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Hello!

I'd love to get some advice if possible in the following situation.

[edit: Thank you for all of your advice! It was solved peacefully & I got to keep the payment.
Because I personally don't blame the commissioner for wanting their money back, & I own up to how long it took me to deliver it, I won't be writing a beware.
I will make sure to use this experience & your advice in case anything like this happens again.]


Two months and half ago, I auctioned a fully shaded, fullbody YCH piece (with aditional NSFW shots), for which the buyer paid $120 USD.
On my 'commission' section and on my ToS, I make clear that the timewait for big pieces such as it is between one and two months maximum.

However, I'm afraid that for this one YCH, I had some life situations (mostly internet connection issues) that caused me a 15 day delay when delivering the piece. I realized that this isn't the commissioners fault, so as soon as I realized I was having a delay, I tried to be as professional as possible, & made sure to keep them updated on the progress of their piece.
On my last update, I assured them it was nearly finished, just lacking some details, & that I would send it to them ASAP. However yesterday, right before I send their finished piece, without any notice, I logged in to see a full chargeback/dispute being made. It read, more or less, 'I feel like 2 months & half is more than enough time for the product to have ben completed."

This surprised me because, while I realize 100% that I was wrong on my delay delivering the piece & that they are entitled to be upset because of it... the commissioner had never expressed desire to get refunded, or even asked for a WIP if they were doubting I was actually working on it. They didn't ask, warn, or contact me in any way before starting the dispute through paypal.
I also feel like a full refund for something that was updated as 'nearly finished' isn't exactly fair.

Regardless, I immediately sent a note apologizing, let them know that I'd refund them in full anyway for the trouble anyway, or that if they still wanted to receive the piece, I could offer extra art as a thanks for their patience during my delay. I also expressed that I would have preferred they had communicated beforehand that they were so upset with the waiting time; that if they wanted the money back, they could just have let me know, & I would have just refunded them (or partially refunded while them getting to keep the piece), without them having to escalate it to a dispute.
They have no replied yet.

What I'm wondering is,
1. Was offering a full refund & expressing my concerns about that behavior a correct way to handle it?
2. Is the commissioner entitled to a full refund if the artist takes more than expected to finish the work (but does get finished)?
3. Is it normal for unsatisfied commissioners to go straight to a dispute/chargeback if so?
4. How much time wait time is enough for big pieces like those?
5. Has it happened to you? What did you do? And if not, what would be your course of action?

I never had something like this happen before, so advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you so much!

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Comments

bornesb
May. 20th, 2017 03:47 am (UTC)
Disclaimer: This is coming from memory so it may not be 100% accurate.

You should have a 3 - 7 day window with paypal to settle the dispute. You've kind of screwed yourself now by offering the full refund anyway, but what you could have done is quickly finish up the image, give it to the commissioner, show proof that it was delivered via paypal, and that should've closed the dispute in your favor.

Now that you have offered the refund (even if not through paypal), it would be bad form to not give it.

1. I don't know if it's the "correct" way, but it's certainly very courteous and professional of you. Many people would blow up at the customer over this.

2. Entitled, no. But it is a grey area and very contextual.

3. Hard to say if it's "normal." It's not uncommon but it's not too common, either. However, I am a commissioner not an artist, so other artists would likely have more informed opinions on this one.

4. Highly depends on the artist. Whatever is within the paypal dispute window (typically 90 days but I've heard it's gone up recently to 180?) is acceptable. However, typically as long as I am told ahead of time what the turnaround time is, so I know what to expect, I'm ok with it.

5. Again I'm not an artist, but a commissioner. I've been on the opposite side. Typically my process is contacting an artist a few times, and then if I am ready to file a paypal claim, I will send off one final email/note detailing everything and why I am dissatisfied and "if you don't respond by [date here] I will be filing a paypal dispute for a refund" at the end.

If the artist is not online to get those messages, then it may appear as if it comes out of nowhere. But if they check their email after the fact, the history of what I sent will be there.

There's only been one artist totally blind-sided by my dispute. They also had internet troubles. After being unable to contact them, and them passing their self-made deadlines, I filed the claim. When paypal froze their account, they finally started paying attention. We ended up working something out. I got unfinished work and a partial refund.

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