Courtney Monteith, who was thousands of dollars in debt and had no tattoo, turned to TikTok.
Lindsay Joseph, an artist who she claims overcharged, refused to alter the original design.
Joseph’s Studio was flooded with negative reviews on the internet.
A woman’s complaint on TikTok about a tattooist who charged her $2600 for an unsatisfactory sketch but no tattoo has turned into a viral outrage.
Courtney Monteith of Ontario, Canada, wrote on TikTok that she had been thousands of dollars short after trying to get a tattoo depicting a fox.
Monteith planned to get a full-sleeve tattoo of the fox, surrounded by flowers and leaves, on her arm. She requested the services from the artist Lindsay Joseph in her Lucid Tattoos studio.
Monteith then spent an additional $2,600 to purchase designs but decided against the tattoo.
She had a crude drawing of a small fox, which, according to her, did not look like the fox she was looking for.
In her post, she claimed that she initially accepted the fees but then felt ripped off.
The dispute — nicknamed TattooGate — follows a similar pattern to other customer disputes which went viral on TikTok, including ones about a disappointing birthday cake and a $200 plastic cup.
Monteith’s video received over 5,000,000 views. People jumped up to her defense and shared their stories. They also offered her tattoos for free.
Monteith, the Insider, said: “I posted my experience just for my friends to view.” “I had fewer than 200 followers.” I never imagined that people would rally to my story.
Joseph also faced a backlash, as she had set her social media accounts to private. Her business was flooded with negative Google reviews. Insiders also reported that Joseph received a death threat.
Many people believe there were red warning flags in place from the beginning.
Monteith sent Joseph two pictures of the tattoo she wanted. She posted the images she used and received the tattoo design: an orange fox with different plants or butterflies.
Joseph initially agreed, demanding a deposit of $180 plus a design fee and consultation fee of $1,000, per the TikTok message.
Monteith was then offered three options: to pay $1,500 for a concept sketch to which she could request one change, $3,500 to have a few changes or $6,000 for multiple reviews and alterations — all plus tax.
In the comments, it was immediately noted that this was a warning sign.
One person wrote, “I’m 70 percent covered in ink.” I’ve never paid an artist for a concept or a consultation. RUUUUN!!”
Monteith stated that she chose the first choice and paid $2,695. She was “confident,” she said, that Joseph would create a beautiful piece as she has been a fan of her work.
But when Monteith received the drawing of the fox tattoo, she said she knew it wasn’t what she wanted — the fox didn’t have its entire body showing and did not resemble the reference images.
She emailed Joseph to ask for some adjustments, but Joseph refused, saying if she wanted a new piece, she would have to pay the difference between option one and option two — an extra $2,260.
Monteith, who had shown the two full-sized fox tattoos that she sent to her as a guide, said: “She said that it was my mistake that I didn’t make myself clear about what I wanted.”
She said, “I’m unsure how clear I could have made myself.”
Joseph stated in an email that Monteith displayed that a full-sized fox would make it appear as if it were “scooting” when it gets an itchy rear end.
Monteith claimed she requested a refund, but Joseph refused.
“No. “I’m not refunding anything. I have given you choices, been patient and kind to you, and fulfilled my obligations so far,” Monteith wrote in the screenshot she shared.
You can decide not to continue but aren’t paying for my time, expertise, and creativity.
Monteith stated that Joseph had “flipped” his attention and was “placing the entire blame on myself.” She said that she would have liked Joseph to ask more questions.
“I said that I guarantee, if I had received a beautiful sketch showing a full fox, I would have probably gotten this tattoo,” said she. “But, unfortunately, I’m out the $2,600.”
Massive artists and creators have reached out to the video
TattooGate has been spreading rapidly on TikTok for the past week and attracted creators such as Danisha Carter, Mama Tot, and actor Julia Fox.
Ri McCue is another creator. Also came forward. She claimed she was “basically scammed” out of $4,000 when she went to Joseph in 2021 for a consultation.
McCue asked Joseph to cover up an old tattoo on her collarbone. Joseph offered her $1700, with 50% of the total as a down payment.
McCue, unlike Monteith, said that she did eventually get the tattoo. However, things didn’t work out as planned. She claimed that Joseph had changed the design of the tattoo and asked for more than she said.
McCue claimed she spent $4,000 total in two sessions. She claimed that Joseph had threatened to call the police and tried to intimidate her. Block her among other local artists.
Joseph did not reply to an email request regarding the allegations made by Monteith & McCue.
Negative Google reviews flooded Joseph’s Studio in the last five days. Her average rating dropped to 2/5 before many of them were removed. But some negative reviews are still available, which describe the same experiences, such as late starts or high prices.
In an email sent to Insider, Joseph said she hadn’t responded to claims about her on social networks because she would be “attacked at every angle”; she declined to comment on specific allegations.
She claimed that she had received death threats over the last five days. These included messages telling her “that my children should die and my mother should develop cancer.”
She didn’t say when or how she would tell her story.
Monteith revealed in a series of TikToks following her original video that she had received hundreds of fox designs from artists.
Monteith claimed in a TikTok video posted on Monday that she could not sleep. She has accepted an offer from Matt Vaught, a tattoo artist from Newport Beach, California, who offered to tattoo her for free. She told us that she had never expected anything free and would donate money to a charity for foxes.
Insiders reported that Monteith knew Vaught would do an “incredible” job on her tattoo.
“I’m overwhelmed,” she said. “But I’ll continue to post my journey on TikTok so everyone who has supported me will see the incredible tattoo I had hoped to get.”
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