Hi all, I would like some advice on some issues I'm having with a fursuit maker.
I commissioned him in October for a partial. I did my research and he had good reviews, nothing negative, and the suits looked great. I made a down payment immediately and he said the suit would be complete in "February/march." Also made a second payment late December.
Communication was perfectly smooth at first. He originally said he would start work on it in December - he sent me some sketches but that was it, which was fine, I figured he'd just start in January.
End of January, some family issues hit and I emailed him on Jan 24 asking his cancellation policy. (This wasn't something I really wanted to do - in a nutshell I was in panic mode and needed to cover my bases.) I assumed he had not yet started work on the suit because he had not contacted me about anything. He responded quickly and said "the majority of the work had been done," and that he planned to have her finished in "a few weeks." (So, end of February.) Thus he couldn't accept a full cancellation, but we could delay the final payment. I agree to this and I say I'll pay the rest in mid-March (so we're still on track with the completion date at this point.) I also said I'd love to see some photos of his progress. I thought it was a little weird that he hadn't given me any photos, because reviewers had also said he was good with giving updates, but at the time I figured he would just reply with pics.
He did not respond to this. I email him again on February 7th, confirming that I would pay in March and that I'd like an update. Nothing, so I email again February 20th. Since then I have sent him facebook messages on both his personal and business pages, tried to text him with the number listed on his page, and even sent him a message on youtube. At first I thought he'd just dropped off the face of the earth, but I can clearly see that he has been active on youtube and updated his facebook at least once in the past week. I can also see that he was on telegram in the last week.
Futhermore, I made a post on a fursuiting facebook group asking for peoples' experiences with the maker, and someone came forward saying they were strung along by him for a year and a half. They said when he did finally send the suit it was clearly rushed, very poor quality, and already damaged upon delivery.
Upon learning this I sent him one more email on 2/27 saying I wanted to see pictures within three days, and that I knew he was active online. He has not yet replied.
With all of this in mind, I am very anxious about this whole thing. I am NOT okay with being ignored for over a month, and I'm having trouble believing at this point that he's even started work on the suit at all - if he had then why would it be so difficult to send pictures, and why would he be ignoring me? If he doesn't reply by Thursday, I am considering opening a paypal dispute - I'm afraid this will be the only way to get his attention.
I am hesitant to do this and act too quickly, but I am also concerned about acting too slowly. I'm very familiar with buying and selling general products online, and typically would not tolerate this kind of behavior going on for more than a month, but this is also my first time commissioning someone for a suit. With a custom item this expensive, I want to give the fursuit maker a proper chance, but I'm also worried about receiving something poor quality based on the other commissioner I spoke to if I open a paypal claim and he rushes the order.
Any advice from experienced commissioners (or whoever!) would be helpful. What would you do in my situation? Should I file a dispute if he doesn't respond, or wait it out longer? What's the "appropriate" amount of time to wait before filing a dispute? Thank you :(
This has been a rough year so far and I'm having such bad anxiety over this, I just want to make sure I do the right thing.