The realization just dawned on me that no one talks about or covers the people who rip off or con tarot readers and psychics. It is a HUGE problem in our community, so much so, in fact, that many of us can’t work with PayPal or other payment collectors. These companies might think there is too much financial risk in working with psychics and tarot readers, not only because of the fakers and scam readers out there but also because of the issues caused by refund seekers and people who demand refunds for services already rendered.
And—perhaps because most of us are solitary practitioners who work alone most of the time or because of privacy and confidentiality restraints—we aren’t really talking to each other about the people who rip us off.
I used to work for a psychic hotline doing administration, quality assurance, customer service, and pretty much all of the background stuff. I saw the seedy people on both sides of the business—both “psychic readers” who were anything but psychic, and also the con artist clients who would rack up hundreds—even thousands—of dollars worth of readings and then request a refund for the whole amount, even after leaving 5-star ratings and communicating about how happy the person was with their readings. I’ve even heard of PayPal reimbursing hundreds of dollars to clients who decided that they “weren’t happy with a reading” and requested a refund, again, after praising the reader. You never see those stories on the news, only the stories of the sham psychics who con hopeful lost souls out of their life’s savings.
The refund requesters aren’t the only people who rip tarot readers and psychics off. There are some people who will call a psychic or initiate a chat, using the site’s free minute promotion—which is totally fine. Some of those people, though, try to dupe the hotline, creating multiple accounts to get more free minutes. They even try to contact the SAME expert to continue the reading where it left off. Many times, the hotlines don’t really even do anything to keep these people from coming back, especially if one of their profiles has spent money on the site.
Then there are those people who ask for an IOU for the reading they desperately need right now but don’t really have the money to pay for. Those IOUs oftentimes sit for weeks, either until the person needs another reading, or the reader just gives up on collecting funds and chucks the amount of time into the “business loss” tax pile (don’t forget to claim those as time lost from services). Oftentimes, these clients start out as OK clients, but then overspend or get addicted to readings (make sure you watch out for this) and then, like those who rack up thousands on a credit card just to file bankruptcy, they turn their backs on the money they owe.
When you are a part of the reading and healing communities on Facebook, it’s common to see the same people regularly requesting free readings. They go from one group to the next, shopping for freebies and hoping to hook someone, anyone, into doing a reading for them. There are also those who play a more subtle game, posting a reading they’ve pulled for themselves—without providing any of their own insights or interpretations—expecting the tarot readers in a group to kindly interpret the meanings of the cards for them, free of charge, of course.
Before I learned my lesson (or as the grounds for the lesson itself), I got conned by a woman who called me requesting a live reading. She found my profile and phone number at Best Psychic Directory. I told her my rates and she said, “Oh yes, bill me to this email address after the reading.” We talked for 2 hours. She never paid me. When I mentioned this person to another tarot reader friend, we compared the email address; she said the woman had done the exact same thing to her.
You know, clients can look up our ratings on the sites we work with or on Yelp!, but we, as readers, aren’t allowed to collect or share data on our clients, even those who are playing games and ripping us off. It isn’t fair, but it is the reality of our work.
Tarot readers, psychics, and healers have to have solid boundaries in place, or readings booked for 30 minutes will extend into 90-minute sessions—but for the 30-minute price, naturally! Even if you remind these people of the time—of course, of course—they want to continue the conversation and make it awkward, if not impossible, to end the session. Then they send emails or chat requests to discuss “just a point”, and get us involved in yet another discussion, requesting more cards be pulled for them.
Honestly, these things happen to professional tarot readers all of the time.
I get requests in my email and Facebook inbox for readings. When I send a response that includes my prices and a link to my calendar, I either get ghosted or chewed out for being such an awful person who won’t share her gift for free! People expect that I will drop everything to honor their request for a free reading, nevermind that I might be doing homework with my son, doing my accounting, or just plain chilling out. These people expect something for nothing, and NOW, plain and simple.
My time is just as valuable as any other person’s time is. And really, requesting a refund for a reading that was given, that you’ve given excellent feedback about—or one that mentions that you have some work to do in your life that you don’t want to face—taking my time and then requesting a refund is stealing from me.
So, how does a professional tarot reader, healer, or psychic guard against being ripped off by one of these con artist “clients”?
1) Require an appointment. This is one way to eliminate spending time on a call or chat that doesn’t pay—and it also sets up good boundaries for potential clients to honor your time. If you have the time and desire to cater to your client at the moment, that’s great! But make sure you get paid before you start the session.
2) Collect payment in advance. (Internet only) I don’t get my cards out for a spur of the moment telephone or chat client until that person has paid the bill in full unless it is from a trusted client—unfortunately, as I mentioned, I learned this the hard way. You can send an invoice instantly through PayPal, and Facebook even allows you to bill via PayPal or bank transfer (in the US). The client can hold the line while payment is processing. In person clients, however, can pay at the end of a session.
3) One person, one freebie from you. It might be hard, but you might want to keep a running list of the people you’ve done free readings for. Aside from a birthday reading special, a prize, or a bonus, you shouldn’t give one person multiple free readings (unless you want that person to expect free readings in the future).
4) Having a strict “no refunds” policy in place. This is one that I’m not fully sold on, because people will play “the customer is always right” or go around you, right to a credit card company if they really want to get a refund.
Ultimately, it seems like there are more protections in place for clients than there are for service providers, like tarot readers, which is a shame. Most of us come to the table with a HUGE dose of empathy and skill, keeping the client’s highest good in mind. Most of us are also extremely generous and have given tons of free readings while we were working on honing our crafts and growing our businesses. Of course, a reading will be off from time to time, and I am one who totally ends a session right then and there if the energy is off, and I do refund the cost in those cases (we can tell in the first 5 minutes).
As a professional tarot reader, you will have to keep firm boundaries in place about your time and payment structure. Hopefully, you can use some of the recommendations I’ve made to avoid getting ripped off or conned by a client. While we read plenty of articles about psychics and tarot readers who take advantage of their clients, we never hear about the other side of this, and it’s time that we tarot readers and healers start talking about this topic so that we can all avoid being taken advantage of in the future.