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Looking for Advice

This actually happened a while ago, and is now settled, but knowing FA it very well may happen again, so I am looking for some advice on how to handle it if it does.

A commission was delivered via note, but the commissioner was overseas when I did so. They had read the note, so I figured they had gotten the commission.

They were gone quite a long time, and I had lost a lot of files in that time. When they returned (I believe it was something like 4-6 months later. But I really can't remember.) They asked about the commission. They had never gotten it. I know they had read the note because I had checked in my outbox. But, apparently FA ate the note, and the last they had from me was the commission before that in the set. I no longer had the file, and I also no longer had the note (I cleared my outbox).

As he is a close friend, I offered a commission of my current style, free of charge, and actually worth quite a bit more than he originally paid. (The original commission style was no longer offered as I had improved greatly).

But, if this were to happen with an average commissioner, what would be the proper way to settle it? Apparently FA eats notes quite often? Should I maybe add something to my TOS about it? I cannot use email to take commissions as it also eats emails, at a much more frequent rate than FA does.

I use Gmail, and I have multiple accounts, all have the same issue with not sending or receiving. I have never had an issue with FA's note system except this one time, and I assume he had gotten the note because it was marked read after a few days, like all the previous ones I had sent.

Buying an external HD is out of the question as I cannot afford it. I can barely afford to feed myself. I'll try dropbox though, as I do have one. I do have an issue with limited about of HD space, which is why I tend to delete things after a few months.

EDIT 2 -
I have added a line in my TOS stating I will only keep the finished commission for two months after I first send it out to customers.
I will also use dropbox to send them out, so that URLs won't expire/images won't be deleted.
Thanks for all the advice, but like I said, I can't afford an external, so this option will have to do!

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( 40 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jul. 21st, 2012 08:02 pm (UTC)
If you have a decent sized USB/Discs/External Hard drive, or if you use dropBox I'd suggest saving both the PSD and the larger version of the commission to either of those in case your computer fails or like these situations a website eats the message with the commission. Also how does your email eat messages?
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 21st, 2012 08:44 pm (UTC)
"Apparently FA eats notes quite often? Should I maybe add something to my TOS about it? I cannot use email to take commissions as it also eats emails, at a much more frequent rate than FA does."

Wait, what?

Don't delete notes. Don't delete emails. Make sure a copy (with the file) is saved in your sent folder.
Jul. 22nd, 2012 01:22 am (UTC)
I don't.

FA 'eats' them. As in, they never arrive to the person I sent them to, and vice versa. The same with my email. I don't delete them. It's apparently a common problem with FA.
(no subject) - thegrackelknows - Jul. 24th, 2012 05:15 am (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 21st, 2012 08:48 pm (UTC)
"I cannot use email to take commissions as it also eats emails"

what e-mail provider are you using? I know there are some that do that, but there are others that are very reliable. I use g-mail and nothing like that has ever happened to me.

Seconding what everyone else has said about backing up your files as well, at least until the person who commissioned you confirms that they received the piece.
Jul. 21st, 2012 09:28 pm (UTC)
This is my thought too.

If your email is that unreliable, find a new email host. They shouldn't be that unreliable.

Other than that, I'd have a policy on how long you'll retain files after confirmed reception. However, I don't think there's ever a case where you should delete a file without confirmation, particularly for a person that you generally have good communication with.

If you're stuck with too many huge files, retain the smaller version or look into an external hard drive. Memory is pretty cheap now: you can get a 120 GB external hard drive for $40. It's an investment, but might be worth it if this is something you feel like you're going to have a lot of trouble with that sort of problem.

Edited at 2012-07-21 09:28 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - teekchan - Jul. 22nd, 2012 01:25 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lovegonnadrown - Jul. 22nd, 2012 02:53 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Jul. 22nd, 2012 12:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - teekchan - Jul. 22nd, 2012 05:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 21st, 2012 09:11 pm (UTC)
Seconding RadCatastrophe, a file hosting site like dropBox, Mediafire, or even dA's Sta.sh can help with keeping copies for back up if you don't have an external drive.

Does your email have an automatic self-clearing function maybe? Perhaps there is an option you can turn off in your preferences.
Jul. 21st, 2012 09:23 pm (UTC)
In your situation I would create a new email, preferably from gmail, specifically for commissions. I, had a similar problem, with a yahoo branch account, whereby clients would've apparently sent me things but I never received them. Make sure that any future client gives you a working email address, and add in your TOS that all files will be sent to the email address/adresses they provide. I normally ask for 2, one for regular communication and another for emergency contact. I state in my TOS that the email provided needs at least 20mb of free space for the high res image, and additions, to be sent. I have had only one occurance of gmail either not receiving a clients email, or sending it to spam. If the client says they have sent you an email, and it doesn't arrive, ask them to try from a different account. I've found that Hotmail to gmail accounts do not seem to like one another. Always ask your clients to pageshout you if they have sent an email or note and you haven't responded. Communication is key! As, like yourself, I have had problems with FA's note system, I also leave a pageshout on the customers page to inform them they have a pending email that needs attention.

As regards future clients, and redoing pieces, unfortunately there are a lot of people out there who will try and scam you for more work than what was paid for. You can easily upload the piece to FA, with a link to either a hotobucket/imageshack of the fuller resolution piece if need be. Some clients just don't bother to save the piece, as crazy as it sounds, or they expect the artist to keep hold of the digital file forever. If you do traditional work, always send the piece out via confirmed delivery, as this is normally signed for.

Buying an external/secondary HD is always the best way to go. Backup everything every month. However, if you cannot afford another hard drive state in your TOS about a holding system for completed work, 1-3months is normally a good waiting period. If they do not have the piece by then, it is out of your control. Sent emails, with the pieces as attachments, is another good failsafe as you can redownload the piece as many times as you need, or just reforward or send the email as is. You can also do what others have suggested by getting a dropbox, state in your TOS that it will be available for a set time period (eg.1-3months) afterwhich you will delete it. This gives adequate time for the commissioner to retreive the piece and save to thier own devices. The free version of dropbox is more than adequate for most people's needs!

I hope this helps!
Jul. 22nd, 2012 01:28 am (UTC)
I actually already use gmail, and I have quite a few emails from them, I have the same issue with all of them.
I find FA more reliable than Gmail with sending. This is the only case with a note being eaten on FA, but I've had multiple cases with Gmail.

Like I stated above, I can't afford one. $40 is a lot of money.
I could try with Dropbox, but doesn't it also take up room on my computer? That's an issue I have with storing, because I don't have that much space.
Jul. 21st, 2012 10:46 pm (UTC)
Echoing the USB idea.
I also post all artwork I've done to a blog as a fail safe, in case I end up in a circumstance where my pictures are deleted from my computer.
Jul. 21st, 2012 11:01 pm (UTC)
Next time, try not to delete the files until you get a reply after you sent it. If it's not a deal big, I would just try to redraw the picture. If not, getting an external harddrive to back up your files would be the best way to go.
Jul. 22nd, 2012 12:33 am (UTC)
One reason I don't like FA notes. I prefer to conduct all of my business through email. You could also upload a copy to a Photobucket account or something. :)
Jul. 22nd, 2012 01:10 am (UTC)
Just echoing the rest of the comments supporting using e-mail over FA notes. FA notes are an incredibly unreliable form of communication. They also can't be organized, and it's very easy to lose things.

Get a reliable e-mail provider, file everything - that way nothing should get "eaten" on a reg. basis.
Jul. 22nd, 2012 01:32 am (UTC)
How can you not organize them? I keep mine organized quite easily. My email is harder to keep organized.

Also, I use Gmail, which is what everyone is suggesting, so I'm kind of out of luck on 'reliable'.
(no subject) - marymouse - Jul. 22nd, 2012 02:02 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - teekchan - Jul. 22nd, 2012 05:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 22nd, 2012 02:40 am (UTC)
Just wanted to chime in since buying an external is out of the question, you should use an image hosting site like tinypic for keeping backups of finished work. :) Its totally free, and I find it awesome for sending quick WIP's to people to confirm from since then you can just link it in email/note/page shout whatever without worrying about a file transfer like with an emailed attachment. There's also getting a free blog like on Tumblr just for keeping backups of your work, you can even password protect tumblr accounts if you want it private and just use it as a hosting space. Plenty of free options to help you back up your work~ :3
Jul. 22nd, 2012 02:41 am (UTC)
Oh, also, emailing things to yourself and keeping an organized folder of past work is another backup option. Hope some of these ideas can be useful to you!
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - neive - Jul. 22nd, 2012 05:09 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - slyminera - Jul. 22nd, 2012 05:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - teekchan - Jul. 22nd, 2012 05:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - teekchan - Jul. 22nd, 2012 05:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 22nd, 2012 05:48 am (UTC)
How did you send it to him, exactly? I know you sent it through note, but is it possible that the finished product is laying in a photobucket/tinypic account somewhere??

I really have no suggestions for you - maybe try another email service (I use hotmail/live and it works fine) or dropbox, though I've never used that myself.
Jul. 22nd, 2012 06:30 am (UTC)
For what it's worth, I use Hotmail, which has always been quite reliable for me. I agree with what's been said about external drives, but I know if you're tight on money it's hard to afford. I believe Hotmail has something called Skydrive, I think it's the same sort of thing as Google's cloudspace or whatever it's called.
Jul. 22nd, 2012 07:18 am (UTC)
I've honestly NEVER had a note eaten or not arrive on FA...I've heard of this phenom tho. Screencap your notes as soon as you get them if they have a tendency to disappear...you'd also be double covered if a commission goes south and you have proof of the transaction's details.

Also agreeing with emailing the files to yourself...whether to a new account just for backup files or reworking an exisiting account to do that for you.

If this is a common thing, people ordering stuff and not being able to communicate if they even received it, that may be the bigger issue. Communication is so key to a smooth commission transaction that if there's no way to verify each party is hearing what the other is saying, I'm not sure it's smart to even proceed. A person could try to play the system and claim they "never got the work" half a year later hoping to get replacement art. While that doesn't sound like the case here the folks of FA never cease to amaze me with ways to scam people outta their hard earned money.
Jul. 22nd, 2012 05:41 pm (UTC)
This is the first, and only time, I've ever had it happen to me. That's a good idea, but storing the screencaps would be a bit of an issue due to low HD space.

I highly doubt this was the case with this guy. He's a close friend, which is why I just offered him another commission free of charge. I'm going to add in to my TOS so that they can't pull it and come back a few months later and demand new art. I don;t think people would try, but you never know.
Jul. 22nd, 2012 12:33 pm (UTC)
Some people have chimed in, but I figure it helps to have more options.

I have three gmail accounts. One for my real life stuff, a second for commissions, and a third "master" account. The Master account receives all my emails and automatically labels them for me when they come in. I can also send email from the master one as either account.

Why is this important? Because while the master account receives and sends, I also have it set up to not delete the originals on the other accounts. I have a literal archive of commissions from the first few months I started taking them years and years ago. Every file sent out. Every email received.

After I figured out the issue with some people getting bounced to spam, I had the master account pull in spam from my commission email as well. It makes it so the spam itself is also labeled, so it's easy to glance over it.
Jul. 22nd, 2012 05:46 pm (UTC)
I have three used gmail emails, and one back up in case the other three get hacked. All of them actually have the same not sending/receiving issue, even with themselves. I probably just have really bad luck with emails.

Switching over to email would be more of a hassle to me, I think. As of now, I get maybe one or two commission though email every 6 months. It's pretty rare; most stuff is through FA notes.

I may go with dropbox like suggested up there a bit, but the person has not replied to my question about it taking up HD space or not. Mine is just a folder on my computer, and I can link people to said folders. I assume since it is stored on my HD, that is is also taking up HD space, which is something I cannot be doing until I can afford a better computer.
(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Jul. 23rd, 2012 01:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
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