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Should I just call it a wash?

Not a beware, just looking for opinions on the matter.

An artist opened up for pay-what-you-want commissions. I paid for $50 for 5 individual character sketches back in early August.

The first two came along fine before the end of the month, and they included backgrounds on these sketches. I didn't ask for them but thought the gesture was nice anyway, repeating how generous it was and they didn't have to do that. However with the other three... I've seen the same WIP for one of them twice and nothing much beyond that. The last contact from them to me was at the end of September.

I haven't seen high-or-low of anything else regarding my commissions between the couple of social media sites I follow them on, where they're seemingly the most active. However through watching their feeds they also have a fair amount of personal issues stemmed from growing up in a very toxic environment. None of this was put on to me as a guilt trip or anything, just from observations. Speaking with them has been pleasant, whenever there was contact.

Because of their struggles at times affording the medications they need or perhaps at times basic necessities, I'm assuming that I don't think they would be able to afford a refund for the work that hasn't been done yet.

Do you feel it would be worth pursuing a refund or contacting them about the remaining work?

Thanks in advance.

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 19th, 2014 05:10 am (UTC)
I'd definitely contact the artist about progress on the remaining pieces; depending on their response to that, you may decide to wait for the art or go ahead and pursue a refund. Don't mention or ask about their personal issues, especially since (I'm assuming) you have no relationship with them outside of the commission. You are waiting for them to finish their end of a business contract, and their personal situation should not be a factor in this. HOWEVER, if their situation is indeed interfering with their ability to complete work, the onus is on them to inform customers about the delays. You should not be having to find out about it on their non-business social media and then contact them about the delay. Their financial situation is also not your concern, if they don't complete the work they need to return the money to you.
Nov. 19th, 2014 05:24 am (UTC)
Their personal issues should not have any bearing on being able to refund you. They should still have part of the money available(the money for the sketches uncompleted) you sent free to refund you.

Letting them just off the hook because you feel bad for their situation is your choice, but it is not good business. You have the right to protect yourself as a consumer.
If they have good business ethics they really should not be contacting you if they have come to the point they can no longer complete the work with your partial refund for the remaining work.

I would send a strictly business note, not mentioning their situation at all, asking for status update, and mentioning that they need to show you progress or provide a refund. Something like:

There has been no progress on my remaining three images, or contact initiated by you for a long while and I would like either an updated WIP showing progress, or a refund for the final three pieces. If you do intend to keep working on the pieces and do have some progress for me on (the date you asked to be shown progress), then I would appreciate you getting in touch (once a week/every two weeks, whatever from now on to let me know how progress is going."

I would say 5 or 7 days is fair for them to either scan/scan or make some progress on a sketch to show you. I wouldn't give too much time here.
For the refund time, giving two, or three weeks for a refund is fair. That lets them transfer money to paypal if they need to. I would suggest not longer than a month because then easier to just keep blowing you off, and blowing off the deadline date.
If you ask for once a week contact they may counter with every ten days or two weeks, agree with what you're comfortable with. Make sure and explicitly state the agreed contact time frame in a reply to their contact offer.
(so something like: "Okay, so an email updating how things are going, and a WIP every two weeks.)

If you have been more friendly in your contact you may want to add something to beginning like "I really enjoyed the first two pieces, but there has been no progress on my remaining three images..."
It's up to you but it's better to keep it as concise and clear as you can.

If they do send you back a messages asking for more time, that is up to you to accept or not accept. However that's a good time to renegotiate things and protect yourself a little better(since technically you demanded the contract be fulfilled and they responded to that by asking to redefine a term of it).

So if they say something in return to your message up above like: 'Things are tough for me right now, any chance I can get more time?'
Reply back with something like:
"I understand. Since you need some extra time, please email me in (three weeks/a month whatever time you are willing to give them) from today with some progress on the pieces. If you haven't been able to do any work by then I will have to insist on a refund for the uncompleted work."
This isn't officially setting a deadline, but you've set it in motion. If they agree on this send back another email just confirming the date with along the lines of:
"Okay. So in (three, whatever weeks) on (date) you will have progress for me, or you'll have my refund. Great, thank you!"
That message is as official as setting a deadline on an unsigned contract is going to get. (you're sorta making a new deal here, cancelling the finished pieces and their cost out of the equation

No if they do send you progress and then contact drops again past what you agreed on(once a week or every two weeks), I'd say that's the final straw.
You need to send a 'line in the sand' message.
"I appreciated the last update on (date you received the last WIP or finished pieces), but there has been no contact or progress for several weeks again. You agreed to stay in contact every (week/two weeks). This along with the first loss of contact really isn't acceptable. I need to insist on a refund. Please provide my refund by (whatever date, two weeks, three weeks)."

Of course the wordings here are just examples.

Edited at 2014-11-19 05:25 am (UTC)
Nov. 19th, 2014 11:33 am (UTC)
Everything in this comment is exactly what I was thinking. EN hit the nail on the head perfectly.
Nov. 19th, 2014 11:16 pm (UTC)
Oops, I edited to fix a sentence I missed a word in and didn't realise I have a 'not' that shouldn't be there.

"If they have good business ethics they really should not be contacting you"

Should be that they SHOULD be contacting you. I'm sorry. I proofread and still goofed. I hope it was clear from context that the 'not' shouldn't be there.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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