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Denya

Looking for Advice: Fursuit Maker Missing Deadlines

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Hello, I'm somewhat new here. I've been having problems lately with my fursuit makers and I was recommended here by a friend for advice. I'll update with more information or screenshots if requested, but I'll try and censor their names.

 

Back in December 2018, I commissioned a fursuit maker $4150 ($4000 + $150 for US shipping) for a full body shaped suit. They told me they would start mid-late August, and would have it finished by AZFC (October 25th). I sent them their starter fee and did a payment plan, finishing at the end of April. 

There wasn't much communication going on, admittedly, at least not much that pertained to the suit. I asked again at the end of June for an update, making sure the due date was still acceptable, and they told me they didn't do due dates anymore. I was kinda peeved, seeing as part of the reason I commissioned them was that I expected it to be done at that date, so for them to change it like that out of the blue was somewhat worrying, but after an email, they told me they made the decision to not do due dates after taking my commission. They stated they would still start my suit mid-late August, which would give them plenty of time for AZFC.

In the beginning of September, I asked for another update and they told me I was slated to start that month...again, worrying, but nothing I could do. The  next week, after I asked again, they told me I was scheduled to finish a few weeks before the convention. 

In the first week of October, they sent me a picture of a very early head, as well as the shape of the suit that's in front of mine (both of our suits are supposed to look very similar though, so they were using it as a guide for mine). At this point, I was starting to get worried about it not being finished in time, but I assumed if it wouldn't be done, they would update me. Unfortunately, I don't know much about fursuit making at all, and I probably should have guessed by then that they weren't going to be done in time. 

On the 10th, I found out I was going to be in the same state as they were on a connecting flight on the 21st. I thought this was a perfect opportunity: I could try on and pick up the suit from them, and they wouldn't have to pay for delivery (even though I technically already paid for delivery). Win-win, right? I told them about it and they agreed that would work well for them. The day comes, they message me to come over in the evening, send a much more updated picture of the head, and told me the suit wouldn't be ready. I was fairly bummed, but assumed they were talking about the shaped body; I could probably just wear the feet, paws, and head at the convention still, which isn't ideal but it's still better than nothing. I arrive, and only the feet were finished. The head looked finished in the photos, but was missing a zipper and a few other pieces, the paws weren't finished being sowed, and the body wasn't even started. I was pretty angry about it, but waited until I got back to the hotel to tell them I was upset at staying another day here just to not get something to take home, and they ended the conversation with "Look, I am trying to de-stress" and going offline. 

The next day, after arriving home, I asked if it was at all possible to finish the head and paws by the 26th and send them via overnight shipping, and they told me it wouldn't. They would send me updates over the next couple weeks. 

Today (11/4) I asked them for an update, and they informed me that they've both had to take on full-time jobs in order to make ends meet. They wouldn't have a home and have missed meals before because money wasn't coming in. "Once we have things more stable and a couple months worth taken care of, we will be able to give you a better estimate for a finish date." 

I'm honestly not sure how to proceed. I thought making fursuits was supposed to be a full-time job. Did they spend my money without delivering a product? Do I wait or make an ultimatum? Are they at fault here, or do I need to be patient? What's really stressing me out is there's another local convention that I wanted to wear the suit at that starts January 3rd. Should I ask for something by that date? 

Thank you very much for reading. 

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I went ahead and pinged our fursuit mods in the mod chat and posted this to twitter.  It sounds like you're nearing the time where an ultimatum would be appropriate and/or a beware.

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I say right now that, yes, they did spend your money without delivering a product. And they've violated their own contract with you when a deadline was agreed on. Deciding afterward that they wouldn't do it doesn't make previous agreements null and void. That's like buying a computer with a one year warranty and the company deciding two months later they aren't honoring it anymore and you find out at the 6 month mark when you computer suddenly dies.

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It sounds to me like there is a variety of issues happening here that I find alarming. Please keep in mind, I'm approaching this with how I understand the situation, and I'm not trying to unfairly paint this maker in a bad light. My advice isn't gospel, and I'm hoping other folks will chime in address anything I might miss in my assessment.

Before money changed hands, they agreed to a due date, and you paid under that stipulation. You formed a contract. The maker can't  just change their mind on the contract, and give you no choice but to accept it. They're legally obligated to hold up their side of the agreement.


They wouldn't have a home and have missed meals before because money wasn't coming in. "Once we have things more stable and a couple months worth taken care of, we will be able to give you a better estimate for a finish date." 

As cruel as it might seem to say this, the harsh truth for them is that their issues are not your problem as a client to correct. Save for the fact they affect you receiving what you paid for, it's unprofessional to let those problems interfere with the job they were paid for. Please don't get me wrong, I do empathize with folks going through hard times, but the rub is, you paid them for a service, and if they cannot fulfill that service, they need to at least partially refund you. It's to be expected that the maker will spend part of the money on supplies, and that part may not be refundable. However, currently they have not completed your commission, and if they have already spent all of that money, and cannot refund you or finish your product in a timely manner, that's not acceptable. A professional does not spend the commission before the product is delivered to the client, and both parties agree the transaction is complete. Only then should the maker be spending that money.

I'd ask they either refund the money spent on materials for just your suit (not an entire bulk orders of fur etc). I'd ask this list be itemized. Professionally speaking, they should have kept all of the receipts for the materials and can provide that information to you. Alternatively, if you want, you can ask for the materials in lieu of the money spent on them. I'd ask what each part they actually completed would have cost separately (hopefully they have a public price list they can refer you to). They should be refunding all of the $150 shipping to you sans what is used for mailing you the parts they've completed. (This might be splitting hairs, but even mailing a huge 40lbs box USPS from NY to CA would be $190, and I feel like it's a safe bet that your suit will not weigh that much.)

 

 

To help me explain a bit better, I'll try replace a transaction involving a fursuit with one involving a car. 

You drop off your car because you need the carburetor fixed. You pay the mechanic to purchase a new carburetor and install it in your car. You both agree that it'll be done within in two days. 

A week goes by, you still don't have your car, and haven't heard from the mechanic. You ask them for an update, and now they tell you that they've just ordered for the carburetor. 

Another week goes by, and only when you ask for an update, does the mechanic tell you that they're unable to afford the tools to install the carburetor, and you have to even wait longer to get your car back. 

Would you still work with them? Or would you just get your money back, go to another mechanic, and warn people not to go to this person?

 

The fact they mention a queue, leads me to believe you're not the only one having these problems with this maker, so I strongly advise getting the ball rolling on drafting up an email outlining an ultimatum that you find satisfactory. I'f I understand right, the options you're seeking are: 
They can deliver the suit in time for PDFC as you asked, or give you a partial refund by that date instead. Set a firm deadline and really dig your heels in. You're entitled to your money back, or the product you paid for. Based on the information you've given, they are not in the right here.

I apologize if any of this comes off too harsh. I'm not having the best time articulating all of this, but hopefully it'll help, and others might add their two-cents as well! 🙂

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I really appreciate the comments, thank you so much for offering your advice. 

From the looks of it, an ultimatum might be the best choice. I'm still rather nervous about sending an email to them, though. 

For starters, if the ultimatum is to deliver a fursuit by PDFC, they could rush it and end up delivering a low-quality product. There's a chance they could take personal offense to the ultimatum and intentionally deliver something low quality as well. Another fear I have is actually harming their health in order for them to make deadlines. One of them complained about health issues while working 12 hour shifts to make deadlines on twitter, but I won't go into detail in case is breaks submission guidelines. 

If anyone has any advice on how to go about writing the email back to them, or any advice on what to do next, I'd greatly appreciate it. 

Edit: Forgot to mention that I'm willing to offer screenshots of our emails and other forms of communication if it's needed. I paraphrased a lot to make sure the posts were brief, but I can go back to show proof. 

Edited by Denya

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Another edit I forgot to bring up: One more reason I'm afraid of asking for a refund is, well, I've been waiting for nearly a full year for a suit from them; it was something I've been waiting for a long time, something that helped get me through the year when things got rough. To have to jump ship and take what I can get while looking for someone is kinda rough...

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I called both PayPal and the bank, and the bank told me I can issue a charge back if I need to in the future, so it looks like I can make a good ultimatum. 

The problem is, I'm reading over the Ultimatum guidelines and I'm still not sure if it's the best option. According to them, they've been dealing with health and financial issues for a while. They even stated in that same email "The honest reality is we need to stabilize things first because it's not going to help us get your suit/the queues suits done if we don't have a home to work in. We're very sorry it's taking so long. It's going to be a little bit longer." 

I don't know what to do here. If it really is impossible for them to work on the suits, then I'm afraid I'd just be taking money from people who really need it. 

I guess in the end, it comes down to whether or not I should just ask if they can finish, say, a partial in time for PDFC, or state that if they don't, that I will issue a charge back. 

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I would look into whether or not they've been going to cons or getting purchases that aren't related to finishing their queue. That's a sign that they're just stalling. Technically, it really isn't your fault they spent your money before providing the product you paid for. I can understand not wanting to sink them further into problems, but give them a specific deadline of say, two or three months, to finish and ship your suit or you will be filing a chargeback on the refundable amount. Then, if they finish the suit after another month, you can pay them back.

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From what I've seen on Twitter, they haven't been to any cons since early September. 

An update: I sent them an email asking if they could finish the partial by PDFC, and they responded saying they're not certain, but they'll try. They'll have "a better idea on how to move forward" later this month, and that they'll be doing some fursuit work over the holidays, with mine being priority. I suppose I should just wait until the end of November before asking again. 

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Another update. They said they're fairly certain they can finish the partial over Thanksgiving weekend. I asked if they could send over what they finish, waited 6 days with no response before poking them on Discord. They said they can the coming week. I asked how much they got done, when they'll send it, when it'd arrive, and if they can do express shipping. I waited 2 days this time before poking them on discord, and their response was "My dude, please. We will send you an email when we ship with the tracking code." Answering only one of my questions (and barely) while also making me feel like crap the rest of the day.

"This coming week" is almost over.

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I would start the chargeback, personally. They can't communicate at all when you ask questions. Best to was your hands of it and then if they do ship you something, you can pay them for what was done.

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I second a chargeback. If they provide a tracking number DO NOT CANCEL the chargeback, people have provided fake tracking #'s before and once you cancel you cannot reopen. You can always send back the money if need be.

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On 12/9/2019 at 9:32 PM, Rendrassa said:

I would start the chargeback, personally. They can't communicate at all when you ask questions. Best to was your hands of it and then if they do ship you something, you can pay them for what was done.

They sent the partial the day after I posted here. Aside from missing the head fan they told me would be installed, it's perfectly fine. 

Fast forward to today. I hadn't bothered them about the suit at all until Jan 6th, when I gave them some feed back and asked when the full suit would be done. No response. I poked on discord a week later. No response either. Do I give them an ultimatum? Or do I just go straight for the charge back? 

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13 hours ago, Denya said:

They sent the partial the day after I posted here. Aside from missing the head fan they told me would be installed, it's perfectly fine. 

Fast forward to today. I hadn't bothered them about the suit at all until Jan 6th, when I gave them some feed back and asked when the full suit would be done. No response. I poked on discord a week later. No response either. Do I give them an ultimatum? Or do I just go straight for the charge back? 

The issue with doing a chargeback now would be that they could give the tracking number for the partial as proof to PayPal if it's part of the same transaction (aka you paid for the fullsuit and partial together) If you go that route definitely make sure to call paypal and explain the situation. 

As for whether you should go straight into a chargeback or issue another ultimatum, I would issue another ultimatum, just to give them that chance. Just make sure to stick firm to the ultimatum 

 

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