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DERP; Shady business practices...

WHO: Starcat Twine/Sukubepanda; Owner of DERP in SecondLife.

WHERE:   http://www.derpstore.com/customs/

DERP in Secondlife: SLurl- http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/DERP/198/130/24

WHAT: A custom avatar in secondlife, with adult parts, hair, hat, and a shirt.

WHEN: Initial discussion of the commission occurred in July 2010. Final details were smoothed out and payment was sent on August 3, 2010. Avatar was completed on August 11, 2010. Adult parts were completed on October 4, 2010. Hat and hair was completed by another DERP employee. Wait on adult part .psd’s and shirt has been ongoing/cancelled?

PROOF: Paypal transaction- http://nightmare-hq.com/DERP_AB/paypal1.png

Commission agreement from SL- http://nightmare-hq.com/DERP_AB/commission%20agreement%201.png



Proof of reused parts- http://nightmare-hq.com/DERP_AB/Sculpts/

Customs page’s- http://nightmare-hq.com/DERP_AB/Derp%20customs.png




New customs-

http://www.furaffinity.net/view/7311130 <NSFW
http://www.furaffinity.net/view/7311880 <NSFW

EXPLAIN: To start off, when I initially inquired about the commission Starcat and I were friends and had known each other for a little while from Anthrocon and chatting on SecondLife(SL).Her and a couple other people run an avatar and clothing store in SL called DERP. Starcat makes the avatars. I initially commissioned her for an avatar and accessories on August 3, 2010 after reading the advertisement for custom commissions through her website. It guaranteed a custom avatar that would not be resold, accessories, as well as all the .psd’s used in the making of the avatar. It was agreed upon that she could reuse the hands, feet, and footpaws on her domestic canines since she was working on them around the same time. I paid her $450 through paypal and she started work on the avatar shortly after. I received the avatar within a week or so before she went on a trip, and was told the other accessories would be done sometime after she got back.

       Pretty much as soon as I got the avatar on my account accusations of Starcat reusing sculpts from former coworkers of her at EXL were directed at me, criticizing me of paying $450 for something that she had already made. I spoke with her about this and she dismissed it as EXL being jerks/jealous/etc. A couple weeks later when the domestic canines were released by DERP I noticed major similarities between the avatars and my custom and brought it up to another DERP employee who was working on something else for me at the time. Starcat was very defensive in both cases and denied them being the same. She made excuses as to canines being very generic when asked about the parts being reused aside from the legs/hands/feet. Towards the end of the year Starcat was becoming very hard to get in contact with and some im’s and emails were going unanswered. In October 2010 I learned that the hard drive with the .psd’s for the adult parts was not hooked up after her computer was rebuilt. She said in October that I could have the .psd’s for the shirt and hat as well as the adult parts when the HDD was hooked back up, as she didn’t have the proper cables to connect it. I offered to send some extra cables in April so she could retrieve the files and she accepted. They were mailed out to her shortly after.

       I had pretty much no contact with her other than emails after February 2011, and the few times that we did speak about the commission all she had were excuses about personal problems for why it wasn’t done. Granted, we were friends at the time, so I talked about some of mine as well. She tried to guilt trip me by saying how much more I was getting than other clients when I was getting exactly what was advertised and what I paid for…She was very defensive when asked about certain aspects of the commission and acted like she was doing me a favor by taking the commission. Frankly I’ve never run into any problems like this with any artists that I’ve commissioned. The fact that I went into this as a friend and had to deal with all of these issues just made me want to avoid commissioning friends in the future unless I know they’re reliable and won’t take advantage of the situation. At this point Starcat and I no longer speak to each other.

       In September 2011 she informed me that the hard drive containing the .psd’s for the adult parts was corrupt and she was unable to retrieve them after hooking it up. She offered to do the shirt in mesh and to edit the textures from the adult parts so that they could be modified in Photoshop if I sent them to her. I did and heard nothing back until November 1, 2011 after I had expressed my frustration over the delays and communication problems. She responded saying that she wasn’t going to do the shirt and was just going to refund me $25 based off an estimate of what it would cost out of the commission, going on to say that she was being generous even with that and that some people weren’t meant to work together. Honestly, I could have just done without the drama and would have been happy with my commission being completed instead of excuses. I have not received a refund as of yet and frankly don’t want to accept one.

       Around the same time that I got the last email from Starcat I met Neroe Karu on SL, another person who had gotten a custom from DERP. After talking with them I realized that she had dealt with some of the same problems as far as parts being reused. We set out our custom avatars side by side along with the domestic canines and the Serbex from DERP and noticed that a large majority of the parts from her avatar had been used in my own, and furthermore had been reused and resold as the domestic canines. Some of my avatars mouth was also constructed from the existing Serbex that they had for sale. We took screenshots of the sculpt maps side by side for comparison and noticed that a large deal of the sculpts were exactly the same, some being slightly modified. Essentially I paid $450 for a recolor, tail, slightly modified muzzle and nose, and adult parts aside from the hat and hair. The hair I got for free on the grounds that it could be resold, instead of paying for it for personal use only. The hat is a commercially available product that I was given one of.

        All in all I’m not really expecting to get anything out of this. Some people were saying I could take legal action over this(?), but I just want to post this as a beware for anyone thinking about doing business with them.

:Edit #1 1/30/12: Starcat and I have decided to settle this privately and I am being fully reimbursed. I've removed some irrelevant info as far as conversations go, but the original warning is still there as required by the community rules.
:Edit #2 1/30/12: Starcat has reimbursed me for the price of the avatar. This is resolved as far as I'm concerned. She mentioned that anyone who had similar should approach her first in the future.

Artist's beware has moved!
Do NOT repost your old bewares. They are being archived.


( 52 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 17th, 2012 05:10 am (UTC)
Request: LJ Cut!
If you don't mind could you sneak an LJ-cut into this post for us? Its a liiittttllleeee longish.
Jan. 17th, 2012 04:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Request: LJ Cut!
I'm really new to using lj. How do I do this? :o
Re: Request: LJ Cut! - oceandezignz - Jan. 17th, 2012 07:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 17th, 2012 05:27 am (UTC)
You could go to the parcel owners where she places her vendors and report her. Point them to this thread, have her banned from any place she has vendors.
Jan. 17th, 2012 10:58 am (UTC)
Only if they care about it, also I´m sure they would not lose money.
I dunno if worth report it to LL, because LL never shows any interest towards these reports : /
Jan. 17th, 2012 04:41 pm (UTC)
Not worth my time to be honest. Figured the most I could really do is post about it here. Figure enough people read it that it might prevent some people from getting burned.
Jan. 17th, 2012 09:09 am (UTC)
Sadly, I've known about this for quite a while. I'm surprised it hadn't been reported sooner. x_x

My last interaction with Starcat was a bit... Awkward. I had confronted her about the griffox avatar she'd released, as one of the color choices literally shared over 10 marking/color/design similarities to one of my personal avatars in SecondLife. Her defense was more or less "It's not as detailed as your character, and those color combinations are popular." Granted, I know nobody can copyright a color combination used on a character, but there are countless different ways to apply them. Despite this fact, the griffox's markings AND color placement literally looked like a simplified version of my own avatar's markings. I had 6 different people (yes, I counted) message me, wondering if I'd given StarCat the O-K to release an avatar that looked like my personal character. The fact that the blue/orange griffox in question was also the only one to sport the tri-stripe marking accents on it (which my character also had) really threw up a red flag, plus my previous main character before that was, surprise surprise, a gryphon/fox mix. Needless to say, I've been rather weary of DERP ever since. :(
Jan. 17th, 2012 05:31 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry to hear that! :c It does sound like something she'd say for an excuse though. I knew people have had problems with DERP, but I didn't know it went this deep.

Edited at 2012-01-17 05:32 pm (UTC)
Jan. 19th, 2012 03:01 am (UTC)
speaking of griffox, I've always been reminded of Stinkbird's character ( http://www.furaffinity.net/view/6180996 ) when looking at them.

I've had nothing but bad dealings with DERP as far as customer service and a couple friends being very disappointed in their over-priced customs (either receiving something they'd previously released or release shortly after/ never getting it done).

It's quite disappointing, considering I started out being a fan of their work, but seeing the same avatars being recycled OVER AND OVER in the vendors and in customs is a really huge turnoff.
(no subject) - frickee - Jan. 19th, 2012 03:06 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sigilgoat - Jan. 19th, 2012 04:14 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 17th, 2012 05:18 pm (UTC)
I don't understand why it matters if parts are being reused, so long as you still end up with a custom avatar that doesn't look like anyone else.
Jan. 17th, 2012 05:27 pm (UTC)
Because parts were reused from a previous custom and commercial avi for mine, and then the domestic canines were over 85% similar to my custom. It was agreed that only the hands, legs and footpaws would be reused.(But she'd already had them made from Neroe Karu's avatar) If I wanted to have an avi made of commercially available parts I would have just bought the domestic canines and modded it myself. So it's practically like she's reselling my avatar and Neroe Karu's. It matters because I paid $450 for something unique, and got something vaguely different. Barely more than the recolor and tail I paid 10k L for from Sylver Bu.(Which to this day I am satisfied with.) Since then I've commissioned Flea Bussy for a raptor avatar which was 100% unique and isn't being resold, and am also waiting on a new mesh dingo from another person. Starcat and DERP are the only avatar company I've ever had any problems with.

Edited at 2012-01-17 05:40 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - celarania - Jan. 17th, 2012 06:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - goddamnanimals - Jan. 17th, 2012 06:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celarania - Jan. 17th, 2012 06:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - goddamnanimals - Jan. 17th, 2012 07:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celarania - Jan. 17th, 2012 07:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - goddamnanimals - Jan. 17th, 2012 07:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 17th, 2012 06:05 pm (UTC)
I don't know enough about SL sculpting to know if parts are definitely reused, but I do agree the head shapes look pretty similar between the two comparisons (the jaws, on the other hand, look different to me?). I didn't look at every file, it might help if you could specifically point out and explain some of the stronger ones?

That said, your "I don't want a refund" stance seems a bit grudgy. At this point you aren't on speaking terms with the artist, they clearly can't/won't do the work; a refund should always be an option for both of you. I agree though that $25 does NOT seem like enough of a refund, if indeed most of your "custom" av is really a tweaked av she's reselling. Sounds like the parts that are missing would be highly custom?
Jan. 17th, 2012 06:15 pm (UTC)
Some of the jaws are examples for tongues being compared, so they're not the same jaw sculpt. And yes, I can answer any specific questions when I wake up.(Just got back from FC)

Is it in bad taste if I refuse a refund? I'm not really looking for that or anything else at this point. It just seems like the damage has been done, and I feel monetary compensation doesn't really change what happened. My custom avatar is pretty much being resold. And I doubt they're going to pull their domestic canines or redo my custom. I'm pretty content with just telling my experience with them. The money she wants to give me(and hasn't) doesn't matter to me. And I'm not holding my breath waiting for it.
(no subject) - spiffystuff - Jan. 17th, 2012 07:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - goddamnanimals - Jan. 17th, 2012 07:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - stormslegacy - Jan. 17th, 2012 11:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spiffystuff - Jan. 18th, 2012 12:03 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celarania - Jan. 17th, 2012 07:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spiffystuff - Jan. 17th, 2012 07:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - goddamnanimals - Jan. 17th, 2012 07:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celarania - Jan. 17th, 2012 07:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - goddamnanimals - Jan. 17th, 2012 07:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celarania - Jan. 17th, 2012 08:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - goddamnanimals - Jan. 17th, 2012 08:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - goddamnanimals - Jan. 19th, 2012 10:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celarania - Jan. 19th, 2012 11:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - goddamnanimals - Jan. 19th, 2012 11:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celarania - Jan. 20th, 2012 01:05 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sigilgoat - Jan. 20th, 2012 07:00 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - goddamnanimals - Jan. 20th, 2012 11:22 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sigilgoat - Jan. 20th, 2012 10:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - goddamnanimals - Jan. 22nd, 2012 10:21 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - goddamnanimals - Jan. 24th, 2012 06:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sigilgoat - Jan. 24th, 2012 10:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spiffystuff - Jan. 17th, 2012 10:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - goddamnanimals - Jan. 17th, 2012 10:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - copper_curls - Jan. 18th, 2012 04:31 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - goddamnanimals - Jan. 18th, 2012 07:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - copper_curls - Jan. 19th, 2012 10:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 20th, 2012 01:41 am (UTC)
I'm really disappointed to hear all this about Derp, I had no idea they were like this. Before hearing about this, my only problem with them was that some of their newer avatars were less than stellar. (in my opinion) But I had no idea they were shady as a business as well.

I actually have one of their dog avatars as well as a couple others, and I bought one of my friends a ridgeback awhile ago. :c I don't use them a whole lot though.

Edited at 2012-01-20 01:42 am (UTC)
Jan. 31st, 2012 12:15 am (UTC)
If any mod reads this I'd like to ask that the void copperfield tag be removed. He's not really associated with derp as far as this beware goes. Once that is done and I've received payment I'd like for this to me marked as resolved.
Jan. 31st, 2012 01:40 am (UTC)
I've removed his name, let me know when you are refunded and I will add the resolved tag.
(no subject) - oceandezignz - Jan. 31st, 2012 02:06 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - goddamnanimals - Jan. 31st, 2012 02:54 am (UTC) - Expand
( 52 comments — Leave a comment )


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