What the hell is going on with Dirty Microbe?

by Andy on September 9, 2007

I’ve been keeping quiet on the issue of Dirty Microbe not completing orders and taking money from people without sending them their goods, because up until the recent revelations I’d had nothing but good things to say about them, they’d sent me a tee for review, we’d held HYAs first ever competition together, and I generally just had a good feeling about them. But I think that it is fairly clear now that something has gone wrong with their company. I’ve sent an e-mail to Christian, my contact at DM, with no reply as yet, but I’ll update if/when I get a message from him.

Here’s a roundup of related links:

Troundup

Tshirt Island: This seems to be the place with the most comments and annoyed customers.
Indie Threads
Tcritic
My review of their tees

You can also Digg the story here.

As of right now dirtymicrobe.com cannot be reached (is this just me?), but e-mails can still be sent to addresses @dirtymicrobe.com, which suggests they haven’t fallen off the map completely. I guess that at least this does mean that no one else can place an order.

There are reports that Christian has been in Europe for the summer, which could be a reason why he hasn’t been able to sort anything out, but other comments I’ve read suggest that he left the company before this whole mess started. Another theory that’s been put about is that since all the people involved with DM were at college, they’ve simply stopped working on orders whilst they had exams, which could be a likely explanation considering the timing.

Most credit card companies here in the UK are pretty good when it comes you fraud on the internet, I don’t know how it is in the rest of the world, but I would imagine that the treatment would be fairly similar, so if you call up your bank then I would imagine that you’ll get your money back eventually, although you might have to jump through a few hoops.

  • http://www.shirtsnob.com Laura

    I think they sent lots of us tees to review. I feel guilty because I said good things about them. I wonder if it was a big scheme to get their name out and then steal everyone’s money. It’d be one thing if they took their site down, but it’s still up there hoping more people get fooled into trying to buy something. Talk about super shady.

  • David

    There’s actually an interesting theory posted on one of the linked blogs up there from someone who claims to know Christian and his girlfriend (who apparently runs the show), claiming that they got really behind on their stuff due to finals, and basically just continued to let orders come in, and that Christian reacts terribly to stress, etc…still, that doesn’t explain why they’d charge the cards.

    I’d pony up cash to hear the real story on this.

  • http://www.thedailytee.com/ Rangga

    Don’t feel guilty Laura, Andy, we were all fooled as they seem to be really nice guys. One artist who work with DM (she don’t want to reveal her name) contacted me and told that she haven’t received her commission — yet she still think that there’s a “problem” rather than conclude that it’s scam.

    I’m not sure either, I contacted them few weeks ago and no reply till now..

  • http://www.thedailytee.com/ Rangga

    Don’t feel guilty Laura, Andy, we were all fooled as they seem to be really nice guys. One artist who work with DM (she don’t want to reveal her name) contacted me and told that she haven’t received her commission — yet she still think that there’s a “problem” rather than conclude that it’s scam.

    I’m not sure either, I contacted them few weeks ago and no reply till now..

  • http://geekeclectic.us John

    I just submitted a complaint with paypal to get my money back. DM said my shirts would be shipped on Aug 13tha and I haven’t received as much as a status update. I’m tired of sending them emails.

  • Sara

    His girlfriend and her brother are on the Board of Directors. I would suspect Christian’s involvement is quite significant. As far as traveling through Europe, why would you go out of town when your business is faltering? Plus, whose money did they use to go out of town with, ours?

  • http://www.seibei.com David

    Oh dang, and it looks like their MySpace has been deleted, too, and Christian has made his profile private. WHY WON’T THEY ACCEPT MY FRIEND REQUESTS?

  • Manny

    Although I was never officially affiliated with or worked at Dirty Microbe, I’m a personal friend of the founders.

    After receiving a MySpace message from someone trying to track down Christian about an order, I did a Google search and found lists of complaints on blogs and forums, including this one.

    Dirty Microbe has been going though severe financial trouble for a few months and has recently gone out of business and filed for bankruptcy. The founders are scrambling to liquidate the company’s assets to repay creditors, including outstanding orders. I’d advise anyone who is missing an order to do a chargeback as soon as possible.

    Dirty Microbe was a very small company and unique in that they printed all shirts in house, by hand. I mean, so small that it was rare that more than two people were working at any given time in there. You can imagine the workload. Lack of manpower was one major reason they went under and I suspect the main reason for the silence now. It’s hard to imagine how much time it takes to go through the legalese for bankruptcy plus all the other stuff that has arisen from the situation. The owners have pretty much been slammed doing that, and they were already way backed up on orders and support requests.

    Tens of thousands of dollars were invested in printing equipment, web store design, signing artists, affiliates, advertising, etc… and subsequently lost. There was no scam — believe it or not, order volume was relatively low and the value of all unshipped orders tiny compared to the investment. Many recall that Dirty Microbe shipped a lot of shirts before they went down.

    I feel for anyone been burned by this, I’ve been shafted by buying stuff online before and I know it sucks. I’ve tried to advise the owners to make some sort of announcement so those looking for answers have some idea what happened, but they’ve been tough to get a hold of. I’m sure they’re just trying to get past what has been the most difficult time of their lives.

    I’m going to cross-post this on a few of the other blogs in hopes of getting some word out to do a chargeback ASAP, as there is a time limit on those.

  • Pingback: Calamity James » Blog Archive » Dirty Microbe Update

  • http://www.splintered.co.uk patrick h. lauke

    heck, i order a lot of things online, and i completely forgot about my order with dirtymicrobe back at the beginning of august. just tried to chase it up now and stumbled across this post…right, off to paypal to dispute that transaction then. bunch of dirty scumbags…

  • Third Party

    The company is bankrupt, but before going out of business (through no fault of the comapny’s) it shipped as many orders as possible and told as many customers as it could to ask their credit card companies to return the money paid to DM. Check this link that gives a good explaination:

    http://www.troundup.com/2007/03/dirty-microbe-scam/

    see the post by Austin.

    I’d be unhappy if I were a customer, but if you’re old enough to buy something online you’re old enough to know that things like this can happen and working with your credit card company can resolve your loss.

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