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asshole-tax

I apologize if this isn't appropriate for the community but a friend and I were discussing the possibility of "asshole-tax". Charging a customer more if they're being a total jerk-off about the transaction (not paying, paying late, extreme nitpicking, being insulting).
Disclaimer: This is just an entertaining notion and not something I or anyone I know of is currently implenting or is planning to implement. Though I'm sure people have been tempted :P
The following question is purely hypothetical and shouldn't be taken seriously.

Humor me.
Would it be illegal to charge "asshole-tax" or would it fall under "service fees"? :P

---- not about asshole-tax ----

On a more serious note, can you charge additional fees if the customer is overdue for paying?
I do believe you have to be registered as a company before you can sic a repo officer on a non-paying customer, and only if you have a contract of sorts. Has that ever happened in the fandom? I've never heard of it but with an increasing amount of "professional" artists you'd think it's inevitable.
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Comments

( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
bladespark
Jul. 30th, 2006 07:47 am (UTC)
I HAVE a tax like that. *grins* It doesn't get employed very often, because you have to annoy me early enough that when I quote you a price, that gets added in. (Once I quote a customer a price, I stick to it. I consider that to be professional. But if you piss me off before I get around to giving you your quote, said quote will be a few bucks higher.)

There's a note about it in the fine print and policies section on my web page. It's been there since I very first started the business. So far the only person who seems to have noticed thought that it was hilarious.

As far as after the fact fees... while I don't think it's unethical or wrong to charge them, I've yet to do so. (For one thing, if they're not paying on time, it'll be that much harder to get them to pay what they already owe plus the extra fee.) But I have a system set up where if they're overdue for paying, they get a certain number of warnings, a certain ammount of time, and then I refund all but their initial down payment, consider their item my property, and re-sell it or keep it as I see fit. (Obviously this isn't as workable with portrait drawings as it is with fursuits.)
anjel_kitty
Jul. 30th, 2006 08:11 am (UTC)
I could see fursuit makers justifying it more than anyone else...

And having a very clear, and most likely lenghty agreement policy like that helps with any sort of legality issue that might occur.
anjel_kitty
Jul. 30th, 2006 08:09 am (UTC)
I could see the customer coming here to bitch about an artist doing that if an artist was to ever try it....

I've never heard of an artist doing it, however, I am usually very prompt with my payments so I don't think I have been in a position as a commisioner or an artist where I would really feel a need to do so, but then my experiences are limited.

_reddie
Jul. 30th, 2006 08:46 am (UTC)
I can't see something like that being very, if at all, ethical (no matter how much we may dream of it...) unless the process is very clearly stated in a pre-service agreement with the buyer. Just because they may be asses and try to change the rules after the agreement, doesn't mean you have to stoop too.

Stick to your guns, be the better person. Don't open yourself up to that sort of trouble.
kitsumi
Jul. 30th, 2006 08:47 am (UTC)
A lot of professionals do charge a certain percentage when payment is delayed over the alloted time e.g. when payment that is due within 30 days of completion is delayed. It's not considered asshole tax at all. :P Though I must mention this is usually written in a contract both client and artist agree to sign prior to starting a project. If you don't go by contracts, you could at least give fair warning before taking on a project that if so-and-so is not met, then extra will be charged.

If you charge them for being overdue just out of the blue, then I think 'asshole tax' is a good term for it, for both parties. :P
caishide
Jul. 30th, 2006 09:04 am (UTC)
there -are- businesses that have additional 'temper fees'
auto towing companies, for example, often will raise the price in increments of $50 for every time the customer loses his or her temper.

in situations such as those, where the workers for the tow company are often exposed to irate people having a bad car day, such fees keep confrontations to a minimum.

while it's not dangerous to deal with an asshole commissioner, having the fee and stating your policy before hand would work as a wonderful deterrent against that sort of behavior. then again, you may lose some potential customers who are scared off by that.
skanrashke
Jul. 30th, 2006 09:11 am (UTC)
Actually, its easy enough to impose if you have a section of your site devoted to rules, warantees, terms of payment, etcetera, and as far as the extra charges for late payments, I have a 30 dollars per week late-fee. So if they're a month late on a payment? Oops. 120 bucks. Its less than what the bank charges for an overdraft, so ;)
schnee
Jul. 30th, 2006 10:39 am (UTC)
I'd think that whether it'd be legal or not would depend on whether it's part of the contract the buyer agrees to. If he knows about it (for example, because you sent him your TOS when you discussed the whole thing), I don't see what would or could be wrong with it, although I'd definitely send it to him instead of just referring him to your website, just to be on the safe side. (Otherwise, he could well argue that the TOS was different when he looked at them, for example).

In any case, you should definitely make it clear what would "trigger" the extra fee, too. :)
bailzzararco
Jul. 30th, 2006 12:03 pm (UTC)
I think it's totally fair so long as you allow them to know up front, but of course don't call it an asshole tax, you call it a "revision fee", and for every revision, it's another $5 or whatever you feel is fair. Obviously, if they just wanted an extra spot drawn in that's easier (and cheaper) than repositioning a part all together. Perosnally, if I was bothered by these folk, I would tell them "sorry, I'm afraid I am not of the artistic calaber to satify you, maybe you should chose a different artist." Life it too dear and already full of enough hassle to deal with these ego-maniacs.
makuus
Jul. 30th, 2006 12:22 pm (UTC)
I think for all of that discussion -- asshole tax and late fees -- it's vitally important, and, despite being mentioned here a couple times, bears repeating: Be sure that that is stated up front in the terms of the engagement. While I imagine "asshole" means that someone is doing something exceptionally unpleasant and overbearing on their side of the equation, I can quite well imagine a situation where an artist implementing this just decides that a commissioner is being an asshole (whether xe is or not), and, hey, they should have to pay a little more for the privilege. To that commissioner then, the price has just deviated from the agreed-upon cost, and appears a lot of like fraud.

However, stated up front, a modest late payment structure, and a clause to handle nit-picky feedback (of the sort that means that the artist wasn't a mind-reader, versus the artist making a genuine mistake), is not out of the realm of professional experience.
dinogrrl
Jul. 30th, 2006 03:48 pm (UTC)
As the others said, as long as it's mentioned in the contract up front, then you have every right to implement a 'temper tax' if it comes to that. As well as the late fees, I know just about every business I've dealt with in my area has late fees. And they can often be insanely high, just to make sure they do get the payment on time :}.
growly
Jul. 30th, 2006 04:35 pm (UTC)
I am rewriting my art/fursuit policies and I actually have included said idiot tax.
"I also have the right to implement an 'idiot tax' of 40% to the price of your commission if you prove to be an irritable, troublesome, or picky customer."
I think I will make a list of what makes for a troublesome customer so it's very clear from the start.
I always have my customers read my policies page before any money or goods are exchanged.
mix_hyenataur
Jul. 30th, 2006 05:19 pm (UTC)
The buyer would have to agree to it before-hand before you can impose it.

But having the 'I'm taxing you because I don't like you' rule is illegal, even if it is in the contract.

Think 'Boston Tea Party' here, basically the same.

...unless you want a horde of angry people with their lawyers throwing your valubles into a big bon-fire, I'd steer clear of that rule.
skanrashke
Jul. 30th, 2006 05:47 pm (UTC)
Actually, its' not illegal.
Under section 6 of the Basic Principles listed by the Better Bureau code of advertising, extra charges of any kind are allowed so long as they are disclosed in a place which the purchaser has accessability to immediately read them(Such as on a website).
And none of the online business practice regulations(Also posted by the BBB) disallow the post-purchase increase in charge of any kind so long as its' marked elsewhere beforehand.
So, yea. Take it to court if you want to waste money and other people's time, but thats about all you can do.
Here's the BBB Online resources: http://www.bbbonline.org/reliability/code/principle1.asp
thaily
Jul. 31st, 2006 07:06 am (UTC)
<3 <3
oby
Jul. 30th, 2006 06:45 pm (UTC)
I don't do commissions for drawn artwork, but I do commissions for custom avatars and statues in the game of Second Life, and I do say that I charge an asshole tax. Sometimes it's more of a "perfection" tax for the nit-picky types, but often enough it's because someone's being an ass to me even when they're wanting to commission me.

I am soooooo tired of people paying me to make them something and then complaining about the $2 I'm charging to make a kickass piece of an avatar that takes me 3 hours to make and script from scratch.
thornwolf
Jul. 30th, 2006 07:33 pm (UTC)
I charge people less sometimes if their friends, this makes more sense to me.
giza
Jul. 31st, 2006 03:49 am (UTC)
> Charging a customer more if they're being a total jerk-off about the
> transaction (not paying, paying late, extreme nitpicking, being insulting).

If you mean altering the terms of the deal after money has changed hands and/or work has begun, I would not recommend that. That could easily cause a buyer to become very upset and could start some unwanted drama.

Now, if you're talking /before/ a deal has been made, well... you're pretty much free to charge people whatever prices you want, and/or refuse work outright if you wish.

> On a more serious note, can you charge additional fees if the customer is
> overdue for paying?

IANAL, but I suspect the answer for that question is jurisdiction-dependent. It'd probably be quicker to just report a non-paying customer here. :-)
thaily
Jul. 31st, 2006 07:07 am (UTC)
Yeah, except I do work outside of the fandom as well and if I do work I want the money owed ;P
rat_the_unloved
Aug. 15th, 2006 01:38 am (UTC)
It's "EW" fees for me. Entitled Whore fee.

If someone wants a "custom commission" I say that the flat rate for x-type is this price, but "extra details" can total more. I ALWAYS confirm price repeatedly, though. As long as they're good to deal with "price" is price is price. If they start changing things around and/or start getting pissy aboutt he length of time it takes (I have medical conditions which flare up brilliantly and violently. No warning, no repair. Day/Night/Week of agony.) there's an "EW" fee. While in my head this is "Entitled whore" I refer to it as an "Edit Work" fee.

It's, perhaps, not the nicest practice... but it does cover the stress it puts me under quite nicely.
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

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