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I've avoided putting this up for a long time but I need advice now.

It must have been in december of 2005 I was commissioned by someone online. Didn't know him from anywhere, Im assuming he just stumbled on my website, but we chatted for about half an hour on msn before he brought up the idea of commissioning me. And he was a perfectly nice guy.
He wanted a traditional media piece in a large size, larger than I usually use. I agreed and said I'd have to go and find out how large the smooth bristol that I use will go. I got back to him a few days later via email and told him the largest size they do, but that it was costly. He told me to go for it and buy some and he'd paypal me the whole cost of the commission there and then.
And he did. I have been payed.
So I bought the large size paper, thinking I could half it and use it for regular commissions after I'd done with his.
I went off the sketch my ideas out and about a week later, I scanned and mailed him a sketch for his approval.
I didn't hear back from him. I just assumed real life had gotten in the way and waited a few more weeks. Again, nothing. I mailed him again and re-sent the sketch incase he'd lost the mail or not seen it. I waited again and no response. But I know he's been online since then.
For a while I just thought I'd let it alone and he'd contact me eventually.
But he didn't. About 2 weeks ago, I mailed him once more and asked if he was still interested in the commission and whether he wanted me to resend the sketch.

Still nothing.

Now Im not pissed or anything, because he HAS paid me. But Its making me feel really uncomfortable and on edge that I don't know whats going on. I just want to do the commission and move on but right now Im kinda in limbo. I don't want to get a reputation as a bad person to commission, as this was probably my first proper commission too. But Im not sure what else to do. I know he's been online many times since, and he knows my email addy so he could easily mail <i>me</i> but he hasn't.

Its a weird one. And I really don't know what to do about it other than just let him come to me, but then I hate having unfinished work hanging over my head.

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( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 29th, 2006 07:21 pm (UTC)
I too have come to learn that sometimes customers really DO drop off the face of the earth after paying, despite all logical expectations. I have waited 8+ months for a customer to pick up a finished product after losing all contact with me, and I finally gave up and resold it. Having unfinished transactions really is a bother.

You have his PayPal, so you can refund him whatever cost went beyond the cost of your materials and your sketch. I agree that a partial refund will probably be best in this case. If he resurfaces, he can pay you again. In the meantime, you can save that piece or finish and Furbid it.

I WOULD give him a little more time than two weeks, though -- just file his piece away and work on something else. Send him an e-mail once a week for a couple more weeks and warn him that you're just going to refund half of his money if you don't hear from him.
May. 29th, 2006 07:49 pm (UTC)
I sitll have one person, quick as ever when she first started emailing. Asked all the rigth questions, even paid me a little more than I asked for...then poof.

I drop her an email once in awhile, letting her know she paid and can still let me know what she wants..

I guess everyone has at least one of these sort of people everyso offten.
May. 29th, 2006 08:42 pm (UTC)
Some of us are just really damned forgetful. I have a terrible habit of putting things off even though I *know* I'm gonna forget to do it if I don't do it when I think about it, and since I'm an honourable guy I pay for things the instant I state I've bought them (my eBay Buyer's Feedback page looks like a temple of worship -- you'd think I was the only person who ever paid immediately after buying/winning) ... which means I sometimes pay for things and then forget to follow up on it, I suppose subconsciously assuming that Money Makes Everything Happen; I put money in, therefore, something will come out sooner or later. Of course if I haven't said what I want or given my address or whatnot it won't happen, but of course that's a Detail, and I'm not so good at details. Even if I go online again I might not necessarily think about it for months and months. Even years.

I'm not your guy of course, I'm just saying... never underestimate the power of distraction. :p Sometimes I don't check my mail for weeks, either.
May. 29th, 2006 09:07 pm (UTC)
every once in a while i'll run into a commissioner or a friend's commissioner with more money than he/she knows what to do with. people like this can be very generous, but then get distracted or disinterested and just ignore the whole thing and cut their losses without seeking a refund. (unfortunately in my case i've run into the very generous ones who haven't paid upfront before becoming disinterested)

one time a friend of mine had this EXACT same thing happen. two years later she found out the commissioner had gone into a bad depression and had literally just shut down and stopped dealing with the world. it's possible something unforseen like this may have happened to your commissioner.

i'd suggest sending one final email saying that if you do not get feedback by a certain time, you are going to assume the commission is off. offer whatever refund you'd like, OR say that the commission is on permanent hiatus until you are gotten back with, but that after the cutoff date you reserve the right to deal with more pressing matters at the time should this person want to re-initiate it (i.e. you keep the money, he gets the commission, but he'll have to wait a bit if you're working on others or short on art supplies)
May. 29th, 2006 09:41 pm (UTC)
I kinda agree with Kaputotter. I thought the same, hmmm, just send back the money (would suck if you needed the money, though, but that's business), minus the cost for the sketch. Whether or not you charge for the materials is kind of tricky. I guess it depends on if you can finish the artwork and use it for your own purposes, or if you drew the sketch on the material and decide to send it along with the refund for the uncompleted portion of the commission. Or you can hold onto it and wait.

This might be a good time to consider which of these actions you'd like to take and put it in your policy. Having a policy helps because when something like this happens, you are clear on what to do and not groping around in the dark.
May. 29th, 2006 10:29 pm (UTC)
have you tried contacting him over msn?

I pretty much agree with everything already said. This really isnt something you should worry about, it's not your fault. Worse comes to worse you just refund him the money minus the supplies cost. :B
May. 30th, 2006 01:04 am (UTC)
Perhaps he changed his email address or something. What are you using to see that he's online? If he has a LiveJournal, leave comments there, for example. Maybe something weird happened in his life and he completely forgot about the commission, though that is strange that he'd pay you up front and not even seem to care about having the picture finished anymore. At least you've made every attempt you know of so far to keep in touch with him; I'd say that's a very professional way to handle yourself.

By the way, I quite like your Calx icon there. :)
May. 30th, 2006 04:29 am (UTC)
I've had this happen a couple of times, being paid, then putting the ball in their field, aaaand... no return. o.O It seems weird, unnerving at first, but honestly, when you've tried every avenue of contact with no response...

...just put it out of mind. Move his stuff to the end of the line, and get on with the rest of your work. I'll usually drop new lines every three weeks or so, but there's not much you can do after several months.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


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