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advice--refunding cancelled commissions

Hi A-B folks, I'm in need of some advice. I've got a fullsuit commission in the works (I'm the maker) that I think should be cancelled--as in, the commissioner has given me reason to cancel the project, or at least recommend that we agree to cancel it. Having never needed to enforce our cancelled commission policy though, I'm not sure how it should work.

Our TOS has a policy of a 30% deposit which is nonrefudable. This is to prevent commissioners from paying the deposit and then backing out for whatever reason. However, am I correct in assuming that despite not refunding the deposit, most people will refund the amount over the deposit and then mail any materials that have been purchased using the deposit? So despite not getting the money itself back, would they get the materials that I purcased? Does it make a difference who cancels the project? What about labor that has gone into the commission?

Edit: In this particular instance, I have reason to believe that the financial troubles of this person (which they've informed me of) will cause a significant delay in future payments. They have asked that I complete a significant part of the suit and mail it to them prior to paying off the full remaining balance, and even asked for a small portion of the money they have put towards the suit to be returned, but have NOT asked to cancel the commission. I have been considering cancelling it myself to avoid what I can foresee as being a lot of frustration and delays. As of now, no one has cancelled.

ANOTHER EDIT: For those recommending I send them the materials in the event of a cancellation, how much of the materials should be given? I always have things like foam, and the smaller materials that are required for a suit on hand, despite the deposit being used to cover the cost of these materials. The only thing specifically purchased for individual suits is fur (and other costume-specific items, like hair). Am I correct in assuming I would just send them the fur that was purchased specifically for this project?



Final edit: I have spoken with the commissioner, and the situation has resolved itself very amicably. I thank everyone for their feedback and input, it was very helpful! :)

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Comments

( 37 comments — Leave a comment )
gatekat
Feb. 7th, 2014 11:01 am (UTC)
I really think some of that (if they want materials mostly) should be asked of the buyer.

Also, just my personal opinion, if the artist cancels, the refund should be in full. The buyer should not be penalized for what the seller decides not to do.

The one who canceled should be the one to take the losses, be it buyer or seller. In this case, you keep the materials, but give them all the money back.
jakejynx
Feb. 7th, 2014 11:03 am (UTC)
What about situations where the seller cancels due to the actions of the buyer?

(Edited because of my dumb.)

Edited at 2014-02-07 11:24 am (UTC)
(no subject) - gatekat - Feb. 7th, 2014 11:28 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jakejynx - Feb. 7th, 2014 11:32 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sableantelope - Feb. 7th, 2014 11:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sableantelope - Feb. 7th, 2014 11:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
jakejynx
Feb. 7th, 2014 11:13 am (UTC)
I don't want to give out details, but I have reason to believe they have no intention of paying the remaining balance, and they are actually asking for money back at this point. The whole commission is suspect, which is why I want to cancel.

Your feeling is that despite any actions of the commissioner, if the artist cancels for any reason, the commissioner should always receive a full refund?

Edited at 2014-02-07 11:13 am (UTC)
gatekat
Feb. 7th, 2014 11:29 am (UTC)
If they are asking for the money they paid back, then they have canceled. Keep the 30% and give them the rest.

They asked to cancel if they asked for their money back.
Totally different scenario than what you described.
(no subject) - jakejynx - Feb. 7th, 2014 11:35 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gatekat - Feb. 7th, 2014 11:38 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jakejynx - Feb. 7th, 2014 11:41 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - jakejynx - Feb. 7th, 2014 11:40 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - gatekat - Feb. 7th, 2014 11:48 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jakejynx - Feb. 7th, 2014 11:55 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gatekat - Feb. 7th, 2014 11:58 am (UTC) - Expand
jakejynx
Feb. 7th, 2014 11:15 am (UTC)
As a side note, is the wording of my question unclear or problematic? I'd be happy to reword things is that's the case. I just need some clarification as to what's unclear.
gatekat
Feb. 7th, 2014 11:30 am (UTC)
The problematic part is your belief that you're canceling, even though they actually did.
(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Feb. 7th, 2014 01:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jakejynx - Feb. 7th, 2014 02:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - houndofloki - Feb. 7th, 2014 02:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jakejynx - Feb. 7th, 2014 02:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - houndofloki - Feb. 7th, 2014 03:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jakejynx - Feb. 7th, 2014 03:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thaily - Feb. 7th, 2014 03:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
nightlinez
Feb. 7th, 2014 02:07 pm (UTC)
I'm not a fursuit maker or anything. However, I do believe that if you did obtain the supplies and or/ did some labor on the project I do think you should keep the non refundable deposit. If anything I would give back half of it if you really feel the need to. Another option would be to give them the materials if they like.

Thinking financial wise if you did fully refund them the deposit and gave them the materials you would loose the materials you paid for and have to pay the shipping costs (most likely).

Not refunding the deposit is in your TOS and it is very generous of you to consider giving that back! If anything try to talk to the customer about sending them the materials and keeping your deposit (or using part of it to ship the items).
thaily
Feb. 7th, 2014 03:13 pm (UTC)
If the customer has given you reason to cancel, then they're being uncooperative and/or abusive? I also imagine your TOS was available beforehand and stipulated a non-refundable deposit. So just refund whatever amount over the deposit they have paid.

The deposit is to make sure you're not out of money if people change their mind after buying materials, so the materials would have been bought with the deposit, which is non-refundable, so you'd keep it.

You could always offer to sell it to the customer and deduct the amount&shipping from your refund.
jakejynx
Feb. 7th, 2014 03:19 pm (UTC)
No, neither uncooperative nor abusive. I explained more in the post, but the gist is that I feel like I'll be sitting on this project for a very long time, due to their inability to pay the remaining balance. They have also asked that I return some of the money they have paid, due to their financial issues.

To be quite frank, I am a bit concerned since they commissioned me knowing they had no job and no way to pay for their commission. They were just hoping to get a job this summer to finish paying it off.
(no subject) - thaily - Feb. 7th, 2014 03:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jakejynx - Feb. 7th, 2014 03:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
familliaraver
Feb. 7th, 2014 05:32 pm (UTC)
If I had to refund a deposit it would be more than just some fur because the deposit also covers my time spent gathering the materials, cost of shipping of materials, cost of overhead to prepare the materials, incidentals like thread, needles, glue, AND whatever it would cost to mail all of that in a box to the customer.

Mailing back materials is a great idea for a person who knows little about what the deposit covers. Like...I'm pretty established in my studio with fur and supplies so when I get the deposit it goes to re-stocking.

I guess it just depends on how you run your business.

A non-refundable deposit is a non-refundable deposit is a non-refundable deposit. If THEY cancel it's their problem. If you cancel you have a obligation on some level to make it right.

Why am I so cranky about it? Because I had someone commission me and later say they had a financial emergency and i took pity on them and gave them a full refund. 5 days later they commissioned someone else for a fullsuit. Never again.

What I would do?

A-refund them completely if you really just want it to be over with and move on, re-working your TOS. Finish the suit with alterations and sell it.

B-Keep the deposit as defined in your TOS.

C-send them materials and have them pay for shipping. It will not equal the 35 percent without going above and beyond and right out of your pocket.
beetlecat
Feb. 7th, 2014 06:51 pm (UTC)
Because I had someone commission me and later say they had a financial emergency and i took pity on them and gave them a full refund. 5 days later they commissioned someone else for a fullsuit. Never again.


I once had the almost exact same thing :p But it's good because I didn't really loose anything but my respect for them (and knowledge to put them on my blacklist) and it made me be a bit more strict in the future.
beetlecat
Feb. 7th, 2014 06:57 pm (UTC)
Keep the materials unless it is so unique you will never have another use for it or the customer provided them. I think the term 'send mats' really just means like.. a half finished drawing. it's not a term that is really applicable to fursuit building since I'm NOT sending anyone a half-finished fursuit.

IMO If they break your ToS, you can keep the deposit (TBH I'd probably return a bunch of it because 30% can be a lot of $). If YOU break the contract (ie commission) then you pay them back in full minus all fees and expenses (ie paypal fees). That is the easiest way to wash your hands of the matter.
canilupine
Feb. 8th, 2014 02:20 am (UTC)
Your commissioner is sending some HUGE red flags up, and sounds like a scammer.

This sounds a lot like what happened to my fursuit maker, who had a commissioner that refused to pay in full and demanded free items as "compensation" for delays. The commissioner actually tried taking my maker to court to try to con the money out of them. He lost, of course, but it's an unnecessary hassle. I told the maker they really should post the commissioner on AB, but they are reluctant to do so.

First off, DO NOT send off any more product than they have actually paid for. I'm assuming your TOS contains a clause stating that the commissioner will not receive any parts of the fursuit until paid in full? It would be wise to cite that.

You have the right to decline a commissioner's special requests. DO NOT let a commissioner trick you into putting yourself into a position where you stand to lose money/product. The "financial trouble" on their end is the reason why you have a non-refundable deposit clause.

My best advice would be to stand firm by your TOS, advise the commissioner that you will not send out parts of the fursuit until payment is received in full. Stand by your non-refundable deposit. Wait for the commissioner to cancel.
( 37 comments — Leave a comment )

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