On 31st January 2012 I was commissioned by an individual to make a fursuit - I accepted the commission and gave an approximate completion of July 2012. Customer and myself got on well, became friends on facebook and exchanged several emails over the months of just general friendly chatty gossip with no mention of suits.
In April-May 2012 I had to stop suit work for over 8 weeks due to severe seizures - I have a dissociative seizure disorder which is not medication controlled as it is a psychological disorder and not a physical one (http://www.epilepsysociety.org.uk/AboutEpilepsy/Associatedconditions/Non-epilepticseizures). I was having up to 10 grand mal like seizures in a day and most days was confined to bed. My husband contacted all of my customers to make them aware of this as I was physically unable to. I will mention I did attend a convention at the end of May 2012 and the customer saw me there and we did discuss some things in person - I also collapsed at said convention and was pretty much stuck in bed for half the con. It was a further few weeks before I was able to continue work.
I apologised to the customer about this, explained the situation to them and I reevaluated to be able to start their suit in October. This was agreed and they paid their final payment and sent me their dtd. I was back on track with work after forcing myself to work longer shifts then at the end of August I had two family bereavements literally within days of one another and this triggered off my seizure disorder in a bad way again and left me unable to work again for a few more weeks.
Time rolled past, I slowly started being able to work again and getting through my queue - all changes and updates were listed on my website and I advised customers to keep an eye on the site for any updates in my progress with suits prior to theirs. This is stated in my ToS to do this as all completion times are approximate, I do not work to set deadlines unless customers are willing to pay an additional fee - this is also mentioned on the site.
The customer did not speak to me at all, I had no updates for them and as such did not email them despite having patterned a lot of their suit and started work on their foam base. As I had not physically had anything beyond an early WIP stage I did not send pictures to the customer. On Dec 7th I received an email out of the blue.... from the customers aunt demanding a full refund. I will not copy paste the entire email as it goes into some of the customers personal issues but here is a snippet:
"We now are formally requesting that the fursuit is supplied within the next 30 days or we want a full refund of all monies paid or we will complain to google checkout, the credit card it was paid on and we will contact trading standards. Please respond to this email within 14 days informing which option you want to take."
I responded back to them with the following:
I am sorry that your suit has been delayed so long due to my personal illness and family bereavement which has aggravated a disability that you are fully aware of as you are on my personal Facebook and Twitter feeds. Sadly as I am not a business and simply one person with a hobby, if such things happen it can increase the time delay on suits. At no time is a suit ever given a guaranteed completion date unless it was charged a rush fee (which you did not) and times are only ever an estimate. As stated on our terms of service which you read and accepted (http://www.hybridfursuits.com/termsofservice.htm) "When we accept your commission we usually give you a approximate completion month, any changes will be listed on our commission status page" As the current status page clearly shows (http://www.hybridfursuits.com/commissionqueue.htm) also as stated on the terms of service "All fursuit commissions require a 50% deposit to be paid before we begin work (this deposit is so we can order in materials). All deposits are NON REFUNDABLE!" so a full refund is not possible.
I am sorry if you feel we have been unreasonable or slow in your completion of your suit but while your suit has started to be created (as this was the reason we asked for the final payment) your suit is still third in queue due to delays already stated. At the time of writing this the first suit in a week from completion. I can ask the commissioner in front of you if its okay for your suit to be done next but there is no way that it will be done in the next 30 days due to the holiday season.
In regards to your latest email about Google shipping. As Google checkout are not geared towards commissioned work, unless the status is set to shipped, the payment would not process so materials can be ordered or work started. I'm sorry for the confusion on that part but I thought I had emailed all my customers about that website bug. But I can confirm that your suit work has actually started.
Hope we can work things out
I have since only received a one line email from them requesting my postal address for postal correspondance. I responded stating I would prefer to do things through email to keep it more organised and as of yet have had no response to the email sent above. The stress from this incident has caused me to have several incredibly bad seizures - one of which actually had me hospitalised as it continued for over an hour and I could just really use some advice here.
I just... don't know what to do here. I am WILLING to admit I was in the wrong for not keeping her fully up to date buit I genuinely don't know where to go from here. This was literally out of the blue, I'm good friends with her partner and neither herself nor him have mentioned ANYTHING to me about this prior to this email from her relative.
Since I have been waiting for this to be approved I have been working to meet the 30days specified by the customer - the CUSTOMER however is refusing to respond to my emails asking for clarification on markings and some aspects of their fursuit. I have sent all emails to the customer and to their aunt and neither have responded to my requests for further information despite me stating I genuinely cannot work on some aspects of their suit UNTIL I have this information. To clarify, the customer is not unwell and has been active daily on Facebook, Twitter and FA - they are just not responding to my requests for information.