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Refunding unwilling customer?

I am in a odd situation. A friend of mine commissioned me for a fairly large project sometime ago. The project is large, and I had a lot of life trauma happened to me since then that has prevented me from working on their commission (including moving back to my mother's small home). With a new job, I cannot work on the project due to my little to no free time, nor do I have the space.

Here's the thing..I WANT to refund them! No payments, no promises that I will, but a flat out immediate full refund. I feel guilty for making them wait so long, and have gotten little progress on the project (my fault! I know!). Instead of wanting the refund, the friend writes me a sob story on how they don't want one, how this commission is all they ever felt proud of, and would rather wait..the thing is, with my current career and time, that is unlikely, and I feel as though I will be making them wait forever.

Do I just flat out refund them and say sorry, but I no longer have the time to work on your commission? Say that I would much rather them go to some else who has more time and discipline than I do? I'd HATE to make them wait any longer!

I'm at a loss! It's either my sanity, or making this person feel like crap for refunding them.

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( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 12th, 2015 02:00 am (UTC)
There will be someone else out there who can do it, they just have to be willing to look for them. Refund them. They may be upset, but there is no reason for you to feel bad about doing the right thing in this case.
Dec. 12th, 2015 02:51 am (UTC)
Refund them.
They aren't a real friend given how they're ignoring your plight and trying to guilt trip you into doing something you don't want to.

Flat out explain to them a flat out 'Look. Don't have time for this now. We can revisit it another time. I don't feel comfortable holding on to funds when I'm unsure when/if I can finish the project.'

Refund it back to them. If they accept it, good for them. If they don't accept it. Good for them.
You are doing your duty and you can't control other people's actions.

--two cents.
Dec. 12th, 2015 03:04 am (UTC)
I'll have to link a friend of mine who is going through this (though it's not with a friend but a customer of theirs), and is too meek to accept they don't want the refund.
Dec. 12th, 2015 03:05 am (UTC)
Echoing everyone else:
Refund them, explain as calmly as you can why, and leave it at that.
Dec. 12th, 2015 04:00 am (UTC)
I have done this myself and yes, just flat out refund them.
Dec. 12th, 2015 04:12 am (UTC)
What everyone else said - just refund them. A situation that was unexpected and out of your control that you're still recovering from, is that really a time when you need to stress of a commission hanging over you? A commissioner having to find another artist, yeah maybe that's annoying, but it is NOT the same sort of stress at all. A friend would understand that. They'll probably be miffed and pull more guilt-tripping on you when you refund them, but that's a reflection on them, not you.
Dec. 12th, 2015 05:14 am (UTC)
It is not their choice unfortunately and you are not a bank for them to keep a deposit in, refund them.
Dec. 12th, 2015 05:59 am (UTC)
Dec. 12th, 2015 06:05 am (UTC)
Yes, refund. If they attempt to send it back to you, refund that and state that any returns on it will be considered a DONATION because no work will be done.

You need to focus on you first and foremost.
Dec. 12th, 2015 06:32 am (UTC)
Thank you all for your honest advice. I really appreciate it. It's reassuring to know I am not in the wrong to give them a refund.

I've refunded friends in the past, and I never had someone guilt trip me this bad before..they're a friend, and they know how hard my life is, but won't be realistic with me. I simply lost all motivation for the project. I just hope they don't go in a fit once I refund them and get super emo. If they do..there is the mute button, right?

Edited at 2015-12-12 06:33 am (UTC)
Dec. 12th, 2015 06:43 am (UTC)
At the end of the day I'd honestly trust my friends to know when I'm at the end of my rope. They'll be upset maybe for a while, but they have to understand you come first.
(no subject) - haystack - Dec. 12th, 2015 11:24 am (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 12th, 2015 12:22 pm (UTC)
Have to echo everyone else, refund, they cannot -force- you to keep the job, shit happens work has to be canceled, and your "friend" cant be allowed to guilt you into doing this massive project.
Dec. 12th, 2015 04:31 pm (UTC)
From personal experience, refund them.
I had an extremely similar situation happen. I felt horrible for trying to refund them, bc my friend at the time really seemed to want the commission, but the situation completely backfired on me for trying to just tough it out and keep working on the commission despite lack of time and energy due to some really horrible life stuff, which I thought said friend understood. She totally did a 180 on me though, she totally blew up on me. Not saying your friend would, but its still better to just do what's best for yourself and take the stress off if/when you can!
Dec. 12th, 2015 05:57 pm (UTC)
Ditto what everyone else said.

I don't think it was mentioned, but you could tell the commissioner that if they feel so strongly about the commission then they can commission you for it once again down the road when you're in a better situation. Since you're a friend, you could probably afford to be more casual when telling them.

Here's what I might say:

"Hey, I'm truly sorry for this, but I really need to refund you for this commission because my real life situation isn't the best for it to be hanging over my head right now. I hope you can understand that my work ethic just can't tolerate the fact that I'll be keeping a customer waiting indefinitely, and it will continue to stress me out if I don't do this. If you really want to commission me for it, then please commission me at a later date when I open for these kinds of commissions and can handle the work! I honestly would be glad to do make it for you when I'm in a better place -- you can trust me on that. Thank you for being so flexible and open with this, and I'm happy that you put so much faith in me that you'd be willing to wait indefinitely for it. Really, thank you! I'll refund you for now but I hope we can work together again in the future! :)"

Or something along those lines? It's up to you, honestly.

(edited for grammar)

Edited at 2015-12-12 05:59 pm (UTC)
Dec. 14th, 2015 05:53 pm (UTC)
I would personally refund them, regardless. It's the right thing to do in the long run, in my opinion.
Dec. 19th, 2015 06:01 pm (UTC)
Make them accept a refund, it's better for all involved (speaking from having been in this position). If they're a real friend they'll understand.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )


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