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How to [nicely] back out of a commission?

Back in January I was interested in getting sticker designs made to put into my fursuit packages. 2 people brought this up on me: one I was interested in and another kind of forced their way in. I'll label them as persons 1 and 2.

Person one delivered within a week two gorgeous designs. No problem.

Person two is where my question comes in:
On that same day [January 30th] I give them a rough sketch and we negotiate a price. They say they'll send me their PayPal soon. February 5th they give me an update saying there'll be a slight delay. At this point I inform them that it's okay and that they don't have to do it anymore, as personal issues came up and I lost interest. They completely ignore that and two days later give me a sketch. I play along with it and ask for a small change.

Last night [February 29th] they send me the sketch but now digitally done. It's been a long time and I forgot about the commission. Since the last update I also made the financial decision to severely limit how many commissions I buy this year, including this one.

I'm not sure how to word myself to ask to back out since they already gave me a sketch after I said I wouldn't like to continue the commission. From what I see on Twitter they get frustrated about this kind of stuff and I don't want it hung over my head, I already feel bad enough. :(

So how do I politely ask to cancel the commission in a situation like this?

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( 49 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 2nd, 2016 01:35 am (UTC)
This is sticky. I suppose it's possible they didn't deliberately ignore your telling them you weren't interested, but if they did see it they shouldn't have ignored it.

Unfortunately, you more or less sealed the deal by accepting the sketch. Now that the work is done, it would reflect poorly on you to not pay. You should have stood your ground about canceling.
Mar. 2nd, 2016 01:37 am (UTC)
^ Came here just to say this. Pay them. Be more adamant next time (hopefully there won't be a next time).
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Mar. 2nd, 2016 01:58 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - fayv - Mar. 2nd, 2016 03:36 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 2nd, 2016 01:43 am (UTC)
I think if you didnt want it anymore then you shouldn't have played along since that sounds..very confusing. If you cancel it i'd say to at least pay for the current progress. you losing interest is sad but it's not on the artist to know that if you weren't firm.

I can't think of any way to say it besides just being straightforward and offering to pay for what was already completed.
Mar. 2nd, 2016 02:01 am (UTC)
^^ I agree with this. You led them on, you made an initial agreement. You "gentle" no sounds phrased more like letting the artist opt-out if they would like to.

I feel you owe them a clear statement of cancellation and a payment for work done thus far. Or follow through completely, let them provide what you agreed to and pay they full price.
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Mar. 2nd, 2016 02:06 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 2nd, 2016 05:28 am (UTC)
You accepted it and asked for a small change, thus agreeing to it. Even if they didn't understand your note (ignore is quite a harsh word when you continued the transaction) you still went along with it.

Ask them if you can pay for the sketch instead of getting an entire image, and make it clear that's as far as you want to take it.

Also IO see that you mentioned you agreed to pay for the complete work - so I think this situation has played out. Definitely don't play along and agree or ask for edits if you don't want the image.
Mar. 2nd, 2016 05:31 am (UTC)
Basically what the others are saying, you should pay them for the finished work you accepted.
Mar. 2nd, 2016 04:49 pm (UTC)
Honestly, just reading this I would never have known that you had backed out and cancelled that "person 2" commission. You told them it was "okay" that there was a delay, this means that you don't mind waiting for your commission. If you told them "it's okay if you can't finish this commission" then they probably tried even harder to complete it for you, to deliver and please their client. Honestly, you should pay them for the work they did, they can't read your mind and I don't know the exact words you used to cancel the commission. You really let the commission go on for too long, so you should at the very least pay partially for the art.

*Edit To add, I know that sticker designs aren't a "heavy" commission request, but waiting less than 1 month is not a "long time". I'm wondering if the wait time added to you wanting to cancel this commission? Every artist is different, but if I had a client expect the art in less than 1 month without upfront discussing a deadline, I'd be a little frustrated, too. At least this is a learning experience :)

Edited at 2016-03-02 04:52 pm (UTC)
Mar. 2nd, 2016 07:05 pm (UTC)
I'm not impatient and I've commissioned a lot of artists, the longest commission took 8 months to receive. But they said they'd have it done that evening and didn't hear anything for 20 days after saying I wanted to cancel so it was kind of a surprise.
(no subject) - maned_scruff - Mar. 3rd, 2016 05:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
Enn Shaw
Mar. 2nd, 2016 05:03 pm (UTC)
Once you approved the sketch, you're stuck. Pay them, as not paying would make you look bad. Be firm with cancelling a commission next time :/
Mar. 2nd, 2016 05:07 pm (UTC)
Update, they've agreed to cancel it due to school (which was why they were slow) but won't let me pay them for the work they've already done. Soooo, how do I go about nicely asking to tip them now?
Mar. 2nd, 2016 05:19 pm (UTC)
I guess I'll ask them to finish, the comments here made me feel worse about it.
(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Mar. 2nd, 2016 05:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Mar. 2nd, 2016 05:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Mar. 2nd, 2016 05:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spartanwerewolf - Mar. 2nd, 2016 06:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - Enn Shaw - Mar. 2nd, 2016 06:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Mar. 2nd, 2016 06:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kamilamutt - Mar. 2nd, 2016 06:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Mar. 2nd, 2016 07:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sbneko - Mar. 2nd, 2016 07:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - Enn Shaw - Mar. 2nd, 2016 07:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Mar. 2nd, 2016 07:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sbneko - Mar. 2nd, 2016 07:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Mar. 2nd, 2016 07:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Mar. 2nd, 2016 07:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Mar. 2nd, 2016 07:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Mar. 2nd, 2016 08:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kayla_la - Mar. 2nd, 2016 08:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Mar. 2nd, 2016 08:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Mar. 2nd, 2016 08:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Mar. 2nd, 2016 08:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Mar. 2nd, 2016 08:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - Enn Shaw - Mar. 2nd, 2016 08:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spartanwerewolf - Mar. 2nd, 2016 07:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 2nd, 2016 09:51 pm (UTC)
This seems like it was a tough situation, even more so after the comments here which, I will agree are mostly correct if even a little harsh!

In terms of why you accepted their work, I can understand. It's hard to be polite yet firm and not wanting to hurt feelings or disappoint someone can be a hard line to dance. In this situation, it seems like you accepted their work because of just that. It's hard, but sometimes you just have to politely tell people no; in the long run it can cause less trouble. That doesn't make it easy though, I can tell you from experience, but hopefully this is a situation you can learn from in that regard!

As far as the current state of things; from what I'm gathering, it seems the artist has agreed to cancel the commission and stated they did not want compensation? If that is the case, I'm going to disagree with many comments here and say I don't recommend trying to force a tip on them. Typically when someone walks away and doesn't want to be paid, they are trying to wash their hands of a transaction or simply just don't want to deal with it anymore. I would say it would be okay to send one final contact where you thank them for their efforts and offer a tip for the services rendered so far, but if they still decline then don't press it further.

As far as the community goes, while I think that some folks have been a little harsh, I don't think you should be trying to say they pressured you into any decision! You asked for advice and it was given, but it did not obligate you to do anything beyond what you already decided and it's not fair to pass any decisions made on your part off on the community. Overall, the community has good intentions and they're just trying to help out on a situation; we're not here to paint you as a bad guy or anything like that and I hope you don't think I'll of us collectively for it!

Hopefully you and the artist can get this sorted out and move on!
Mar. 2nd, 2016 09:57 pm (UTC)
I have no words. Thank you. <3

I also didn't know that some artists don't want compensation for their work; if they put their foot down on that I'll go with their wishes.
(no subject) - sbneko - Mar. 2nd, 2016 09:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Mar. 2nd, 2016 10:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sbneko - Mar. 2nd, 2016 10:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - anuvia - Mar. 2nd, 2016 10:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - anuvia - Mar. 2nd, 2016 10:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tifaria - Mar. 3rd, 2016 12:23 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 3rd, 2016 06:38 am (UTC)
I've been in similar situations before, where an artist I commissioned was taking longer than expected (since while 1 month is a long time, they did from what you said promise it that evening), then wishing to cancel it later on, but feeling nervous or guilty about cancelled once work had already been done on it.

If the artist said that they didn't need compensation, then you're fine. I've been on that end too -- as artists, we are the ones who choose to dictate our income, and in some situations we can be okay with technically "losing" money if it's in everyone's best interest. I've done free work for commissioners before after I've taken much longer than expected with their commission and such.

So I think with the situation as it stands now, you're fine. Try not to stress about it. It happens.

Edited at 2016-03-03 06:39 am (UTC)
Mar. 3rd, 2016 06:40 am (UTC)
Heya, could you try to keep your edits down to a minimum? All mods get pinged for every edit you make.
(no subject) - bearprince - Mar. 3rd, 2016 06:42 am (UTC) - Expand
( 49 comments — Leave a comment )


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