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Need some advice on how to handle this

Not sure If I post this the right way or not. But here goes :)

I've gotten myself into a situation and can't really make a good/fair decision.

Some back story;
I commissioned a fursuit head in the middle of March, the deadline was the 15th of June - so that it would have time to get it delivered to me before a con I would be attending to the 28th of June.

I've received it 10.45pm at the 27th of June, and this is simply because I had to stop by her city to travel to the con. So I ordered the head, she knew the deadline was after 3 months, yet the only reason I have the product is that I happened to be close enough to pick it up in person.
Now, although too late for the deadline I still received a product, but here comes my dilemma;

I know this person as a friend's friend and through some forums, and I know she is still learning how to make suits and that I would be her first "Proper" commissioner. Since it was her first we decided to take payment by half before, and half when i received the product. The money became a problem about a month into the process, she had received half, which was well enough for the materials we had agreed on beforehand, however she started telling me about problems with her not being able to get the materials, and a huge amount of questions of how she should get said materials to her apartment. After a few days of this I decided to simply order the materials for her and have them deliver it to her address. Now I've paid for the materials twice. We did however not change our agreement, and we did not put into writing what would become of the money for materials I had already given her. I assumed it would count as an payment towards the end product, that I now owed less on the final payment. However we did not put this into writing.

She finished the head, but it looks far worse than any other thing she have made. The 4 teeth that are there are brown, the jaw is falling of, there is zero visibility and it's too tight. There is also showing and uneven seams all around the head, some foam showing and the nose seem to be a sock simply glued onto the face with a glue-gun/hot-glue. It is not a product I can wear.

So let's say I paid 2/4 first, then I paid 1/4 for the materials I sendt her, making it 3/4 of the final price. My question is if I should pay the final 4th for a product I cannot use?

One part of me say it's my fault for commissioning someone I know was just starting and therefore risky. However I do not feel I received what I commissioned her for, on top of that she was late for the deadline, and I don't think she would have done the work if I had not ordered the materials for her.


So what should I do with the final 1/4 of the payment? should I simply accept that I took a risk and lost, or should I send her back the head? (I'm not going to ask for any refunds as I know she struggles with the economy), this is is only about the last part of the payment.
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Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
exo_formicidae
Jun. 28th, 2013 01:34 am (UTC)
Thanks :)

yes I shouldn't assume, and I will talk to her about it. As of now she have yet to be online. I just wanted some input and have a better view of the different solutions to this.

As for the whole not asking for refund due to her economy, I really don't want to cause trouble on her side, and therefore create friction in the community. The forums we both are on are fairly closed and although I don't know her well personally, she can greatly influence my other friends. Next time I comission/get comissioned it will be straight forward, all in writing type of thing ^^, It seems to be equally, if not more important, when the comissioner/artist are in the same community/circle of friends.
dinogrrl
Jun. 28th, 2013 01:45 am (UTC)
Kinda sounds like she's not ready for commissioning, both from a product standpoint AND a business standpoint. A drop from 'product I'd pay someone for' to 'unusable' is odd though. Anyway, this sounds like a discussion to have with the artist herself; money things need to be mutually agreed upon, and at any rate, she needs to have feedback so she can improve her practices in the future. And, as tycw said, truth be told any 'struggles with the economy' she may or may not be having are hers to deal with and are not relevant to your business [the fursuit head] with her, if a refund is needed then that's how it is. But that's up to you and her and whatever you work out.
zeonchar
Jun. 28th, 2013 01:47 am (UTC)
I'm not very experienced in these matters so this might not be a very valid opinion, but if there was an expectation that the work would be a certain quality and wasn't and you got a product that was crap, I would send it back and not pay the rest of the commission. That is just me. I would not pay for a shitty job, but maybe it depends on the wording of your commission. Others may have dealt with this in the past when I haven't so you should take what they say into consideration. Just throwing my 2c out there.
zeonchar
Jun. 28th, 2013 01:49 am (UTC)
Of course, like others have said, communication is the key. You should talk with her and try to come to an agreement. I don't think it would be very reasonable for her to expect you to pay the rest of the commission when you have already paid 3/4th's. You should ask for a refund or call it even.
syrusb
Jun. 28th, 2013 06:15 am (UTC)
You really need to talk to this artist and work something out. Express your concerns and issues, be firm but polite. Don't wear the piece unless you've come to an agreement; you don't want to exacerbate any problems it has. See if she can alter or fix the problems with the piece.

You can't just not pay her, you have to try to work things out first. It may come to you not paying the remainder as part of resolving the agreement. You may end up returning the piece and getting a partial refund. Chances are if you agree to keep the piece you will have to pay something, perhaps a discount of the original agreed price. But you must try to work things out first; your communication with her may be just what she needs to learn in being a professional suit maker.


Don't let friends or communities be a barrier to resolving the issue. They have nothing to do with your business relationship. Same goes for whatever financial issues she may be having; it sucks but it's not your concern or business.
skanrashke
Jun. 28th, 2013 06:52 am (UTC)
Since it seems like you agreed to be her first commission, I think she would benefit GREATLY from any suggestions you have for her. I would talk to her about how she can improve, and be sure to tell her the first 50% down is for materials, you shouldnt have to buy them. If shes having issues w/ suppliers she should talk to well established fursuitmakers and compile a list of their suppliers.

Anyways I would have her take the head back and work on it again and again until it was usable. Its A) Goo dpractise for her and B) A product you paid cash monies for, you deserve to be able to use it.
wolf_goat
Jun. 28th, 2013 10:25 am (UTC)
Aside from what the others above have said, I would encourage you again to be direct and upfront with her. Tell her that you feel that the quality is a large step down from her previous work - the examples you commissioned her based upon - and that the issues with the item make it unwearable. Give her the opportunity to correct her mistakes and rebuild the head if needed.

As for the final payment, I think you are within your rights to not pay it until you have come to a solution, but unfortunately you cannot honestly withhold it even if she refuses to work things out.
spiffystuff
Jun. 28th, 2013 12:38 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure how much you want to continue with this, or how much you really consider the head unusable - probably the "fairest" solution would be to return the head, either for her to work on further (and you would pay the remaining 1/4n when it is satisfactory) OR to discuss your keeping the remainder of what you would have owed for the head.
Do discuss all this with her before going further. Make it clear you were considering the materials part of the payment (they should be) and how much you feel you would still owe for a usable head, and if you are wanting to keep that for returning the head.

And yes, this is part of the risk of commissioning a brand new maker, unfortunately. I don't think she /owes/ you a 100% refund although if she does happen to offer it I think it would be good business practice on her part.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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