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.