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I need advice...

So, I'm not going to name names yet because this particular commissioner has always paid in the past... but this time... :/

In mid August I was commissioned by someone who has commissioned me before. She always paid in full and reliably, and this time requested a rush order. I agreed, but because she does not use Paypal I started on the commission immediately to get it done by when we agreed rather than wait for payment to arrive (although this is literally the only case in which I've done this. I never work on a plushie at ALL unless I at least have a deposit, but she had been reliable in the past.)

I had the plushie done by the due date and emailed her a number of times, but she did not reply. Finally, by the end of the month she did, stating that she had been busy. She requested a couple changes (which would have been a piece of cake to make, but I asked for clarification on them because they were a little unclear) and she asked for my address. :/

Well, she didn't reply until the end of September. She asked if she could send half now and half later since she had to buy something for her cat's flea medication recently. She said I didn't have to send anything until it was paid in full (I wouldn't anyway) and I said that was fine and everything. Once again, she didn't respond, this time until mid October. This time stating that her dog had hip problems and she couldn't afford to pay me but would let me know when she could.

I said okay. Whatever, although getting sort of annoyed because it's been months now -- no money to show for it at all, I pushed back my normal commissions to work on hers as a rush order, etc. I emailed her again this week and I still haven't gotten a reply.

I don't know what to do at this point. :/ Like I said, she's been reliable in the past, so I don't want to get too angry or anything and she has generally been really nice but... this is getting kind of silly.

Edit: This has been resolved, thank you for all the great advice though. It's all very useful & important stuff to keep in mind in the future.
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( 31 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 9th, 2009 04:32 pm (UTC)
I'd e-mail her a reminder that you're out the materials and went out of your way for the rush order, ask her for a payment schedule that she will agree to so you can send out the plushie, and remind her that if she doesn't get back to you in a certain amount of time with payment, you will be barring her from future purchase and will bring up the issue on A_B. That last part can even be for a follow-up if she doesn't get back to you, doesn't have to go in right away.
Dec. 9th, 2009 04:43 pm (UTC)
As an addition to Maddogairpirate's suggestion, I'd also say that if she doesn't pay by a certain agreed upon date, then you could probably resell the item elsewhere since you're out on materials and labour time.
Dec. 9th, 2009 04:43 pm (UTC)
As a pet owner myself, I can definitely understand having a bad streak with multiple pet bills that can leave me overwhelmed for a couple months--vets are not cheap! When you're living on a small paycheck getting slapped with multiple 40 dollar visit fees on top of hundreds in tests can leave you kinda dry--and often unpredictably so, too.

That said, there is absolutely no reason that she shouldn't have updated you that payment was not on it's way when you started. If she wasn't upfront about that to begin with, that doesn't spell well for the rest of it...that's the part that would bother me. I mean, it sounds like you assumed she mailed out the payment that day...did she say she was doing so? You don't ask for a rush order and then not pay for it, and you never just skip sending the payment without letting you know! Not cool behaviour.

Is the plushie something that you could sell (or modify to sell) to someone else to recoup your losses? I would give her a clear deadline that money MUST be in by. Try to be fair, but at the same time, don't let yourself get screwed. Tell her that this is the final straw, this was a profesional contract and she is breaching it.

If the date passes with no payment, I would then sell the plushie to recoup your losses and then send her name to this community. I'm not sure what other recourse that you can take, I don't know if small claims would be worth the effort. It doesn't seem like much, to just put a warning on a bad commissioner--some people are horrified a the idea of their custom work being sold though. Depends on the person.

Might just have to chalk it up to, "Never *EVER* do work without pay." I do think she's maybe hoping you will forget.

Off topic: I love your icon and name, hehe.
Dec. 9th, 2009 04:51 pm (UTC)

And this is just me personally, but I'd probably avoid ever doing business again with somebody who has shown such blatant disregard for me. Asking for a rush job and then not paying right away is incredibly rude. Maybe she has a good excuse, but in that case she ought to have contacted you right away and let you know that something had happened, rather than forcing you to harass her for money.
Dec. 9th, 2009 05:00 pm (UTC)
Well the commissioner was def in the wrong for asking you to rush order and then dawdling on payment, whatever the reasons. Even if they are "good excuses". I don't actually think these are good excuses, because if she was so short on cash that some meds are going to prevent her from paying then she shouldn't have ordered a rush commission? But that's IMHO, I realize a lot of people in the fandom are kind of bad with money and living on the edge of being broke :/
Anyway, since they're a repeat commissioner, unless you're really hurting for money I'd say to just be patient and keep prodding her. Shelve the product and send her a polite monthly reminder you'd like payment so you can send it out. If it starts to get to be a /year/ that payment has been due, I'd say auction the plush off to try to recoup expenses. Tell the commissioner this is your deadline well ahead of time, of course, but hopefully it won't come to that.
I understand why you made the exception for them and I probably would have done the same in your shoes, unfortunately they turned out not worthy of your trust and I guess you'll just have to chalk it up to experience :(
Dec. 9th, 2009 05:18 pm (UTC)
"if she was so short on cash that some meds are going to prevent her from paying then she shouldn't have ordered a rush commission?"

Dec. 9th, 2009 06:07 pm (UTC)
"if she was so short on cash that some meds are going to prevent her from paying then she shouldn't have ordered a rush commission"

That doesn't mean that the buyer could somehow forsee her pets needing medical attention a month or two AFTER she already ordered. (Whether it's true of not, either way.)

Not everyone is a psychic.
(no subject) - snobahr - Dec. 9th, 2009 06:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lilenth - Dec. 9th, 2009 06:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spiffystuff - Dec. 9th, 2009 07:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lilenth - Dec. 9th, 2009 07:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spiffystuff - Dec. 9th, 2009 08:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lilenth - Dec. 9th, 2009 10:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - stormslegacy - Dec. 10th, 2009 02:20 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lilenth - Dec. 10th, 2009 02:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mpd_84 - Dec. 10th, 2009 06:29 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lilenth - Dec. 10th, 2009 02:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - growly - Dec. 10th, 2009 02:51 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lilenth - Dec. 10th, 2009 02:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - stormslegacy - Dec. 9th, 2009 07:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spiffystuff - Dec. 9th, 2009 07:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - the_lest - Dec. 10th, 2009 02:49 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - baronyiffington - Dec. 10th, 2009 05:20 am (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 9th, 2009 05:47 pm (UTC)
I would say next time, you set a policy that for rush orders that payment must be received first before starting. Rush orders do set you a specific date to have them done by, and as a result, payment has to arrive first. If the payment doesn't arrive before the due date, that's the fault of the commissioner, not you.

As of what to do right now, keep asking about payment. Set up a payment plan with them. Hell, $10 a week or every two weeks should be doable until the product is paid in full, and that certainly won't break the bank. Even with vet bills coming in.

If she's unable to keep up with that, then I'd warn her that you will ban her from commissioning you again and out her name on A_B. Give a little bit more time after that, and if she fails to meet your deadline, out the name, and sell the plushie on it's own.
Dec. 9th, 2009 06:10 pm (UTC)
It's unfortunate that a previously good buyer had this happen with you.

I'd try to be patient with her and just work on other commissions in the mean time. For all you know, she might end up being extremely grateful that you gave her the extra time to pay. Word of mouth is a powerful thing these days. I'd probably keep it for a year, then sell it. She might not be out of the woods with vet bills just yet. (If indeed that is true.)
Dec. 9th, 2009 06:24 pm (UTC)
I would set 90 days from the original due-date to have the complete payment made. Let the Original Commissioner know about this ("Duh!" I know, but hey - this is fandom). On Day 91, I'd make any changes to the item to make it marketable to a broader audience (make it less Original Commissioner's Item), and post it for sale.

If that 90 days has already passed, post it for sale (after slight modification if necessary), and go on with your life. You do not need to make her drama into your drama.

Dec. 10th, 2009 12:58 am (UTC)
I do jewelry, but- rush orders are paid in full- including the rush fee- before I start. This is mostly because financial stuff can add at least a week to the delivery, easily, but also so I am not doing work in a hurry that the client then delays payment on. If it's a rush, they need to do their part to expedite, is my thinking.

best of luck to you!
Dec. 10th, 2009 02:53 am (UTC)
I would send out one final notice for payment with a deadline, and if she ignores it or makes up more excuses, I'd email back saying that the commission is cancelled and you're going to sell the plush to make back the money you lost by doing her commission instead of the others.
Dec. 10th, 2009 02:06 pm (UTC)
Posting this to update everyone.

Thanks for all the fantastic advice. It's good stuff to keep in mind for any future commissions I take on.

The person in question got in contact with me and she's been very sweet about it and will be sending the payment. She suggested she didn't deserve to have the plush sent to her anymore, but I'd really rather not have that happen that way as I don't want people to feel guilty about things when they commission me, haha, just happy with the transaction. So we'll see what happens there.

All & all I could understand the delays in payment, and I think the real lesson here is keeping in contact so no one worries about these things.

Thanks again everyone.

Dec. 10th, 2009 07:32 pm (UTC)
Please let me know when you actually receive payment so I can tag this as resolved!
Dec. 10th, 2009 07:39 pm (UTC)
Just did! Thank you!
( 31 comments — Leave a comment )


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