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May. 7th, 2010

There was something I've been wondering about a lot lately.

I sometimes do traditional commissions and need to send them to the commissioner in the mail. And I'm hoping to do more things traditional in the future. My question is, what do you do if they claim they never received the picture? Another question to go with it, what if you accept some money in the mail and you never get it?

I know some people try to do the nice thing and make something new. Either redoing the whole thing or just making something small. I would feel odd just not giving anything since I was paid. But, I also see in a lot of TOS (including my own), that is not my responsibility if things get lost.

But then people might think you've just lied and took they're money or just not a nice person to work with and you also have the risk that they're lying to you and did receive the picture or did send the payment.

It just seems rather confusing to me I guess. What would be the best thing to do?

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( 47 comments — Leave a comment )
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May. 7th, 2010 05:43 pm (UTC)
ALWAYS pay the extra money for tracking and a signature.
This way you have proof that they did in fact pick it up and signed for it.
May. 7th, 2010 06:06 pm (UTC)
May. 7th, 2010 05:44 pm (UTC)
Me personally, I simply can't be held responsible for another entity. I tell people nowadays that if it's lost, I'm sorry, but it's not my fault.

That said, if I'm sending out important art commissions, I would get tracking and insurance for the full cost of the commission. That way, I could refund them without being out the money I was paid for the commission if it does get lost. Unfortunately, post offices like to make receiving your dues difficult so I still want to be able to fall back on 'Not my responsibility', just in case.

If the commissioner is nice and handles the whole thing gracefully, I might make them a sketch or something, but that's entirely up to me and I would be doing it to be nice, not because I felt obligated.

I'll say it again, tracking and insurance are your friends.

Every artist handles this differently, however. So you'll have to find what you're personally comfortable with.

Edited at 2010-05-07 05:46 pm (UTC)
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(no subject) - ichigoneko33 - May. 8th, 2010 12:39 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kayla_la - May. 8th, 2010 12:40 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - kayla_la - May. 8th, 2010 12:59 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - kayla_la - May. 8th, 2010 01:35 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 7th, 2010 05:48 pm (UTC)
As far as mailing the original: scan a big version of it, then mail with insurance. Then provide tracking #. If it still gets lost, offer a digital copy.
As for them sending money : id try to deal with paypal only. If they insist on cash or check, then they pay for insurance and provide a tracking #.
May. 7th, 2010 05:51 pm (UTC)
I do usually scan them, though my scanner isn't the best, since I find the pics not so nice once scaned.

But ya, I usually do only take paypal and only on the rare occasion took cash. Just wanted to know just incase.
May. 7th, 2010 05:50 pm (UTC)
I'd say 80% of my work is traditional, so I am always mailing originals. I have only had one picture ever get lost in the mail.

I felt awful when it happened, I offered to redo the piece but the commissioner insisted on a print of the original artwork. So I mailed him a print and thankfully it made it. I was afraid the whole issue might ruin my rep, but a year later he bid on one of my furbuy auctions so clearly it didn't. :)

As for accepting money though the mail, I'm not sure what I would do. No one has paid me via mail in about 4 years thanks to paypal. XD
May. 7th, 2010 05:54 pm (UTC)
This is how I think most things would go, since it's rare often for things to get lost, most of the time. But you do have those people (especially in the furry fandom) that don't understand and would talk bad about you, etc.
(no subject) - ariakitty - May. 7th, 2010 07:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 7th, 2010 05:53 pm (UTC)
Echoing the other opinions here about insurance and tracking. If you factor that cost into your commission prices, it will be well-worth the headache prevention down the line. Certified mail will get you a receipt back with your customer's signature, and you can keep it in your invoice records for all the proof you need that the art was sent and received by the proper party.
May. 7th, 2010 06:02 pm (UTC)
At the minim I go with delivery confirmation. You can do this via Paypal or download the Shipping assistant. As fro inbound make it clear work will not commence until payment is received and keep good records.
AS an Ebay seller I deal with the same problem.
May. 7th, 2010 06:03 pm (UTC)
Make sure you pay for tracking and the ability for the commissioner to SIGN for it.

In my TOS, I will tell people that CASH is sent CONCEALED at their own risk. It may just be easier to take checks or money orders.
May. 7th, 2010 10:21 pm (UTC)
Mmm... I've been leery of cheques for a long time. Comes with having worked in collections for a few years. Too easy to bounce one, and banks LOVE to slap both sides with the NSF fee.

Money Order, PayPal, Wire Transfer (Western Union/Moneygram) are probably the best methods, imo, if you're not willing or able to take a direct credit card payment.
(no subject) - herraardy - May. 8th, 2010 06:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 7th, 2010 06:11 pm (UTC)
I make it known in my ToS that delivery confirmation / tracking is part of the package, whether they like it or not. I've yet to receive a complaint about it, though.

This way, by making tracking MANDATORY, both you and your customer can keep track of where the package is. You might also want to include insurance.

Never EVER take physical cash in the mail. It's not safe, and ANYONE can easily rip open envelope and use the cash. If someone wants to pay you through snail mail, insist on a money order or check ( make it known that you do not accept starter checks. Those are the checks your bank gives you when you first open your checking account. ).

Draike brought up a good piece of advice as well, using certified mail. It costs a little extra, but it's good safe net.

If you're already in a situation where a customer says that they never received the piece, though, I'd say offer a refund before you offer to do them another piece. But that's just my opinion.

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(no subject) - oceandezignz - May. 7th, 2010 06:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kadaria - May. 8th, 2010 01:04 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - louveg - May. 8th, 2010 04:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - beechan2 - May. 8th, 2010 01:13 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 7th, 2010 07:08 pm (UTC)
First off, I am not an artist. I know the other side of this as 'well it isn't my problem that the post office lost something'. I know the post office screws up a lot. (The company I work for sends out textbooks and courses for credits, and sometimes the post office will lose a package. Because of their bulky nature, they often get ripped, and the flat rate envelopes are shit quality, as in ALL of there are ripped upon arrival. So all we can do is re send the material (even though a book could cost us $80) for free because we don't want to have a fraud charge). I know that this is different because you draw it. My fiance is an artist and has told me it's rude to think the way I do. XD

But I'll give you this view point as a commissioner if you keep the above paragraph in mind. If I pay money for any item, I expect to receive that material (not just art but anything.) If I do not receive an item, I feel I was wrongfully charged. With art this is tricky. If I don't receive ANYTHING (no scan just nothing) then how do I know an artist isn't dicking around with my money? Or if that artist did it at all. I feel like I paid $30/60/80 for what? Any amount of money is a lot of money for me because I have to save up special for artwork, and I don't make a lot of money. So if I feel I've been jipped I will not be a happy camper, if the artist isn't willing to work with me on lost art, I might refuse the charge on paypal as fraudulent, because there is no proof it was completed (this is in the case of a no scan). If I have a scan, it's a little different, because I at least know it was completed, and I will pay $80 for digital art. Here is where the jerk attitude comes in (and keep in mind I don't always feel this way, and my opinions have changed since I started dating Sam.) You might run into a person like this: Markers, color pencils or paint for a small commission might run at $15 for materials, and $55 for time and effort. So, if someone didn't get anything, you're out $15 for the material cost and some of your time, but the commissioner is out $70 for nothing. The total cost to you was $15, but you can't but a price on time, and therefore, how is it refunded, or charged? Since time isn't tangible, it's hard to gauge what to do, but to a commissioner it might be seen as, "Time is worthless, and I should get my money back because I have no item." I don't think time is worthless, but I have conflicting feelings; I didn't get the art, but I know it's completed. It's def. something to do on a case by case basis.

So that all being said, I agree with Komickrazi "Always put tracking and sig confirm on a package". Also I'd always make a high quality scan of a picture; at best, you can re send the scanned copy. At worst, you can email them the scan. =3

Hope I helped by showing you how someone else might look at it =3 Not here to sound like a jerk, just trying to show different viewpoints. <3

TL;DR- Commissioners can be jerks who don't understand art, always pay for tracking and make a scan of your work just in case something happenes. PS I am not a jerk.
May. 7th, 2010 08:23 pm (UTC)
I actually do understand how the other person would feel, it's why I wasn't sure what to do. Since, a lot of commissioners would want the whole piece redone and resent. But, not everyone has the time or energy to do so, and most artists say you shouldn't fully refund because you did do your work.

Though to add, I show progress shots of every stage: sketch, inks and finished piece (with traditional I do flats and shading at the same time). And I post the finished picture as well, unless asked not to, so their will be plenty proof I did all the work I was saposed to do and even make sure it's what they wanted.

But ya, I'll keep in mind the tracking numbers and such. It does help a lot when you have proof you sent it as well.
(no subject) - skiota - May. 8th, 2010 01:12 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 7th, 2010 07:24 pm (UTC)

Tracking and insurance is the way to go I'd say, I offer it as an option with the statement that if the client opts not to take either, they also agree to hold me not responsible for a lost item. I've yet to have an item go astray, one came back to me once but I've never had one permanently lost.

I personally don't accept concealed cash, I'll accept cheques and money orders also transfers. Concealed cash is way too much of a risk and if a client ignores me and sends it anyway, then it's their own fault if it gets lost.
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(no subject) - kayla_la - May. 7th, 2010 11:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jurann - May. 8th, 2010 12:23 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - petercat - May. 9th, 2010 02:49 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lilenth - May. 8th, 2010 12:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 7th, 2010 08:20 pm (UTC)
1) insurance/tracking - I hear insurance is hell to work with but in theory at least you could refund the money if the item is lost (or rather, the shipper would, you'd still have the original money for the work done)
2) SCAN A COPY. Then you can at least have proof you did the work and be able to provide a print

It's probably good to have a TOS that says you're not liable for lost pieces, to cover your butt in case a bad person tries to scam you by pretending something was lost in the mail. BUT really stuff should get lost in the mail so rarely, it'd probably be good for your rep (and not too much extra work for the reward) if you redo a genuinely lost piece, particularly if you have a scan. Then you can just work from that. (and hopefully get compensated with the insurance money)
May. 7th, 2010 10:20 pm (UTC)
I deal in all-digitals, so I don't have this problem. I assume I will when it comes to mailing out books tho'.

Also, Check / Money Order ONLY if they can't do paypal. I had to rag on one of my repeat customers about this, especially since his most recent payment took twice as long as it should've to get here.
May. 8th, 2010 12:35 am (UTC)
I *always* use Delivery Confirmation with Priority Mail shiping (it's only an extra 65 cents or so if you use the Priority Mail shipping), to insure that I can track the package and have proof it arrived to it's destination (the post office seems to take better care of packages if they have Delivery Confirmation, and are shipped by Priority Mail).

As for payments, I take PayPal only, so no payment is lost in the mail. :)
May. 8th, 2010 01:22 am (UTC)
I think it'd be silly if someone were to think you did a commission and then pretended to lose it in the mail. I mean, people would know if you were trying to sell it, that is not really something you can do without risking notice.
May. 8th, 2010 01:24 am (UTC)
It seems to have happened a lot though. To the point where people are less trusting of artist giving excuses. Though, because they ARE lots of bad people out there, I guess it's a good thing in a way, makes people do more reserche and not get scamed.
(no subject) - lilenth - May. 8th, 2010 12:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 8th, 2010 06:10 am (UTC)
as a comissioner and not an artist, this is what i kinda expect;

if you can, scan the finished art, or secondly potograph it, and send the image via email before sending it in the post. it costs nothing - provided of course you have access to teh equipment which most households do - it means i at least have the art i payed for should anything happen in the post, and it of course provides proof that yo did the work

then get the best proof of postage available, recorded delivery, tracking whatever. i do like having psysical origanals the art i perchase when aplicable, i useualy go for the digital commitions which adds a real novelty to the few peices i have gotten through the post. if nothing arives but you can provide proof that you tried t send it, at least i don't feel like you cheated me out my wears

pretty much an echo i think, but thats how i feel
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