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Refunding a Project after Three Years??

I've decided to stay in China for the long term and therefore am tying up all loose ends just so everything is settled. I really don't know when I'm going to be in the United States again. I will probably return at some point to visit family but I won't be there for very long.

About three years ago, I got a commission for a bodysuit. I never got the commissioner's measurements. For a while (over 2 years) we lost contact, but now we are sort-of in touch again. Before I make any firm commitments on how to process this, I'd like some advice.

The original payment was $350 for a bodysuit
I purchased roughly 5 yards of fur at $25/yardish
In my TOS, the downpayment of 30% is nonrefundable.

I have been wanting to refund this for a while and my initial idea was to keep the deposit, send the materials, and then refund whatever remains after deducting for postage.

I still have the fur, but it's in America, 11,000 miles away. And I can't post it, obviously. I have attempted getting in touch with the commissioner while I was visiting my family, but it didn't work out.

How do I process a refund here? I shut down my main bank account to transition to a Chinese bank. I've been living on a cash basis. My finances are all in RMB. This is a mess, but I also can't live my life and base my finances on a commission from three years ago.

Should I hold off even longer until I can get home and send off the fur? I may go home within the next six months, or sooner if a visa run requires it.

Should I refund everything but the deposit? $200ish is enough for a month's living expenses, and I'm still left with a big box of fur (that's been sitting there for years now).

What do you all think is reasonable?

(Also, I wanted to add: I didn't wait on this project forever because I didn't want to do it. I tried to get contact with the commissioner multiple times and it was established on an intermittent basis. Keeping contact was so hard I even posted a lost contact post here. I was never able to get the necessary measurements because he held off on taking them. It's hard to keep finances in perfect condition when making a big move, especially internationally. Things happen. It's not like I spent that money on candy and burritos.)

An additional problem: the email that the commissioner used consistently bounces, even after contact was re-established following the lost contact post here, and I don't feel comfortable refunding to a paypal that may be inactive.

At this point I'm going to try to find a way to do a full refund, even if it's a struggle to get paypal or alipay or a bank transfer done.

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Comments

springmoone
Jul. 9th, 2015 10:53 am (UTC)
Ok, that's what I'll do. But re: my convenience, I didn't wait so long or hold the money for fun. In the past said he wanted the suit and not a refund, but never gave his measurements. Over that time I repeatedly asked for the measurements and had a lot of trouble re-establishing contact, to the point where I posted a lost contact here. So this whole debacle has been a huge inconvenience to me, which doesn't matter legally.

And due to the fact that the email we used to communicate bounces, I don't feel comfortable sending a refund to a paypal that might be inactive too. If I refund I want to know that he gets it.
celestinaketzia
Jul. 9th, 2015 10:57 am (UTC)
Regardless of any issues, if you were having this much problems then it should have been in your ToS what would happen to an abandoned project to cover your own behind. This whole mess shouldn't have spanned 3 years for either of you. If they said "I don't want a refund", well you could have told them "Oh well, due to issues I'm giving you one." But as they say hindsight is 20/20. Just give them their refund and figure out what to do with the fur later.
springmoone
Jul. 9th, 2015 11:14 am (UTC)
Yes, this is what I am going to try to do--get contact again, and figure out a way to make a refund payment after my visa run costs are paid.

My TOS does have a clause against abandoned projects, but I would feel really bad about not giving back anything at all.

I guess people should look out for a weeklong sales blitz on fursuitauctions.... in six months or more. I kept the fur because it's a different dye lot than normal.
sableantelope
Jul. 9th, 2015 09:07 pm (UTC)
You can't really hold someone to a clause through a TOS. The unwritten contract rules(which ends up basically a simple buyer's agreement in lieu of anything signed) trump the TOS clauses in 99.9999999% of cases when litigated.

So best suggestion I can make for you since you are savvy enough business wise to know about doing clauses, etc. is to make sure from now on you do a written contract so can add those clauses as a Sched. to the buyer's agreement part of things. Make sure they initial the clause(s) on abandoned projects specifically along with the over all signature! Since you're tipping the deal a little in your favour with the clauses(within the law as long as your clauses are reasonable- use the basis of the Defense of Impracticability to judge that- which we just had a post about actually; or if your new country has law regarding abandonment of custom contracts you can use that instead) on abandonment you'll want to be sure that the buyer is going in 'eyes wide open'.

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