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Advice needed, thanks!

I asked someone on etsy if it was possible to custom order a cup, and how long it would take, since I was participating in an random themed online exchange that needed to be mailed in early February. The person responded that it was possible and it would take about a week from when they finalized the design. Great! So I continued with my questions of if this would design would be possible, or not, and would it cost more for it being custom because if it wasn't ok, or it did cost more I would easily go with one of their pre-made cups.

Conversations continued, images were designed and nobody answered if it was an extra cost (the image was designed before I replied again so even if I had asked again, which I admit I forgot to do, there would've been some work done before I could've stopped it). Now, this is probably where I am being stupid for thinking that since there was no mention of an extra cost when I asked I thought there wasn't going to be one. This isn't outrageous as I've bought from other etsy sellers before and requested custom orders at no extra cost, but I completely understand why they would add on an extra cost too.

However, because I asked, and it was never answered, I was a bit surprised when the cost was 150% of the original price, not including shipping to Canada which is another $10. It makes the cup more than $40 which is more than I wanted to spend on this random exchange (I was hoping for $30 or less) and now I'm stuck. Was I stupid for not pestering them about a response earlier? Was it bad_service that they never answered my question? I feel kind of stuck because they've done the work and it's not right not to pay them for that work but they also weren't upfront about whether it was going to cost more or how much more it may cost.

Do I have a leg to stand on to back out of the deal now that I've learned it's out of budget, or should I just suck it up and just not do business with them in the future? Or am I being a horrible customer? Sorry.

Also, to clarify, it was a graphical image that was made, the physical cup has not been printed (I understand that time=money too, I just know when I posted to bad_service (asking for advice) there was some confusion as to whether physical materials were involved or not.)
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( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 3rd, 2014 08:10 am (UTC)
I don't see you being a bad customer here.

It is definitely their bad for not answering your question. That is completely unacceptable.

It's on them for doing work when no agreement to price or purchase was made. No one with any common sense starts working when it's still in the Q&A phase. You don't do work until you have an agreement on terms. You just don't.

What to do ... I'm abrasive as hell, so I'm probably not the one to listen to on that. But I'd tell them that they shouldn't have done the work before you'd agreed to buy it and if they'd answered your questions you would have told them not to do it.
Feb. 3rd, 2014 10:45 am (UTC)
Ugh that is a super pet peeve of mine as far as customer service goes. It makes a customer feel obligated to buy the item since they already did the work x_x. The fact that they didn't message back when you asked about extra cost and just did the work was not cool.
Being in a similar type of business I can say that that would never happen with my customers. The person should have explained the extra cost for a custom order without having to be asked. So definitely not your fault.

DO NOT feel bad about backing out of it. Explain why you are and maybe they will learn from the experience.
Feb. 3rd, 2014 05:00 pm (UTC)
I agree with the others. They should not have done the work without informing you of the price, or having a set agreement with you. They jumped the gun and that is their fault and you are under no obligation to pay it.

On the flip side, though, how did you word the question about the extra charge? Was it in the middle of a bunch of other stuff? They may have simply missed it. Do they have a FAQ or price list up somewhere that you may have overlooked that would have answered your question about the extra charnge? Is it possible they may have made a separate reply and it never made it to you? It'd still be on them that they didn't wait for your reply to start, though.

In the future, if an artist ever does a sketch (or sketches, as it sounds like from your post) for you without you both settling on the price, I would make sure to point it out to them. Technically no contract exists if you haven't agreed as to what's being exchanged for what. Don't continue with any edits until the details have been hashed out. This artist may have taken your continued conversation about the image as an agreement to the price, which is an honest mistake at best, or shady business practice at worst (as someone else pointed out, this tactic can be used to guilt people into buying stuff they didn't want).
Feb. 3rd, 2014 06:05 pm (UTC)
OT question time: Is it the Nerdy Swaps mug swap?

Back on topic, I think you're fine to tell them that it's now out of your price range. You're not backing out of anything you'd agreed to since they didn't give you any warning before hand. If they ask why, be honest and say you weren't aware of a price difference. They may be able to reduce the price if they realize they made a mistake and didn't let you know of a price difference before starting.
Feb. 3rd, 2014 07:03 pm (UTC)
Mod Post
Since this is an Advice Post, the OP cannot name who they were working with.

That nudges the post into the lines of a beware, which requires much more fact checking on our end to go through.
Feb. 3rd, 2014 07:06 pm (UTC)
Re: Mod Post
Not asking who they were working with! Sorry to cause confusion!

I'm in a mug swap too, and thought they might be a familiar face.

ETA: The mug swap being the reason for the purchase, not the person they are purchasing from.

Edited at 2014-02-03 07:08 pm (UTC)
Feb. 3rd, 2014 07:11 pm (UTC)
Re: Mod Post
Ohhh, I see!

Sorry about that! We get a little vigilant in making sure advice posts stay anonymous!

I rescind my statement :)
Feb. 3rd, 2014 07:32 pm (UTC)
Bottom line, it's their fault for not having answered your original question about whether there was an upcharge for custom work and proceeding with the project without getting the OK on a quote from the customer. Had you okayed their quote and then not been able to pony up, the fault would've been yours, but as it seems there was no mention of extra cost from the artist and they went ahead with it, the fault is theirs.

If it were me, if I had the money to make the purchase and still wanted the item I'd go ahead and pay it and be much more wary of this sort of thing in the future; i'd chalk it up as a lesson learned and hope maybe it'd come back to me in the random exchange as a particularly nice gift. I'm kind of a doormat, though, and you are under no obligation whatsoever to be one yourself, haha. If I was in your situation and the new price was way out of my budget, though, I'd explain to them that because the original question was never answered and they went on with the project, I'd thought the item would cost the same as their other items (that there was no extra fee for the custom design work). I'd tell them I was prepared to pay the usual going price for the item (or whatever beyond that amount I could possibly come up with) and see what they had to say about it. Maybe they'll eat the cost of the custom design work and be more careful next time to quote up front for custom stuff or maybe they'll decide to sell the item to someone else, either way you're not the one in the wrong if you decide not to pay and choose another gift for the exchange.

It's a kinda crappy situation from both sides. However you decide to handle it, I hope things go well for you and the artist involved :(
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


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