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Advice Needed on Unhappy Customer

I know we've got a lot of experienced people here that may be able to help me out with some advice.

I don't really want to go into major details about my situation but I would like to hear what other people have to say. I'm currently in a situation where I did some work (a costume) for a customer, pressured into a deadline, got their item into the mail, and -after- the item was mailed I was told that they didn't really like the product photos they received.

Many of the "problems" listed may not actually be "problems," as they may be resolved once the customer receives the costume and is able to put it on. Things like ventilation, or worry that the gloves won't fit correctly. Other "problems" are things that were not discussed when a quote was given, when a payment was made, or even when reviewing prelim photos - apparently this customer was hoping for 3D eyes but never made mention of it until two weeks ago when I sent a progress photo of the furring stage, in which case they mentioned wanting "non-following" eyes, but they actually meant they wanted following eyes. (There is a bit of a language barrier as the customer is in another country and speaks another language as their primary.) Any fursuit builder can tell you that the following eyes are something that need to be put in from the beginning, and not after the head has been furred!

Anyway, I can tell from the tone of the e-mail that this customer is just going to be unhappy regardless of what I do for them. I can't make any more adjustments to the costume, because it is already en route to the customer. I did provide a few free upgrades to the costume because of delays (after having a baby I went from being able to work 8+ hours a day, to 4 hours a day absolute maximum, and I was unable to work for nearly a month due to illness and then a broken toe on my sewing foot) but now he is unhappy because the quality does not match a costume I made previously for someone that paid significantly more than he did. I get the impression that he wanted the quality of a professional fursuit maker, but wanted to pay my prices since I am an amateur.

I'm resigned to the fact that I probably can't end this business relationship on a good note, but I do want to make things right. What would you do in this situation? Offer a partial refund? Offer to re-do the work? Take back the costume and offer a full refund? Apologize profusely but leave it be? I would love your input. Thanks!

Edit: This has actually already been resolved in between the time I submitted this post for moderation and when it got approved, but I am still very curious to hear what you guys have to say!

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( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 24th, 2013 10:09 pm (UTC)
Have you read the comments in this post yet? http://artists-beware.livejournal.com/689077.html
It has to do with a similar issue.

Honestly, if there's no real fault towards you (say, something that will break down or be too small etc) I don't think you need to refund anything. If he gave wrong info (even if it was due ESL) that can't be fixed and came in with wrong expectations from his own mind (like wanting to get pro quality on amateur price), you're not responsible for that in my opinion.

I myself would be interested to hear how you did resolve this though!
Jul. 25th, 2013 12:06 am (UTC)
No, I hadn't read those comments yet, thanks for the heads up. :)

I sent an e-mail thanking the customer for letting me know of their concerns, pointed out that some of the problems they addressed would likely not be an issue at all once they see the costume in person, apologized that the work was not what they expected, and assured them that at the very least, the workmanship on the costume is solid and that they are welcome to re-sell or make adjustments to the costume as they see fit if it does not suit their purposes.
Jul. 24th, 2013 10:22 pm (UTC)
Kind of sounds like the customer is just being picky, hard to work with, and wants a free suit. If they want you to fix anything that they made you rush on, they need to pay for the suit to be mailed back to you. I wouldn't do any refund at all and consider blacklisting them.
Jul. 25th, 2013 12:21 pm (UTC)
I've had these customers before.

To which you say "You paid for a costume, not photographs. It is in the mail, let me know what you think once you recieve it."
Jul. 27th, 2013 09:31 pm (UTC)
Everybody else covered what you already need to know basically.
I'm just going to add in that you might want to put somewhere in your terms that if the commissioner is not 100% fluent in english then you cannot be held accountable for misunderstandings due to this, and that you suggest they get a friend to translate it if need be.

Also, to avoid confusion in the future, you may want to add the particular suit he was mentioning (the one he was disappointed your work didn't come out as) and use it specifically as an example for a different type of suit. IE "realistic" VS "toony" version suits, and note the price difference.
Adding it in the description of the suit by saying that this is a "____ type of commission" while other descriptions say something else can also help people realize "Oh, that is a different slot" sort of thing. A fair number of artists charge differently for realistic than toony, so this shouldn't come off as unusual if you try it at least.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )


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