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ADVICE: Client refusing to get in contact

Hi all!

Back in November I opened for fursuit commissions. Client got a spot, paid the 30% non-refundable downpayment and replied promptly to my emails for three days (11/25 to 11/28). I have not heard back from my client since November 28th, 2017.

Since then, they have sent payments via PayPal for the suit in December and January, effectively and fully paying for the fursuit commission. In the last PayPal payment they put in the notes section that some things came up and they apologized for the lack of communication, yet paid on time.

As of November 28th I have sent them 6 emails, the newest being a few minutes ago, with progress photos and asking them to reply to my emails. Currently the fursuit is halfway done.
In my form I ask people put down their social media in the off chance they do disappear so I can contact them somewhere else; the client put down their FA. I left them a shout 4 days ago asking them to reply to my emails and saw that they had favorited something hours beforehand, when I checked a few minutes ago to see when I had posted the shout their account shows they were active 3 hours ago.

I have an abandon clause in my Terms of Service that states that, if a client is to halt communications, I reserve the right to alter the fursuit and re-sell it so a full refund can be given. As this is an artistic liberty piece designed by me no alterations need to be made but, as stated, it is paid for in full.

Any advice on what to do at this point would be appreciated, I'm very lost and have never had this happen before. Thanks!

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( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 10th, 2018 10:02 pm (UTC)
I'd reverse the normal email I send for artists.

Email something like:
Hi [client],

You commissioned me for [thing] on [original date]. Since then, I have emailed you [amount of times] on [date1, date 2, etc.] and have yet to receive a response. On [further date] I left a shout on your FurAffinity page to please contact me, and you have not done so.

Therefore, I am marking this commission as abandoned. As per [clause in TOS about abandonment], I will be terminating your commission and refunding you [all but the deposit?].


Alternatively you can throw a clause in there that states you'll resume the commission if they contact you within the next 7 days. But on [specific date] you'll process the refund and cancel the commission.

This is really awkward though. Wonder what's going on. [thinking emoji here]
Mar. 10th, 2018 10:08 pm (UTC)
The length of time that Paypal allows a dispute to be filed is 180 days from the date of the transaction. If you're looking at invoking any kind of abandon clause that should be your time limit. It would be considered good form to make one last attempt to contact your buyer close to that deadline.

Once that time has gone (so, mid July by the sound of it) Paypal will not allow any kind of dispute to be filed, it's also much longer than the 120 days most banks allow to file a chargeback claim. Short of taking you to court your buyer would have no way of attempting to get the money back at that point and you would be able to do as you will with the fursuit.

Up until that point it is 'their' item as they have paid you in full. Whether you want to finish it without further contact from them is up to you, but don't sell it on or destroy it.

As for what to do now, you have already made several efforts to contact them, so for the time being do nothing. Try contacting them again at three months before the abandon date and one last time a couple of weeks before.

If you really want to to be shot of the commission you can always just refund them. But you would be vulnerable to a Paypal claim if you gave anything less than the full amount paid to you back.

Edited at 2018-03-10 10:11 pm (UTC)
Mar. 10th, 2018 10:15 pm (UTC)
Out of curiosity, why are you using the PayPal claim window as a reference? If I issue a full refund using the transactions there's no reason to be worried about a chargeback. I also don't want to wait until July to hear back from this person when this fursuit can be finished by the end of this month as planned thus far.

What I'm thinking about doing for now is finishing the item, if they contact me I'll have photos to show them, if not they're publicly available on my Twitter. By the time it's finished (which would be aiming before March 30th) I'll give them a week to reply, showing them completed photos of the final product. Assuming they still refuse to reply to me for whatever reason, I'll issue a full refund for them and list the fursuit for sale as the design belongs to me (as mentioned, it is artistic liberty).
Mar. 10th, 2018 10:23 pm (UTC)
You've been paid by Paypal, so any kind of problems have to fit within Paypal's terms of service, which is why I used their TOS for reference.

If you intend to give them a full refund then the 180 days deadline is a moot point, I was under the impression that you were asking at what point would be allowed to both keep the money and the suit, sorry if I misunderstood.

Edited at 2018-03-10 10:24 pm (UTC)
Mar. 10th, 2018 10:33 pm (UTC)
It's all good!
Mar. 10th, 2018 11:30 pm (UTC)
If they've paid in full why not just send the suit to the address given with the payments after the 180 days from the final payment have passed?

You get the money.
They get the suit.
Mar. 11th, 2018 12:00 am (UTC)
That's... very smart. Thank you!
Mar. 11th, 2018 12:02 am (UTC)
Just checked PayPal and no address is attached to any of the payments despite them all being sent through "Goods and Services". Is there a way to view the buyer's address otherwise?
Mar. 11th, 2018 04:39 am (UTC)
Not that I'm aware of. PayPal might be willing to if the payments are clearly marked as for an item.

That is very interesting given that sending the address is the default. They have to go to extra effort to hide it.
Mar. 11th, 2018 02:21 am (UTC)
I would do what Bornesb above suggested, personally.
It's a tricky situation, and unfortunately I've been there. Guy commissioned me at Anthrocon in 2011 and paid, told me he would email refs as soon as he got home as it was a take-home commission. He never emailed me, and never replied to any of my many attempts to email/PM him on every contact I had, despite him being active online. Kept trying year after year and finally I sent him a message saying that if he didn't contact me by X date, it would be canceled and payment considered a donation as I had no Paypal or physical address to refund it to. Never replied to that either. It's very frustrating, and the only time that has ever happened to me.

Edited at 2018-03-11 02:21 am (UTC)
Christina Schandorph
Mar. 12th, 2018 01:05 pm (UTC)
I have a guy who paid me for a YCH back in December and said he would send the reference as soon as it was done. Haven't received anything yet, though I did send a reminder not too long ago that he replied too. Still, I'm getting anxious about having this money in limbo.
Mar. 12th, 2018 01:54 pm (UTC)
I'll never understand people paying for work and then disappearing without giving you the info. Hopefully yours doesn't stretch on forever like mine did!
Christina Schandorph
Mar. 23rd, 2018 08:27 am (UTC)
I finally got a ref sheet from him the other day, so it's all good now :)
Mar. 11th, 2018 02:59 am (UTC)
I hope nothing happened to them :( Best of luck!
Cy Mendoza
Mar. 11th, 2018 04:24 am (UTC)
Is there a chance the e-mail you're using to communicate with them is different than the one on their PayPal account? You could attempt to contact the PayPal email, if they're different.
Mar. 11th, 2018 04:32 am (UTC)
Unfortunately the PayPal email is the same as the email they use for contact. :( I was thinking about that earlier and that they maybe had switched emails and didn't tell me, but if they did then that still wouldn't excuse them ignoring my FA shout.

I'm thinking about calling PayPal and seeing if they can give me the buyer's address since it's not present on the payments they sent. I've had that happen with other purchases but, in those cases, the buyer was more than happy to give me their address so I could mail them the thing they bought.
Mar. 11th, 2018 06:44 pm (UTC)

Called PayPal and got told what I thought I would be told: per their privacy terms they cannot release any information past what has already been given to me. However, the representative pointed out to me that I had sent an invoice as the first payment and that an address should be attached- he was right. Sweet!
This raises a concern though: if my client moves I'll have no idea what their new address is. That being said, how often do people move and what is the chance of them moving within a 4 month period?

At this point I'm considering finishing the commission, sending them final photos and then mailing them the final product to the address verified on PayPal. That way the commission is finished and I don't have to refund them.
Mar. 11th, 2018 08:48 pm (UTC)
You may not like this answer, but honestly it's a toss up! :(

Your plan to finish the commission and ship to the address on the invoice is honestly your best bet. You can try and send an email to confirm the address, just to be safe and cover your bases.

The client may still live there, and tbh PayPal expects the seller to ship items to the address that the buyer has provided (aka the one linked to their account when they made the purchase), and if you provide tracking / proof of delivery etc, you're following the expectations PayPal places on sellers.

Like others have said, the buyer still retains the rights to the receipt of their item as long as the 180 day rule is in effect. Hopefully they do respond to you soon!
Mar. 11th, 2018 09:39 pm (UTC)
They commissioned art after commissioning me (not of the character I made, their own OCs) and just judging from afar they're the kind of client who doesn't favorite the art, just reposts after receiving it. So I guess they think that fursuits work the same way, in this case pay for it, supply an address and then go do something else until it's done. I dunno, if I paid someone over $1,000 to make me something I'd want to know how it's going!

I'm definitely email them about the address once I send final photos, I'll give it a few days to make sure it all checks out and then mail it out, even if they continue to give me radio silence.
Mar. 12th, 2018 04:08 pm (UTC)
Tbh I would advise against blindly posting it out. People do forget to update their paypal address and while unlikely in this case, sometimes people pay through someone else's paypal (partner/friend etc) and could have had a falling out with them and so on. There is a risk that you'll waste money on postage if it bounces back or worst case, end up in the hands of a stranger who may just keep it.
Mar. 12th, 2018 04:23 pm (UTC)
Hence why I plan on emailing them for confirmation before sending it out as soon as it's done and giving them time to reply. It's a weird situation but it is their PayPal account, not someone else's, and the account is verified.
Mar. 12th, 2018 02:08 am (UTC)
Just weird that someone would pay you for a suit and then avoid you. Best course of action is to complete the work you were paid for and box it up and store it. You held up your end of the bargain as You know as soon as you auction off the suit the original buyer will come forth and want what they paid for and then you'd be accused of selling something they paid for and never received.
Mar. 17th, 2018 06:07 pm (UTC)
Any update?
Mar. 20th, 2018 10:16 pm (UTC)
Oops! Thought my reply sent this weekend, I apologize for the late reply.

Aside from the update above, nothing new. Client is still actively favoriting things on FA but has not replied to my emails or shout.
Mar. 25th, 2018 04:45 pm (UTC)
Nearly 4 months to day, I finally got a response. Emails were being read but they didn't feel the need to reply until now, it also apparently isn't their primary email.
Mar. 25th, 2018 06:31 pm (UTC)
What a frustrating client.
Mar. 25th, 2018 06:36 pm (UTC)
I just... don't understand why you would put down your secondary email instead of your primary for something of this nature?

Asked for their primary three hours ago almost instantly (since I saw the email pop up), no response yet. Kind of not expecting to get one back.
Mar. 25th, 2018 08:01 pm (UTC)
That boogles my mind too. I checked my emails everyday for an update when I commissioned someone for a fursuit cause hey you throw in a bit of money into the project. You dont buy a car and then just leave it at the seller ignoring them

But if the fursuit head is done maybe just sell it as a premade and refund this person cause its clear they dont care much.
Unless thats triggers them to respond.
Mar. 25th, 2018 11:57 pm (UTC)
I like that analogy, haha. It's really spot on.

I'm finishing it up tonight so I'm going to send them final photos and give them a week to reply. That email earlier just rubbed me the wrong way.
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )


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