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Unread 05-01-2013, 09:12 PM   #1
Khorrupt
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Being overcharged for a costume?

I know there was a thread about this a while back, but this is sort of a different situation.

So my friend commissioned this woman back in October to make her an Artemis Crock costume (the shirt, cowl, and pants --> http://stuffpoint.com/young-justice/...mis--picture/), and she told her that she would charge $50 to make it, and that she would not be able to do so until after Mardi Gras (mid-February), but my friend said she just needed it by May 1st, and the woman said that would be fine. My friend also asked that she please use cheaper spandex; not trying to lower the price, but just so it wouldn't go up if the woman had wanted to use a higher-quality spandex, and the woman said she would. She also pointed out that she was already giving my friend a 'discount.'

She didn't start on it after Mardi Gras, but instead has just ordered the fabric last weekend. (Today is May 1st.) There was no convention, but there's a costume contest at the comic book store on Free Comic Book Day, and my friend is totally crushed that she doesn't have her Artemis costume to wear this weekend.

Upon ordering the fabric, the woman also said that she's raising the price to $90 -- because she disregarded my friend's request about not using expensive spandex. (Which she agreed to.)

Now, before you guys unleash your wrath on me, I know this woman has kids and a life, and I, too, sew, so I know that charging for labour is more than reasonable.

But, to tell someone that you'll have a costume ready, and then NOT have even started by the time they asked you to have it ready eight months later, and directly do what they asked you nicely not to do, and then jack up the price, on top of that -- when you claim to have 'discounted' it? I'm sorry, but I just really feel that my friend is being ripped off.

I just want some opinions on this. My friend is a bit too mild-mannered to call her out on it, and I really think she should.
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Unread 05-01-2013, 09:20 PM   #2
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To bad for the commissioner. She agreed to a price and should do it for $50, if she can't she should give the $50 back. There is really nothing more to say, basically this is a very black and whit situation from the sounds of it and if what you say is correct your friend has done nothing wrong and should get the money she has paid back, or get the product for $50.

I can see maybe $5 as being an acceptable increase in price (even then your friend is entitled to say no), but this is an 80% price increase and is in no way acceptable.
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Unread 05-01-2013, 09:24 PM   #3
Kelley
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Sometimes the "expensive" spandex is what's necessary in order for it to look good or for you to not flash the world.

I feel like $90 for this costume hand-made is still a huge deal such that it's pretty much unfair to the person making it in my eyes depending on how much materials cost and how much work she's putting into this.

To be honest, you both have the right to be mad. It's not fair that someone says they'll deliver and they don't. But I also know what it feels like to have completely sold yourself short and screwed yourself and not want to work on something. I know that as an adult she should "power through it" or whatever, but it still sucks for her and not everyone can be perfect. Is she a family friend or something who agreed to do this because she likes you ? Both parties need to start communicating better about this.

It might be a better idea next time for both parties if you go to someone who does this professionally. If this person is a professional, they either don't know what they're doing or they're totally out of their element for this particular costume and are not handling it well.
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Unread 05-01-2013, 09:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelley View Post
Is she a family friend or something who agreed to do this because she likes you ? Both parties need to start communicating better about this.
She's my friend's brother's mother.
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Unread 05-01-2013, 09:29 PM   #5
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If she agreed on a price, it shouldn't change.
Granted, $50 is incredibly cheap for a costume, but that's what she agreed to and that's where it should stay.
a $30 increase isn't THAT huge, but it's not good business and since it's taken her so long to even get started, there's no way she should be charging more when she couldn't even deliver on time 8 months after the order.

That's called bad business and bad planning, I think she should get a refund or at least keep it at $50 because it was unacceptably late.
If she no longer needs the costume because she missed her event, she should all together cancel the order.

tl;dr: $50 is a steal, $90 is pretty cheap too.
But the last minute price increase + lateness = not fair to your friend at all.
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Unread 05-01-2013, 10:40 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Suntory_Times View Post
To bad for the commissioner. She agreed to a price and should do it for $50, if she can't she should give the $50 back.
Agreed. The commissioner should have done a better job estimating costs. Not only that, but it wasn't even ready in time, so the price increase is even more of a slap in the face. It's very unprofessional. I'd have been happy to pay twice or three times as much for someone who would honor my requests and finish on time.
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Unread 05-02-2013, 03:32 AM   #7
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This, right? Your link isn't working for me.

I have to agree with peeps. $90 is a STEAL for that.
It wasn't awesome to up the price like up, but just be aware that you're most likely not going to get a price like that anywhere else.
But... she already missed a deadline. If it were me, I would suck it up and get another commissioner, even if it's going to cost more. It seems like she doesn't even have respect for your deadline - not letting you know and buying the fabric... THIS LAST WEEKEND? Like the weekend of the deadline?? That's ridiculous. Even for all the scammers around here, they give you the "decency" to come up with a lame excuse XD;;


Since she already bought the fabric, I would say the best thing is to get a refund for everything else. Don't even let her start on it. I almost feel like she just bought the fabric now so you couldn't get the refund on that. Sorry, but that's too ridiculous.
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Unread 05-02-2013, 09:14 AM   #8
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In my opinion, you/your friend has every right to be upset. The commissioner said $50 would be the cost to make the outfit. If that was the price agreed upon, then the commissioner needs to work within that realm. If she couldn't, it was her job to come back to the client and communicate that the price would have to change. She didn't. If she did, then you wouldn't be in this situation. Because the commissioner went ahead and bought the fabric well outside the agreed price range without talking about it prior, your friend should not have to pay for it if she chooses. On top of all this, she didn't even meet the required deadline?! As Suntory_Times pointed out, this is a very cut-and-dry situation.

Now, your friend has to make a decision. If she really wants this costume, she can pony up the $90 (which as every says, is still a good deal) or she can get her $50 back and walk away without any costume. It's really up to her.
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Unread 05-02-2013, 09:36 AM   #9
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Even if $90 is a steal for whatever she is having made, that doesn't change the fact that the commissioner

a.) told her the costume was going to be $50
b.) miscalculated the costs
c.) decided to buy the materials anyway without communicating the price change and expect the buyers to still pay for it
and d.) since they also missed a deadline and seem (from what I am reading) unconcerned about that, too.

Regardless of whether or not a commissioner is giving someone a great deal on a costume, doing any of these things make them seem extremely unprofessional. its kind of like winning something on Ebay for $20 with shipping. You pay, and all is well and good until you get a message from the seller that's all "hay uh so this is going to cost more than i thought to ship, cough up the $30 extra, k?" its unprofessional and most people won't deal with that kind of crap.
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Unread 05-02-2013, 09:49 AM   #10
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The issue isn't whether or not the price is great even with the increase.

The fact is that this woman did not honor her promised deadline and quoted price. Which isn't acceptable without some kind of worthy explanation. If she didn't want to take projects during a time she was celebrating and having a good time; she shouldn't have done so. If one of her kids got sick and she simply couldn't manage to finish the costume in time she should have communicated to your friend that she needs to give her child all of her attention and will not be able to honor the promised deadline.

My guess is that she figured out at the last minute that things where going to be a lot more expensive then she originally thought they would and is trying to make up the loss. Which is fine, because I've lost on commissions before and it sucks BIG time. But that's the risk of not being accurate when calculating costs and isn't a mistake that the customer should be responsible for.

If this woman had to get supplies that where costlier then your friend thought they'd be, she should have communicated honestly with your friend that she had to buy more expensive fabric and understands that your friend was trying to keep costs down but she will work out a payment plan with your friend so she isn't paying a huge added cost all at once.

There's so many things that could have been communicated and I am sure your friend would have appreciated the honesty.

But she hasn't communicated. At all. Just threw the deadline out the window with no explanation and then tacked on an extra fee.

I do sympathize with commissioners, because sometimes things come up and we can't communicate or meet deadlines. But we have to do our best to work with our client to get things rectified.
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Unread 05-02-2013, 01:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AshofRebirth View Post
.
It wasn't awesome to up the price like up, but just be aware that you're most likely not going to get a price like that anywhere else.
It seems like everyone's focusing on the first part of what I said.

Actually, no one has really said "suck it up that's a great price"

A couple of us have acknowledged that yes, that's a great price.
But still, NO that's not professional and the commissioner handled it the wrong way.
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Unread 05-02-2013, 10:28 PM   #12
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The short answer? You're not being overcharged. You're being undercharged. But if this family of a friend is only working for reimbursement of materials and not labor, I'd say it's balanced and reasonable.

However, yes, she did screw up royally by not even bothering to work on it until two days before the deadline. So in that sense, your friend does have a right to be upset.

The real question is: did you get this agreement in writing? Is it a professional business transaction? Or just paying back somebody's mom for what they spent on materials? If there's nothing written down, just a verbal agreement, I wouldn't be surprised at all if Mom forgot about it completely. Not that she was being lazy or anything, but if she forgot, and didn't apologize or offer some kind of recompense for this paid favor...well, it doesn't look good for anyone.

It's nice to get great deals by throwing money at friends and family who can sew, who will work for peanuts. But you have to take the lumps with the deal, then - the fact that they aren't professionals running a business means they don't have standards to adhere to. No contracts, no business taxes or legalities, just a promise to a friend. Sometimes that works out wonderfully. Sometimes, it doesn't.
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Unread 05-02-2013, 11:13 PM   #13
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Fun fact: in most cases, you do not need to have anything in writing to have a contract. OP's friend absolutely had a contract with the commissioner and could technically sue for breech of contract... but given the small amount of money involved I severely doubt she would lol

at any rate, it sucks that your friend got screwed OP, though imo a 50$ quote for that costume should have sent up some sort of red flag.

so here is your validation that yes, your friend did get screwed, hope it works out lol
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Unread 05-03-2013, 02:34 AM   #14
Kelley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CapsuleCorp View Post
It's nice to get great deals by throwing money at friends and family who can sew, who will work for peanuts. But you have to take the lumps with the deal, then - the fact that they aren't professionals running a business means they don't have standards to adhere to. No contracts, no business taxes or legalities, just a promise to a friend. Sometimes that works out wonderfully. Sometimes, it doesn't.
Agree.

I also think that as a person I would like to help someone who has made a mistake - not take advantage of them. It's questionable since she missed the deadline, but they really need to talk about it.

Also, my auto mechanics give me "estimates" all the time right when I bring my car in, based on my description of the problem. It doesn't always turn out to be the same price - sometimes it's less, but unfortunately it's sometimes been a LOT more. I'm not going to hold them to $40 if it turned out a $200 part broke - even if I possibly could. I have been bringing my car to them for years and I know they're honest guys who aren't just making it up to get more money from me.

It's up to you to decide how to treat this woman. It's time to at least start talking, no matter what.
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Unread 05-03-2013, 09:42 PM   #15
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She isn't over-charging but missing a deadline isn't very professional...though being a family friend and not a business you're going to have to realize this person is doing you favour (I don't think she is trying to make a profit off this commission).

If you want professionalism you have to go to a professional.
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