I recently addressed the issue of scammers in the mermaid community and talked about ways to avoid being scammed while trying to buy a mermaid tail. There is one particular tailmaker who I believe to be a scamming people and is still making tails today. However; There are several reasons I cannot call this person out. I would love to warn buyers about the potential disasters but this situation is unique. This tailmaker has mostly bad reviews but there are a few people who have become advocates for this brand and make an effort to defend the work and try to discredit the bad reviews. The main reason I cannot just outright say “don’t buy from this person” is the fact that I am myself a tailmaker. What is actually concern and care for fellow mers would be twisted and seen as me trying to tear down the competition to make my tails sell better. After seeing a friend receive a tail she can’t use I have decided to tell
The story of what happened without naming any names in an attempt to help.
Here’s the story:
I have done tail repairs for the past few years. I have repaired holes, reattached fins, and even repainted a tail. Repairing tails has expanded my tail-making knowledge because I have seen tails inside out from many different makers.
I had repaired tails from this maker before and had noticed some construction issues but had been told they had improved with time. apparently not because I was contacted a few months ago to repair a tail for a local mermaid. Her tail was new, like right out of the box. This was a first for me. All the tails I had repaired before were old and that’s why they needed the repairs.
This tail had just been made and had left the workshop in less than favorable condition. When I spoke to the client and inspected the tail I discovered that the tail was made too small. The measurements it was supposed to be were written on the inside of the tail but when I measured the tail it was 2 inches off (all the way stretched out) and she couldn’t get the tail on without pain. Her feet wouldn’t stay in the homemade monofin that was built into the tail. (When I teach tail safety I always stress that homemade monofins are a no no). I tried the tail on and I was Surprised at how painfully tight the ankles were. (I am smaller than the mermaid the tail was made for so it should have been loose on me.)
She had requested that the tail be blue, purple and pink but received blue, purple, and silver. (The correct colors were written on the inside of the tail but the paint didn’t match what was written).
The silicone work was sloppy and had many air bubbles and tears. I had to patch holes and even trim the waist on a tail that had been constructed sloppily and without care. Trimming the waist down to be even and hole free took me less than a minute yet the original maker left it that way and mailed it out to a client that way. If that wasn’t bad enough, she told me that she had waited months longer than the tail was supposed to take with hardly any updates and the tail was originally priced at $600 but after shipping and fees she paid closer to $800. As a tailmaker myself I know that shipping a tail that weight and size doesn’t cost $100+ and hidden fees are sketchy.
This whole situation was sketchy. But it wasn’t an isolated incident. This tailmaker has been getting the same bad reviews for years! There are a few good reviews. Maybe those good reviewers have never had or seen any other silicone tail and don‘t realize the quality is subpar, Or maybe that tail-maker actually put in the time and care (that each handmade tail SHOULD receive) for just those few tails...
I have seen other tails from this maker up close and I’ve even swam in one and I stand by my conclusion that their tails are not up to par and customers of theirs are being scammed. There are so many issues; from not getting replies or updates (then finally receiving your tail months after you were told it would arrive) to poor construction with holes, tears, air bubbles, homemade monofins, and unfinished/uneven edges.
It is completely unacceptable to send out products with unfinished edges because you couldn’t take the time to clean them up, send out products with totally incorrect colors, and scam clients out of extra money with hidden fees. This tailmaker has been reported to the better business bureau and blacklisted by many mers but people continue to fall for the scam! When is enough finally enough?!
How can I avoid this person if you don’t tell me who it is?
If you purchase a tail, Make sure your tail is safe with only proper brand name monofins inside. Make sure your tail is made of skin safe silicone (dragonskin if it’s from the USA).
Make sure you get photos before it’s mailed and speak up if it’s wrong.
Read past reviews and keep in mind that it’s hard to please everyone and 1 or 2 bad reviews is normal. If there are more bad than good that is definitely an issue. Don’t just rely on the reviews from that tailmakers website or page, type that tailmaker into the Facebook search bar to see what real clients say and read the mernetwork reviews.