This is going to be a long story so just get ready.
Little background, my name is evilbugz and I am the owner of Naturally Strange Studios. As much as I hate it, yeah I have an art business to which I pay a CPA and a business lawyer monthly for to keep me in check and help me with my books/money. Because of this, I have a strict policy in place, mainly because I didnt think I would be getting orders over $400. The general gist of this is that I can set what amount I am comfortable with taking, for example, this kid's commission. He wanted 54 characters drawn, inked and colored... comes out to about $2,200 if you make it $40 a pic. Now, Im not comfortable with that and I dont feel like I would want to do that much work so faint/Skech and I decided it would be a great collaboration project. He would sketch and get paid for that while I would ink and color and get the rest of the payment. It was set though that I would only accept payment (in full) for the sketches and ONLY the sketches up front then when they were all done we would continue on to see how the rest of the payment would be handled, I dont know about you but $2,200 is a lot for me as an artist to handle. I dont see my self as amazing or even worth that much but getting compensated would be nice.
Rockaway offers me $150 for all of it at first before telling me how many people. When he said "there are 48 characters and 6 bosses I want full color" my jaw dropped... and I was a little offended so Im sure I gave him a smarky remark to the effect of "You are kidding right? The sketches alone would be $540" he agreed to that even though he wanted to pay me something like $1500 up front, I dont want that on my hands, spesifically for this reason. Say I took all the payment up front and after the sketches I dont want to deal with the commissioner ever again, I dont want to have to refund THAT much money to someone. Se we agreed on $540, for now. The date was set for June 16th that he would either wire or hand deliver to me. June 16th rolls around and he tells me he is having trouble getting it, which is fine with me, I told him that if it was a problem to get, I would accept payments such at $50 or $100 a week until its paid off. He told me about getting paid weekly which is why I offered that, instead of a simple "yes" or even a "no" I get "Im a man of my word an I said I will pay you in full this payment. I will do it... *gets a little quieter* even if I dont get to eat for a month". Great, guilt trips, just what I need. I of course said, "What?" and acted a bit concerned and once again offered him the weekly payments, telling him I didnt mind at all. He insists that he wants to get this project started right away. Ok fine, make things hard on yourself. Some time goes by and it gets nearer to AC, I remind him that I am still waiting for payment. At this point he hadnt begun to pay me so of course Im not going to bother tacking on late fees, first off, if someone gets a late fee on something they havent received yet, they are more likely to not pay for it at all, secondly, Im a nice girl, I didnt (at the time) want to make things harder for him. Also at this point, faint if waiting on this money too, since he is doing the sketches, he will be getting the first payment. Note: He is my employee at this point.
Now at this point he is calling me Empress Nexus, which is creepy in its own way but we wont even get into that. I admit that it was hard trying to get the money the way he wanted me to, which is drive from Patchogue to Long Beach (about an hour drive toward NYC, very close to it actually... and that hour is with no trafic, oh did I mention he wanted me drive close to rush hour?), I suggested that he use Western Union after he repeateded told me "meet me in Valley Stream at 3pm on Friday *insert date*" after finding out that it wouldnt be worth the hassle or gas money. He didnt seem to like that idea because of the fees so I told him that I would cover half the fees (just so I didnt have to drive out there or have him take a train out here... I dont like commissioners knowing where I live, not my thing). I even metioned the fact that a money order is only 67 cents or $1 if you get it from a bank and he could mail it to me, he didnt like that idea. Now its June 19th and I explain to him again why I dont want to drive out there.
[09:25] RockawayDwagwuff: Hehe. this will be a glorious weekend
[10:16] evilbugz: O_o
[10:26] RockawayDwagwuff: Yup yup
[10:34] evilbugz: Should I ask why?
[10:35] RockawayDwagwuff: You get paid
[10:36] evilbugz: Heh, nah, this is faint getting paid lol. Mine comes later after the sketches are done :P
[10:39] RockawayDwagwuff: so that means its atleast 600 on my end.
[10:40] RockawayDwagwuff: ugh there goes my food for the week
[10:41] evilbugz: Well its $540 for his side, then half of the wiring fee. Im not gonna make you pay the whole thing. (If this was for me I would be more keen on trying to make the drive out there but until Lupus and I get the new car on Monday, ... I get 12 miles to the gallon... Id be paying like... $50 to get there and back D: )
[10:42] evilbugz: I think the wiring fee was like $20 at max, to thats $50 that you keep on your end. All I need is the $540. We will work out the rest later once all the sketches are done. This is a huge commission so installments are the best option
[10:42] evilbugz: Best option and my policy. You know this.
[10:44] RockawayDwagwuff: ah. which is why i rather trek out there to you and deliver personally
[10:45] evilbugz: If you want to Im sure we could arange something. I feel bad having you pay for the train ticket to only be here for like, a minute (I wouldnt be kicking you out but with the mix of pre-AC commissions and work with getting this car so we can get to AC... I dont think I would be able to spend much time D: )
To which he implies something about using my printer to print out shirts. Luckily my printer has been broken for a while and generally never has black ink, so I got out of that pretty easily. Still, inviting yourself over when someone has made it clear that you WONT be staying for longer than it takes to pick up things and go? Uhg.
[15:41] RockawayDwagwuff: This is killing me. i am being forced to hold onto some of the money. against my will.
[15:42] evilbugz: huh? What do you mean?
[15:44] evilbugz: I have to head to the post office and I was gonna go pick up a few things. Am I picking up the money while I am out?
[15:44] RockawayDwagwuff: My check was lower than i had been informed. now as i look at it. i will be in a deeper hole
[15:44] RockawayDwagwuff: but, i am a man of my word
[15:44] RockawayDwagwuff: yes
[15:44] evilbugz: How much is being sent?
[15:48] RockawayDwagwuff: unfortunately only 350
[15:50] evilbugz: Alright. And the rest will be in my hands after AC?
[15:55] RockawayDwagwuff: you have my word
[15:55] RockawayDwagwuff: you have my word
[15:57] evilbugz: Alright. Is the money sent to *my name blanked out because* in Patchogue?
[15:58] RockawayDwagwuff: Well it's official.
[15:58] RockawayDwagwuff: i am dead broke this week.
[15:59] RockawayDwagwuff: the wiring cost me an extra 36
[15:59] RockawayDwagwuff: Yup
Thats the first payment thats gone sour. Now Im perfectly fine with this, honestly I am, thats why I gave him the options for a payment plan becuase in the back of my mind I knew he wasnt going to make it. Nothing against him personaly but in talking to him and what not, yeah, doesnt seem to keen on how to budget. Note the "Well Im offically dead broke", that continues through everything. So it gets a little funnier. June 25th, the day everyone is getting ready to go to AC this conversation ensues:
[10:16] RockawayDwagwuff: You? i am in more trouble
[10:17] evilbugz: Im finishing art. Why would you be in trouble
[10:18] RockawayDwagwuff: Dunno if i have enough for basics
[10:19] evilbugz: What?
[10:25] RockawayDwagwuff: Paying you cleared out most of my savingsl i think i have enough for the bus and entry and that's it
[10:25] evilbugz: You were gonna pay me after the con....
[10:28] RockawayDwagwuff: With the next paycheck for the following week
[10:33] RockawayDwagwuff: No matter what.
[10:36] evilbugz: Alright, thats what we had agreed on
[10:36] evilbugz: So you are fine
[10:37] evilbugz: We can talk about this after the con. I cant put any more stress on myself at the moment
[10:37] evilbugz: I have about 4 hours to do about 15 hours of prep
(It was my first dealers table at AC, I was freaking a bit)
He doesnt have the money to pay me and he is complaining to me that he doesnt have enough money for his room at AC... Ummm, hello?? If you still owe someone $200 why would you go to a convention, sharing a room with someone that now they are going to have to cover your portion of the room?? More debt he is in. Should have tipped me off there, but I still try to be nice.
Session Start (evilbugz:RockawayDwagwuff): Wed Jul 02 19:31:50 2008
[19:31] RockawayDwagwuff: Um, i am in trouble
[19:31] *** Auto-response sent to RockawayDwagwuff: Couch hugs then out to Applebee's for Billy's bday.
[19:32] evilbugz: ?
[19:33] RockawayDwagwuff: i just got fired
[19:33] evilbugz: Why?
[19:34] RockawayDwagwuff: 'no longer need my services'
[19:34] evilbugz: I see.... So what are you saying?
[19:36] RockawayDwagwuff: I will give you all my last check.
Logs will show how it continued for a while:
Session Start (evilbugz:RockawayDwagwuff): Sun Jul 06 21:38:30 2008
[21:39] evilbugz: Hey, Skech and I were just wondering when you will be able to get the rest of the money so that we can take some reffs and start working on sketches for you.
[21:46] evilbugz: I hate to do this but I have already skipped payment steps in my company policy. If I dont have the rest by Wednesday Im going to have to start charging late fees :/
[21:51] RockawayDwagwuff: -sighs- ok
[21:53] evilbugz: Im sorry, I hate to do that but I let it go two weeks without the fee. We do have to put time aside out of our normal commission time for a project this big.
[21:53] RockawayDwagwuff: How much in the hole am i?
[22:03] evilbugz: Lemme check.
[22:04] evilbugz: $190 (which is exempting you from all fees)
[22:04] evilbugz: $228 if you add on fees which I wont do if you can get it to me on time.
Session Start (evilbugz:RockawayDwagwuff): Tue Jul 08 11:48:25 2008
[11:48] evilbugz: Hey hun
[11:57] RockawayDwagwuff: Oh no...
[11:57] *** Auto-response sent to RockawayDwagwuff: The never ending job search :/
[11:58] RockawayDwagwuff: Don't remind me. i know. and i am ddoing every possible way to raise it... even uncconventional.
[12:00] evilbugz: I just want to know how you are going to get it here honestly.
[12:01] evilbugz: Im getting this for faint, I dont really profit from this at all. But in doing business I have to pay him on time as well. I have to cover what you dont get to me by tomorrow. Which right now wouldnt be good.
[12:19] RockawayDwagwuff: Wire it. or i can deliver it. i do have your addrress
[12:21] evilbugz: Which ever would be easier for you
[12:21] evilbugz: I know that the wiring was a little bit of a problem :/
[12:21] evilbugz: There is always paypal if you have that or know someone that would be your paypal person
[12:55] RockawayDwagwuff: Ok. i am doing my best
[12:56] evilbugz: Alright
Session Close (RockawayDwagwuff): Tue Jul 08 16:23:58 2008
[16:15] evilbugz: Im sorry hun. I had to cover it and now Im in the hole. :/
[16:15] evilbugz: I had to pay him on time...
[16:18] RockawayDwagwuff: Ok. looks like i gotta... be unconventional
[16:23] evilbugz: Meaning?
[16:29] RockawayDwagwuff: I rather not say
[16:31] evilbugz: Is t illegal?
[16:33] evilbugz: Actually, dont answer that
[16:33] evilbugz: Just... when can I expect it hun? Im now out $200 I needed for bills.
[16:38] RockawayDwagwuff: I will doo what i... must
[16:39] evilbugz: When?
[16:40] RockawayDwagwuff: As soon as i can
[16:43] evilbugz: I need a time hun. No offence but this is starting to pour into my personal life. My business accounts never roll over into my personal or my bills but I had to. I dont want to add fees onto this but honestly, if I overdraw my account due to this Im really not going to be happy and Im going to have no choice by to charge the 20% on the whole thing.
[16:44] evilbugz: Thats another $108 a week that I dont think you can afford... Its my policy and I have pushed a lot for you. Please dont screw me over.
[16:45] RockawayDwagwuff: I won't
[16:46] evilbugz: Then give me a time frame. I already have my lawyer looking at my books and asking me questions about your lack of payment and why I havent tacked on fees. Please.. I need a time.
[16:50] RockawayDwagwuff: I am a man of my word
[16:50] RockawayDwagwuff: how much in the hole? 190
[16:51] RockawayDwagwuff: well 200 ok next thursday
[16:58] evilbugz: It has to be. If not earlier. Where are the paychecks you should be getting
[19:02] *** "RockawayDwagwuff" signed off at Thu Jul 10 19:02:28 2008.
Cute huh? Now at this point, as it says, I have paid faint and had to tap into my own personal money to do so. Like I said before, I stopped taking commissions because of him so I had no coushin if he did this. No, it wasnt smart on my part but I really didnt expect to get royally fucked. He now also has my address and my cell phone number from the handful of business cards he grabbed at AC when he stopped by to visit me. So I get a little pissed, but very proffesional might I add.
Session Start (evilbugz:RockawayDwagwuff): Tue Jul 15 21:48:01 2008
[21:48] evilbugz: Hey, I have a quick question.
[21:50] evilbugz: Are you going to be able to pay me on Thursday? Because if not, I need to update my book with fees. It will have been well over a month since you said initially you would pay me and now its starting to effect my business.
[21:52] evilbugz: I havent taken any commissions since AC waiting for your payment because your project is going to take up a ton of time, I dont want to have too much on my plate. But because we havent started it yet, my whole schedule has been back dropped a month. I cant do this much longer and my CPA is looking at my books. You are about 24 hours from getting me in a lot of shit and Im not very happy about it.
[21:55] evilbugz: After 30 days of non-payment in full you would have aquired over $250 in fees. I have waved most of them but you have until Thursday. I cant play nice anymore. I have given you the benifit of the doubt just for you to spit in my face. I trusted the fact that you would pay me when you said. You told me your word meant all this... June 16th is when you said you would pay. It is 30 days late in a few hours and somehow you have managed to con me out of the normal fees.
[21:58] evilbugz: You have a little over 24 hours to get me $228 or I will be sending collection notices for the ful amount of $393.98, Im sorry but you have made me lose easily $400 in business by making me push away all my commissions. Im running a business, this isnt for fun.
[22:00] evilbugz: Im going to bed. I expect to hear from you tomorrow.
Session Close (RockawayDwagwuff): Tue Jul 15 22:35:35 2008
This continues until we are at today. Him telling me that he will pay me next week, every single week, saying he is a man of his word. Yeah, I see that. He has also magically had the money to go to FA:U, saying it was a birtday present and apparently doesnt seem to give a rats ass about paying me at all (I am friends with people who talk to him). Anyway, in NY there is only a certain percentage in fees you can get up to before you send it to a collection agency or to court. He has aquired a nice chunk in fees that I told him I am willing to settle for $450. Thats only $250 in fees instead of about $500 or $600. He agreed to that. He was to wire me $250 last weekend, $100 this weekend and $100 next, the commission would be finished within three weeks of him sending his refferences and that would be it. Im never working for him or anyone associated to him again. He has since told me that $250 is in the mail in a money order that was sent Saturday the 9th. I know he is lying because it doesnt take a week for the mail to get 40 miles, I know this because I sent out over 250 wedding announcements and invites. It didnt even take this long for those to get over seas. I dont want to have to do this but he has until August 22nd before the paperwork all goes through and my lawyer takes him to court over the loss of income I took because of this. Not to mention the impending criminal investigation for a retared text message he sent me while I was talking with my lawyer about him. I know Im not getting anything out of him if it goes to court and I dont care. I just want this over and done with. Would I like to get paid, yeah, I really would. Would be nice to have a little extra in the account, but Im not counting on it. Especially now when I called him the first time today the phone rang, now once again, its off. Gotta love it.
Im sure he is a nice guy when he isnt screwing people over and judging by his FA account it looks like he had a great time at FA:U. I just dont want to have anyone else go through the same crap I did. So if he ever says he wants to commission you to do art for some "furry fighting game" he is doing... RUN. Its not worth the hassle.
EDIT: As of right now, he is saying that he was "lied to" and the money must not have been sent and his eyes deceived him when he watched the check be put in the mail.