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Hello AB!
I just need advice on the topic of artist giving refunds marked as services.

A few months ago I finally got the guts to ask an artist who I had been waiting on a piece of artwork from for over a year if they could issue me a refund (110$). It took them a while as they stated that they didn't have any money due to bills and that they would have to take on more work to be able to refund me. (this is a common trend with said artist but I'm not looking to name them.) They sent me the first half after selling the base sketch for my commission as a ych and then the second half after another week. I was happy to have my refund but the thing that bothered me is that they sent both halves marked as 'goods and services' instead of issuing it through the transaction, or even sending it as 'friends and family.' This not only bothers me because I now have two transactions marked as services on my Paypal account when I use it purely for commissioning artist but I also had to eat the Paypal fees out of pocket which was roughly 10$ give or take.

I bit my tongue and chalked it up to being a one time occurrence and just let it slide but recently I had another case where an artist I had commissioned took over two months but continuously did personal artwork and bought commissions. I noted them and asked politely if I could be issued a refund (54$) and they told me they would after selling some characters of theirs. Once they sold they had tried to issue me a refund through the transaction but they had an issue with their account were instead of Paypal taking it out of their balance they took it out of their bank account which didn't have money in it so it sat pending for a week before failing. (I've had issues with Paypal doing this as well so I wasn't surprised) They messaged me back telling me that after having to eat a bank account bouncing fee that they would just send it to me manually so it could be done with which I was perfectly fine with but like the last artist I had issues with they sent it as 'Goods and Services' and it ate about 3 dollars.

So I guess what I am asking is how should I handle situations like this? Should I request that they only send it at 'friends and family.' or do it through the transaction? Maybe I'm wrong but I don't think it's fair to a commissioner that if they want a refund for overdue art (or just plainly the artist cancelling) they have to lose money out of pocket because of it.

Either way any advice would be very appreciated.

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( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 14th, 2017 11:53 pm (UTC)
"Friends and family" is just that: for friends and family. It isn't meant for business transactions, and especially not to avoid fees. It isn't worth possibly losing one's account to avoid fees.

I suppose if the artist is going to be out fees twice they could write it off as a loss, but I personally don't feel artists should have to cover fees. Just as clients should never be obligated to cover fees. They're part of utilizing Paypal's services.

Edited at 2017-02-14 11:53 pm (UTC)
Feb. 15th, 2017 12:03 am (UTC)
The only thing I would be potentially wary of over this way of handling refunds is the possibility they might try to file a claim with paypal to make you refund them the refund. So save all the communication you have had with the artists that states the fees you received were for a refund and not a service you were providing them.
Feb. 15th, 2017 12:25 am (UTC)
Even then, sending as a gift option doesn't guarantee someone won't try and yank the funds back. If only Paypal had a "refund" option that lasted longer than 45 days.
Feb. 15th, 2017 12:04 am (UTC)
When you're sending a payment to an artist, they aren't receiving the full amount that you send. We either add a few dollars to our prices to compensate for the loss or we just eat it. The fee doesn't just stop being a thing when manual refunds are considered -- the fee still has to happen, and if you ask for, say, a refund on a $50 transaction, we're still losing more than what me made (since we only got ~$47 from the amount sent us to us) even when we DO send refunds as goods and services.

So, the artist received ~$47, and you got ~$47 in return. They don't make a profit off of it. The fee is just lost to the Paypal void in the process due to there being no way to ask Paypal to comp the fee when doing it manually.

This is why you're supposed to use the refund option because then, Paypal WILL refund the fee as well, but I've had the same issue where it will only take from my bank account as opposed to my paypal balance. I'd like for that issue to be fixed more than anything so that this issue is null to begin with. :0

I will say that I've sent a few bucks more back to cover fees when requested, though. Not sure if I'd say it should be REQUIRED, but this is a customer service job and my job is to serve customers as best I can.
Feb. 15th, 2017 01:23 am (UTC)
Just gonna add something here since I've seen folks saying that they don't think artists should cover fees or should charge extra for them.

Artists should not charge extra for fees; doing that is actually against Paypal's TOS. When pricing your commissions, you should take that fee into account and make it part of the total price, not add it on to the listed commission price. If you want to have a good relationship with PayPal, it's important to follow their rules. Merchants are expected to pay fees because PayPal is a service, one that allows artists to accept and transfer money. You are paying them to use said service by paying those fees and even most banks charge monthly for use of their services. I'm not sure why so many folks are so opposed to paying for the service PayPal provides but still elect to use it? Fees are what keeps the company around to even be used and I think the rate they charge is more than fair!

As for artists, they should be using the "issue refund" service as someone mentioned. It gives you back the full amount you sent. If they cannot return the money via the "issue refund" option due to time allowance then they should add the fees to make sure you get your full amount back and mark the transaction as "refund" in the comment section. While it is the responsibility of the PayPal user to know that fees are part of the transaction process, it's the personal responsibility of the artist to return the full price for the item that was never received.

On the whole, you want to avoid using the "friends and family" option unless it is actually a "friends and family" matter. Because people have been using that option to skirt paying fees, those who use that option too often can have their account flagged for inspection and if it is found that the user is using it intentionally to skirt paying fees it could lead to an account termination. In addition to that, sending money in that way makes it near to impossible to request a refund should the merchant never deliver. I won't commission anyone if they ask me to send with that setting, it raises a huge red flag to me that I either can't count on them to do the work or they're skirting fees and since my account is so important to me, I don't want to be attached to someone who's account may be under review.

It's vital to always label what you're sending money for because it keeps a small record on what the funds are used for, even if it's for friends and family transfers. I often use the friends and family to pay my roommates (and vise versa) when they pick me up something at the store or things like that. No matter how small it is, I always label "for the laundry detergent" or "for the hot dog", etc.

For commissions, I always label them like this for example:
"Payment from Anuvia for "cel shaded" commission"

For a refund, I add the fee and put this:
"Refund for canceled commissioned artwork"

And for personal (example):
"Payment for picking up dog food for me"

Personally, situations like this are why I prefer invoicing for commission work and I hope more artists catch on to using this method too. It provides a receipt for both customer and artist and has a very easy to use refund option that will make sure the buyer gets their full amount back.

Feb. 15th, 2017 01:52 am (UTC)
Thank you. I was honestly scratching my head at why so many people are saying that artist shouldn't have to cover fees and it's perfectly okay for me to lose out on money I paid for a service that never gets completed because "the artist shouldn't have to cover fees."

You make a good point on not sending it under 'Friends and Family.' I had an artist in the past who asked me to send it as that and I found out the hard way to never do that again. Any time an artist asks for me to send it as that I would either offer to pay more to cover the fees or cancel entirely but I never knew that it could get me in trouble as well so I'm going to stop commissioning artist who ask entirely.

I think from now on if the artist sends me a refund through goods and services and doesn't add extra to cover fees I will request that they send me the amount for the fees.

Thank you so much for the advice!~

Edited at 2017-02-15 01:52 am (UTC)
Feb. 15th, 2017 02:09 am (UTC)
When going that route just bear in mind that asking for Paypal fees to be covered/ paid by the sender is a direct violation of Paypal's ToS.
Fralea Comms
Feb. 15th, 2017 03:03 pm (UTC)
If I couldn't refund through paypal's refund services, I would eat the fees. I don't think its right for the commissioner not to get their full refund back, especially if the transaction fell apart because of my own issues.
Fralea Comms
Feb. 15th, 2017 03:08 pm (UTC)
Adding to this, I consider an artist taking more than reasonable amount of time to deliver the product with no updates/contact (which is what it sounds like is what happened to you maybe?) to be the artist breaking the contract, in which case the commissioner should be made 'whole'.
Feb. 17th, 2017 02:40 am (UTC)
I've had a situation where I helped my friend refund who she owed because she can't easily get money to her paypal account so she gives me money to send for refunds she needed to make. There were a bunch of transactions, and paypal would have easily flagged my account if I didn't send through a means of paying paypal fees.

We ate the paypal fees however. It should be the artist's responsibility to insure the client gets their full refund. We chose to use a service and must pay for that service, so its not the client's fault we don't get the entirety of what they paid. If the client paid $50, they should get the full $50 back.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )


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