Redbubble.com is an online marketplace offering print-on-demand products. This means they don’t store any stock in warehouses. When you place an order, it is sent to a printing company and shipped. Artists upload prints to Redbubble and get a portion of each sale. Founded in Melbourne, Australia, the company has been in business since 2006.
Is Redbubble a Scam?
I can only speak to my experience, but I've placed four separate orders with Redbubble and I received them within days. I got my most recent purchase six days after ordering. I've always been happy with my orders but caution is understandable because a lot of items sold on Redbubble are expensive. I bought a phone case from them because I loved the print, but I spent almost three times what I normally would spend on one.
To contact Redbubble, you have to fill out a support form on their website. I'm always a little wary of buying from companies that don't offer a toll-free support number because some don't respond to emails. I had this issue with the Dr. Martens website when emails to support went unanswered. Thankfully, I was able to get someone on the phone and get a refund for an order they failed to ship. I have never had to contact Redbubble support, so I don't know if they are responsive or not. If you do have issues with them and you aren't getting a response, make a complaint to the Better Business Bureau because Redbubble does seem to be very responsive to those complaints. When you place an order, you have the option to pay either through Amazon or Paypal. Both offer guarantees if there are disputes.
Redbubble has a generous return policy for most items. Some items have shorter return windows.
"Returns can be submitted within 90 days after receiving your order for most items."
The Help section doesn't specify whether returns are free or not. If you have concerns, you can contact Support before you make a purchase to find out what their return policy is.
Redbubble often offers coupon codes for ten to twenty percent off. When I ordered my phone case, they had a 20% off offer available on their website, which was enough of a discount to wipe out the shipping cost. Check the top of the website before you place an order to see if there is a discount available. If not, google Redbubble coupon codes. I also got 4% cash back for shopping through Swagbucks. If you use Honey, see if they have a cash back offer.
Redbubble and Etsy seem like similar businesses because both allow artists to sell their creations. But they are very different business models. Unlike Etsy where sellers are responsible for shipping the items they sell, Redbubble is a print-on-demand business that uses 3rd party printers. When you place an order, it goes to the most conveniently located printing partner and is shipped from that area. The phone case I ordered came in a box and was packaged very securely to prevent damage.
When I purchased my phone case, I had two shipping options―standard and express. I paid $4.56, which is high for something as small and light as a phone case. This is because Redbubble doesn't offer USPS shipping. USPS charges less for two-day First Class shipping, but my only option was UPS, which charges more for slower shipping. In my case, UPS delivered the package to the post office, which then delivered it to me. My order took five days, which isn't bad, but it would be nice if they offered more and cheaper shipping options.
Reviews on Redbubble aren't as helpful as they could be. Unlike most eCommerce sites where the actual item for sale is what is reviewed, Redbubble reviewers are actually reviewing a category of product. So, if you are purchasing a phone case, reviewers are reviewing the case, not the particular print a potential buyer has picked for a case.
"...we only show reviews that speak exclusively about the customer's experience with the product and not the design."
While it's helpful to know how customers feel about a particular category like a mug, bath mat, or phone case, you won't get any idea how previous buyers feel about a particular print on a particular product. Sometimes artists upload low-quality prints, so buyers end up receiving blurry images on their purchases. If the quality of a print an artist uploaded isn't high enough to look good on a larger item, you wouldn't know that by reading reviews.
There is also speculation that many reviews on Redbubble are fake. A lot of reviews do seem very generic. These are examples of actual complete reviews and there are a lot like this.
"Great quality items!"
"Looks great in a frame"
"Good quality, quick delivery"
"A gift for my son and he loved it."
Fake reviews are a big problem on all kinds of eCommerce websites, so they are to be expected. Before I purchased my phone case, I googled Redbubble phone cases and watched YouTube reviews before I hit buy. Unlike other websites, Redbubble doesn't allow everyone who has purchased an item the option to review it.
"Reviews on Redbubble come from customers with a verified purchase who receive an invitation at random to review their experience with that specific product, not the design itself."
Redbubble Unboxing and Review
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2021 LT Wright