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.
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.
- 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!
Sorry about the comments. :(