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Beware: Iko, Sierra Tudor (Fursuits)

Update 2: 30/01/14: It's been 7 months since the refund was agreed. Only $260 so far of the $645 has been refunded, with the last payment being 4 months ago. Iko still does not keep in contact unless a shout and note is left, which receives an apology but no dates of when the next parts will be refunded.

Update 1: Since the AB, Iko has agreed to a full refund in weekly increments. Will update when it is complete.

WHO: Iko, Sierra Tudor, Kay the Dragon, Pathetic Dragon Studios

WHERE: http://furaffinity.net/user/Iko, http://www.furaffinity.net/user/patheticdragon, http://www.furbuy.com/seller/Iko.html?as=a

WHAT: A Nightfury Fursuit for $850 on 2010/04/29

WHEN (with proof): $410 Downpayment on 2010/05/05, $86 materials on 2010/12/12.

EXPLAIN: In 2010 Iko posted an auction on Furbuy for a Nightfury fursuit, and though she did not have many recent good examples of her work, she was really excited to be spending more time and working on Fursuits, and the concept art posted of what she intended to make was looking really nice.

We had a lengthy email discussion to confirm the features, design and looks, and the initial downpayment was sent. I bought two pairs of good shoes & created a DTD, and shipped them all at total extra cost of $145.

As much as I really wanted to give her a chance, and I was really patient during those three years, it was a frustrating and prolonged flop of a project, with lost costume parts and need for constant requests for updates. :c

Timeline of issues:

2010/05/05: Payment sent.

2010/09/08: Asked for update: Bodysuit sewn, needs zippers/spikes/airbrushing. Said she has been slow because she doesn't know what to do next. We discuss and agree on features and design looks again. Motivation issues mentioned because someone had criticized her work.

2010/10/05: Asked for update: Foam base for indoor paws and tail done.

2010/12/12: Iko emailed over some pics of the head in progress, mentioned another $86 of materials needed to be bought, sent via paypal. LEDs for the head almost done.

2011/04/13: Asked for update: long period of no contact: Iko mentioned work was slow because she was unsure what to do about zippers (Handpaw and head zippers). Iko asked if I was willing to send the second payment, but I declined until the suit was ready to ship, due to some small worries about the lack of updates and progress photos.

2011/08/18: Asked for update: Iko says most of suit done, still waiting to install zippers, make outdoor feet and wings. Sewing machine broken.

2011/11/22: Iko emailed: Says it's nearly finished, but is tweaking it after someone helped model it. Apoligises for how long it has taken due to how complex the suit is. Sewing markings.

2012/04/07: Iko emailed: She had lost the duct tape dummy due to leaving it out when apartment cleaners came. Requested I send a second one, but I declined, though I provided detailed measurements instead. (I was also wary at why it was still needed after the bodysuit was said to have been completed.) Said progress is slow because of complexity and working on four other fursuits at the same time.

2012/07/03: Asked for update: I requested pics to see everything in progress, as I wanted to see exactly how she has been doing. Iko mentions she doesn't have the bodysuit due to a recent move, but will get pics soon.

2012/10/03: Asked for update, multiple emails before getting one: Bodysuit & rest of costume has been in storage  in another city due to a recent move. Promises Christmas shipping date.

(After how long and dragged out this had become, I started getting more insistent about regular contact, emails, updates and pictures)

2012/10/30: Asked for update: Bodysuit still in storage, until she has free time to go and get it. Zipper problems cited as reason for slowness again.

2012/12/04: Asked for update: Iko said she has lost the bodysuit, cannot be found anywhere. Again requests another DTD so she can begin making a new one. (I really didin't have enough trust in her left after all the previous delays.... to make another DTD and ship it over). I politely declined and she gave a reference sheet explaining all the measurements she would need. Sais she still intended to get it done by Christmas, but that it's probably going to be late.

(Emails become unresponsive/sparse, so we start communicating on FA Notes)

2013/02/26: Asked for update: Iko said her water heater exploded, and was afraid of mildew affecting costumes, so didin't want to bring them out for work yet until it was fixed.

(I was a little sad and frustrated with the issues so far, so I started requesting fortnightly updates and requested a firm deadline of when the suit will be done)

2013/03/04: Iko came to the conclusion she doesn't have the skill, time or motivation to continue working on the suit, and apoligised profusely about lack of contact and unprofessionalisim. Offers to send me all the materials she has available, including the Head, tail and one set of feetpaws, as well as a $100 refund. She says even though her auction said the downpayment isn't refundable, she'll be nice and offer the token refund anyway.

(Due to how few parts there were, and the head not even being complete, it wasn't worth me asking her to ship them over, so I ask her to list the parts on furbuy and refund it all.)

2013/06/13: After direct questions & requests for exact payment dates, Iko mentions she will not be giving a full refund (FA note transcript), as her auction says the downpayment is not refundable, but she is willing to be nice and will cover half.


After 2-3 months of notes & eventual direct questions of when and what she intends to refund on FA, it turns out her idea of the refund was $320, given in 5 $64 installments over the next months. I was out $645 at this point, and she is adamant that she is not responsible for the other half of the refund, due to materials and it saying on her auction that downpayment is non refundable.

I'm really sad the project ended this way :c I do understand life gets in the way at times, but the final staw in deciding to post this was her refusal to offer a full refund, even in light of how many years it took for Iko to put her hands up and say she doesn't have the skill or motivation to continue the project. I also wouldn't like to see anyone else experience what I did during this project.

It is also a painful lesson that researching your seller and seeing how professional they are, in both communication & their existing work is really -really- important. I sadly gave the benefit of the doubt her few fursuit examples were just because she was just starting up... but that is no substitute for seeing real professionalisim & ability in completed & delivered works.

I also understand now that $850 is a very low price for full suits like this, including wings, digitigrade, leds and features, which I should have saw as a warning flag too.
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Comments

( 31 comments — Leave a comment )
kayla_na
Jun. 23rd, 2013 06:44 pm (UTC)
Wow, Iko? O.o Didn't expect to see her on AB, I often work with her as one of my guest artists for my art CD's...Hmm..
draeling
Jun. 23rd, 2013 07:53 pm (UTC)
Iko seems to be doing well with things art related, I've seen her art improve as time goes on, and she's doing quite fine there c:

It's just the fursuit & business side of things she has had problems with over these years. It just a pity our fullsuit project was the one to bring it to light :(
thecreativepen
Jun. 23rd, 2013 08:01 pm (UTC)
That's appalling. I know nothing about fursuits or making them, but I do know three years is far too long.

Have you looked into small claims to get the other half of your refund back? I honestly think in this case, the artist does not deserve money for their time and labor. It was clearly one excuse after another, losing parts, and no final product was ever completed. It was the artist who cancelled, not you.
draeling
Jun. 23rd, 2013 08:10 pm (UTC)
I did try to point out about the downpayment clause not applying, due to her canceling and not the commissioner, but she won't budge.

Perhaps if I had send the second payment I might, but I won't be going to the trouble of a claim, I'd rather put this out of mind and just recover what I can. I've spent many hours and days over the years emailing and thinking about the project, only for it to amount to nothing as is. :c

I'm at least a little happier that I've art in the works for a really nice fursuit from an established maker, I was hoping to at least put the full refund of this towards it.
(no subject) - thecreativepen - Jun. 24th, 2013 01:48 am (UTC) - Expand
dannyazazel
Jun. 23rd, 2013 08:01 pm (UTC)
I think since she was the one to cancel AND because she strung you along for so long that she should be offering a full refund.

Sad to see it ended up this way but you took a gamble and it just didn't work out.
morti_macabre
Jun. 23rd, 2013 08:10 pm (UTC)
I agree.
Her choice, not yours. You put good faith and money into her to try and help her become a better maker and she chose to lie and lose things for /3 years/ instead of just making the thing to her best ability.

Non-refundable deposits are there to protect the artist if the customer gets cold feet-- NOT the other way around.

I'd escalate to small claims court but that's just me.
That's a LOT of dough to essentially reward her with for flaking.
(no subject) - ducttapeninja - Jun. 23rd, 2013 08:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - morti_macabre - Jun. 23rd, 2013 08:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - orangemonsterco - Jun. 24th, 2013 06:06 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lackoflollies - Jun. 24th, 2013 08:04 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - xisidereal - Jun. 27th, 2013 02:13 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Jun. 23rd, 2013 11:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - orangemonsterco - Jun. 24th, 2013 05:04 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Jun. 24th, 2013 01:14 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - kerstin_orion - Jun. 24th, 2013 04:34 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thecreativepen - Jun. 24th, 2013 01:49 am (UTC) - Expand
kalika_tybera
Jun. 23rd, 2013 08:56 pm (UTC)
It sounds like she's scammed you (whether intentional or not), and that's incredibly disappointing.
Since she was the one to cancel she really should be giving you a full refund, since you're out all that money AND a product, plus three years of being strung along. Disgusting quality of customer service. It's not your problem if she spent money on supplies and then canceled on you. That's her responsibility to make it right by refunding you.

Personally I wouldn't drop the issue, that is a -lot- of money to be out.
wolf_goat
Jun. 23rd, 2013 09:14 pm (UTC)
That's really horrible service, and no, her "clause" means nothing when she backs out and just decides not to deliver. Those clauses were originally used by fursuit makers to protect them if a buyer suddenly decided to back out for whatever reason. The other way around is just scammy in the extreme and you should not accept it. Not all "contracts" are binding.
artic_dragoness
Jun. 23rd, 2013 09:28 pm (UTC)
Age?
Did you check what age she is when you first commissioned her? Unless she forgot to change her listed age (on multiple sites), she was 16 when you first commissioned her.

While I understand that there are many underage crafters/artists in the fandom, paying them large sums for a work just seems like a bad idea.

Also, from what I'm reading, on Furbuy "Users need to be of age of legal contract to buy/sell." In all states, that is 18 or higher. So the contract to get a fursuit wasn't legally binding anyway and she broke the rules majorly :/
draeling
Jun. 23rd, 2013 09:41 pm (UTC)
Re: Age?
Hmm, this is a good point, it wasn't something I checked. I had gotten the impression she was about 18-19 according to a profile picture I briefly saw, I never gave it a second thought it seems.

This project was partly misguided judgement on my part too, I got burned by giving benefit of the doubt on someone new to the maker business.
korth
Jun. 23rd, 2013 10:56 pm (UTC)
I concur that you really shouldn't drop it, deposits are for if the customer flakes - not the artist! You were more than patient with her, and if she decided she doesn't want to deliver the product to you - she doesn't deserve to keep any money. If she wants money back, SHE can sell what progress/materials she has.

Don't drop it, threaten small claims court. I know I would be pissed if I got screwed out of that much money.
fastbreak333
Jun. 24th, 2013 11:04 am (UTC)
I love how she just decides to not refund you over half of what you paid because the down payment is "non-refundable". It's pretty clear that she will not bite the bullet fully unless she's forced to, so don't back down; $410 is way too much money to run off with.

Also, I find it interesting that her main account has no shouts. She seems like a pretty popular person and her other account has shouts, so she must not mind them. I shouldn't assume too much, but it just raises a red flag for me.
orangemonsterco
Jun. 24th, 2013 06:40 pm (UTC)
I get annoyed seeing all the 'thanks for the watch' on my page so I delete them. I've already come to an agreement with him and this will be resolved completly withing a few weeks.
(no subject) - fastbreak333 - Jun. 25th, 2013 04:32 am (UTC) - Expand
Hawker_Blue
Jun. 24th, 2013 09:58 pm (UTC)
Same story with me.
I have had a similar experience with this particular suit-maker, although for less money and under slightly different circumstances. I would second the very poor communication from Iko via both Notes (after she turned them off) and onto emails. I have thought and thought for a long time about putting her up on AB but have avoided doing so just because. (not sure)

But yes. OP has it right in regards to communication and excuses consistency with little to no show of progress in any way shape or form. Its very disappointing as when we got to the point of negotiating a refund on my half, communication died. Again.
draeling
Jun. 25th, 2013 09:35 am (UTC)
Re: Same story with me.
Ouchie, perhaps drop her a message here (orangemonsterco) She does have her notes working again, hopefully you can get your issue sorted!

Iko thankfully came to an agreement to refund in full, which I could really use right now.
Re: Same story with me. - Hawker_Blue - Jun. 25th, 2013 07:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
novemb3r
Jun. 25th, 2013 04:23 am (UTC)
i'm sorry you went through all of this, OP! it looks like you're going to get a full refund going by the comments, and i'm glad!

as an aside, i must say the bewaree is handling this very well as far as her responses here go.

edit for typos.

Edited at 2013-06-25 04:24 am (UTC)
draeling
Jun. 25th, 2013 09:37 am (UTC)
I can second that, it's not easy to face criticism in public -and- handle it well.

Although I am still rather unhappy about how this all unfolded, I'm glad she is at least working to fix things.
rivem
Jun. 25th, 2013 01:37 pm (UTC)
You are right, you should have been able to apply your refund to the new suit. It's not fair that you have to shell out more money because of an unethical refund policy.
( 31 comments — Leave a comment )

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