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EDIT: Artist got in contact with me after I posted this, that's all I wanted, thank you!

All is being resolved! I'm hoping it will be fully resolved once stuff is shown to be complete, or money is refunded.

Long time subscriber, first time poster. And this is going to be a hell of a post... I get ripped off a lot, and I'm prefer to be patient, and always remain civil and friendly. This has in the past brought about some pleasant resolving. However, I'm going to have to draw the line here.

Back in June of 08 I won a sketchbook auction that a friend of mine was holding. Rather, I won it with the help of a few friends; we all were pitching in money. After we won, we emailed the artist, Aphrodite, just to make sure it was okay. She had been a friend of mine for about a year at this point, and despite having several commissions outstanding that she hadn't finished for me yet, I really wanted to help her out.

The auction was for a sketchbook, 100 pages, and since the price went so much higher than she expected, she was going to do them all in full color for me. It came out to 975 USD, which far exceeded the 100+- expectation listed in the auction. I was going to be paying 525, while the other people were in for the rest(200 from one, 200 from another, and 50 from a third). It was going to be three books she was working on, which was her idea, and on her terms.

So, one of the people who put money in on this auction wanted to custom make the sketchbooks himself, so we waited for about 2 months for him to do that. Now, Aphrodite said this was fine, and in the mean time, I worked on writing up ideas for pages, and putting together references for her. We kept in plentiful contact, and I sent her three 100 dollar payments out of the staggered plan we agreed to. The friend who wanted to make the sketchbooks decided it was too difficult an endeavor, so claimed she bought some and would get started.

This is where everything goes south. She said she started the book on 9/12/08, almost exactly three months after the 6/11/08 end date of the auction. We were on messenger chatting about the first few pages. I had sent her 300 dollars by this point. Fast forward a bit, and I start asking to see photos of the book so I can keep sending her payments. She said that she had to go get the camera, and after a while of looking, said that her parents had taken it with them on a trip. I said this was fine, and would wait until they returned. About a week later, I asked her about photos again. This time, she claimed that her dog had torn up the sketchbook, and ruined every drawing, of which she had completed about 20. In all my time of being a commissioner, and being flaked out on, I have never heard the 'my dog ate it' excuse. I would have completely understood if she said she was having a hard time with the project.

But, because she was my friend, I said it was fine, and she said that she would be restarting it. The next few times I asked about it, she continued to dodge questions about taking pictures of it, or continued to assure me that she would, and that she was working on it. I never did receive any evidence other than her assurance that the book had been restarted, and more drawings had been completed in it. I had continued to be her friend, and ask occasionally about it into 2009. My last contact with was in late March of 09. She had offered a refund and offered to send photos, and I said that I would wait for the photos. See ( http://community.livejournal.com/artists_beware/243254.html?thread=6583606#t6583606 ) After this, she stopped responding to any emails or IMs. Where were my other winning bidders in this? Simply put, they decided to abandon the commission once they figured she was flaking, and didn't explain to me that they decided to drop it - back in 2008. This means I was left to pay, and to go on thinking everything was fine.

Since March, she has posted commissions she had completed for others, and other personal artwork. She's even posted in her LJ looking for someone who owed her money. I found this to be ribald, and that's why I'm posting here today. I sent many civil emails to both her email, as well as her FA accouns, that she has not responded to. In these emails and notes, I offered her the opportunity to cancel the commission, completely understanding if the task seemed overwhelming, and even explained that she could refund the payments in increments; in the same manner that I had originally paid her in.

The auction is of course timed out on furbuy, the page no longer exists. I emailed the furbuy admins,

> Hi there.
I won auction #1005038 last year, and the page is no longer available.
I have paid the artist in June of last year and have still not received
any work or sign that any has been done or will be done. The artist continually leads me on saying that she will have photos to prove even the existence of the sketchbook, but never does. What is
typically done in cases like this? I'm worried you won't even be able
to look it up since the page is down...
Please get back to me if you can.
Thank you

and here is what they sent...

FurBuy automatically archives auctions 180 days after they close, so while the auction is no longer available on the public site, we do still have the auction records. Sketchbooks are inherintly long and involved projects, and typically take artists from 6 to 18 months to complete. Because of this, there is always an innate risk taken with purchasing this type of commission from artists. Paypal also only allows you to challenge or dispute transactions less than 45 days old, so that's another huge risk with commissions like this. The best thing we could do is try to mediate the delivery of the item from the artist, but it sounds like that two of you are communicating just fine. Sadly, once the 45 days from Paypal payment and 180 days from FurBuy close have passed, there's not a lot of recourse you have in taking action against a fraudulent seller except report them to the Federal Trade Commission.
You may just have to keep in touch with the artist and be patient, I've been waiting over 8 years for some art to be completed, but the artist still claims they intend to complete the work. I would just note that this artist seems to be flakey or unreliable, and consider making a post about your experience in forums or communities such as artist_beware on LiveJournal.
Best wishes,

- FurBuy Admin Team

So, apparently, I have not been patient enough, as the admin believes that 8 years is a perfectly acceptable time to wait.

So, I just want to know... What else can I do? I'm out 320 dollars between the auction and previous commissions with her, and I'm very hurt that someone I considered a friend would turn around and do this to me.

Thanks for reading all this, anyone!

- Aurelina/Dirge

Sorry about the comments. :(

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( 92 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 3rd, 2009 04:08 pm (UTC)

Wow, sounds like you got taken for a ride, personally I do think that hiring her again after she already had not completed other commissions probably wasn't the greatest idea. I understand that you wanted to help out someone who you thought was your friend but generally if they haven't completed the first one, it's not a good idea to take a chance again.

I'd suggest filing against her in the small claims, that's probably the only way you're going to get your money back, I suggest in future keeping records of every transaction, it makes it easier to file when someone takes your money and runs.
May. 3rd, 2009 10:05 pm (UTC)
I agree. I would send a strongly worded e-mail explaining that the OP is tired of being led on and, now, ignored. First, I'd give her one last chance to show any work she's gotten done, but only for the purpose of deducting that amount from the total amount due. If anything, that'll get her to pony up and show you pictures of anything she's done. So after you have the finally tally, get a written statement from her saying that she will pay it back in $20/50/100 increments every month until it's paid back. I'd also add that if she at all flakes or is late with payments, you'll take her to court. If that doesn't work, do just that. I think this is too much money to go 'Oh well lesson learned'.

I don't know much in the ways of small claims though. Do you need a lawyer? (I don't think you do but if so, you could always ask a lawyer to do it pro bono, since they have to do so many of those a year if my memory serves me correctly).
(no subject) - lilenth - May. 3rd, 2009 10:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - whitewashsunset - May. 3rd, 2009 10:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lilenth - May. 3rd, 2009 10:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 3rd, 2009 04:30 pm (UTC)
First of all, that was *very* unprofessional of the "Furbuy Admin Team" to say "oh well I've been waiting 8 years so you better be patient too!" in the context they did. Personally I'd be up in arms about that alone.

I would continue sending her requests for a refund, be persistent. Continue to tell her that you no longer wish to do business with her and flat out tell her the reasons. If that isn't good enough for her to admit "hey, okay sorry" and actually admit to her mistakes, then I'm at a loss for advice!
May. 3rd, 2009 04:35 pm (UTC)
I don't know about that - the email didn't strike me as saying the OP SHOULD continue to wait (8+ years), just that at this point there wasn't much furbuy or paypal would/could do.
Probably could have phrased it better, though.
(no subject) - kappyjeanne - May. 3rd, 2009 04:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spiffystuff - May. 3rd, 2009 04:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kappyjeanne - May. 3rd, 2009 04:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - artistkata - May. 3rd, 2009 04:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - anuvia - May. 4th, 2009 12:36 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 3rd, 2009 04:34 pm (UTC)
"I've been waiting over 8 years for some art to be completed, but the artist still claims they intend to complete the work."

I have a bridge in Brooklyn for sale that he might be interested in!

8 years is way too long, even for a sketchbook. I buy a new 100/120 page sketchbook about every 6 months in addition to digital sketches and sketches on loose paper or in different thematic sketchbooks. While I understand that doing a sketchbook commission will take longer because an artist wouldn't be working solely in -that- sketchbook, 8 years is just too much of a wait. And if, months after the first few hundred dollars have been paid off she doesn't even have a single sketch to show you? It's very clear that she hasn't even started and I doubt she ever will.

Personally I think she feels overwhelmed, but even then she needs to start paying you back, even if it's only 20 dollars a month.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - darktiger77 - May. 3rd, 2009 08:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 3rd, 2009 04:36 pm (UTC)
How much did you end up paying? Did you stop after the first $300 since there was no proof of progress?
May. 3rd, 2009 04:37 pm (UTC)
Also curious how much she owes you in other unfinished commissions.
May. 3rd, 2009 04:44 pm (UTC)
I'd also be careful of 'friends' via the internet. I have a few friends online as well so I can understand (I've 'known' them for years) But sometimes via the web we can't really see things like work ethic, time management, money management, etc.

Whenever I see an artist scrambling for commissions because they can't pay their bills or some other matter like that (We're not counting something severe and unexpected like medical reasons etc) It can be a warning flag that this person doesn't know how to organize their money to be able to afford what they need in the first place. . . and if they can't organize their lives in that manner. . . more than likely they can't organize their commissions any better and situations like this will arise :\

I'd say keep at them, kindly and not in a spamming matter, and warn them that if they don't at least reply to you, then you're going to post to these warning websites (as you already have done)
May. 3rd, 2009 05:11 pm (UTC)

I have friends on the internet that I won't commission, simply because they are ungodly lazy. I still love them, obviously, I just... don't love their work ethic.
May. 3rd, 2009 06:01 pm (UTC)
Oof, a 100 page full color sketchbook... not speaking in defense of the artist at all, because she has obviously flaked out on this, but that commission--were I to do it--would take forever. Longer than 3 months for sure. However, she definitely should show at least some progress on it, and provide photos and such.
May. 3rd, 2009 06:28 pm (UTC)
As far as I can tell (though this is just my own take, so I can't really speak for the OP) the complaint is not that it's taking so long, but that the artist has refused to give evidence that she'd done anything at all.
(no subject) - lilstiney - May. 3rd, 2009 10:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lurkerwisp - May. 4th, 2009 01:55 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lilstiney - May. 4th, 2009 02:14 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lurkerwisp - May. 4th, 2009 02:17 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lilstiney - May. 4th, 2009 02:43 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lurkerwisp - May. 4th, 2009 02:45 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lilstiney - May. 4th, 2009 03:16 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 3rd, 2009 07:04 pm (UTC)
My friend has been waiting on some icons from her since December 08, needless to say, he's not holding his breath.

I really hope she gets her shit together and stops taking peoples money. From the sounds of it she must have a lot of outstanding commissions.

Sorry to hear you got screwed like this, sadly I don't have much advice. You could take it to small claims but it probably wouldn't be worth your time. Posting here is probably the best thing you can do- hopefully it kicks her into gear or at least the word will spread far and wide and she won't get any more business... but it looks like you'll probably be out the money. :\
May. 4th, 2009 12:41 am (UTC)
Thank you for making bold assumptions about me and my business dealings while having no experience with them yourself.

Aside from this sketchbook, all of my outstanding commissions have been either finished or refunded. If your friend is claiming they've still not received their icons, then have them take it up with me directly and email me. If they paid for icons, my email is the same as the paypal address.

(no subject) - wyngaed - May. 4th, 2009 01:00 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - anuvia - May. 4th, 2009 04:27 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wyngaed - May. 4th, 2009 04:46 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bladespark - May. 7th, 2009 12:27 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wulfsige - May. 11th, 2009 06:19 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - eonii - May. 8th, 2009 07:06 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lilstiney - May. 4th, 2009 03:25 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wyngaed - May. 4th, 2009 04:53 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lilstiney - May. 4th, 2009 07:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 3rd, 2009 07:07 pm (UTC)
It really sounds like she has flaked out. She may have had troubles at the beginnign and tried to do the sketchbook, but like some said, got overwhelmed at the concept of an entire sketchbook. You also said she was going to do Three books as well i noticed. The three being her idea. lack of evidence causes my spidey sense to tingle too.

Keep reminding her that you want the sketchbook or the moneyback and hopefully in the end she will come around.

I've done 2 sketchbooks in my artistic career and I can say they are very very daunting when you do about 5-10 pages and realise you have a whack load more to do. But you have to get them done. As vidence I scan in the images every 10 pages and take a photo of the sketchbook with some of the pages open.
May. 3rd, 2009 09:49 pm (UTC)
How nice of you to delete comments after the community has served your purpose.
May. 3rd, 2009 09:57 pm (UTC)
I apologize for that, but I had divulged information about two separate accounts that artist did not want connected. She is taking measures to fully compensate and resolve the issue, so I didn't want to keep anything defamatory up here.
(no subject) - lilenth - May. 3rd, 2009 10:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dirge_de_valeur - May. 3rd, 2009 10:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lilenth - May. 3rd, 2009 10:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - anuvia - May. 4th, 2009 04:43 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kayla_la - May. 4th, 2009 04:47 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dirge_de_valeur - May. 4th, 2009 05:07 am (UTC) - Expand
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May. 4th, 2009 12:28 am (UTC)
I am the artist in question and I have contacted Dirge concerning the manner. I requested the journal be edited due to the fact that my "secret" account was linked to my normal account name. I expressed concern over the matter because the separate account in question is of a fetish based nature and I intentionally kept the two accounts separate for the sake of preventing drama and flamage on my own behalf.

As for the Sketchbook in question; 30 pages have been completed (as in sketched, inked and colored). As soon as I have access to a digital camera, I will present the evidence and clear my name.

Thank you.
May. 26th, 2009 04:04 am (UTC)
Any news on this? It's been about 20 days... I also sent you another email a week or so ago.
(no subject) - anuvia - May. 26th, 2009 11:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dirge_de_valeur - May. 27th, 2009 06:09 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 5th, 2009 08:17 pm (UTC)
I've been on the verge of making my own post about Anuvia for a while now. I've been waiting on an icon from her that was supposed to be done specifically for Christmas.

Needless to say, I don't have it. I've been incredibly lucky if I get any sort of response from her. Emails, messages on LJ/FA and the like are usually entirely ignored.

I did get her to reply to me on DA a few days ago, claiming she sent me the icon already and it was finished, but I never got it, and I can't get her to just GIVE IT TO ME ALREADY. I told her I didn't get it and to please try again. Nothing.

I'm really losing my patience. I paid 20 bucks just for an icon, it's wayyyyy over the deadline, and I can't get her to even give me a product she claims is already finished. I am tired of it, and will probably make my own post soon if it doesn't magically appear in my inbox in a few more days. She's had plenty of time.

Edited at 2009-05-05 08:18 pm (UTC)
May. 6th, 2009 12:50 am (UTC)
Someone IMed me saying that I had 'ruined it for the rest of us', meaning people who were awaiting their art from Aphrodite/Anuvia. I encouraged them to come forward and post, but they didn't think their 20 bucks was worth bothering. That was my attitude for the longest time, that I would remain patient and not rock the boat.
(no subject) - kayla_la - May. 6th, 2009 01:25 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thaily - May. 6th, 2009 12:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kayla_la - May. 6th, 2009 07:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - dirge_de_valeur - May. 8th, 2009 07:13 am (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 11th, 2009 07:48 am (UTC)
Has this been resolved yet?
( 92 comments — Leave a comment )


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