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Artist Beware: Rubbertex Raccoon

WHO: Rubbertex Raccoon, Rubbertex Cooper

WHERE: FurAffinity. He has a website as well but it doesn't seem to be operational.

WHAT: Partial Fursuit. When I last heard from him back in January neither of us could find the initial Skype conversation hashing out specific details, but we both remember the price was $750 and that sending smaller payments was already, as such I had sent about $100 every couple of weeks when I was paid. There was also a $41 comic but that was resolved in April after waiting several years on that as well. Most of that follows the same story as the fursuit.

WHEN: The original conversation I remember was held in October before Midwest Furfest 2012. The first payment/deposit was sent on October 31st, with the rest of the payments following when I could afford to make a payment, which was originally agreed upon that several smaller payments would be alright. I first started to become uneasy when I was told that he would have the fursuit done by Further Confusion '14 (roughly a year and change after he first agreed to take it) and getting a hold of him to ask if the fursuit would be done in time was becoming an issue. Due to flying to California, if I could take the fursuit home as a carry on bag rather than shipping it, I would have preferred that to save us both the shipping costs.

PROOF: As mentioned before, neither of us can seem to find the chat log from when we first agreed to it. I've got logs from before October and after October, but none during that month and I'm not entirely sure why. I've got screenshots of afterwards, but this is the closest I've got to an agreement on the suit http://i.gyazo.com/9e0299d70cd46ceb647ac6d2c5230953.png
For the comic: https://dl.dropbox.com/s/x69zsz5l26we5tw/9360d0db4dc965cb5386435c8d72d13e.png?dl=0

EXPLAIN: Rubbertex and I were chatting on Skype, and the conversation has drifted towards me being dissatisfied with my current suit. He mentioned that he built suits himself, and showed me some examples. If I recall correctly, he then offered to make me a partial for "the friend discount" of $750 which I agreed and we started talking about payment and specifics. The original date that I was told was that he would have it done by MWFF, which I thought that, while impressive, wouldn't happen, but he assured me he could have it done by then. By November 1st he apparently already had the head and feet foamed, and he already had black and white fur and just needed to order the brown. He said he would have it by the 16th but ended up getting sick for a few weeks and by the time MWFF rolled around I didn't have the suit. I wasn't too bothered since I had only paid him the deposit at that time, and didn't expect it to be done so soon anyways.

Fast forward about a year, I hadn't been saying much and sending him payments when my income could afford the breathing room, which was about $100 every month or so. Due to not hearing anything about it being finished or near finished since the note linked above, I admittedly wasn't in too much of a hurry to get it paid off. I had been monitoring his journals and he had a Google Drive spreadsheet with progress on all his commissions set up. It hadn't been updated in a while, but it was listed as being "Currently going through final sewing up. Need approval on toony or follow me eyes for the suit head." for a while, so I got into contact with him, I believe through AIM, and told him about the eyes since I hadn't heard anything from him about it. For a while, I had been contacting him through Twitter DMs whenever I had sent a payment, then as it got closer to being paid off I started sending him emails to give him more details about things like shipping address and dates.

The "last" payment was on November 13, 2013, just before Midwest Furfest again, but I had no plans of going so I didn't ask for any other updates. When I had concrete plans made for going to Further Confusion 2014, I started emailing him asking about if it would be completed on time. On December 5th I was told he would have it done in time. About a month of not hearing any sort of updates aside from occasional journals filled with bad news and I was trying to find out if it would be complete or not cause the day that I left for FC was fast approaching.
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/s/k6c0renm70ka7ht/ac729cc3a9da620c09e416d6e9a21621.png?dl=0
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/s/66dcxtw4kind73n/9f6fa591d23922573a47d7eb10364c49.png?dl=0
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/s/3kwc46xnlm3uhng/e7c6365bf7c5c34b1e14cfdea865c097.png?dl=0

At FC when I ran into him, he had told me that the suit wasn't able to be finished because he ran out of black/white fur. I found that excuse highly unlikely, but I was there to have fun with friends so I just bit my tongue and let it go.

Keep in mind that up to this point, I have still not seen a single photo of anything regarding my suit, so I was going off of the faith that the Google Doc that hadn't been updated in months was still current, along with him having several cases of getting sick, a car accident, his bank account being compromised a couple of times, and general stress and anxiety making him unable to work. I had tried to remain patient and understanding about all of this, but my sympathy was running low when it seemed to be one excuse after another about general lack of communication or why work wasn't being done. After the con I had sent several emails, and only got a response to two in the next 4 months. For a period of time, he had his FA page disabled, which had me more than a little worried, so I continued to try and contact him via email.
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/s/5ul8xkiwxsc0fdv/fefcbd7984badc5348ea4abc9a0bc441.png
It turned out that he had the FA note system on the wrong tab or something? I find that hard to believe since it would still notify you of new notes until they were read, but again, I bit my tongue and didn't raise a fuss.

Another 6 months pass, no response to several emails/notes/FA Shouts/Comments/etc any form of contact I could think of that was more than commenting on a random journal which didn't seem to have much luck most of the time anyway. He posted another life update journal and I thought there was a general tone of him taking on new commissions, so I spoke up and said something, cause at this point I still hadn't received any recent updates and was also still waiting on the comic commission which he had posted several times before that it was completed and just needed to be emailed out. That prompted this conversation.
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/s/ub40cqmdhwut6m6/08f62da4d8990a3205ad3403683e9cea.png?dl=0
I had been in contact with him for the last year and a half, and he claimed he was trying to use an entirely different email than the one I had been using the entire time prior to this conversation. Again, I found that extremely hard to believe, but bit my tongue. He also told me again, that he would have them done by FC 2015 which was about 2 months away. A couple weeks later, he started to take stream commissions, while he still had his entire backlog from May of 2012 to work through that from what I had gathered from contacting a couple of other people in that same backlog, they were in the same boat. A couple of people commented on the streaming journals asking about their work that was in the backlog, but he ignored the comments and deleted the journals.

A couple weeks after that comment, I decided that I was done waiting and to give him a final chance. https://dl.dropbox.com/s/a2x2j48n3umupjs/13e9f9f9e0d3c9f372e107bea70c5257.png?dl=0
I had sent several emails to him asking for updates in the time between that one and FC asking for some sort of update. Around early December/January he started to use Twitter again after being on hiatus from there for a while. The couple weeks prior to FC he mentioned working on a "puppy" and a "beagle" and one of my friends who was in a stream of his told me that he saw Rubbertex working on my suit. When I tried to reply to his tweets asking if the suit in question was mine, I never got a reply, nor to the email asking if he even saw those tweets.

FC comes around, and I still haven't heard anything. I ran into him several times due to us having several of the same social circles, but he was actively avoiding me, and since I didn't want to make a scene I didn't confront him about it. I sent him a few Twitter messages, since I saw him actively posting on there and responding to people, so I figured that would get a response, but they went ignored. After I got home, I waited a few days for a response to any of the messages I had sent him. Afterwards I decided to give him one last final chance, and sent this email. https://dl.dropbox.com/s/rw2l8xf8sx836a7/Email.png?dl=0
Shortly after sending it, I went to Paypal Support to ask how I would go about getting a refund on something I had paid for that was well beyond their usual Buyer Protection date. I was informed that if I wanted a refund for this all, assuming that he wouldn't cooperate, that I would need to go through the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) which is a branch of the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C). I informed Rubbertex of what I was told to do via Twitter DMs, and that finally prompted the response from the email.

I haven't heard a response from in to any emails I've sent since that last one 4 months ago. The only contact I've gotten out of him was when I went into one of his streams and he showed me the comic that he was finally working on, and posted in April '15. Other than that, I haven't heard a word from him about any sort of progress on my suit, but he's still active on FA.

I know that stress, anxiety, and depression can all suck big time, but it has been two and a half years since he agreed to do a partial fursuit, and it took me threatening legal action to even get photos from him that he had something started on it. I'm not entirely thrilled that I'll only get a %50 refund considering that his main excuse for it not being done on time has been that he's ran out of materials, so I don't really buy that he's spent all $300 of that on materials for my suit. At the same time, I'm doubting that the suit will be completed in the foreseeable future.

UPDATE: Sent an email on July 4th saying I was done waiting. Recieved a response on the following Monday that he would refund, but he's also got other refunds to do first. Also in posting a link to this, word reached other people in his queue, and from the ones who responded, they all said they're in pretty much the same boat. Waiting several years, months of no contact, excuse after excuse, etc. A few are heavily contemplating legal action.

UPDATE 2: Still waiting on a refund, I was told on September 3rd that I was next in his refund queue, and upon sending an email a month later about the refund, because I had been going on the assumption that I was only getting half, was told that I would be getting a full refund. There were other things mentioned, but that starts to get off topic of the refund.
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Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
spartanwerewolf
Jul. 1st, 2015 08:56 am (UTC)
I don't understand why, if you'd heard nothing and had no photos of progress for over a year, you'd keep sending payments?

Also he can't keep half of your money and not deliver a product. Ask for a full refund- he can resell whatever he's got finished and make up his costs.
rangethebeagle
Jul. 1st, 2015 06:57 pm (UTC)
I hadn't heard nothing. He had the Google Doc up that listed the progress on all his commissions, and he had mine listed as near completion, so I had kept sending him payments.

As for the refund part, I've heard talk amongst his other commissioners of taking him to small claims court or maybe even trying to get a bunch of the other people on his list together for a class action/fraud.
lackoflollies
Jul. 1st, 2015 08:24 pm (UTC)
Please, actually do this. People need to realize the fandom is not free money.
maximus_ursus
Jul. 15th, 2015 05:00 pm (UTC)
Update received for refund
Range,

Rubbertex sent me a PM on FA saying he is going to give me a refund "within a reasonable time frame". He also noted there were other refunds ahead of me, so it would take time. I'm assuming he means you, Matchwood and Hypr (of the ones I know also want refunds).

I updated my A_B posting with the info.

http://artists-beware.livejournal.com/833310.html

~Max
rangethebeagle
Jul. 15th, 2015 05:42 pm (UTC)
Re: Update received for refund
I was told the same thing, "It will take me a bit- there’s a couple other refunds I have to do first."

Also worth mentioning, Rubbertex didn't send me the photos after this post. He sent me the photos after I told him that if I didn't receive photographic proof that he's worked on it that I would want a refund. That was back at the end of January after FC '15 and I made this post 5 months afterwards after not hearing a single thing despite several emails asking how it was going, considering he had made it sound like it was nearly complete and that he just needed to get the correct color and put it together.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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