Where: OneFurAll Studios - www.onefurall.com
What: A full fursuit commission including head, bodysuit, paws and additional set of feetpaws. In addition, a design sketch for the fursuit.
When: Payment in May 2014 — issues ongoing
Explain: The issues I have experienced with OneFurAll (OFA) are twofold: an inability to manage expectations and meet contractual obligations, and lack of communication.
April 2014 saw conversations with OFA regarding a commission, with estimate of an “18-24+ month queue” given. In May, I indicated my willingness to commission, and asked for confirmation of the wait time; I was told that there would be a more concrete “18-24 month wait. Our wait times shift minimally…” (see email 1); this was the final estimate given prior to payment, and with the qualifier of minimal shift, suggested that I could reasonably expect the fursuit to be completed at, or close to, 18-24 months.
No further communication was made at this stage regarding the fursuit, only payment. Paid in-full via an invoice from OneFurAll in May 2014 (see Paypal Invoice).
On 24th June 2015, in reply to an email from me, OFA restated the timeline to build to be "around the 24 month mark from your deposit" (see email 2).
In September 2016, replying to another email from me, they stated it would be "a few more months" before work started, but that it was a good time to take measurements, which I supplied; while the time estimate had run-over, I expected work to start soon so chose not to raise a dispute.
In June 2017, following my enquiry as to the expected timeframe, OFA said it would be "later this year when we'd be able to fit your character in" (see email 3).
My reply to this stated that I would consider the end of the year to be an “agreement between us that this deadline will be met; if further events beyond your control mean the ‘suit won’t be finished by this estimate, please can you inform me as soon as you become aware of this?” I wished to make clear that I considered the end of 2017 a hard deadline.
In January 2018, in reply to my chase email, they stated they still had not reached my position in the queue (see email 4).
I therefore began the process of cancelling my commission.
I requested a full refund, due to the unreasonable and excessive degree by which the build estimate had been missed (almost 2 years), and the poor communication received. I cited a clause I was sent in their Terms of Service during my preliminary discussions, which stated 30% of the commission price would be forfeit except in “extreme cases” (see TOS). I considered my case “extreme” due to time the process had overshot by, the exceptional and unforeseeable circumstances the studio had claimed to be going through which slowed production, and my communication issues.
In response, OFA outlined that they would not offer me a full refund and said that the entire fursuit building industry has adopted a firm non-refundable clause, and also apologized for the communication issues I had experienced. They offered the opportunity to keep my fursuit in the queue (see email 5), with a promise to improve communication, which I refused.
When they replied in February, they stated that their policy has “always been that we never contractually promise a start date” and that “we are still technically at 24+ months” (see email 6). They went on to say that their non-refundable clause was "firm" and they would not refund me in full; they said the “extreme circumstances” condition was intended to allow them to be sympathetic to someone who found themselves “in a genuine state of need...” citing customers who had encountered “…dire life circumstances and we helped as we could”. They found it “problematic” that I was referring to this term, and they felt that I had attempted to “reinterpret that outdated phrase against us” (see email 6 cont.).
They went on to say in their February email that they would "no longer offer waiving that clause for any reason", and offered to refund my payment beyond the 30% refund penalty in 3 instalments (see email 6 cont.). I did not take this offer as I felt it unjust that they should retain the 30% penalty, and because I paid the entire commission price up-front and would feel more confident receiving a refund as one payment.
They also restated that non-refundable percentages are a prevalent feature across the fursuit building industry and cited the TOS of 7 well-known makers (see email 6 cont.).
Email discussion continued over refund amount, with little progress. Given the log-jam on both sides, I emailed OFA on 7th February 2018 offering a compromise: OFA get 10% retention on the full commission price (see email 7). Apart from acknowledging receipt of this on 5th March, I have yet to receive a substantial response despite regular chase emails. It now appears the process has broken down, and I am unlikely to receive any refund soon due to our lack of ability to agree over this dispute and the lack of response from OFA.
As resolution to this issue, I would like OFA to issue a full refund. I do not believe they have upheld their contractual obligations to me, nor do I feel they have provided the level of service one would expect from a company I have paid almost $3000 to. I feel that attempting to withhold a 30% penalty constitutes an unfair term of contract given they have not indicated that they have spent anything on or worked towards my commission, and are likely to make up the entire amount very quickly in new commissions.
In addition, I feel the application of a ‘no full refunds’ policy should have common-sense boundaries with protections for the customer laid out explicitly on the face of the contract. I can understand a refund penalty if a commissioner pulls-out within the given timeframe and simply does not wish to continue the process. However, taking $2950 up-front, providing a timeframe estimate and then missing this by two years should surely warrant the return of the full amount paid, especially when the customer is told that their wait will be 18-24 months with a “minimal” shift of wait times. I do not claim to know how other makers apply their no-refunds clauses, though if it is an industry-wide practice to do this, I feel it’s a sad reflection on how we are doing business with eachother.
I regret that it has come to a point where I have needed to post this; as I have outlined to OFA, I sympathise with their position, the studio having been through many unexpected events of some gravity over the past few years. However, I cannot recommend the studio based on my experience, having been left disappointed with ephemeral time estimates and difficult communication on many occasions.
Email 1: https://www.dropbox.com/s/3a6y8rjuhyjqrjk/Email%201.png?dl=0
Email 2: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ffjtmxn8jxwsymf/Email%202.png?dl=0
Email 3: https://www.dropbox.com/s/a54gyehmgmzyopy/Email%203.png?dl=0
Email 4: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ejoyfwq6mmiom08/Email%204.png?dl=0
Email 5: https://www.dropbox.com/s/tgifcsay9ookqo0/Email%205.png?dl=0
Email 6: https://www.dropbox.com/s/jc377vs6b0giksh/Email%206.png?dl=0
Email 6 cont.: https://www.dropbox.com/s/2infyun44507g3t/Email%206%20cont..png?dl=0
Email 7: https://www.dropbox.com/s/feokqxqveekxabb/Email%207.png?dl=0 (I typo’d the dates here, writing 2013 instead of 2014)
Paypal Invoice: https://www.dropbox.com/s/irjcj3ycagq4hcq/Paypal%20Invoice.png?dl=0