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Advice - Maker Updates

I really and truly hate having to do this, but I'm starting to get just a tad bit annoyed by an artist and I'm wondering what steps I should take in handling a situation. I'm coming for advice, at the moment, but I fear that if it gets too long (reaching the 1yr full payment mark) I may have to post an actual beware. Because this is just advice, I'm not using my real name or anything associated to myself or the artist. I'm also keeping some dates vague as I don't want the artist to read this and actually penalize me via shoddy work, disappearing, etc in retaliation. Any * mean that it's not the actual amount/date (real dates can be provided to a mod should they be needed). Anyways, here goes:

In October* 2013, I inquired about receiving a quote from the maker for creating my original character, a generic canine*. The maker was quite prompt and pleasant with their response and after giving me my quote of circa $1,000* for a partial, they would be opening shortly. Well, shortly came in December and while I had my deposit, I had a family emergency that required me to chip about $100 off of my deposit. I had been waiting for this maker for months and I emailed them and explained my situation. The maker was quite understanding and entered into a little bit of a good faith agreement with me in the understanding that they didn't like deadlines and work wouldn't be completed until after I had finished paying. So, from my first payment in December until the end of January 2014, I paid a whopping 75% of my partial off. The maker was quite pleased and advised me that I could pause payments simply because they had a big queue. This was fine with me because I had become seriously ill around this time and had to miss much work, resulting in a loss of income for me. It took me about 4 months to scratch the final payment together, but I paid it off, much to the maker's pleasure. The maker informed me that they would be starting on my partial shortly (circa June*).

Due to my still being grievously ill requiring hospitalization, among other issues, I didn't put pressure on the maker as far as sending me updates, swatches, pics, etc. So, in circa September, the maker contacted me and informed me that they would be starting on my character's tail and hands shortly and needed general measurements. I provided the measurements within a day and waited. Another month (October) rolled by and I inquired about updates from the maker and they stated that they would begin plastering the head*. Two months (January 2015) went by and I inquired about my status since the maker had stopped providing journal updates on FA and was told that my partial was UNDER CONSTRUCTION. I had no idea what that meant, but simply hoped for the best. Another month (February) with no updates or swatches and I contact the maker and the maker has apparently had some issues with school and was being faced with being kicked out* but was assured that the maker was working diligently on my suit.

Now, here we are over a year out from when the first payment was sent and almost at a year after the payments have been completed and I haven't seen so much as a star-shaped marking for my suit and I'm completely lost. The maker has stopped posting updated pics of other suits they've worked on, still hasn't provided me with a picture of ANYTHING they've done as far as my suit, and I've seen them working on some suits that I know completed payments after I did. I don't think I'm asking for too much for trying to see a swatch of my character's green* fur or a footpaw, but then again, maybe I am. I really just need some advice on whether I should post the AB or wait it out some more to "give them time for their issues". My only thing is that they didn't begin work on my suit until it was paid, I really don't think it's asking too much for a monthly/bi-monthly update on what you're doing when you have $1000 of my money. I just don't want to see my character ruined because I post an AB and they start "feeling harassed".

TL;DR Here are the things I'd like:

Updates and pictures of my suit's progress
My suit to be completed before the summer ends (they'd have been paid off for around 18* mo then)
A reasonable deadline for completion. I know the maker has in the TOS that they don't like deadlines, but in hindsight, this is really inexcusable because of situations such as these. The maker can hold out on my product until they get ready and technically, they could finish in 5yrs from the original purchase date and still be within their TOS.

Any advice is appreciated and if the mods need the actual dates, I'll send actual dates, times, and information as needed. I just want my suit :'(
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Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
laughsatthunder
Apr. 24th, 2015 03:02 am (UTC)
This... Actually sounds like the exact situation my best friend got into with his last fursuit commission.

Do not be afraid to e-mail your fursuit maker and tell them that you want WIPs and would prefer to have it done for the summer. They have had plenty of time, especially since you had paid so long ago, so some work should be done. It'll be really sketchy if they tell you that they can't send you any WIP photos because otherwise there really is no proof of any completion.

The last thing any maker should want is a client who feels unsatisfied or in the dark.
wolfoftheveil
Apr. 24th, 2015 04:50 am (UTC)
This sounds eerily familiar to the situation that I'm currently in, so I almost want to speculate if we're in the same boat (but mine has been in the works for several years).

I'm not a confrontational person, though, so its been hard for me to be firm. For the record your current demands aren't outrageous. I think by this point, with the suit paid off, you deserve to see at least some progress. Regardless if they "like" deadlines or not, don't feel sorry making one for them. If the construction is poorly done, there are venues to post fursuit reviews (and you can always post to a_b again too) so that people can't be swindled by their poor business ethic again.
kitsumi
Apr. 24th, 2015 05:08 am (UTC)
Was a deadline ever decided on? You mentioned they didn't like deadlines, but at the same time, leaving things open-ended seems to often let progress/completion drag on, especially if you've been open and patient with them. I don't want to make any assumptions, but sometimes the 'squeaky wheel gets the grease'.

You have a right to updates also, but I think clear communication is very important. I think if you can bring up in the least hostile way possible that you would like to set a deadline, that would be the best way to move forward(and the time should be within reason on their end - forget about the past 18 months or the progress of anyone else's suits, let's focus on how to proceed from here. It is possible they might not have gotten around to it).

I also would try not to think about other commissioner's progress that you have seen - it is possible some pieces are easier than others, or take less time. Unless they state that they go in order, it's best not to make assumptions about an artist's work habits.

So from here, maybe email 'Hi, I know we didn't decide on an actual deadline, so I'm wondering how you would feel if we set up some dates for work in progress and completion? Understandably there were delays on both ends, but I am happy to work with you in terms of solidifying a schedule so we can finish the project. I understand that in your TOS deadlines are not preferred, but would you be open to the idea of soft deadlines for various stages of the work in progress?" And then from there you could give a list of things you want to see and when you want them, just like you mentioned here. Just ask them how long they think it would take, but also give a time frame for how long you'd be willing to wait before requesting a refund. I don't think this is unreasonable, though I am wondering what else is in their TOS. Can you get a refund ?
familliaraver
Apr. 26th, 2015 03:33 pm (UTC)
I agree with everything said here. You need to go ahead and contact them and ask for updates. If you are feeling weird about confrontation you can ask leading questions like "do you have a public work list I can see? I would like to keep up to date with my project" and if that doesn't work just tell them straight up you need to set a hard deadline.

Is the builder putting out finished work? Are they taking more work? Are you on a list somewhere publicly? Do you know other clients of the builder?

Once all these things are established make sure to hit them up once a week or once every 10 days. I would say if you don't get contact and updates you are happy with come back here and post a beware. It's USUALLY enough to kick someone into gear.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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