I'm having a bit of a stressful morning and it's making it hard for me to focus on art, so I thought I could rant and hopefully get this out of my system.
I had started a Subscribestar account because they have less restrictions than Patreon, but I was hesitant to go all-in with them because their site has less features and the payout system is more complicated with higher fees. In particular, I can't cash out unless I have a balance of at least $150, and the cashout often takes 4-5 business days. I only ever had about $150 worth of support on the site at any one time, so some months I just wasn't able to cash out at all since occasionally some subscribers didn't finalize their payments.
Things took a turn late last night when I got an email informing me that a subscriber had contested a charge to their account through their credit card (instead of just, y'know... asking for a refund from the site). As a result the credit card company hit Subscribestar with a Chargeback Fee of $50... and Subscribestar took that fee out of my money. Now, to be clear... I didn't know about the chargeback at all prior to being charged for it. I don't have access to anyone's credit card information. I don't even know whether an individual subscriber is paying with credit or paypal or bitcoin or whatever else Subscribestar accepts as payment. I never misrepresented anything that I presented or broke any TOS, but I'm still the one expected to pay the $50 fee. When I objected I was told, essentially, that Subscribestar doesn't have enough money to afford to cover the costs of Chargebacks, stating that if they did they wouldn't make any profit at all. Which, and perhaps I'm being paranoid, says to me that this happens often enough that it's a legitimate ongoing threat that puts me in jeopardy. At best I can never trust my balance, because someone might change their mind at any point and suddenly I'm down the cost of groceries for a few weeks with no means of defense... and at worse I could be targeted by bad actors who choose to flood my account with false claims to eat up all my profits for a laugh.
So I asked for what remaining money is in my account to be sent to me so I can close my account. I was just going to delete the whole thing outright, but Subscribestar has a policy that a profile with active Subscribers can't be deleted. Fair enough, so I made a post informing everyone that I was leaving and that it was because of the Chargeback fee. Then, just in case, I also sent a private message to all my Subscribers detailing the same thing. Now I woke up this morning and had an alert from last night telling me that I had gotten a reply from one of my Subscribers, and worried that they just now started a subscription and felt burned, I quickly logged in so I could talk to them in case I needed to arrange something with them so they didn't feel like i just took their money and ran.
At this point, I realized that the news post I had put up last night was deleted. Not edited or replied to... simply deleted outright. I went into my private messages and found that all the private messages on my account were deleted. Not just the messages I had sent last night about the issue... but all private messages I had ever received or sent. I tried to post a fresh news post about the issue, only to find out that my account has been set in a way that I can't post anything at all. I decided to just edit the frontpage description... I figured I'd leave out any embarrassing details so that they wouldn't just delete it and instead redirect everyone to Patreon. But editing my account has been fully disabled as well. Granted, I had told them that I wanted my account deleted, but I'd rather have the entire page simply disabled and all subscribers sent a refund, or whatever else would resolve this for everyone involved.
For now I was able to send a second batch of private messages to any remaining subscribers (although I fully expect them to be deleted soon as well), but the remaining money is still in Subscribestar's hands. It's not enough to to take any major legal action over, but it is enough to completely upend all my plans for Valentine's Day and my wife's Birthday this month. So if anyone wants a private commission, you can message me here or at firstname.lastname@example.org.... I could use the extra income right now.