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Problems with commissioners

Hey all. I just need some advice on what to do with a commissioner.

 

I recently accepted a large canvas print commission for $150 (including the $70 canvas print and attachment cost and $10 shipping interstate). Now said commissioner was recently suspended from driving due to illegal driving on a learners licence, parking tickets he never paid etc. which put him onto a payment plan via the government. Each payment is approximately $135/mth apparently in total.

 

Now this is unexpected. I'm almost done with this commission and he's asked for his money back. Now being in my situation, living week to week on wages from my part time job with no savings - said commission money DID have to go to a large electricity bill a few nights ago (and I did explain this to him in a non-guilt way, to the best of my abilities, it is also in my TOS that I do need the money to help me get by currently) - but my problem is this:


He will not accept repayments in installations. He wants the full amount by 10th August. I tried to explain to him that this was physically impossible for me as I only earn $200-$250 a week and rent alone is $180 now (food, travel, other expenses on top of rent of course). Though he seems determined to get his full payment back. Now I have no options like credit cards, I don't want to pull the "I need commissions to pay this guy back" at all, and i'm bum out of ideas to get around this in a safe and secure manner without causing drama.

Though he says he has an excellent paying job, works 6 days a week, etc. I'm so confused.

What do I say? It was his money and the commission is about 75% completed! I've put about 6hrs into the artwork alone, and feel I could have now used that time better :/ What do I do?

EDIT: So after a very long and painful text 'war' with my commissioner/friend, he still wants a full refund AND NOW THE ARTWORK (due to not having a smartphone nor a cable capable of transferring them to the computer, it might take a while if anyone wants actual proof. Sorry guys ^_^; ). I'm not impressed in the slightest. I'm starting to think that he's conned his friends into this with him to get free art. As apparently someone saw him driving earlier this evening after I spoke to one of his close friends (who in coincidence I work with). So this seems a little... off? I'm going to find out more now, in all honesty if he's trying to pull the wool over my eyes he won't be seeing any of his money at all.

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Comments

( 139 comments — Leave a comment )
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sigilgoat
Aug. 2nd, 2011 10:27 pm (UTC)
If you've done the work, I would say he only gets back a partial refund. Refunding him in installments is completely understandable, and you can only do what you can do.

Refund him what's left over and send him the 75% of the work you've done and you're even. He can come here and plead his case, but if you do the above, you've fulfilled your half of the bargain.
sigilgoat
Aug. 2nd, 2011 10:28 pm (UTC)
Also, keep ALL correspondence in case it gets ugly. I always hope for the best in this sort of situation, but prepare for the worst!
(no subject) - flarveon - Aug. 2nd, 2011 10:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
banrai
Aug. 2nd, 2011 10:28 pm (UTC)
If the commission is around 75% completed, then you absolutely need to tell him that, show him the progress shot and tell him you can send him the incomplete product and repay the %25 of work 'not done', as it were. In fact, it might also be wise to factor in the cost of supplies you may have bought to even do the work and explain it to him very simply.

It's not your fault the commissioner did something dumb and is now in a jam. Don't let them put you in a jam too, just because they were the ones that did something dumb.
flarveon
Aug. 2nd, 2011 10:41 pm (UTC)
I sent him a progress shot everytime I updated the commission, so he actually has the most recent update already.

But I can see your point, I may just do that :)
(no subject) - neive - Aug. 3rd, 2011 01:33 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cesarin - Aug. 3rd, 2011 06:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - flarveon - Aug. 4th, 2011 08:18 am (UTC) - Expand
celestinaketzia
Aug. 2nd, 2011 10:28 pm (UTC)
Ok, first and foremost, you are owed for the services that you -did- complete. If someone wants a refund even though most of the commission is finished, then you owe them a refund for what is not completed. It isn't your fault that he was irresponsible, and you were keeping up with your part of the contract.
flarveon
Aug. 2nd, 2011 10:42 pm (UTC)
Understandable, this seems like what i'll do. I just need to be more firm in saying it to him.
avenginglioness
Aug. 2nd, 2011 10:38 pm (UTC)
Charge him for supplies and the work you did, then send him the unfinished commission and a partial refund? Or tell him you can't refund at all at this point and just finish it and send it to him. It is not your fault he got in trouble with the law. He cannot take that out on you. You did work for him and you should be paid.
flarveon
Aug. 2nd, 2011 10:42 pm (UTC)
Agreed! Thankyou very much for your input, this seems like what i'll be doing when he is online/seen next.
(no subject) - keaalu - Aug. 2nd, 2011 11:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - snowuncia - Aug. 2nd, 2011 11:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - flarveon - Aug. 3rd, 2011 08:49 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - keaalu - Aug. 3rd, 2011 01:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cissa - Aug. 7th, 2011 03:47 am (UTC) - Expand
dinogrrl
Aug. 2nd, 2011 10:49 pm (UTC)
What the other people said--you did work, you should be payed for it. And if you can only pay him back in installments, he'll just have to deal. I mean, what's he going to do if you can't pay it back all at once? Say "To heck with it, I don't want several small payments, you keep the money"? Yeah, didn't think so :p.

So yeah, send him his 25% and the work that's been done and just be done with it. I also agree with saving any and all correspondence with this guy until the issue is 100% resolved.
flarveon
Aug. 3rd, 2011 08:49 am (UTC)
I definitely have been, all texts, emails and facebook messages are being saved! ^^
skulldog
Aug. 2nd, 2011 11:07 pm (UTC)
Echoing what's been said, once you've done work, a commissioner has no right to demand full repayment like that.

If he can't deal with repayment your terms, he's SOL, you've done the work so far, and shown progress, his life issues are not your problem, just like an artist shouldn't hide behind life issues when a commission is late/unfinished.
flarveon
Aug. 3rd, 2011 08:50 am (UTC)
I've mentioned to him numerous times that life does get in the way, I think he expected me to be done on a highly detailed digital canvas print and have it ready to go in <2wks. It's been 12 days and it's almost completed too :/ I don't think he'll get more than 25% now.
erratical.dreamwidth.org
Aug. 2nd, 2011 11:11 pm (UTC)
Gotta say, I'm not sure why artists have to always be willing to give even partial refunds when the commissioner decides they just want the money for something else/don't feel like getting the art? I understand why that's necessary when the artist is at fault for something but is proven to have done work and has at least something to give their customer. But if you're on schedule and nearly finished with the commission and your customer says "whoops I want the money for something else instead now", why is "sorry, you agreed to buy this, I am nearly done and I am holding up my end of the bargain and completing it on time, you simply deciding you want the money for something else now is not a valid reason for me to refund anything" not an option?
muchikins
Aug. 2nd, 2011 11:18 pm (UTC)
I have to agree with this. SOME stores offer refunds just because the customer changed their minds, but it really isn't the norm. I also can't think of any that do it for custom pieces that had to be made specifically to order. Not sure why it should be expected of art.
(no subject) - starinthegutter - Aug. 2nd, 2011 11:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - feather_dancer - Aug. 3rd, 2011 08:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lurkerwisp - Aug. 2nd, 2011 11:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celarania - Aug. 3rd, 2011 02:59 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - erratical.dreamwidth.org - Aug. 3rd, 2011 03:56 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celarania - Aug. 3rd, 2011 04:46 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - flarveon - Aug. 3rd, 2011 08:53 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - erratical.dreamwidth.org - Aug. 3rd, 2011 10:13 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - flarveon - Aug. 3rd, 2011 11:25 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celarania - Aug. 3rd, 2011 05:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - stormslegacy - Aug. 3rd, 2011 01:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - houndofloki - Aug. 4th, 2011 01:07 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celarania - Aug. 4th, 2011 01:17 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - houndofloki - Aug. 4th, 2011 02:47 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - celarania - Aug. 4th, 2011 04:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
shukivengeance
Aug. 2nd, 2011 11:14 pm (UTC)
I'm with the above, 75% of the work is done so he should be entitled to a 25% refund and the work done so far. Since it's a large amount of money and thus he could possibly threaten you with small claims court, make sure you have copies of all correspondence and take images of the work you completed before giving it to him.
flarveon
Aug. 3rd, 2011 08:54 am (UTC)
Luckily all have timestamps including his bank transferral date so he can't claim it's been months, non-delivered etc. I like to keep track of my commissioners that are larger than $15 more carefully.
(no subject) - cissa - Aug. 7th, 2011 03:49 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - shukivengeance - Aug. 7th, 2011 05:17 am (UTC) - Expand
lurkerwisp
Aug. 2nd, 2011 11:17 pm (UTC)
Welp. His legal fuckup just isn't your problem. He's already paid you for your work and you've done most of it. You're under no real obligation to refund him for what pretty much amounts to buyer's remorse. Refunding him anything at this point would be a personal favor, not something you absolutely owe him.

Be gentle with it, but put your foot down and don't let him bully you into anything you can't or don't want to do.

Good luck! And remember to document everything just in case. :)
flarveon
Aug. 3rd, 2011 08:55 am (UTC)
Thanks :) I just have too many bills to be refunding a full $150 when I only earn $200-250 a week as is.

But definitely, i'm yet to talk to him, he's avoiding me now >_>
(Deleted comment)
flarveon
Aug. 3rd, 2011 08:56 am (UTC)
Even though he is a good friend I won't be working with him in the future after this x_x
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - flarveon - Aug. 3rd, 2011 08:56 am (UTC) - Expand
likeshine
Aug. 2nd, 2011 11:33 pm (UTC)

you've done the work and deserve to receive some sort of payment. he can't have his money back "just because" ....
flarveon
Aug. 3rd, 2011 08:57 am (UTC)
"Just because I broke the law and now I have fines to pay."

I feel like i'm being treated like a bank!
notorious_hunty
Aug. 2nd, 2011 11:47 pm (UTC)
Like everyone said here. If you did a huge chunk of the work, only refund whatever's not finished. No more than 25% including supplies and labor. His screwup is not your problem. He dug his own grave.
flarveon
Aug. 3rd, 2011 08:57 am (UTC)
Yeah, 25% sounds fair to me. I've done alot of the work despite working 2 jobs, in 12 days too. It's not like he's been waiting months :/
dodger_greywing
Aug. 2nd, 2011 11:56 pm (UTC)
Maybe he should've thought about all this before driving illegally. His problem, not yours. You still get paid for the work you did, no matter what.
flarveon
Aug. 3rd, 2011 08:59 am (UTC)
You'd be surprised at how many aussies do drive illegally on their Learners. Here you need 100hrs and 1yr experience to get your PROBATIONARY licence. But it's all too expensive. On your L's alone, the minimum you will spend is $670.

Probationary costs are min. $340 and another $195 for a 3yr licence (thats how long your P licence lasts here).

So i'm not surprised this has happened, just not happy that he's taking it out on me now :(
(no subject) - muchikins - Aug. 3rd, 2011 09:38 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - flarveon - Aug. 3rd, 2011 09:40 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - muchikins - Aug. 3rd, 2011 09:47 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - flarveon - Aug. 3rd, 2011 09:55 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - muchikins - Aug. 3rd, 2011 10:01 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - flarveon - Aug. 3rd, 2011 10:02 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - muchikins - Aug. 3rd, 2011 10:08 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - flarveon - Aug. 3rd, 2011 11:23 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dodger_greywing - Aug. 3rd, 2011 11:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - flarveon - Aug. 4th, 2011 08:21 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dodger_greywing - Aug. 4th, 2011 10:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - atateatarin - Aug. 13th, 2011 02:20 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - flarveon - Aug. 13th, 2011 02:36 am (UTC) - Expand
grandioze
Aug. 2nd, 2011 11:59 pm (UTC)
Are you 100% sure that his problems are even real? He could just be lying to get a free commission, after all. I've seen too many commissioners on here make up lies like that when the commission is almost done. :/

Agreed with everyone else about the partial refund.
flarveon
Aug. 3rd, 2011 09:00 am (UTC)
I'd have to say I do believe him, he's a good friend and many other friends of mine have guaranteed that it is infact a real situation after seeing his car being towed away for impounding whilst on suspension. So i'm certain it is real.

But yeah, i'm not even sure if he still wants what i've finished! :(
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