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Beware: Erro / AlterForge Studios

WHO: Erro / AlterForge

WHERE: http://www.furaffinity.net/user/erro http://www.furaffinity.net/user/alterforge

WHAT: A digitigrade fullsuit commission.

WHEN: Concerns first arose around January 2015 when I was informed my suit was behind schedule. Fur had only been ordered for the project that same month, https://dl.dropbox.com/s/66r297amnvxs5gd/Skype%20Fur%20Chat.png?dl=0 Early into February I was informed I'd only have a partial suit available for my due date of February 21st, Texas Furry Fiesta.

PROOF: https://dl.dropbox.com/s/5zv4p2t06sqww50/PayPal%20Proof.jpg?dl=0 Contained is my original transaction for the suit, a one thousand dollar deposit. The refund was issued after requesting I send it as a gift instead of "goods and services." I have no log of this exact request but the refund was issued on his part and resent after funds were added from my bank account. Hopefully that can be somewhat conclusive.
https://dl.dropbox.com/s/d7fc033qdr1g6kn/IMG_20150220_135933.jpg?dl=0 As of my due date, this was the only progress he had to show. It is also the only picture I have of any form of progress. This artist is against progress pics as he feels they aren't representative of his final quality.

EXPLAIN: I need to preface this by mentioning that this commission was originally taken one year ago from a (former) close friend. The standard ToS and contract wasn't really brought into the picture due to this relationship. The PayPal transactions are the most concrete evidence I have of the initial agreement--A fursuit maker taking fursuit amounts of money. That being said, upon receiving payment he'd informed me his queue was empty and the due date was not an issue. We'd be attending that convention together again anyway.
For most of 2014 I got very little in the way of evidence it was being completed besides the occasional "It's being worked on." and "It'll be done in time." All of his payment was given far in advance as a means to help him out during a moving crisis. Since he had no queue, there was no line for that to put me to the front of.
Into February he'd told me I would only have a partial suit available (unfortunately communicated through a skype call. I wasn't thinking about logging my steps at this point.)
The subject was largely avoided by him at the convention. As shown above, the only progress was a few foam blocks, and it wasn't until weeks after I was able to get in touch. https://dl.dropbox.com/s/d35u4co8qtx1up5/SL%20Recent%20Conversation.jpg?dl=0
After failing to hear back from many messages, I dropped back on trying to around once every two weeks in an attempt to be reasonable, but this most recent update that it won't be resumed until after May was what finally brought me here. He had accepted around an extra 175 dollars--money he owed me from the hotel stay--to continue working on the suit after he returned home. https://dl.dropbox.com/s/pbu17xx403fbksp/SkypeLog2.png?dl=0 Again, it's not exactly the most formal "Do this by then or else..." But an understanding was there.
By mid March he still had not completed the head he was working on at the convention in place of mine. https://dl.dropbox.com/s/r50cwuzcr3qy711/SL%20Recent%20Conversation%202.jpg?dl=0 It's still worth noting that commission was taken after mine as well.
Another example of the several failed communications. SL logs aren't the clearest things in the world, but he simply never responded to the message. https://dl.dropbox.com/s/b7bh24s2rao231r/SL%20Recent%20Conversation%203.jpg?dl=0

Edit: 7/15/15 -- I've just returned from Anthrocon 2015 which was our newest deadline for completion on the suit. The time leading up to today has unfortunately been filled with even more trouble and I had to attend without a suit again.

Discussing the new ETA - https://dl.dropbox.com/s/rb45ftu1r5ius42/AC%20Deadline.png?dl=0 Our interactions have grown increasingly short over the months. Just about all of the following are a good example of the breakdown in communication.

Missing the original ship date - https://dl.dropbox.com/s/s5pkmwqifmck2ex/June%20no%20deadline.png?dl=0

Asked to ship overnight because of the extreme time crunch - https://dl.dropbox.com/s/vrnlujha7qthqwu/Overnight%20Interact.png?dl=0

PayPal payment for $100 - https://dl.dropbox.com/s/0x7wvlnjlk2l1an/PayPal%20Statement.png?dl=0 It probably goes without saying here, but he gladly accepted that 100 dollars and then didn't deliver me a product.

I requested progress pics after the second week of unsuccessful shipment. Didn't go that well - https://dl.dropbox.com/s/jd7codiogwjnu67/ProgPics%20June.png?dl=0 I'm not about to say I've handled all of these interactions as well as I possibly could, but under the circumstances it was difficult to be perfectly patient.

Calling me out on this very Artist Beware - https://dl.dropbox.com/s/db8et9tf44ea8b5/AB%20Callout.png?dl=0
This is where he just shut down on me. Now, you've all read this. Nowhere in this article have I suggested or complained about my suit not being completed in 6 months. I knew about a one-year completion from the start and never questioned that. Completely dismissing my issues in this article was just outrageous, and citing that many makers charge more and take more time, after this long, is just outright untrue. If someone's going to take 2 years they mention it ahead of time and it's due to popular demand and a large queue. Plenty of fursuiters I met this weekend reassured me of that. It pains me to have to update this article with yet more bad news, but I've been left with little choice.
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Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
rueq
May. 5th, 2015 02:00 am (UTC)
I have to say.. resending the money as a gift was a really bad idea. I'm assuming he wanted to do it to avoid the fees? Because you sent it as a gift you don't get any buyer protection as technically no goods or services have been exchanged. So unfortunately if things go further downhill for you you may have a difficult time getting your money back.

Personally for me, I am adamant that I send payments marked as goods/services. Otherwise I just cancel the transaction.

I hope things work out for you! That is a lot of money to trust someone with.
yuki_fox_demon
May. 5th, 2015 02:17 am (UTC)
The fact that he would refund you the money just to have you send it as a gift because he didn't want to pay the fees is super skeevy to me, not to mention completely against Paypal's ToS and can get his account banned...I certainly hope you can get your money back if it comes to that, but as rueg said, it's going to be hard.
mori_mutt
May. 5th, 2015 05:28 am (UTC)
I know the money isn't making its way back to me. This far out, even with their protections I'm out of luck as far as getting a refund. I know it was very shady of him, but from a long time friend I figured I'd give him a little trust. Woops..
yuki_fox_demon
May. 5th, 2015 05:46 am (UTC)
Yikes :<
losnyangeles
May. 5th, 2015 05:27 am (UTC)
I'd like to add that if this all goes south then you can email Paypal with an explanation and screenshot of his telling you to send it as a gift. That should get him in deep trouble as that is strictly against Paypal's rules.

Edit: I missed the part where you said you had no log of the gift part. Hence, no screenshot. I still think you'll get by with an explanation, though.

Edited at 2015-05-05 05:29 am (UTC)
mori_mutt
May. 5th, 2015 05:30 am (UTC)
7
And unfortunately, my logs don't go that far back. I have to assume that PayPal can see he initiated the refund though. I also suspect he takes many of his commissions through "gifts" instead.

Edit: And I'm replying on a phone on the fly! Slow happens. But if things continue to decline, that's where this will go next.

Edited at 2015-05-05 05:31 am (UTC)
losnyangeles
May. 5th, 2015 05:51 am (UTC)
You have a strong case with Paypal, at least! I don't see why they wouldn't have a record of your transaction. Plus, the payment-refund-gift of your transaction and the many gift transactions from others would already look really suspicious from a Paypal employee's point of view. Based off of this, I don't think you'll be able to get any sort of refund even if you get him in trouble, unfortunately. Perhaps you could use reporting him to Paypal as leverage to try and force him to give you a refund. Losing the only method of collecting revenue for his business will result in quite a hit on his finances. Best of luck.

Edit: LJ link coding messing up my reply :-/

Edited at 2015-05-05 05:52 am (UTC)
snobahr
May. 5th, 2015 01:45 pm (UTC)
Paypal logs
Through the web interface, one can see one's full PayPal history. So, yeah, PayPal has the information about him receiving money as good/services, his initiating the refund, and his receiving the money as Gift. I'm going to guess that you're not the only person to whom this sort of transaction series of events happened to. PayPal just needs somebody to point it out to them.
raisindust
May. 6th, 2015 04:22 am (UTC)
I know you probably learned your lesson the hard way and that's super unfortunate, I hope things at least look a little bit up in the future, but I always make sure to tell this to people new to business::

There are no friends in business. Repeated, NO FRIENDS in BUSINESS. For ALL business transactions, set aside any friendships, don't give friends discounts or let payment times slide or anything like that, because when your friend has become your customer than they are your customer until the business is done and over with. Then they can be your friend again. I swear most of the scams and other nonsense that happens is because someone trusted their friend to be honest -- unfortunately, people aren't faithful enough for that.
mori_mutt
Jul. 15th, 2015 05:31 pm (UTC)
Edit 7/15
I've updated the article to include the latest interactions over the past few months, including being called out about this very post in private. Suit has still not been delivered and progress is a mystery.
kayla_la
Jul. 15th, 2015 07:02 pm (UTC)
Goodness me, those new notes. I don't think they could be any more unapologetic if they tried. You really should ask for a refund (or pull it from paypal) of that 100 dollars you sent them that they completely wasted. They didn't use it for what it was for, they don't deserve to have it.
mori_mutt
Jul. 16th, 2015 10:50 pm (UTC)
I actually brought up with him the extra money, and his general lack of concern for my own concerns. That got a little heated, hence not being here, but suffice to say he more or less did the internet equivalent of storming off. I think the actual words were, "I have nothing further to contribute to this conversation."

I've kindly asked one final time for a completion date and progress pictures (through an e-mail as he suggested I do from now on) but I'm afraid after all of this I'm going to need some greater advice on the next steps to take.
kayla_la
Jul. 16th, 2015 10:54 pm (UTC)
If the time for a claim for the original payment has passed out of paypal's 180 day range, there's not much you can do on your end unless you want to try taking them to small claims court.

However, assuming you didn't sent it as a gift/friends and family, you -should- be able to file a claim for that 100 you sent for shipping, since it was fairly recent. Paypal would ask them to send a tracking number, and if/when they can't, that money will go back to you. Just be aware that they're not going to react well to this, but I'm sure you know that already.

Chances are good you are never going to get your fursuit, and at this point, if you do, we can't be sure it would be up to snuff. You're going to need to decide how much longer you're willing to wait, and if further action is worth your time and effort. Dropping the whole thing for your own peace of mind is a valid decision to make, as is pursuing them legally for what they owe you. Do what's best for you.
millennius
Jan. 11th, 2016 01:10 am (UTC)
Roomie
I'm not sure if I should be surprised at finding Erro on here haha. I just wish someone would have had a Room-mates Beware community board somewhere I could have used 2 years ago! Your images of chats really brought back fond memories~
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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