has been registered in California as per the WHOIS data.
The Alexa Rank of TeeChip is also quite high which shows that it is a popular website. Interestingly, the website is most popular in Vietnam but the reason for this is unclear. My guess is that most of the campaign creators on TeeChip are Vietnamese.
TeeChip has a strict return and refunds policy which does not seem to be customer-friendly. The policy has a lot of strings attached as products can only be returned if they are defective or of poor quality. Customers have to pay the shipping costs for returning the items too. Therefore, if you are unhappy with your purchase from TeeChip, you might not get your money back at all, or you might have to bear the cost of shipping to get a replacement.
This brings us to the quality of TeeChip’s customer service. As you can see from the Facebook pages and petitions, TeeChip’s customer care seems to be lacking. Long delivery times, deceptive practices and sub-par products are allegedly quite common with TeeChip. Customers’ problems are compounded due to the lack of responsiveness of their customer care executives.
In the Contact Us page, the only ways given to get in touch with TeeChip are by live chat and email. An Indiana address has been provided even though the domain has been registered in California. I discovered that the same address is being used by more than 220 online stores (full list given at the end of the article). The address used by all these stores is ‘211 N Pennsylvania St. Suite 600 Indianapolis, IN 46204’.
Presumably, these stores have been set up using TeeChip’s platform by campaign creators. The layout of these websites is the same as TeeChip and they all share the same IP address. These external TeeChip storefronts also share the phone number 1-833-933-1816 which is a toll-free line.
There is a Reviews page on TeeChip’ website itself, but it just links to some sponsored content.
The user reviews for TeeChip are mixed on platforms such as TrustPilot, Web of Trust and SiteJabber. The reviews mention the same complaints mentioned earlier, such as long waiting periods, low-quality products and unhelpful customer service. The overall ratings are on the positive side, but there are some suspicious patterns in the good reviews that suggest they might be fake.
In conclusion, there are many reasons to avoid purchasing items from TeeChip. Artists have alleged that TeeChip’s designs have been stolen and there have even been legal cases against the platform. As the designs are uploaded by users, they may not be of the highest quality. Thousands of customers have alleged that they were misled about the quality of the products by TeeChip’s ads. While TeeChip’s online ratings are on the positive side, there is a possibility that some of the positive reviews might be fake.
TeeChip’s customer service also does not seem to be robust enough to handle the number of complaints as they have long response times on all channels. Lastly, TeeChip’s returns and refunds policies are not customer-friendly, as not all orders are eligible for refunds and customers have to pay for the shipping to return items.
Due to the above reasons, customers are advised to shop with caution on TeeChip and the hundreds of its related websites. There is a considerable chance that the products might not meet your expectations and you might not qualify for a refund even if you are unhappy with the purchase.
List of websites using the same phone number and/or address as TeeChip
- CluckingThreads | Facebook
- Nurse T-Shirts | Facebook
- Pig Plztee | Facebook
- TeejupiNurse | Facebook
- The Paw Pack | Facebook
- The Thin Blue Line | Facebook
- Unicorn By Plztee | Facebook
- Yoga Plztee | Facebook
Remember: If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
If you have been the victim of an ecommerce scam, you can take the following steps:
- Lodge a complaint at the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal
- File a complaint with the payment portal and ask whether the payment can be reversed.
- File a complaint with the Consumer Complaints Forum
- Leave a negative review on review portals such as ScamAdvisor, TrustPilot, OnlineThreatAlerts and SiteJabber
- Report the website to Google using the Suspicious Site Reporter extension for Chrome
- Give a low rating to the website on Web of Trust. You can also install their extension for the same.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are presented as an educated opinion based on facts and evidence. There is no malicious intent or attempt to defame any individual/s or organization/s. If you are a website owner and would like to provide clarifications regarding your business and/or website, please get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org