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refunds in an alternative currency?

Hello! I just have a question about a recent situation, and I'm wondering what the community thinks about it.

To preface, if you've never taken commissions on deviantART or just have never encountered this, they have a currency called points. It pretty much only has value on the site itself, but if you exchange it through one of the site widgets (like the commission or digital content widget) you can withdraw points as their USD equivalent to your paypal after a two week clearing period.

An artist offers commissions on deviantART in USD. An individual orders a commission from this artist and pays USD, but after an unacceptably long period without any progress on their commission (think several months for a basic commission - not anything huge or detailed), the commissioner demands a refund. Throughout the waiting period, questions about their commission have been met with increasing curtness and passive aggression. The artist posts on their public page that they're going to refund said commissioner due to being "difficult to work with," but will only refund the commissioner in points, not USD.

Is this an acceptable thing to do? The commissioner has already waiting a long time for their commission, and if they take the refund in points they will be forced to wait another two weeks to get their money. Not only that, but I'm not sure if deviantART's point ToS covers that kind of transaction. Keep in mind that the artist does not deal in points whatsoever, but refuses to refund the commission for the USD that it was paid because they apparently don't have the cash.

I've never seen an artist do this before. I was wondering if this is just one of those things where you take what you can get, or if it's worth contesting or posting an A_B about.

It's past the period to force a refund through Paypal, as well, so the commissioner is at the mercy of the artist in terms of getting their refund.

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( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 8th, 2014 08:30 am (UTC)
Even "better": As far as I can tell you cannot withdraw points as cash, unless you receive them via the "sell premium content" feature. If someone transfers points to another deviantart member, the recipient can only use them on deviantart.
Nov. 8th, 2014 08:58 am (UTC)
Is that how it is? I had a feeling it might be but I couldn't test it myself because I only have 350 points on my dA account and dA requires a minimum balance of $5 (500 points) to withdraw any money.
Nov. 8th, 2014 09:01 am (UTC)
Turns out you're right, Ankewehner, according to the little FAQ this person put in the description under their tutorial: http://strxbe.deviantart.com/art/Convert-POINTS-to-USD-Tutorial-355361142
Nov. 8th, 2014 02:38 pm (UTC)
Yep, you can't withdraw to PayPal at all with Points that are just donated to you. You can only do that if someone pays for premium content [such as downloads] that you offer.

OP, this is really shady and I seriously wouldn't accept.
Nov. 8th, 2014 08:55 am (UTC)
All of this.

Also, apparently the points-to-money conversion that dA does is really weird. Like if you buy points, $25 will get you 2000 points, but if you try to convert 2000 points you have on your account to USD, it'd only be $20. So there's also the possibility that the artist bought points at some point and would refund with the points they bought, but not take into account the different conversions. In that situation the commissioner would be getting less money than the artist paid for the points and less money than they originally paid for the commission...
Nov. 8th, 2014 12:26 pm (UTC)
Yeah, something like that just comes off passive-aggressive and vindictive to me. Even if the points conversion system worked like that (as ankewehner mentioned, it doesn't), doing the work to get the money should be the artist's work (especially if the artist initiated the refund), not the customer's, even more so if the customer has never done any point stuff that would now force them to figure how the thing even works.

For OP, only way I'd see alt currency refund to be appropriate would be if it was mentioned/agreed upon clearly from the start and the artist would ask if alt currency refund would be ok, not do out of the blue.
Nov. 8th, 2014 07:27 am (UTC)
When it comes to refunding in currency like this (I guess "fake" isn't really an apt word), I strongly believe an artist should never do it unless the original transaction was done in that currency. Always always always refund in the original currency. So if someone sends me USD, I am going to refund in USD.

Out of curiosity, does DA take a cut of the points?
Nov. 8th, 2014 07:29 am (UTC)
they take a 20% cut if you withdraw it as points. if you withdraw it as USD they don't, though.
Nov. 8th, 2014 08:56 am (UTC)
Apparently this is the way dA points conversion works: http://strxbe.deviantart.com/journal/Concerning-Points-to-USD-added-info-355123734
Nov. 8th, 2014 02:02 pm (UTC)
Oh goodness, so the OP wouldn't even be able to withdraw it. That's ridiculous.
Nov. 8th, 2014 03:14 pm (UTC)
Yeah...and dA points are relatively useless unless you either want a premium membership or you like overpriced products with the dA logo on everything...
Nov. 8th, 2014 11:13 am (UTC)
Ugh, DA points. I would never, ever accept DA points for any reason, much less as a "refund".
Nov. 8th, 2014 03:30 pm (UTC)
Nope. Not okay on any level. That's is being immature and vindictive and in no way professional. Unless the commissioner clearly said they were okay with DA points instead, the refund needs to be in actually USD. That's what the artist was paid with, that's what needs to be refunded. Period.
Nov. 8th, 2014 04:55 pm (UTC)
Absolutely unacceptable - you paid cash for work that wasn't done, you should recieve the same amount back. Even worse when the alternative they are giving you is practically useless to you.

I would also suggest postinga an A_B, mostly because of the delays and the passive aggressiveness, as well as calling out a client publicly.
(no subject) - fenris_lorsrai - Nov. 8th, 2014 05:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 8th, 2014 05:47 pm (UTC)
Nope nope nope. Do not accept virtual currency when they owe you real money. There is no reason you should ever have to, and the mere offer is, imo, a bit insulting.
Nov. 8th, 2014 06:12 pm (UTC)
Not even remotely acceptable or professional. If this happens to the commissioner, a serious beware would definitely be warranted.

You can't refund a person with monopoly money.
Nov. 8th, 2014 06:24 pm (UTC)
If you were able to convert them to USD without any problem, it might be the only solution (coupled with an AB) that would be available, especially with their attitude. But since you can't do that, this is absolutely unacceptable as a solution to this problem. Try calling your bank or paypal to see if you can get a chargeback. Then definitely post an AB against this person if they still refuse to refund you with real money.
Nov. 9th, 2014 01:23 pm (UTC)
I heard that if you transfer it through the commissions widget you should be able to convert it to real money? The commissions widget is available for everyone regardless of whether they have a premium or not.
I could be wrong, of course, but it might be possible this person can give the points to a friend and then have the friend put it in their commissions widget?

Either way this is completely unacceptable.
Nov. 9th, 2014 03:47 pm (UTC)
it would be possible to withdraw it as money if the commissioner set up a commission widget, and the artist sent the points through the widget instead of gifting.

however, i'm not sure if dA's ToS covers using the commission widget as a refund option, as i mentioned in the original post. i've known people to have their points balance frozen for using the widget to convert points to USD by sending them to a friend and having them sent back through the widget, but i'm not sure if the refund process would also fall under a violation of the ToS.
Nov. 10th, 2014 09:20 am (UTC)
perhaps it can be sent to a friend's widget for them to convert instead?

I've seen people take donations and such via the widget before? I guess I never considered whether it was okay or not by their TOS though, perhaps look it up or explain the situation to the site?
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )


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