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Fursuit Commission Problems

Terribly sorry if the person I am bitching about here sees this post, but I need some advice.

So, back around September 20th, 2007, an auction for a partial fursuit ended at about $250. The guy that bought it was GREAT, and sent me the money straight away, and was awesomely eager and quick.

And then... that all failed.

It took him until October to figure out that he wanted a hyena. Originally, he said he was getting it as a present for someone, but that someone decided they didn't want it, so he told me he would get a hyena partial for himself. Okay, I said, when do you want me to start? When he gets the concept art, of course.

So I wait until December 4th, 2007 and FINALLY get the (incomplete) character sheet. Great. He says that I can start working on the starts of the mask: he commissioned a realistic mask, which means that I have to sculpt, cast, and then buy the products to fill the mold, which is expensive. While I am doing my online shopping for some of the more hard-to-find materials, I pick up his fur and the other supplies needed for the partial, thus spending almost all of the money he had paid on the supplies alone.

I start e-mailing him for the measurements; apparently, he didn't recieve any but the one that I sent out December 18th. I starting sending e-mails for measurements on the 4th, then try again on the 10th, then again on the 13th, again on the 15th, 17th, and 18th. At this point I am getting kind of pissed but LO! An e-mail finally arrives on the 19th:

"I will get you the other measurements shortly! Here are tracings of my
hand on an 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper with the ruler to show scale. I
have HUGE hands! and long fingers too"

Sure enough, here are these huuuge tracings of his hands that are going to be impossible for me to print out at actual size. I had asked for PHYSICAL measurements of his hand, and I did not receive them. Just his hand tracing photographed next to a ruler. Okay. I can TRY to work with this.

However, it is now January 19th, and a month since I have heard anything from him. I have his fur set aside, his mask cast and ready to be fitted to the size of his head. And I can't go any further. I can't even get his shoe size from the guy.

To make matters worse (yes, worse), he referred a friend to me and, from the sounds of this guys last e-mail, I think he MIGHT be trying to take the money that he spent and transfer it to his friend so he can get a fursuit. I have already bought the supplies for his! And even if this guy IS paying his own way with his costume, I'm scared that he is going to end up being just like his friend and just... toy around with me for months like this guy did.

I am pretty much terrified now to take fursuit commissions... if I have to deal with this... Gah.
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Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
alcyione
Jan. 23rd, 2008 03:36 am (UTC)
I'd like to know who this guy is - a friend and I BOTH have had trouble with a guy whose fursona is a hyena, and I wonder if it's him.
valdyrfenris
Jan. 23rd, 2008 03:43 pm (UTC)
I don't think his actual fursona is a hyena, but it might be. If its a guy that ever sent you a pair of hyena boxer shorts, complete with eh... private parts... then we have the same guy.
neongryphon
Jan. 23rd, 2008 03:43 am (UTC)
Ok first, if you are uncomfortable with the friend, don’t touch them with a barge pole! I have turned down friends of previous commissioners before because I felt strongly from emails that difficulties would be repeated.
Your ToS should cover you if he tries to change the spec after supplies are bought. Do not put yourself out of pocket because of his indecision. I see too many artists feel guilty for something that is not their fault at all. So don’t give away your time and money.
If the buyer won’t reply to requests, there is little you can do. Had you not bought the material I would have suggested a refund. I would comfortably sit on the material and commission until he gets back to you.
valdyrfenris
Jan. 23rd, 2008 03:46 pm (UTC)
Guess I will have to do the latter, and I don't know. The 'friend' seems like a nice, decent, person and is definitely INTO getting this commission, or seems to be, as he is very prompt with his e-mails and seems to be hideously eager. I am afraid to discriminate him because of what his friend did, but at the same time, I am still wary. I mean, I have a friend that is ridiculously lazy and mean, and I would hate it if someone assumed the same about me by cause of her.
beetlecat
Jan. 23rd, 2008 03:46 am (UTC)
However, it is now January 19th, and a month since I have heard anything from him. I have his fur set aside, his mask cast and ready to be fitted to the size of his head. And I can't go any further. I can't even get his shoe size from the guy.

If you can't continue then you can't continue. But you can set it aside and work on something else.

To make matters worse (yes, worse), he referred a friend to me and, from the sounds of this guys last e-mail, I think he MIGHT be trying to take the money that he spent and transfer it to his friend so he can get a fursuit.

The customer cannot reset the stage. Tell him that you won't accept the change in commission. The deposit is paid the supplies are bought and there can be no changes in the commission. Direct him to your ToS.

And even if this guy IS paying his own way with his costume, I'm scared that he is going to end up being just like his friend and just... toy around with me for months like this guy did.

Possible, but they are different people. I think you should explain your policies very firmly at the beginning and then give him the benefit of the doubt.

I am pretty much terrified now to take fursuit commissions... if I have to deal with this... Gah.

Unfortunately, it happens. You make mistakes, the customers make mistakes. It happens to all of us. The more experienced you get, the easier it will be to handle things like this.

Just make sure the customers know *exactly* what is expected of them and do not allow them to set the terms of the commission. Then everything will proceed much more smoothly.
joecifur
Jan. 23rd, 2008 03:55 am (UTC)
Yeah, really -- I think that's all this comes down to. Just go work on something else. I've waited months for people to get back to me with a payment or some measurements.. you just put it aside.
bladespark
Jan. 23rd, 2008 04:41 am (UTC)
Good advice.

And this kind of behavior does happen, but isn't the rule! For every customer I have who can't make up his/her mind or can't explain what they want or otherwise is a pain, I have half a dozen who know what they want and are able to give me concept art, clear descriptions, measurements and all. Heck, I got one this week that I am so amazingly thrilled with because she had a concept drawing, diagrams, full measurements, fabrics picked out and links to the sources for them, photos of similar outfits, the whole nine yards, all clearly explained and packaged into a tidy little slide-show. That's the opposite extreme from the kind of mess you've got, and it's about as common!
valdyrfenris
Jan. 23rd, 2008 04:41 pm (UTC)
Dear gods, that is definitely spectacular! I hope I get someone like that after this fellow...
valdyrfenris
Jan. 23rd, 2008 04:40 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I know I can. I just feel so frustrated doing so. I have a cast latex and foam hyena just staring pitifully at my desk, saying "furrrr meeee, furrrrrr meeeeee!" But I will tell him no if my fears do end up coming true.
joecifur
Jan. 23rd, 2008 03:53 am (UTC)
This is something people don't like to hear, but if you take fursuit commissions -- yes, you're going to deal with things like this, and often. :|

You tell them what you need up front, exactly, and after that it's their responsibility to get it to you, not your responsibility to follow them beyond friendly reminders. If they don't get you what you said you needed (reference art, payments, measurements), then you don't work on their suit. You're exactly right that you can't go any further -- so don't. If you don't want to deal with him anymore, refund him, finish and furbid what you have so far. Otherwise put your foot down, drop the commission and do something else until he gets back to you. I know it feels weird / guilty, but it's not your responsibility anymore.

Anyway if this guy is really flighty about what he wants / requests quotes on 895043 things for him and his 'friends,' I think I know who it is anyway, and as much as he's driven me crazy I'd just give his money back and furbid it. GL Valdyr.
valdyrfenris
Jan. 23rd, 2008 04:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the advice, Joecifur.

I'm afraid of doing that, though, as I don't exactly have the cash to refund him the $250, and I am afraid that if I did refund him and furbid the partial, then it wouldn't pay back the loss. Not that its not coming out to look great... just the fact that how many people, do you think, want a semi-realistic hyena fursuit partial premade for the price?
ikirouta_fox
Jan. 23rd, 2008 04:59 pm (UTC)
Well, I would buy a semi-realistic hyena fursuit if I had the money. And I know other people too who would be interested. I think that $250 is not bad for a semi-realistic partial, some others ask $700 for that.
ikirouta_fox
Jan. 23rd, 2008 05:11 pm (UTC)
If I was you I would ignore the commissioner as long as he gives the information you need. If somebody pays me but then doesn´t tell me what he wants it´s his problem, not mine. If he doesn´t want the fursuit to be made then it´s his problem. I wouldn´t e-mail him all the time and ask information. That auction ended already in September! :P

I require 50% deposit before I start to work and that deposit is not refundable. So if a commissioner pays the deposit but then doesn´t answer my e-mails to tell me what he wants it´s lost money. I also state clearly in my tos that no changes can be made to the commission after the deposit is paid.

If I had a commissioner who plays with me like that I would cancel his commission. I would not give the deposit back. If the commissioner had paid full price I would maybe refund 50% of the price and sell the fursuit to somebody else.
valdyrfenris
Jan. 23rd, 2008 06:08 pm (UTC)
I just sent him a final e-mail... it was tough for me to make this decision, but I really cannot take it anymore.

I really hate to do this, but I feel that it is necessary. If I do not recieve your measurements within the next two weeks, then I will have to refund you your money, finish the partial, and sell it elsewhere, as per my ToS. If you are having a hard time with measurements, you can purchase a tailor's measuring tape at Wal Mart for less than $2, and you will always have it around for whenever you need to measure in the future.

Once again, very sorry, but you do not seem, to me, to really want this costume, so if you don't, we can stop dancing around this issue for months.

Valdyr
valdyrfenris
Jan. 23rd, 2008 06:42 pm (UTC)
Wow, he replied to that e-mail quite fast.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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