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Who owns this product?

The Short of It: A gives money to B so that B can buy a product from C. This product is to benefit A. Does A have a right to tell C not to give said product to B?

The Long of It: I am party C in the above situation. A and B were doing a trade for two fursuits and B contacted me for two fursuit head bases. A gave B the money which they then passed on to me. The trade between A and B had multiple deadlines that were missed and when A inquired they were told that the delays were due to me.

I was told by B that I had plenty of time to complete the bases as they had not started on the suits which was never told to A. As the buck was passed on to me A started getting frustrated. I was eventually called by them and we shared information: they had never seen any progress on their suits and B had not completed multiple projects for other clients.

After the phone call A told me to hold onto their completed bases and fur them for them. Is this allowed? While it was their money that paid for the bases does the fact that it passed through a third party change who owns them? Them asking B for a refund would negate this problem but that would require more transactions.

Any advice is super appreciated! Please let me know if I can clarify anything.

EDIT: I was going to post this several days ago but LJ was being LJ so I had to wait.
Since writing this B has blocked me from Twitter, their main mode of communication. I assume it is because of my involvement with party A.
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Comments

( 31 comments — Leave a comment )
neolucky
May. 17th, 2013 05:54 am (UTC)
To be honest at first this made my head spin, almost like reading an Algebra problem heh!

I think you should be dealing with B and ONLY B as they are the one who paid you directly for the work. It is of no consequence where the money originally came from, and I would not have any dealings with A. I would instruct A that this is a breach of privacy and to discuss it with B, and then have B contact you.

I personally do not think this interaction should change ownership, B commissioned you, B owns the end product and can give you the time frame. However...

I'm not sure why B would block you. They have pending work coming from you - Perhaps you would be best refunding B and washing your hands of it? Thats the only thing that I can think of to resolve this.
keyoki
May. 17th, 2013 07:58 am (UTC)
The situation is a mess all around.

'A' contacted me first because they were told by 'B' that I was not completing work. At this same time 'B' was telling me that I did not need to complete the work yet.

'B' at was also avoiding communication with 'A' so they went to me.
(no subject) - neolucky - May. 17th, 2013 10:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greenreaper - May. 17th, 2013 08:21 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - neolucky - May. 17th, 2013 10:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
neive
May. 17th, 2013 06:45 am (UTC)
At first I was going to say unfortunately it belongs to B since they were the one who paid and was dealing with you, until reading that they blocked you. For now I wouldn't jump the gun and make arrangements with A, but if B is going to not only stop contacting you but prevent you from contacting them too for the long term then you might want to pass it to A? :s I'm not sure of the professional expectations of a situation like this once the initial buyer has harshly dropped communications.

To help clarify, did they both go in on the payment for the bases (even if it was uneven?) Or was it literally A just gave B the full amount and had B do the transaction?

Edit: Also, do you have a TOS and does it have any specifications for abandoned projects or lack of communication?

Edited at 2013-05-17 06:48 am (UTC)
keyoki
May. 17th, 2013 07:55 am (UTC)
'A' paid for the bases in full. This entire thing was a trade between A and B but they needed the head bases so they paid me.

My TOS states that projects are abandoned after three months. 'A' wants the suits completed by June though so that's why I'm in a bind.
(no subject) - spartanwerewolf - May. 17th, 2013 08:02 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - keyoki - May. 17th, 2013 08:08 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - neive - May. 17th, 2013 06:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
greenreaper
May. 17th, 2013 08:08 am (UTC)
It wasn't a gift, the money was entrusted, so a constructive trust has been formed
The choice of wording in the summary is unfortunate. If it were actually a gift, then the situation would be clear: A has given money to B, but C is not involved in that transaction. Gifts also tend to be irrevocable.

If you had only ever dealt with B and not been aware of any relationship with A, you would have been OK treating it as a strict matter of contract between yourself and B.

However, in the situation you describe, I believe a constructive trust is the appropriate solution. Having been informed of the situation, it becomes your duty to protect the beneficiary's equity by letting them have control of the bases. (It's also B's duty, since they were given the funds to use on behalf of A, but they're not talking right now.)

For example, a court of equity recognizing a plaintiff's request for the equitable remedy of a constructive trust may decide that a constructive trust has been created and simply order the person holding the assets to deliver them to the person who rightfully should have them. The constructive trustee is not necessarily the person who is guilty of the wrongdoing, and in practice it is often a bank or similar organization.


For example, if the defendant steals $100,000 from the plaintiff and uses that money to buy a house, the court can trace the house back to the plaintiff's money, and can deem the house to be held in trust for the plaintiff; the defendant must then convey title to the house to the plaintiff


In this case the settlor of the trust (defendant) would be B, while the beneficiary (plaintiff) would be A, and the trustee is C.

Edited at 2013-05-17 08:21 am (UTC)
spartanwerewolf
May. 17th, 2013 09:00 am (UTC)
I'm going to preface this by saying that keyoki and I are personal friends, and have previously discussed the situation privately. B in this situation was an acquaintance of mine until I was blocked by her (about this same issue). I don't, however, know A.

Moving on to my actual comment:

If the contract between the three of y'all has been voided, I'd think that B is basically just a payment proxy between you and A. Question is, is it just the contract between A and B that's void, or between all of you? I mean, are you still obligated to give the product to B, even though B has seemingly voided the contract between them and A?

Which is the crux of the issue, really. Can you break the contract between yourself and B, given that B’s avoided the clients and they’ve felt they had to come to you to get any sort of resolution?

And since I just rephrased your question, here's my answer:

I think that, given the circumstances, you'd be within your rights to break the contract you had with B. B has been blaming you for delays, despite telling you, at the same time, that they didn’t need the bases, because they hadn’t started the projects. I think it would be best for all involved for you to work with A under a new contract that leaves out B, and for A and B to settle their dispute separately (whether pursuing a refund, chalking it up as a loss, or whatever.)

I think greenreaper is saying something similar to this above- that, in this case, you'd be okay with breaking said contract, since you'd be acting in the best interests of A (who contacted you because they're now very concerned that they're not going to get their suits in time, given B's past history of shoddy customer service, the fact that they've not been updated on the progress of the suits (due in February/March), and B's avoidance of their attempts at contact.)

Edited at 2013-05-17 09:02 am (UTC)
wolf_goat
May. 17th, 2013 09:19 am (UTC)
I agree with the above about B being the official contact now, but I think if you can at all possibly get B to agree in writing to you dealing with A as you describe, that would be the best allround situation for you. Hopefully they will want it all off their shoulders if things are as cut and dry as they seem, and will agree to removing themselves from the equation. Good luck, what a mess!
epiceternity
May. 17th, 2013 09:22 am (UTC)
"'A' was told that I charge $100 per base and they gave B $200 for the two foam bases from me. B then paid me the $200 they received from A.
The cost of fur was negotiated separately between them."

From this i'd say A 'owns' the head bases (B just acting as middle man).
A and B 'own' the percentage they paid of the fur.

It's always difficult on a commission that has multiple commissioners involved. There's always a risk of falling outs or, unless one is acting as spokesman for all, conflicting messages from different parties. Have you tried contacting B on the paypal email they paid you with?



Edited at 2013-05-17 09:23 am (UTC)
keyoki
May. 17th, 2013 10:18 am (UTC)
'B' is actually local to me so they brought the cash to me in person. There are a bunch of layers on this that I left out just to simplify.

I'm no longer at school so there is now three hours between us. 'B' recently had their phone shut off so Twitter was their main avenue of communication; They told me before the removal of their phone to contact them through Twitter.

We have had these kinds of arrangements before where she does a trade with someone and they give her money so that I can make the base for the suit. As is always the case it wasn't a problem until now.
spiffystuff
May. 17th, 2013 09:32 am (UTC)
Normally I would say you only owe B, but if you have sufficient proof that A paid B specifically for your head bases, on top of all the extenuating circumstances that indicate B will not honor their deal with A (and was libeling your rep to boot!)...
Well very strange circumstances but in this one case I would say it's time to deal directly with A. /but only if they have proof of a contract between them and B for the bases/
thaily
May. 17th, 2013 10:02 am (UTC)
This is why I state in my TOS that I will only do business with one [1] person. If there's multiple customers involved? Fine. Let them come to a consensus before contacting me.

But that's hindsight for you; I'd rule in favor of whoever has the money and is giving it to you, regardless of where the money came from etc. That's all their private, personal shit that they have to fight out among themselves. They are not paying you to be their relationship therapist.

The person giving you the money is your customer.
cyiakanami
May. 17th, 2013 01:18 pm (UTC)
I'd have to agree with A being the one who should get the bases this time. B was middle man and it wasn't their money to begin with.
I'd try and make 1 last attempt to contact B (through possible third party) and let them know if contact isn't made their order is void and you will be giving the bases to A.
syrusb
May. 17th, 2013 03:11 pm (UTC)
What a mess! Conflicting information, neglected responsibilities, obfuscation.

In cases like this, as was clarified in more lengthy terms above, the best solution is to follow the money. C was paid by A. Work out your deal there; B was basically a proxy who has not held up their end of the agreement.

It may be considerate of you to use an alternate means to contact B one more time, but as B has cut off communication and was dealing obfuscation in the first place I doubt legally you would see any consequences.
mazz
May. 17th, 2013 04:23 pm (UTC)
Reading all this B sounds like they're going to jip A of their money.
If you have $200 belonging to A for the head bases offer to send them the head bases or refund them their $200 and drop the commission.

A and B can squabble between themselves and you can move on with your business.
kerstin_orion
May. 17th, 2013 05:37 pm (UTC)
A lot of people aren't aware of it, but jip/gyp is considered a racial slur and therefore use of the term is not permitted here in A_B. Please avoid using it.
(no subject) - mazz - May. 17th, 2013 05:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kerstin_orion - May. 17th, 2013 06:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
shukivengeance
May. 17th, 2013 05:05 pm (UTC)
If I'm not mistaken, A paid for everything?

In that case, and since B has blocked you, finish the transaction with A by either refunding or giving A both bases and wash your hands of it. I'd advise against further involvement by furring the bases.

Edited at 2013-05-17 05:08 pm (UTC)
keyoki
May. 17th, 2013 08:51 pm (UTC)
Right, A has paid for everything.

Do you think that finishing the bases for A would get me into any legal trouble? I just have a sore conscious and really want A to be whole after all of this.
All parties are sorta local (within driving distance) so while I don't know A that well we have met several times.
(no subject) - shukivengeance - May. 17th, 2013 09:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
jakejynx
May. 17th, 2013 06:01 pm (UTC)
With it being cash, do you have any proof of where the money came from?

People are saying to deal with A now, but unless it was already known by everyone that the money was coming from A's pocket, and this isn't something that A suddenly told you of after the fact, I'd say play it safe and only deal with the person whom you know you exchanged money with, and who has some sort of receipt to prove it.
keyoki
May. 17th, 2013 08:40 pm (UTC)
It's a muddy situation all around and has really put me off the idea of doing base commissions ever again.

The original idea for a trade between A and B was hashed-out in front of me at a convention. So at that time I quoted A the price for two bases. After the convention they gave the money to B to give to me since they lived a state away.
(no subject) - jakejynx - May. 17th, 2013 09:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - keyoki - May. 19th, 2013 07:00 am (UTC) - Expand
dodger_greywing
May. 18th, 2013 03:45 am (UTC)
Give the fur and bases straight to A, since B has decided to break contact with you and A's money actually paid for everything.

Really, I'd offer to be another go-between, since B hasn't blocked me yet, but I imagine if I brought up the issue I'd end up blocked anyway. There's really no way to force contact with B short of a face-to-face confrontation.

Edit: I take that back, as she may have preemptively blocked me. Well then.

Edited at 2013-05-18 04:06 am (UTC)
( 31 comments — Leave a comment )

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