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Help me! Commissioner won't accept refund?

I held a sketchbook auction several months ago, with the assumption that it would be a quick two-week process. The auction winner has been dragging the process out for months and months, requesting change after change and giving vague directions. He's a really nice guy, and it's not a personal issue, it's just that we don't seem to work well together.

I have offered multiple times to refund him 100% in full and give him all the sketches I've done so far (about fifty different sketches, some even lined and 2-character), but he has absolutely refused in every instance. Honestly, it's to the point where I just want to pay him and be done with it, but he refuses to be refunded, and insists that I complete the commission (which at this rate could take another year or more).

What do I do? It was a huge mistake to do this auction, and I know that now. I just want to be done with this!

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( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
celestinaketzia
Feb. 18th, 2015 10:30 pm (UTC)
Tell him that you no longer wish to continue this commission and that you will be refunding him. Make absolutely clear that if he sends the money back you will only send it back ONCE before you consider it a donation. Put this in bold, caps, whatever you have to do. Work is ending at this point. He has to accept it and move on, or lose his money.

Log into Paypal and send it back. No fuss. If it comes to it, block him.
kalika_tybera
Feb. 18th, 2015 10:36 pm (UTC)
This exactly. It sounds like he's trying to hold power over you and force you to do the art by refusing refund, but it's your right to cancel work at any time and refund the client if you aren't comfortable.
snobahr
Feb. 19th, 2015 02:40 pm (UTC)
I would change one thing, here: Rather than refunding via PayPal (which makes refusing the refund easy), if this is all taking place in the US, send him a USPS money order, and spend the extra cash for at least Return Receipt (if not Signature Required). Explain in the letter that will be included that if he refuses that refund, mail it back and it will be considered a donation. But as of accepting the delivery, the transaction is cancelled and over.
kayla_la
Feb. 18th, 2015 10:34 pm (UTC)
What Cel said. He can't force you to work against your will. Make the donation thing -very- clear and keep records just in case he tries to cause trouble later, but you are absolutely within your rights to refund. You also don't owe him the sketches you've done so far if you don't want to deal with him further, and would be within your rights to repurpose them into YCHs or personal art or the like.

I can't stress enough that you'll have to be clear and firm. No apologizing or submissive language, because he might take it the wrong way. Just 'this is what's happening, here you go, thank you for your interest'.
tylociraptor
Feb. 18th, 2015 10:41 pm (UTC)
He can refuse all he likes, but nothing is stopping you from sending him the money back. He has no grounds to force you to work on something you do not want to, or cannot work on further.

At this point, I would suggest refunding him and including as a note to the payment (as well as detailed in an email) that you are refunding him in full for the order of a customized sketchbook, and should he choose to return this money to you, you will consider it a donation or gift. I also agree with Kayla- don't refund him AND give him the sketches. Make use of the sketches you've done to reimburse yourself for time wasted.
adzuki
Feb. 18th, 2015 10:47 pm (UTC)
Ugh no. You don't want to continue the commission and you have every right to cancel a commission. He cannot make you continue
ansitru
Feb. 19th, 2015 12:07 am (UTC)
Agreeing with the people that have already responded. As an artist it is well within your rights to cancel and refund a commission if you do not want to / can not work on it any longer.

And if it isn't in your ToS yet, I'd make sure to add a clause that states that you have the right to cancel and refund whenever you feel it is necessary to do so.
dinogrrl
Feb. 19th, 2015 12:31 am (UTC)
I wish people would understand that when an artist--someone who is trying to make money from their work--offers a refund, that is not them asking permission. That is them saying "I am done with this, goodbye."

If this commission has become such a hassle that it's interfering with other work or is causing you distress, then you need to find the shortest, business-ethical, way out. In this case, refunding, and you don't need the commissioner's approval to do that. How much to refund and whether or not you send him the sketches is up to you, though if you send him the sketches I would not recommend doing a 100% refund. That's a lot of time and work to not have any compensation at all.
sacch
Feb. 19th, 2015 03:03 am (UTC)
I wish people would understand that when an artist--someone who is trying to make money from their work--offers a refund, that is not them asking permission. That is them saying "I am done with this, goodbye."

ALL of this.
teekchan
Feb. 19th, 2015 08:03 pm (UTC)
Not giving a full refund is pretty iffy. Generally, if the artist cancels a full refund should be given. Especially since he isnt breaking their ToS. or so it seems anyways. If he was threatening the OP or something I could see it.
dinogrrl
Feb. 20th, 2015 01:30 am (UTC)
Yeah, you're right. Especially as the OP already offered the full refund.
skulldog
Feb. 19th, 2015 04:00 am (UTC)
Unhelpful comment start: Seems like full sketchbooks done on commission end up never being worth the stress, something about getting a lot of art at once brings out a lot more nitpicking and entitlement, at least what I've seen with so many art friends that ended up refunding before they finish them. /unhelpful end.

That said, earlier comments are exactly what I'd recommend myself, get this person's address, then force a refund with a very bold, very direct statement of 'I feel we can't continue this commission due to the extended back and forth and time needed to do so in a timely manner, if you won't take this full refund, the only thing I'll be doing is mailing the finished work and considering this transaction complete'.
starcharmer
Feb. 21st, 2015 12:10 pm (UTC)
I did one of these thinking it would be super fun and I'm having the opposite problem...the sketchbook winner won't give me any ideas for what to draw. :( When you don't know someone and need to draw 30 sketches of their characters, it's not easy when they don't give you ideas haha. If I ever do another one, there'll be some really strict rules about them.

But yeah, totally agreed.
pinkpuppybelly
Feb. 19th, 2015 02:58 pm (UTC)
What does your TOS say? My TOS states that I can end the commission at any time for any reason and issue a refund (amount determined by the work I've done).
teekchan
Feb. 19th, 2015 08:00 pm (UTC)
You should have his paypal statement, which has a refund button. if he paid via gift, then it'll still show the email and you can send it back. Like everyone else said, send it back and state if it returns you'll consider it a donation.

If it's a case of 'you lost it' and need his email to refund, then that might be harder. If he refuses a refund he may refuse to give you the email.
staple_gunner
Feb. 19th, 2015 10:15 pm (UTC)
in this case you'd have to go into your paypal transactions and dig through to get to that specific transaction for the email he paid with- you WILL find it in there for sure, so there should be no reason you can't refund him and even if he refuses to give you his paypal email, there are ways you can find it regardless, so i don't think you need to worry about it.
teekchan
Feb. 20th, 2015 02:00 am (UTC)
Yes, but if the OP doesnt know his name and did not provide any sort of code word (or remembers the date), finding it will be almost impossible if the buyer refuses to let the OP know the name/email.

I never said it wouldnt be there, just really hard to find if the buyer refuses to give any info if the OP doesnt have it.
staple_gunner
Feb. 20th, 2015 02:11 am (UTC)
i think saying it being almost impossible is kind of a stretch tbh it'll take some digging, yeah.

all they'd have to do is go into the transactions and search month by month and for the exact amount or even a ballpark and use logic to find out what transaction it is and voila, even if they don't know his full name or other info??
celestinaketzia
Feb. 20th, 2015 02:20 am (UTC)
Yeup, that's all there is to it. Just hop to the month range, set Paypal to only show incoming payments and bam. It's not too difficult to find. I've hunted down very old transactions this way.
staple_gunner
Feb. 20th, 2015 02:22 am (UTC)
totes! i found a transaction that was over 2 years old, didn't even know the name or the actual amount and found it by just going by month and using common sense of what it could be. for all the shit people give paypal, the search is actually super helpful tbh! and it's not as hard as people make it out to be, imo..
teekchan
Feb. 20th, 2015 02:22 am (UTC)
Im just saying, from experience. IDK how many transactions OP does per month, but before I started coding mine, it was impossible for me, personally, to pick out transactions. I could have 20 transactions all on the same day, all for the same price.

No one except OP knows their transaction history, so Im just sayin is all.
staple_gunner
Feb. 20th, 2015 02:23 am (UTC)
understandable i just don't think it's good to go WELL THIS IS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE and giving them.. like.. possible doubt yknow? and i deal a lot of transactions per day but it's still not that difficult if you know what you're looking for. assuming op knows it was a few months ago and probably has an idea of price, it really isn't difficult when you have that much to go on, probs.
tock_fast
Feb. 20th, 2015 01:48 am (UTC)
So because I'm nosy, I did some detective work to find who won.

I've had dealings with this person in the past, and most of it involved them trying to get free art from me for their 'magazine', and despite saying no in every way I could come up with, they kept asking, and insisting that doing the art would benefit me, which really left a negative impact.

Like many others have said; as the artist you can do a refund anytime you want(especially since you're returning the full amount.) Making you work against your will isn't something they have control over.

Best of luck!
likeshine
Feb. 20th, 2015 02:20 am (UTC)

I'm having this problem too. The customer refuses to tell me their PayPal (they commissioned me at a con)
celestinaketzia
Feb. 20th, 2015 02:27 am (UTC)
If you took on a lot of payments with similar price ranges that would make it harder to figure out which one is which, then you may have to do my suggestion above.

Make it explicitly clear that you are done, and that if they do not tell you what their Paypal is you are keeping their payment.
arphalia
Feb. 20th, 2015 02:34 am (UTC)
I've had this happen to me too and it stinks.

I don't really do comms through cons anymore but if I do again, and something like this happens where I offer a refund and its refused I'm going to give them a certain amount of time to accept the refund before I consider it a donation. Same person wanted me to hold onto the finished sketch (after I threw everything else aside just to get the darn thing finished) for a month because they were moving. They didn't even acknowledge the finished art until way later either.

Good luck with your trouble person!
skulldog
Feb. 20th, 2015 04:24 am (UTC)
Personally, I never take cash at cons for a 'to do' commission, people use this gap to abuse 'what I asked for at the con is not what I ACTUALLY WANTED post con', not worth it to me..maybe take details and a paypal address for a post con invoice if you like the art request?
thaily
Feb. 20th, 2015 10:40 am (UTC)
See if there's another artist who has done business with them on-line and ask for the customer's PP-info?
theowlette
Feb. 20th, 2015 03:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for all of the helpful advice! :) I have informed him that he's getting the refund, and explained that if he sends it back I will consider it a donation.
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )

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