Woman explains that she was scammed out of $4,000 by tattoo artist

Oleksandr Nagaiets/ShutterStock @ririality/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘That’s not a $4K tattoo I’m so sorry’: Woman says she was scammed out of $4,000 by tattoo artist

'Not knocking your tattoo, but for $4k I was expecting to see something absolutely stunning.'


Jack Alban


Posted on May 12, 2023

An Ontario-based tattoo studio is being accused of scamming customers by two TikTokers who spoke about negative experiences they allegedly had with the business.

The account @running_mom_of_boys posted a viral clip on May 10 blasting the studio. It was stitched with another clip from a user named Ri McCue who also said that she felt cheated following her appointment with the same tattoo artist.

@ririality #stitch with @cmonteith sharing my experience finally #tattoogate #lucidtattoos #tattoohorrorstory #tattooscam #lindsayjoseph #cambridgeontario #ontariotattoo ♬ original sound – Ri McCue

In McCue’s video, she says the tattoo artist reneged on their initial quote for her bodywork to cover up some old tattoos, delayed her appointment times, then changed the pricing structure. This was after McCue was allegedly charged a $180 consultation fee.

The TikToker says the initial consult was done over the phone, which she alleges was later used against her in her pricing dispute with the artist.

“She quoted me $1,700 for that tattoo,” she says. “And she said 50% deposit due, so $850 so I e-transferred her the $850.”

McCue says the appointment got postponed because she was pregnant, and then postponed again later because the artist had a ‘head injury.’ Eventually, the appointment was set up for December 2022 even though the initial consultation was allegedly in 2021.

@ririality #stitch with @cmonteith part 2 of my $4000 tattoo debacle #tattoogate #lucidtattoos #tattoohorrorstory #tattooscam #lucidtattoo ♬ original sound – Ri McCue

Right before she was scheduled to go in, McCue says that the artist contacted her to tell her that she wouldn’t be able to cover her old tattoos as agreed upon.

When McCue says she protested, the artist allegedly told her she’d have to pay a new consultation fee if she wanted to change the new design the artist had come up with.

“She said if I don’t like the new plan, I can cancel and I would lose my $850 deposit,” she says.

The TikTok user says she felt compelled to go to the appointment so as not to lose her deposit money, which she ultimately ended up regretting.

“So, a couple of days later the appointment comes, I show up at 9am, appointment time, and this lovely human doesn’t even start until close to 1pm.,” McCue says. “She tattoos me for 2.5 hours, gets the outline done, and then says that she has to leave to pick up her kids.”

Things only got worse for McCue from there. In a follow-up video, she alleges that the tattoo artist told her that she “charges a daily rate” and that she owed her additional money.

McCue says she was never informed of a “daily rate,” but says that when she brought up the original $1,700 rate to the tattoo artist, the artist denied ever quoting her that price. McCue says because it was a phone consultation there was no record of their agreed-upon rate.

“So it’s my word against hers at this point,” she says.

“But you asked for 50% of the cost, which is $850 and that’s why I sent you $850,” McCue says she argued. “She said, ‘Nope, that’s just my deposits. I charge a daily rate. So if you don’t want to have the cops called on you you need to pay me $1,900 today.'”

In her last video, McCue says she decided to get the tattoo finished at a later date but didn’t plan on paying the artist the extra $1,000 as “she had $3,000 already” at this point.

McCue says she simply walked out of the studio without paying when her tattoo was finished, which led the artist to allegedly call the cops on her. She claims that the artist also shared her driver’s license with other tattoo artists in the area in an attempt to blacklist her.

According to McCue, the police claimed this wasn’t the first time someone had complained about the tattoo studio, and though he listened to her situation, he allegedly told McCue that she still had to pay up as the artist “technically wasn’t doing anything illegal.”

“So, of course, I immediately e-transfer her the balance,” McCue says. “So at this point, she’s got $4,000 for less than 6 hours of work.”

McCue concludes that she’s happy she at least has a tattoo but that it cost her more than she could’ve imagined.

The debacle has since gained viral traction on TikTok, being dubbed “Tattoo Gate” after both McCue’s and @running_mom_of_boys‘s videos collectively garnered more than 7 million views. The drama was also previously reported by Distractify and Dexerto.

@ririality #stitch with @cmonteith part 3 of my $4000 tattoo experience #tattoogate #lucidtattoos #tattoohorrorstory #tattooscam #lindsayjoseph #cambridgeontario #lucidtattooco #luc1dl1ndz ♬ original sound – Ri McCue

In McCue’s comments section, viewers remarked that they didn’t believe the work the artist performed was worth $4,000.

“Not knocking your tattoo, but for $4k I was expecting to see something absolutely stunning,” one user said.

Another wrote, “4000 for at most a 500 dollar tattoo.”

Someone else thought that the business’ attitude towards McCue was unprofessional as well.

“Her changing the designs and then saying well you don’t like it then you can pay a new consult fee is SO INSANE,” another wrote.

The Daily Dot has reached out to the tattoo studio, which is owned by the artist, via email and McCue via TikTok comment.

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*First Published: May 12, 2023, 3:46 pm CDT