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Seeking Advice - How to Handle?

I don't want to make this a full blown beware yet especially if I can make this a resolved situation.

To make a very long detailed story short I commissioned a fursuit maker overseas to make my Dutch Angel Dragon character and sent them the downpayment in Nov. 2014, with the suit paid in full May 2015 for a total of $1800 USD (not sure what that is in Euros). I didn't receive any WIP shots until May/June 2016, even though the suit has been a promised Furpocalypse 2015 deadline, and even then the shots were of handpaws and a tail. I was told other stuff was being worked on for it, but never shown any photos. I checked in with them every month to see how they were and get status updates but it was always "I've been busy" or "You're DTD fell apart, send me another one". This has continued right up until February of this year when they announced a major health issue which meant no more work and absolutely no refunds.

After talking with them I negotiated a partial refund of $1200 and for them to ship all the fur and what work they had finished to me, so I could then send it to a close friend who was willing to finish it. It's now almost May and not only have they never given me a tracking number despite saying their parent shipped it and that they would poke them, but they also flat out told me they had no money to refund me. Any further inquiries about a tracking number have been ignored. Meanwhile they are very active on social media and in a Telegram chat we are both in. I've done my best to be polite and patient but it's beginning to wear thin.

I'm wondering what my next steps should be and what advice any of you seasoned vets have to give. I have tried calling both PayPal and my bank and they both say because the transactions are so old they can't help me. I have a couple other numbers to try calling next but I'm really not in the mood to write off nearly $2k as an "Oh, well", y'know?

If I need to write up a full on beware I have over 180 screenshots saved of our conversations, proof of my payment, and even screenshots from their Telegram group they made for customers with all the promises of work being done right up until February. I'm trying to avoid doing that if I can so I don't get stuck labeled for "picking on the patient".

Thanks for any help/insight you guys can give, I'm at my wit's end at this point.

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Apr. 26th, 2017 03:52 am (UTC)
I'm seconding the beware, but here's my take on the tracking number.

I don't know how it is overseas (maybe a member overseas can help out?) but I know that with USPS you are automatically given a tracking number.
That being said, if the artist told you they were going to give you a tracking number for said mailed thing and have failed to do so, clearly they haven't mailed it and are making another excuse for themselves thinking you'll just dismiss it.

Now, if they DO give you a tracking number, I encourage you to check it every few days. There's been people on here who were given tracking numbers that the artist purchased solely so that they would stop asking about the materials and never actually mailed anything out. It's a thing!
Apr. 26th, 2017 03:59 am (UTC)
How does that work if I may ask? I thought tracking numbers could only be given when an ITEM is shipped but you can buy them without shipping anything?
Apr. 26th, 2017 10:14 am (UTC)
When you purchase a label online it will generate a tracking number. If they just never send it, then it will remain in "label generated" status and never gain an origin scan.
Apr. 26th, 2017 05:06 pm (UTC)
Now, I've never looked into it as I don't see a reason to lie to my clients about the status of their commission or what they purchased from me but I do know people who have been sent false tracking numbers or been scammed from sellers online.

There's a few ways people go about doing it. As Celestinaketzia mentioned the most frequent way sellers go about doing it is buying a label online to have a number that does go through the postal service's tracking system but doesn't actually equate to a physical item.
There are online generators for fake tracking numbers, there's generators for MANY false inputs (ex, to win free things on online video games or to get a code so you don't have to pay for a software) but they generally do not work and can give person generating said number a virus, makes for good karma.

I've actually experienced the fake tracking number three times through sellers on Etsy/Ebay and have twice been mailed things I didn't pay for: a very tiny box with nothing in it (was supposed to be a badge) and cockroaches (the last AB I published on here).

It's incredibly risky and makes people not want to conduct business with you so why people do it is beyond me.
Apr. 26th, 2017 05:52 pm (UTC)
Oh I won't be doing this as I don't do art myself since I have a severe lack of talent, I'm wholly a commissioner and all the stuff I've gotten never had tracking numbers on or such and it mystified me, so my apologies!
Apr. 27th, 2017 12:10 am (UTC)
The artist told me they were going to give me a track and trace (I assume tracking) number, but they never have, and it's been almost 3 months. I'm starting to think she's never intended to mail it, keeping both the furs and my money
Apr. 27th, 2017 11:05 pm (UTC)
Definitely try recontacting your bank about it.
Apr. 27th, 2017 11:14 pm (UTC)
When I contacted the bank the first time they told me they can only access banking records that go back a year from the date I called, so they wouldn't be able to access records from 2015. I can try calling again but I don't know if I'll get a different answer than the first.
Apr. 28th, 2017 01:00 am (UTC)
Wow, so they must delete the records for space, that's bad :/ You could try asking for someone higher to see if there's anything to do.
Apr. 29th, 2017 02:07 am (UTC)
For what it's worth, you may get a more direct answer if you seek someone higher up + if you go to the bank in person?

I'd take the proofs of your payments to the individual with you to give them the most accurate information from your end to be able to reverse this transaction.

I hope something pulls through for you because this is an incredibly unsavory situation to be in :(


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