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Advice needed

Hello, all. I have commissioned a relatively well-known maker to build a fursuit head for me. I commissioned them and completed payment in August 2014.

As the year anniversary gets closer, There is little to no work being done on my head. So far only materials have been purchased and the base is apparently cast, cut and hinged, though I have yet to see pictures of this.

I've talked with several of my friends and have come to the conclusion that I want to ask for a refund. They have a large queue, have been difficult to get in contact with, and keep doing other types of projects like sculpting new bases, going out of town, and making premades. A couple of times it has taken them over a week to reply to an email of mine, despite seeing activity regularly on twitter. I feel like the year will have come and gone before I see any progress on my suit, and I'd rather just put the money towards something else. At this point even if the suit was finished tomorrow, I feel so negatively about it that I don't know if I would enjoy wearing it.

The issue has to do with the deposit. They have a fairly common 30% non-refundable deposit used to purchase materials with. They have started the head, barely, but I'm relatively certain that I am entitled to the materials they have purchased, and the base (minus labor costs, obviously). Do you all think that this is reasonable of me? And if so, how do I go about asking for that? I'm going to request a refund either way, and am prepared to eat that 30% if I have to, since I'm just so sick of waiting.

EDIT: Thank you everyone for your advice! I'm glad I wasn't mistaken in being technically entitled to materials and whatnot. But after some long thought, I decided that the stress of pressuring the maker and having to deal with shipping (they are in a different country than I am) wasn't worth it. I requested a refund of the 70% that I am definitely entitled to, and they have agreed to return my money.
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Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
keyoki
Jun. 22nd, 2015 11:36 pm (UTC)
It's a common misconception that the 30% is universally for materials. Does the maker say that the 30% is for materials in their ToS?

Also did they give you a completion date? If the completion date has come and gone they broke the contract first and I see no reason why you wouldn't be entitled to all of your money back.

Asking for materials is an issue because not every maker wants to release their raw materials (bases, claws, etc) and because actual material cost fluctuates based on the quantity you buy them in and the time they were bought (fur prices go up just like gas). Just ask for a full refund, in cash, and go from there.
roxyfur
Jun. 23rd, 2015 01:57 am (UTC)
They do specifically have it in their TOS, in two different locations, that the 30% deposit is for materials. So that's why I'm unsure of how to go about asking for that back, especially since they did mark in their queue (it's organized on trello with checklists) that they have purchased materials and cast/hinged the blank.

You make a really good point with cost fluctuating and selling raw materials, because they do cast their own bases themselves so they may not want that available to somebody else. Trade secrets, and all that kinda stuff. I may try to ask for a full refund or work something out with them regarding the materials, if they're reusable (which I think they will be).
weirdmisty
Jun. 23rd, 2015 12:21 am (UTC)
The artist has an ethical obligation to either refund the materials cost and keep the materials, or keep the materials cost but send you the items. They cannot keep both the money and the supplies.
roxyfur
Jun. 23rd, 2015 01:58 am (UTC)
Thanks for your input! That's what I thought, but keyoki made a good point above about that as well. Hopefully there will be some more good input here to help me make a logical decision.
houndofloki
Jun. 23rd, 2015 02:17 am (UTC)
It's probably wise of you to request a refund. If they're continuously working on premade items, have a long queue, and take a week to reply to email - who knows how long this project could drag on.

It sounds as though most if not all of these materials are reusable. If I were you, I would try to negotiate for a cash refund less a reasonable amount (maybe 10% ish?) for labor, and not even bother with trying to get the materials.
sambeawesome
Jun. 23rd, 2015 02:58 am (UTC)
The deposit to cover the price of the materials, as I understand it, should mean that you're the owner of those materials. I mean, they were purchased for you with the intention of making the suit. Unless there is something I'm missing here, I think you're entitled to them. I think the non-refundable aspect of it is with the intention that the materials would stay with them, but you could consider the 30% as your purchase of those materials.

You could request that you would like a refund on the 70% (or however much you deem necessary given any labor done on the materials) as the work was never completed and that they can keep the 30% but you would like the materials. Or you could request the 70% back in full, regardless of labor, because you would be receiving nothing in return.

I'm sorry to hear about your troubles though and I hope things manage to work out for you!
berugii
Jun. 23rd, 2015 07:31 pm (UTC)
I'm leaving this reply on behalf of a friend, who's been having some trouble getting the lj comment system to work--
Her comment:

Pretty sure we've had the same problem with this maker, minus finishing payment in full. I paid my deposit, over a year passed with two soft deadlines (estimates by the maker) missed and two instances of communication (both initiated by me, no pictures provided), until I finally decided to cancel my commission entirely this April.

Now I'm wondering about my entitlement to what was finished (supposedly? I never got proof - ) could be, but worry the parts may have been reused or discarded by now since it's been two months.

But I've never considered that getting nothing for my deposit wasn't the only option? I have it in mind to ask if I can get my base, too....
roxyfur
Jun. 23rd, 2015 08:00 pm (UTC)
I ultimately decided to just eat the 30% rather than deal with the stress of asking for the base and materials. I'm glad I did, because the maker's reply to my email was snarky, complete with subtweets after the fact, though they did agree to send me a refund of the 70%. If it is the same maker, it may be an uphill battle to get the materials.

I think it really just depends on the wording of their TOS. I think, legally, I could be entitled to the base and materials, but I'd just rather not deal with it right now. Tell your friend I said good luck! They may have an even tougher time because of the time lapsed.
berugii
Jun. 23rd, 2015 08:35 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the update, even if the news isn't positive (I'm sorry the maker's reaction turned out to be what it was), I've passed your input and wishes along! In any case it helps knowing what to expect, in deciding where to go from here.
roxyfur
Jun. 24th, 2015 02:11 am (UTC)
Yeah, at least I did get most of my money back so I am relieved about that, and not having to deal with the maker anymore. Good luck again! ;n;
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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