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Issues with contact

I am looking for advice on a problem with communication with a customer.

About year or so back, I had asked for donations to go towards a subscription to deviantArt in exchange for a commission. The only catch was that the person who wanted to donate a sub needed to contact me first about it so that an agreement on the resulting commission would be made (so that there wouldn't be any hidden surprises on either end - such as something I wouldn't comfortable making or simply wouldn't be able to do / was beyond my ability), and if a subscription was bought without notifying me it would have been considered a generous donation. All of this was outlined in a journal (that has been long-since purged, so I'm afraid I can't provide caps).

About a day or so after posting the offer I received a year's subscription to dA, but I hadn't received any PMs regarding anyone actually taking the offer. I received a PM later from someone, who said they just wanted to help out, and that I didn't "have to" make them anything:

For personal reasons regarding this person, this was not a commission I wanted to take; but I felt guilty, so I gave them the commission.

Due to various complications with school and inspiration, the commission was stalled several times. The original order (a large-scale drawing involving Silent Hill characters, uncoloured) was eventually cancelled and substituted with a different order (a large-scale, three-view reference sheet, uncoloured).

Even more time has since past, and as of approximately eight months ago, due to a worsening personal situation, I had begun to refund any outstanding commissions that I could simply not find the time to work on. The process was very slow, as finances wouldn't allow for any speedy returns. About two weeks ago, I had noted this customer over FA, as they had left dA, requesting their Paypal information so I could refund them the value of the subscription they had bought me back when (approximately $30.00 USD) as completing the commission was just not possible for me for both personal and real-life reasons. The note was read within the span of 24 hours, but I have not heard a response back. Concerned, I also left a shout on their FA page several days after asking that they please get back to me; I still haven't heard anything.

I don't know if this has any bearing on the situation, but this customer was a former friend of mine. We had a "falling out", in a sense, before this commission took place. I had them blocked on IM for personal reasons, but still interacted amicably with them over dA and FA. I know this is not a case of them forgetting about the commission itself.

So, I am wondering if this is worth pursuing to give this person their refund if they won't respond? If they don't want it and would prefer to let the matter lie, I would be okay with that, but I would like to at least know for sure, if not just for the sake of my conscience. I know am I more than partially at fault for getting myself into this situation by taking this commission when I ultimately didn't want anything to do with it or the customer placing the order, but I would like to at least try to rectify the situation. I don't know what to do if they simply refuse to respond. Do I keep the money and just cancel the commission as I said I have and drop any more attempts at communication? Or do I keep trying to get an answer out of them?

Any help would be most appreciated.


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( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 13th, 2011 12:21 am (UTC)
They told you at the time that the sub could be considered a gift and that you weren't obligated to do a commission in return. You've done your best to deliver work and now a refund but honestly I think you should let the whole thing be. If they ignored your note then that is an indication that they're not interested in a refund and you can't force it on them. Take it as a gift and forget about it instead of stressing.
Mar. 13th, 2011 02:12 am (UTC)
No, I can't force it on them, and I don't mean to either, but I find it odd that not even a "thanks, but no thanks" can be spared? You are right though, thank you for the feedback!
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 13th, 2011 01:57 am (UTC)

Mind me asking, but how exactly do you come to the conclusion that the person is 'fucked in the end'? It seems like they wanted to help the OP with the subscription, but didn't really want anything back. Just a gift. That might explain why they reply to her note either.
Mar. 13th, 2011 02:05 am (UTC)
They did want the commission, but didn't want to say it outright - it's... sort of how they operate (they've done this before). They have asked about the progress of the commission at multiple points (as well as one or two "I hope you haven't forgotten!"s), which is why I'm so confused as to why they aren't replying to me now.
Mar. 13th, 2011 02:28 am (UTC)
Ah okay, thanks for clarifying as I as under the impression that it was really just a gift. :P

Anyway, they said that they didn't want the commission (regardless of actually wanting it) and won't reply to the note, so I really don't think you should feel obligated to refund them.
Mar. 13th, 2011 01:33 am (UTC)
? Looks pretty clear to me, they don't want to talk to you right now and it was potentially a "gift" in the first place anyway. Forget about it, unless at some point they ask you about it, in which case offer a refund again.
Mar. 13th, 2011 02:08 am (UTC)
I would agree - but this person has a history of going the "well, I'd love it if you could do [blank] for me, you don't have to, but it'd be awesome if you did" route. You can tell they want it, but they won't say it. It's aggravating, and it's not like they've never asked about status either, which is why I'm confused over the lack of a reply.

Either way, thank you - that sounds like a good plan of action.
Mar. 13th, 2011 02:33 am (UTC)
Yeah, personally at a certain point I get tired of guessing and catering to those types - as it is you've decided you can't do the commission anyway, so as long as you've made it clear they can ask for their money back (which really is a bit above and beyond, but I err on that side myself) I think it's safe to just leave it until they make a clear request.
Mar. 13th, 2011 03:23 pm (UTC)
It's not your job to read into the passive aggressive BS some people give--take them at face value and move on--no one is going to think ill of you for it except them and honestly they don't have a right to get mad.
Mar. 13th, 2011 06:41 am (UTC)

People like that are a little difficult to deal with, as sometimes they say one thing and mean another.

If you're getting irritated with the customer, I would suggest just dropping the project altogether until they reply. Just make sure to set aside the funds you'd need to refund them, just in case they decide that they want it.
Mar. 13th, 2011 03:30 pm (UTC)
If you have a way of making sure they've read your notes, maybe just send a message saying you'd like to refund them but if they don't get back to you ok-ing it (and giving refund details?) in X time frame, you'll just consider the matter closed.

It might help take the weight off your mind and let you move on from the situation.
Mar. 14th, 2011 06:16 pm (UTC)
I'd send one more note declaring in a very brief, businesslike tone that unless you receive a response regarding the refund within 48 hours, you'll assume that they don't want one. Also make it very clear that you'll never make the commission, so unless they give you some feedback about returning the money, it can be permanently considered gift money, and the commission is permanently done with.

If you give them time to respond and they still don't reply even after reading the note, that's now their responsibility. If they don't reply, it can be assumed they don't want the money in return, and you can call the case closed and move on to the next refund.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


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