Need Help: Have I been ripped off?
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Need Help: Have I been ripped off?

Posted in Custom Workstation

I understand that action figure customization is an art, and for the past couple of years I have been a frequent patron of this art form, having purchased and commissioned several custom figures.

With that said, here is my situation: I commissioned a figure from a pretty well know action figure customizer several months ago. He promised to start on it nearly immediately and said that he would provide updates with pictures of his progress. The cost of the commission was a large amount of money and of course I made a down payment of half the sum (sizable in itself).

Well it has been eight months and I have been very patient, but no update or message from the customizer. A month ago was the first time I asked him for an update, but no response. He has read but failed to respond to each message I have sent him, around four in total (I checked the status of my messages and the online message server stated that the messages had been read).

I understand that action figure customization takes time, but in eight months time I should have at least had one update; and I know for a fact that this customizer has said that in the past he has customized figures in a very short period of time. But it's not the length of the wait that bothers me, it's the fact that he refuses to respond to my messages, which have been extremely cordial and considerate, and that he will not let me know what's going on. In my most recent message, I explained my concern and said that although I would rather have the figure, if he could not make it for me I would need a refund. I paid him a large down payment, so I explained to him that my career does not pay much (which it truly does not) and that I could not afford to just throw that money away. But I stressed to him that I would prefer to purchase the figure. But no response.

So what should I do? Am I being ripped off? Am I being impatient? It has been eight months and I've only wrote him a few times. I'm amazed this is happening, because this customizer is well known and respected. Any feedback would be much appreciated. Thank you and take care.

Posted by BlueTime
on Sunday, October 11, 2009
User Comments
glennwebman69 -
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Certainly does not sound right to me. I would suggest to anybody considering commissioning a customizer to schedule a timeline for completion. 8 months is crazy particularly as you have not received any updates. I think you should have accepted his offer to see WIP pics.
pock63 -
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
I agrea.
CplHicks -
Monday, October 19, 2009
I really would ask to see pictures.

To me he's sounding like he's ripping you off.

But that's just me.
asch -
Monday, October 19, 2009
Uhh! I`read this all and I am really confused.. if this guy took money from you and just didn`t answers for Your messages.. You know, I am doing figures only for myself - that means I have all the time of the world to finish them. I like to even play with them before finished.. and the most detailed, hard work took me no more than 2 months. what did You ordered, man!? You were more patient than I would be. good luck!
loosecollector -
Friday, October 16, 2009
"...There is no time-limit set..." -customizer

True, but once the customizer gets partial payment, you (the customer) are entitled to ask for an estimated date of completion or a time frame. It's your right because you've paid . At this point of your transaction, you need to ask for WIPs (progress pics) already. It will be understandable if he gets an entire set, but eight months is too long of a wait for just one figure.
Therapist -
Friday, October 16, 2009
WOW man you handled this whole thing REALLY well I do think I know who this customizer in question is. If my guess is correct then this is VERY odd indeed he is normally so timely and responsive.

You did things PERFECTLY
Green Skin -
Friday, October 16, 2009
What a jerk. He's just being disrespectful to his customer.
abeam -
Friday, October 16, 2009
I hope it works out for you too, though in this case, if I was in your shoes, by now, I would have demanded pictures as proof of progress.
pock63 -
Thursday, October 15, 2009
I hope it all works out for you. Goold luck.
BlueTime -
Thursday, October 15, 2009
First off, thanks, fellas, for your honest input and concern. It means a whole lot. Here's an update with answers to some of your questions:

The guy advertises his work and takes commissions over a social networking site. I tried contacting him by phone for the first time the other day, but his mother answered and said he was at work. I called again the next day to give him one more chance, but nothing. So I send him a letter on the site, threatening to go to the authorities. Here's what my letter said:

Customizer, I have been fair, considerate, and extremely patient, but you refuse to communicate with me. I paid you $___ based upon the promise that you would complete the _______ action figure I commissioned from you. And as promised, I would pay you another $___ upon completion for a total fee of $___.

If this money is not refunded to me by tomorrow, I will contact authorities and I will persist until either you repay the money or a warrant is issued. And trust me, I know what I am doing - I cover police work in my profession every day.
I am sorry it has come to this. But I have done all I can to be patient with you, but you refuse to communicate with me about the action figure. It has been eight months since I commissioned the figure, and yet you have not responded to any of the messages I have sent you since mid-April - a month after I made the commission you accepted and promised to fulfill.

I want all $___ of the money I paid you back. You can send it to my PayPal account. When you enter PayPal, send the complete refund to: _____________

As much as it pains me - because I want to purchase the figure and I want to give you my business - I will contact authorities tomorrow afternoon if the money is not refunded to me.


So, after all my previous messages he failed to respond to, he of course, responded to this one. Here is his response:

The figure is in the process of being completed. There was no time limit set in which to have the piece finished by. I can send you pics of the piece in progress if you like , but keep in mind the $___ was a non-refundable deposit.

Please stop harassing my mother at her residence, as I do not live there. The phone # there is kept under my name for privacy reasons. If you need to get in touch w me ___________ will do. I do not check myspace often so that is the best way to contact me.


And this was my response to that letter:

I looked up your phone number online by typing your name and city online. This was the number associated with your name. I only called twice, last night and today, and asked for you; I did not mean to bother your mother and I apologize for doing so.

But I would not have had to make the call if you had not ignored me. The status of the messages I sent you all said the messages had been read. I did not expect for you to have this project done in a few months time, because I realize this is a highly detailed figure. All I needed was an update in which you said this will take a while so bear with me, but that never happened. How was I supposed to know? All I got was silence. I am a reasonable person and do not mind waiting - trust me, I once waited a little over a year for a custom figure - but the individual I had commissioned kept me informed of all delays, and I was just thankful for that, because he was communicating with me and I knew he still had me in mind.

I am willing to wait, that is certainly not a problem. Again, I apologize for bothering your family, but you would not respond to my messages, so I had to contact you some way. Pictures are not necessary because you told me what's going on and that is all I need.


He has yet to reply to this message, which I sent before yesterday. So I'm going to trust him, be patient, and wait a bit longer. But if I get the feeling the figure will not be completed, then I will take action. Even if the law can't help, I'll make sure people know the identity of the customizer and spread details of my transaction with him. And trust me, this man is a highly regarded customizer.

Thanks again, guys, for all your advice. Any input is much appreciated.
loosecollector -
Thursday, October 15, 2009
That is a bit of a long time bro. Eight months is a hell of a wait for just one figure.
Hope the guy sees this message and does some work.

Customizing is an artform, and takes time. I myself took a while to finish things.
Waiting is a given... just not this long .
DiceMan -
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
well if it was his own private site NO
because he could say it was a donation for the site
I've been through this before
plus if its not over a certain amount of money
no one will do anything for you
pock63 -
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Thats not true. Wouldn't this clasifie as mail fruad?
DiceMan -
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
how did you get in touch with this guy
was it through a site like ebay or here or was it a private site
cause if the guy don't wanna give you a refund you have almost no legal ground to stand on unless it was on a legit site like ebay
otherwise your screwed unless the guy is gonna be reasonable
that sucks man hope you get it fixed
pock63 -
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Thats terible! By all means be agresive! Eight months is definetly enough time to finish watever figure he was working on up!
Green Skin -
Sunday, October 11, 2009
No problem, I understand.
BlueTime -
Sunday, October 11, 2009
I must be discreet at this time, but I can say it was my all time favorite Street Fighter character. Sorry if this doesn't reveal too much. I'll let you know after I get this matter resolved (if I get it resolved).
Green Skin -
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Just out of curiosity, what was the figure?
Green Skin -
Sunday, October 11, 2009
no problem
BlueTime -
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Thank you. Just what I was thinking of doing, but I wanted a second opinion for fear that I was being hasty. I'll give him six more days, and if he does not produce the figure or full refund, I will seek legal action and reveal his name. Thank you, Green Skin, for your insight and honest opinion.
Green Skin -
Sunday, October 11, 2009
8 months is time enough to finish any custom, sounds like your being jerked around a bit. I'd demand a full refund, or completion of the custom. Sounds like you've been more than patient so it's time to get a bit more agressive. If he doesn't reply you can pursue legal action since it technically is considered fraud. If all else fails and you don't get your money or your custom release his name. If potential customers knew of your problems they may choose not to do business with him.
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