Beware Faris Batwan
(UPDATED 01 December 2018)
WHERE: Initial contact via gmail, conversation/discussion also via Twitter DM's & Discord.
WHAT: Digitigrade Fullsuit - Head, Hands, Tail, Bodysuit, Outdoor Footpaws and Indoor Sockpaws
WHEN: Initial contact on August 22nd, 2017. Paid in full on Septeber 02, 2017. Initial suspicion that things were not progressing as planned began in June 2018, especially moving into July 2018.
EXPLAIN: I commissioned Faris after seeing her gallery on FA and seeing a couple suiters at Megaplex 2017 wearing her suits. Initial contact was good, and she was pretty responsive to messages. I was assured that Megaplex 2018 was more than enough time to complete this order, and told that paying in full sooner would assure me an even higher place in the queue. (1)
After I paid communication began to go south. There were days, even weeks in between responses in gmail. Faris claimed several times that messages were not arriving from me, or that she had sent something I had not received. I thought this odd, but we agreed to move off-site for communication to Twitter DMs, and shortly thereafter to Discord.
Communication problems continued throughout the beginning of 2018, although I always (eventually) received a response after prodding her several times. I was given a "100% guaranteed" completion of the suit by July of 2018. After this passed she told me she been handling her Anthrocon rush, but I would definitely have a fullsuit in time for Megaplex.
On June 04 I was promised WIPs "this week" which never materialized until July 22nd, after a LOT of prodding, multiple failed promises of delivery on various dates and times, and eventually having to get pretty harsh with her and threatening chargebacks/legal action.
As this date drew nearer with no updates - despite me asking several times - things definitely started to seem amiss. The bodysuit turned into a maybe, but the partial was "100% guaranteed." I did receive photos of a completed head, hands, and tail, and a tracking number only hours before she had to get it shipped out. I paid a premium for Priority Express shipping, but had no updates on tracking past "Pre-Shipment" until I left for the convention on August 02, 2018. (2 - collage of missed deadlines)
After I got back from the con I dove into this with Faris, trying to figure out what happened. After an excessive amount of prodding I finally got a screenshot proving she had actually purchased a label - for a Priority package only, that wasn't destined to arrive at my location until August 02. I called her out on it and she had an extremely implausible excuse - I decided it was best to move on from that since I was still out over $2000 at this point with nothing to show for it, the shipping costs only being a fraction of it. (4, 5)
During August and September I brought up numerous complaints from other customers to her. They were always "lying" or "not telling the whole story," or "out to ruin her," but she was never at fault for any of it, according to her. On the 31st things came to a head and I had a discussion with her about the poor communication, repeated failures to deliver WIPs as promised, and other issues. I gave her a 30-day ultimatum - if I had nothing in hand by September 30th, I would be moving on to expecting a refund - voluntary or otherwise. I made it very clear then, and at several other points throughout September, that chargebacks and small claims court were absolutely on the table.
In the meantime I attempted to treat the unshipped package as a USPS issue, although I'd never heard of the USPS losing a Priority package without so much as an acceptance scan - it seemed extremely implausible. I did almost all of the legwork to initiate claims/seaches with the USPS, including talking to my local office on September 4th. My postmaster wanted to talk to Faris. Faris told me on September 6th that she had called in and given him all the info he requested. I called back on the 7th to verify as I was at a point where I was no longer able to take Faris' word for granted. My postmaster remembered specific details of my conversation with him on the 4th, but had no memory of talking to anybody about the case on the 6th, just a day before. After confronting Faris about this I was basically just given the same story: she had really called. My postmaster said they get at most 5-6 calls a day and that he definitely would have remembered a call about that. (3)
I had no choice but to just move on from this point. Dealing with the original package and the constant delays and excuses over the bodysuit was taking a lot of energy from me.
On the 22nd of September she was still claiming "100% guarantee" of delivery by month's end. I was also told on this day that the only thing remaining was to sew the front and back together, and sew in the padding.
On the 25th she told me she may have to work out Friday shipping with her. I let her know I was not happy about this but as long as I had a tracking number that showed movement before the 30th (an acceptance scan or more) I would consider that acceptable.
On the 30th was my last message from her - she contacted me to let me know the back had to be sewn together, and then the front and back had to be sewn together. Somehow in the span of eight days /backwards/ progress had been made, according to her. I was told proof would be sent later that day and that she would be willing to work with me on a refund.
I told her that a refund would be best. I contacted her again Monday morning, Monday afternoon, and Tuesday morning to let her know I was expecting her to work with me on setting up a refund, and that Tuesday afternoon was her last chance to get in touch with me. While I normally would allow more time than this for a response, her past track record with communication and near countless other clients waiting on suits, partials, and premades from her, I decided it was best to move on to legal options.
At the current time I have a claim in progress with PayPal for a payment made for shipping & indoor sockpaws, and a chargeback with Discover for 50% of the commission price (she has a chance to attempt to refute both of these, currently). The other 50% was unfortunately paid via my PayPal balance which I have no easy recourse to outside of small claims court. Currently I have started that process and am awaiting small claims papers to be mailed to me.
I will update this posting as more happens. I just felt it prudent to warn people that Faris is not a trustworthy person to work with. I don't believe she does anything maliciously - she's not trying to run a scam, but she is disorganized and doesn't have the integrity to tell her clients the truth when she gets behind or misses a deadline.
For the most part she was polite and pleasant to talk to - but ultimately, I paid a four-digit sum of money for a product that never arrived, with suspiciously similar circumstances to multiple other clients of hers. I would feel remiss if I did not do my part to warn others in the community to avoid making the mistake I did.
06 October 2018:
I submitted a claim to the USPS earlier in September regarding the supposedly lost package. An initial payout was approved of $60.15. I thought that an odd number, so I appealed (Faris insisted she had purchased insurance for it, but never procured it when asked).
Today I got a letter back with the results of the appeal — it was again denied, and as requested, they explained the $60.15 payout. No additional insurance was purchased to cover the value of the item at time of mailing. The baked-in insurance is $50 plus the amount of postage — meaning she spent $10.15 on the label for this, after I had sent her $107.30 for Priority Express. (6, 7)
Faris made no mention of this when I confronted her with this evidence (I already knew she had spent less to do Priority vs Priority Express, via evidence she sent me, I just didn't know the actual amount). She is still insisting she purchased insurance, however, she says she doesn't have a receipt or any other evidence to prove it. She did say she was going to start making regular repayments later this month. At the current time she still owes me $839.85, pending the PayPal chargeback cases resolving in my favor. I am not holding her responsible for the $60.15 the USPS paid me.
18 October 2018:
Since posting this I've gotten in contact with multiple other people dealing with undelivered fursuits from Faris, conflicting stories and accounts, etc.
I have evidence that Faris submitted, as approval images, the exact same fursuit parts for both hands and feet for both me and another client — and in the case of the hands, she even sent us both the EXACT same image, down to the pixel. See images 8 & 9.
01 November 2018:
Faris has sent a small repayment toward the total amount she owes me. She says she is planning to make monthly payments until the debt is paid off.
01 December 2018:
Next refund payment has been made.