May 21st, 2013

Whistling Wombat

Advice needed.

I'm not going to name any names because the person I'm dealing with hasn't really done anything *wrong* necessarily but has been causing me such stress and grief that I could really use some advice about how to continue to deal with this situation.

I took a commission from a customer about a month ago and since then I have gotten several notes a day from them. Usually these notes are repetitive -- asking if I will be able to make a certain feature on their plush that is CLEARLY noticeable in their reference, asking me repetitively if their project has been started or finished yet when I have told them several times that they can expect it in the beginning of June (and linked them to the page where I list my projects and their current status, which I update several times a day and is extremely reliable). It's like it doesn't matter at all what I say to them -- they just continue to ask me the same kind of unnecessary questions and eat up a lot of my day responding to their notes.

I am starting to get to my wit's end. In the beginning, right after they paid off their commission (because it started immediately), this behavior actually had me insist on offering them a refund and I basically relented because they begged me to continue to agree to their project. It's getting close now to when I have their slot scheduled to be started and I try to be dependable about showing customers their project in several stages if it is quite large or complicated so that they can correct something if they notice it before it gets too far in (basically like a sketch stage or two before a 2D artist would start painting). I am DREADING this process with this customer and really desperately want to just refund them at this point because I am beginning to feel harassed. I am worried though that throwing my hands up at this point and sending their money back will get me bad press or something.

I also generally have no problem actually MAKING their plush and would prefer to just be able to do my work without being harassed. I've honestly never been in this position before with someone and I'm unsure of what the most diplomatic way to deal with it is. I have been firm with them before and told them out-right that they were stressing me out, etc. and it hasn't made a difference at all except occasionally now at the beginning of their notes they will say something like, "I'm sorry if this is annoying..." or, "Tell me if I'm annoying you..." which just stresses me out more.