When Things go Wrong: How to Handle Disputes

Art is a complex business. The time it takes for a piece to be completed can vary, details can be quite particular, and there are some artists and commissioners that are unable to meet expectations.

Traditionally, you might be out of luck when you come to an impasse. But with Artconomy Shield, you have access to a quality dispute resolution service that will help everyone get the most out of their commissioning experience.

How the Process Starts: Filing a Dispute

With Artconomy Shield, commissioners pay for the initial commission and Artconomy holds onto the money until the work is complete. However, if there’s something wrong with the commission, or if the artist has taken an extraordinary amount of time to complete the commission, the commissioner may file a dispute.

A dispute is not a guarantee that the commissioner will be refunded. It means that an Artconomy staff member will review the order to see what’s going on.

To file a dispute, click the File Dispute button.

The File Dispute button will be visible either under the final, or on the information panel on the order page next to the order’s current status.

Once the dispute is filed, a staff member will be contacted. They will comment on the order as needed. Staff members have a star next to their username:

Green stars are system administrators, while gold stars are normal staff members. The staffer who works your case might be either.

The Process: Making the Case

The staff member assigned to your case will read over the order and ask questions to both the artist and commissioner. They may elect to allow an artist more time to complete a work before making a final decision, especially if there is evidence that the work is in progress.

What Happens When a Case is Decided?

After a staff member reviews the dispute and has made a determination, they will either finalize the transaction, paying the artist the amount held in Escrow, or refund the commissioner. All refunds and payouts are always at 100%, minus the Shield fee.

Why no Partial Refunds or Payments?

Art is a very subjective endeavor, and relies on good communication between the artist and the commissioner.  Sometimes, the artist has put in a lot of work, but it’s not quite what the commissioner would have wanted. While we sympathize with the commissioner in this case, there is too much subjectivity involved in trying to decide what discounted rate should be provided, leading to significant costs attempting to make that judgement for all involved. We believe that if an artist has delivered at base what has been requested, then any further issues should be reflected when leaving a rating for the artist.

Likewise, if an artist has partially completed the work, but our staff determines that the reasonable time period for delivery has passed, we will return the money to the commissioner. We would prefer that artists focus on getting completed works to a smaller number of commissioners rather than several half-completed commissions to a larger group. Artconomy understands that sometimes commissions take longer then normal. We will always work with artists to give them a chance to complete the work if they get a bit behind.

How Does Artconomy Determine who to Decide in Favor of?

Artconomy’s staff will use a preponderance of evidence provided to make their decision. One or more of the following conditions will make an order eligible for a refund:

  • The artist has taken an extraordinary amount of time beyond estimate to complete the work (this will not be considered if the final is already delivered by the time the dispute is filed)
  • The artist has drawn something severely under their standard quality of work as depicted in their gallery.
  • The artist has drawn something completely different than what a reasonable reader would have expected the commission notes to require.
  • Sales involving original goods being shipped do not arrive or are damaged. The commissioner must provide proof of damage. Artists are expected to use trackable forms of shipment and buy insurance to cover damage so that they may claim the difference from their carrier.

What sort of things will not be refunded?

  • The artist’s time taken is moderately over estimate.
  • The final piece has flaws which were in previously posted revisions that were either commented on by the commissioner or which the commissioner had time for comment and no comment was made.
  • The piece is within reasonable variance of the artist’s history of quality, but it is not quite what the commissioner hoped for.
  • The final piece has minor differences from the description, or differences that could result from reasonable mistakes when reading the commission notes.

The above cases, while regrettable, will not be warranted against by Artconomy for the cost of the commission price. The commissioner is free to include any information about their commissioning experience when rating the artist.

The Last Word

Artconomy hopes that our commissioners and artists never need our dispute resolution services and will be able to come to agreements on their own. However, we recognize that things do not always go according to plan, which is why we made Artconomy Shield.

Remember: Products not covered by Shield will not be protected by our dispute resolution services. Look for the green shield icon!

Stay safe, and happy commissioning!