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Tattoo prices and scams: lessons from #tattoogate


Tattoos are art forms that allow individuals to express themselves, commemorate important life events, or simply decorate their skin. However, like any art form, getting a tattoo can come with a hefty price tag, especially for customised designs.

This has led some customers to fall victim to tattoo scams, where they are charged excessively for poor quality work or outright tricked into paying for a service they never receive. The latest viral Tiktok drama, #tattoogate, has shed light on the issue.

In this blog post, we will discuss tattoo prices through the lens of #tattoogate and offer some advice on how to avoid falling prey to fraudsters.


Tattoo in black and grey


#Tattoogate tattoo price

The #tattoogate drama began when a TikTok user, Courtney Monteith, posted several videos about her experience with an unnamed tattoo artist who turned out to be Lindsay Joseph of Lucid Tattoos in Ontario, Canada. Among other complaints, Monteith claimed that Joseph charged excessive prices for the one fox tattoo design she received and did not deliver what was promised.

Another TikToker followed suit, claiming that she was scammed out of $4,000 in a tattoo consultation with Joseph in 2021. This is not an isolated incident. Some tattoo artists use their clout to overcharge customers who lack exposure to tattoo art or do not understand their pricing systems.

How is tattoo cost calculated?

Usually, tattoo cost is calculated based on several factors, such as tattoo size, placement and complexity of the design. The artist's experience and skill level also play a role in determining tattoo price. Many artists use an average hourly rate to calculate the cost of a tattoo, but some may also charge a flat rate for certain designs.

Depending on where you get your tattoo, there may be additional costs like studio fees or consultations that should be taken into consideration when budgeting for your tattoo.


Floral tattoo design on an iPad


The cost of the equipment, such as needles, gloves, and other studio supplies used to create your tattoo will also be factored into the pricing structure. Many artists have a minimum charge that covers the cost of these items, while some may add additional fees if you opt for certain ink colours or specialised equipment.

The final cost of the tattoo may also vary from the price originally quoted, depending on how many hours it actually ended up taking to complete the design.

Custom designs requiring multiple sessions will come at a higher price tag than small tattoos off an artist's flashboard that can be done in a single session.

Tattoo deposits

A tattoo deposit is a non-refundable amount of money paid upfront by the client, typically when booking a tattoo session. Most artists use deposits to cover the cost of materials and equipment. They can also be used as a form of protection for the artist in case a client fails to show up or backs out last minute.

Tattoo deposits vary in amount, usually ranging from 10% to 50% of the total tattoo cost, depending on the artist's policy, While non-refundable, the deposit is usually deducted from the final price of the tattoo.

How to tell if your tattoo artist is overcharging

Be sure to research the average cost of a tattoo in your area, and always ask your tattoo artist about their rates before booking a session. A reputable tattoo artist should be transparent about their pricing and be able to provide a detailed breakdown of what their tattoos cost. If they refuse or charge excessively for consultations or designs, it may be a red flag that they are not operating ethically.

It's also important to remember that when it comes to your tattoo, you typically get what you pay for. A bargain price may be tempting, but it could end up costing more in the long run if you're left with a poorly done piece of artwork or an infection.


Tattoo artist cutting costs


Aside from pricing, tattoo scams often involve substandard work that does not meet clients' expectations. They can include rushing through the design process or using low-quality ink and equipment to maximise profits. It is essential to find tattoo artists that charge fairly and also produce high-quality tattoos. Read reviews and check out their social media platforms to gauge a better understanding of their work.

Lessons on tattoo prices from #tattoogate

Unfortunately, not everyone in the tattoo industry operates ethically, and the latest viral Tiktok drama, #tattoogate, is a harsh reminder of this.

If you ever feel like you have fallen victim to a tattoo scam, speak up and voice your concern. As we have seen in the case of #tattoogate, sharing experiences online can help expose untrustworthy artists and prevent them from scamming others.

Remember that tattoos are an investment. Choosing a capable, honest artist who can provide you with beautiful and personalised art is essential. Don't forget to listen to their aftercare advice to ensure your ink stands the test of time!


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  • Sarah Crookes