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Advice: unsure how to proceed with refund

Recently I had a commissioner approach me for a refund. I had taken a bit too long on their piece (I have my excuses but I'll leave them out) and they requested their money back. Since I'm doing very badly financially I asked if I could perhaps finish it within the day instead and they agreed to let me attempt to. I sent them the sketch and they approved it, but upon me delivering the final piece they said it felt rushed and that they weren't satisfied, requesting a refund again.
But now I'm hesitant to give it since I've already completed the piece, and to me it didn't seem rushed at all and seemed on par with me normal work. Either way, they had agreed to let me try and finish it and I did, so time was spent on it and I don't know how to proceed from here. Can anyone give me some advice?

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( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
leahtaur
Jan. 29th, 2016 10:42 pm (UTC)
Can you ask them which parts seem rushed and need more attention? For example, maybe they think the colouring is not as detailed as your other works or something like that. If they can't list any one specific thing that looks off you can offer a partial refund. Without knowing the full details like length of time taken or how rushed it looks (if at all), half refund sounds generous, quarter refund should be the minimum. Again though, it's hard to say without more details.

The only reason I'd advise any refund at all when the piece is fully finished is because they did request a refund and you talked them out of it - maybe they don't like that character anymore for example. But if you want to finish things amicably, I think a partial refund or revisiting problem areas in the piece is the way to go.
wilk_canine
Jan. 30th, 2016 11:14 am (UTC)
What would you consider reasonable corrections at this stage? They've stated their problems, and some are fixable (changing the color balance, fixing an anatomy flub here and there) but they also want me to make the lines thicker and possibly rework the pose (despite me having given them a progress sketch of the pose that they approved before I started lining it).
I feel like thickening the lines would require me to basically re-line the entire thing, and redoing the pose is something that would be out since they approved it during the sketch stage.
mortymaxwell
Jan. 30th, 2016 04:28 pm (UTC)
Does the commissioner just want the lines thicker in a few places (like say under the chin or on certain strands of hair) or do they want the entire piece relined? If it's just a few places, it probably would be easy enough to fix. But if they aren't going to be happy unless the entire piece is re-inked, then it probably would be a good idea to go with the partial refund.
leahtaur
Jan. 30th, 2016 04:53 pm (UTC)
Sometimes you can give the appearance of having thickened the lines by fiddling with the lineart layer - duplicating it so it appears darker maybe. If that won't work in this case I'd say your choice is to redo the lines or offer a partial refund.

A pose rework at this point is unreasonable of them to ask since it was approved ahead of time.
wilk_canine
Jan. 30th, 2016 05:07 pm (UTC)
I was thinking that, or maybe using a 1pt stroke in photoshop to try and thicken them; but it's irrelavent now. They wouldn't take the partial refund and they wanted me to edit the piece quiet a bit because they said something changed between the sketch and the lineart that made them dislike it.
In the end I just drew a completely new piece that they seem happy with so far, I'm not done lining so we'll see how it goes.
poizenkat
Jan. 31st, 2016 09:31 pm (UTC)
ah that sounds pretty frustrating. I know I've had issues with commissioners who didn't understand that the lineart isn't going to look exactly the same way the sketch did. I hope it all goes well for you!
(Deleted comment)
mortymaxwell
Jan. 30th, 2016 10:57 am (UTC)
It's bad business practice to spend a customer's money before doing the work and then tell them about your RL problems. Besides being unprofessional, it can make a customer feel pressured into continuing with a commission. IMHO, the transaction should have ended the moment the first time he asked for a refund, and you should have started discussing how to repay him. But what's done is done.

My suggestion would be the same as the others and try corrections, then if that doesn't work, give them a partial refund.
wilk_canine
Jan. 30th, 2016 11:11 am (UTC)
I'll keep this in mind moving forwards. The reason I bring up my personal circumstances is because in the past my commissioners have wanted to know what my status was, so I gave it and got into the habit of always just saying /why/ there was a delay when there was one.
As for the money - I agree and I'll avoid doing so in the future, thank you.
ntshadow
Jan. 30th, 2016 07:58 pm (UTC)
Speaking as someone who worked billing/customer service for many years (not in any artistic capacity, mind you), I find the request rather curious. I've had sucky customers who demanded a refund or waiving of ETFs with the stupidest of reasons (My husband has brain cancer! Your tech fixed it too quickly!), some of which made me wonder whether they were ever going to pay, or had planned to try and scam us for a refund from the beginning. My company did have ToS which stated we were best effort, and much like hospitals, would still charge for time and effort even if we couldn't resolve.

With artists....most artists have different policies on how to handle refunds/revisions/modifications that are amicable to both artist and artee (is that a real word? It should be)

For full disclosure I should say I'm not an artist (except wiht BuckyBalls) and have not yet commissioned any work from an artist.

So, here's my thoughts as a former billing rep, customer service rep, customer, friend of many artists, and longtime member of the fandom:

If I'm commissioning a work, I figure that I am purchasing not only a finished piece of work, but also the artist's time and effort towards that work. If I'm just picking up a print from their dealer table, then I am just purchasing that item. I am buying the time they took to hit PRINT on their computer, and I can see the finished work before making a financial decision. But with a commission I am purchasing their time devoted towards me, and as it's original, am aware that how it looks in the end may differ from how I pictured it in my head.

This person agreed to pay you for time and a product. You took too long on the time and they reasonably asked for a refund. You counter-offered with giving their art priority, and they agreed. You provided a final product and they again asked for a refund, giving what may...or may not... be a legitimate reason.

When a customer asked for a refund, I consider several factors:
What are they asking (do they want a refund, or do they just want their computer fixed)?
What is the reason for that request (Techs didn't resolve problem, they felt the Sales dept lied, they lost their job and have to cut expenses)?

Based on that information, the company's policies and my own judgement, I render a decision.

With your situation, my first thought is that this person wanted their money back no matter what. When they agreed to let you finish, still intended to find some flaw to reject the work.

I would be curious of more details. How long are the time frames involved? What do the sketches and finished work look like? What were your ToS when the piece was commissioned (Your FA lists ToS added a month ago)?

I think you'd be within your rights to deny a full refund. The customer did agree to allow you to continue working on the piece. But, there are some questions you may want to ask yourself. Does it feel like this person had buyer's remorse and just wants their cash back no matter what (or may have been intending to scam, as some still post refunded art on their gallery) or are they legitimately unhappy with the work? Has this person bought from you before, and might they be inclined to buy more art in the future? Would they accept further revisions ("Sorry, you're unhappy with the piece, allow me to fix it and I'll throw in a headshot as well")?

I know this got kinda long-winded, but hope it helps.
wilk_canine
Jan. 30th, 2016 10:27 pm (UTC)
The time frame itself was approximately a month and two weeks from when they commissioned the piece; with two instances of contact between those time frames where I gave my reasoning as to why it hadn't been started at the time. When I gave my reasoning their responses were always to the tune of "ok, thank you I was just checking in". I had taken on other commissions recently, adding them to the end of my que as I usually do (I have a trello listed publicly) and the commissioner became worried that I was giving other people priority (because I will occasionally finish sketches that have been taken on more recently in between bigger pieces due to them being easy to complete). The asked for the refund and I offered to finish the piece; they did mention they were wary but that they would let me try.

As for the sketches and finished work; well, I would provide it but the content is not something I like associated with my public accounts. Everything here is being handled through a different website than FA, though my TOS is still the same across all my sites. It was added after they'd commissioned me though, so I can't hold them to it.

We seem to have worked something out, however. I agreed to completely re-draw the piece in order to make them happy, since the proposed edits were far out of the scope of what I'd normally do and would have required a lot of re-working anyway. They seem pleased with the sketch, so we'll see how it goes after I get the lines done.
They haven't bought from me before, but won a free art contest around November and cited that piece as their quality control measuring stick.
ntshadow
Feb. 6th, 2016 07:43 pm (UTC)
Okay, understandable. And I can see where the customer may have been legitimately concerned you were blowing them off and rushing the piece to be done with them.

And great that you found an amicable solution, which is the ultimate goal.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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