I Need Help With A Selling Ethics Problem

Discussion in 'Replica Props' started by THEWRAPOFCONS, Apr 26, 2006.


    THEWRAPOFCONS Well-Known Member

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    I was asked by an individual about a month and a half ago to make a Riddler Belt buckle. I told him there were diffrent ways to go, wood, and metal, and I would put togther one of each and he could pick the one he wanted. After about 2 days I sent him pics of the metal one and he said he didnt want one after all, I had spent about $10.00 on materials but I figured it was cool. He then asked me to make him a Riddler Cane, similar to the movie but not exact. After what happened with the buckle I asked for half up front, $37.50 which he paid using Paypal. He said there was no rush and I told him I would keep him updated. After about a month and a half, 2 versions of the cane, many update e-mails, and a hard time finding a box to send it in I was finished. He then tells me he bought one on Ebay and dind't want the one I made for him anymore, he asked for his $37.50 back, I told him it had been made and he would have to finish paying me as I spent my time and money making it for him as agreed, he said that was ok and he would pay the 37.50 plus my shipping when he recieved the tracking number from me, so I had it sent to him and e-mailed him the tracking, he did not send payment after reciving the tracking. A few days later he e-mails me and tells me the cane was broken in 3 places, he sent pics and he demanded his money back, I had someone send the package out and did not think to tell then to get insurance as I usually do. I looked at the pics and to be honest I can not see how the damage could have been done in transit, the box does not look as thou it suffered major damage and one of the breaks looks as if a massve shearing force was applied to it. I know the types of glues I use and dont feel the damage was done in transit. I told him to send the the cane back, which he did today, but i am not sure how to procede, should I fix it and send it back and ask for the other half of the payment plus shipping as agreed, should I tell him if he does not want to pay the second half he looses his deposit, or do I give him his down payment back? Its not my intention to start and crap, I would just love to hear what others think.

  2. Darth Domain

    Darth Domain Well-Known Member

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    He's taking you for a ride, to break the cane in that manner would have taken force, as the box is not damamged even close to that extent we can deduce that the cane was broken out of the box. I would point this out to him and then cease dealings with this character. If he files a complaint with paypal, just explain the above, that there is no way the cane could have been damaged without the box sustaining much damage too. Send them the pics if necessary
    What an *
    Good luck
  3. propsculptor

    propsculptor Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    The dealings with him sounded very shady from the start, I wouldn't trust the guy at all,
    Take Darth Domain's advice :)
  4. Reactor drone

    Reactor drone Well-Known Member

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    If that's the box you sent it in I don't see how that damage could have occurred without breaking the cardboard.

    I'd offer to repair and resend the item,if he genuinely wants it he'll agree,if not.....

    Either way I don't think he should get his deposit back.
  5. Too Much Garlic

    Too Much Garlic Master Member

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    He commisioned your time, skills and effort and he has to pay the full amount. You should imo NOT refund him. If he is displeased with the item it is his own problem and the way it was broken seems very deliberate on his part to cowar his way out of the deal and scam you to get his money back.

    Commision jobs are non-refundable imo, since it is not an item you have lying around, but which you have to make. It's not the sellers/makers fault that buyer is an a*s. My advise is to fix it and send it back and demand that he pay the rest - though, don't send until he has paid in full. A deal is a deal.

    Definitely stay clear of this guy in the future as he sounds unable to commit to what he is ordering.

    EDIT: on a second note, I would definitely not feel very happy by letting this guy get the item, if I had spent a lot of time on making it only for him to "play" with it... and break it and disregard all your time and effort put into its creation... maybe Darth Domains idea is the best.
  6. temponaut

    temponaut Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    You mean you shipped the cane to him before he paid the balance he owed you? Typically in a deposit-balance situation, the buyer pays the balance when the work is completed but before taking delivery of the goods. You might want to protect yourself by following that SOP in the future.

    If this guy is messed up enough to break the cane into pieces in order to avoid paying you, there's not much hope he'll fork over the balance he owes. On the other hand, there's no way you should give him a refund, because you have an oral contract and have invested your time, money, and manpower on that basis. If the guy bought another cane in the interim, that's his prerogative, but he still owes you for the cane you made... and you owe him the cane.

    So I'd say: Tell him you've repaired the cane and are ready to ship it back to him per your contract, as soon as he pays you the balance due. If he pays, repair the cane and ship it to him insured. If he doesn't pay, don't repair the cane and keep the deposit. If he complains to PayPal, you've got a strong defense, including his violation of your deal for the belt, his violation of your deal for the cane, your offer to repair the cane for him, and the likelihood that he destroyed the cane himself, as evidenced by the photographs.

    Hope this helps. :)

    THEWRAPOFCONS Well-Known Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(temponaut @ Apr 26 2006, 04:30 AM) [snapback]1233287[/snapback]</div>
    Normaly I would have got payment for the second half before shipping, but since he was making "why is this taking do long?" noises I felt I should get it out and let him pay me while it was in transit as he said he would.

    I would also like to add, his e-mails after recieving the cane were very, "I dont trust you to send me the refund if I send back the cane" and "I am going to file a complaint with paypal because the 45 days to file is almost up". So its clear he does not trust people, whish should have been my first red flag.
  8. TimDrakeRobin

    TimDrakeRobin Sr Member

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    It look sto me as if he got the cain, took it out and tried some twirling with it in which it suffered damage, probably from him dropping it or hitting the floor or ceiling while it was spinning.

    Ok, so Either way you keep the deposit because it is usually to cover the cost of the item. You can Either fix it for him and send it back and get the rest of the money, OR you can trash it and keep the deposit and let him keep the rest of the payment, however you should have gotten the other half of the payment upon completion of the the item
  9. Draven

    Draven Well-Known Member

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    When I do commissioned work the deposit is non-refundable as it secures my studio time and materials for his/her project. This may or may not cover the actual material costs, but shows "goodwill" between parties.

    However, if you did not tell him that it was non-refundable, you may be in for some ear-bashing from him if you now refuse a refund.

    That said, I would still stick to my guns and explain why you do not want to refund it to him. A fellow member of this board, should by now, realise the skills and craftsmanship put into work like this and understand your position.

    Then, offer two options to him:

    Option 1: You'll fix it and ship it back to him upon payment of the balance. You can decide if you wish to add on the additional cost of posting it again.

    Option 2: You'll sell it. No problem. The cane looks good and you would have no problem finding an alternate buyer on here or Ebay.

    BTW - There is no way that the damage to the cane was caused in transit. The damage looks forced and remember... That box has now been through the post 3 times and still looks as good as new.

    May I ask... What were your impressions of this board member prior to engaging in this project? Is this out of character for them?

    Hope you manage to resolve it...


    THEWRAPOFCONS Well-Known Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Draven @ Apr 26 2006, 05:17 AM) [snapback]1233305[/snapback]</div>
    The pics I posted where sent to me by him, so the box has only been on one trip.

    Other than him flaking on the buckle I really didnt have any dealsing with him.

    Here is the finished/undamaged cane.

  11. Too Much Garlic

    Too Much Garlic Master Member

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    Well, he planned on getting a full refund or then filing a complaint from the get-go, since after he bought that other cane he was no longer interested in yours, but most likely knew you wouldn't refund the deposit unless he filed a complaint in which case he would get PayPal to refund the whole amount from you. That's why he gave those "what's taking so long" vibes and why he broke the cane to get a justification for a refund. I think he will file a complaint no matter what - let's just hope that PayPal is smart enough to see through his scam.

    Either he pays up the full amount or you should report him to PayPal for not paying the full amount and backing out of a deal in the most cowardly way.

    If this guy is a user here I would very much like to know who he is - by pm if you don't want to reveal him publicly - so that I can stay clear of him.
  12. Mxlplx

    Mxlplx Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I'd keep both, the deposit, the broken cane, tell this guy to get stuffed, and tell us all who he is so we can avoid this a$$clown. it is unfortunate that this went sour and you wasted your time, but I think the best thing is to cut ties and move on. He's clearly not going to pay you, even if you repair it.
  13. gavidoc

    gavidoc Well-Known Member

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    Work for hire. $75
    Non-refundable deposit: $37.50
    Jackass who doesn't understand this policy? Priceless.

    If he doesn't want the cane, fine. He doesn't have to send the remaining amount. Keep the original deposit and then sell the cane to someone else.

    Ship your own product, WAIT till you are paid, and get insurance on the freaking thing.

    I don't really see any ethical issues with this situation.
  14. weaselflinger

    weaselflinger Sr Member

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    Although too late for this particular situation, I agree with the idea that the initial payment is non-refundable and should be stated as such before work begins.

    I can't imagine contracting someone to do custom work for me only to tell them that I've changed my mind once the work is done.

    The problem here is if you screw this guy, just because he deserves it (and clearly he does) then you give him legitimacy to bad mouth you.

    THEWRAPOFCONS Well-Known Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(weaselflinger @ Apr 26 2006, 09:20 AM) [snapback]1233417[/snapback]</div>
    Thats my main concern
  16. gavidoc

    gavidoc Well-Known Member

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    How is he * him?

    Standard practice for commission (sp) work is to pay if not all then half up front.

    If anything, this guy SCREWED the builer...Twice now.

    If they guy doesn't want it, fine. He shouldn't get his down payment back though.
  17. dropshipbob

    dropshipbob Sr Member

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    But you'd let someone take advantage of you, just to keep your reputation? That doesn't sound right either.

    Keep your money, and keep the cane, tell him to shove off. If he procedes to slander your reputation, take him to court. If anyone asks you "what's up", show them the evidence and let them decide for themselves.
  18. greatwazoo42

    greatwazoo42 Sr Member

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    Send him a tube of Elmer's Glue gratis and ask him never to call you again.
  19. temponaut

    temponaut Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(THEWRAPOFCONS @ Apr 26 2006, 11:30 PM) [snapback]1233424[/snapback]</div>
    Thats my main concern
    The thing is, in no way have you screwed this guy. On the contrary, he's screwed you, repeatedly. I don't see how there's any legitimate way he can badmouth you.

    But he can still badmouth you.

    With a guy like this, you can never tell what he's going to do or say. If he doesn't get his way, he may spread lies about you. Is that a reason for you to give in to his "blackmail," give him a full refund, and eat the loss? I don't think so.

    Apart from this transaction, you've got your reputation and he's got his. Based on what you've written, I'd guess that you're not the first person he messed around. There are other people out there who know he's a jerk. And if you've been ethical about how you do your business, there are likewise plenty of people who know you're a stand-up guy and are ready to vouch for you.

    Payment of the deposit is the equivalent of the signature on an oral contract. That was the green light for you to invest your time, money, and skills in the project. As Draven wrote, his payment secured your commitment to the work. The deposit is not refundable. (You should make this clear at the outset in future transactions.)

    You have to stick to your guns, dude. No refund.
  20. franz bolo

    franz bolo Sr Member

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    It looks almost impossible that the damage could have occured in that box.

    I would get the original cane and fix it. Then stick it in the same box it was shipped in and throw it around real hard and see if it suffers any damage.

    I doubt it would. If it doesn't, then I wouldn't refund anything. If it does then you will know it was the shipping that caused the damage.

    Any way, I would only offer to fix the cane and NOT offer a refund.

  21. Jedi Lawja

    Jedi Lawja Well-Known Member

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    The guy's a scammer. The money he sent you was a 'down payment' on a custom prop. That down payment should be firfeit(sp) in the case of cancellation or failure to pay remaining balance.

    That aside, what I find so screwy about this is the money amounts. They're almost insignificant. Seriously, a comissioned custom prop for $75 is a very good deal. Nickels and dimes. Reminds me of a child who wants to spend his money on six different things.

  22. UFO

    UFO Sr Member

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    keep his $37.50....
    fix the cane....
    ill pay you the other $37.50...
    send me the fixed cane.

    THEWRAPOFCONS Well-Known Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(UFO @ Apr 26 2006, 12:32 PM) [snapback]1233527[/snapback]</div>
    I agree with NoHumorMan, I will resolve this before selling off the cane, thanks for all the PM's
  24. Too Much Garlic

    Too Much Garlic Master Member

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    I don't think it would be a good idea to sell the item before this problem with the current a** buyer has been fixed. It would send the wrong kind of signal and would probably only strengthen his case against you.

    Just a thought.
  25. Hotshot

    Hotshot Sr Member

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    I had almost the same thing happen wioth some Ghostbuster props, and can tell you you're doing the right thing.I just hope it doesn't cause as much trouble as mine did me.
  26. Jedifyfe

    Jedifyfe Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I agree with everyone. This guy just took the cane broke it and is scamming you. Let him file a complaint with Paypal.
  27. damon5973

    damon5973 Well-Known Member

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    well he was out to get you and look for a freebie.

    I have on order with you several items and have paid inadvance, which ws only fair. I would have never expected you to create the arrow heads and then ship them to me before I paid you.

    Dont worry about the bad mouthing. you seem to have much support here and havent done anything wrong.

    BTW, I loved the pics of the arrows yousent. great work and cant wait to get them...
  28. recoil

    recoil New Member

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    It sounds to me as if this guy is trying to scam you to get what he percieves as his money back from you.
    I would out the guy on the Board that this happened on before he goes on it to try and bad mouth you to make himself look like the one that was wronged by you.
    Also I would ask him to send the Item and the original box back and after recieving it. let him know that you will be filing a complaint with the Postal Inspector.
    But he does not deserve a refund from you as you held up your end of the deal on a custom piece.

    THEWRAPOFCONS Well-Known Member

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    I dont think he is a member here, he is a member over on the League of Heroes.

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