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Should a customizer be held responsible for breaking a doll/doll part?

Jun 16, 2007

    1. Now, this is just a hypothetical situation ^_^; it didn't happen to me, but it's something I've been nervous and wondering about.

      Say you send a head to a customizer for a new face up. Some horrible freak accident occurs and your head gets melted or broken somehow beyond repair (falling from a high place, acetone disaster, slip with a sledge hammer.......... XD etc... use your imagination) BY ERROR OF THE CUSTOMIZER (clumsiness, carelessness). o.o What happens next? Should the customizer pay you back the value of the head? Should the commissioner accept it as a danger of sending the head to someone else and do nothing but cry? What if it's an uber rare head that's like $500 or something?

      I wasn't sure if I should post this in general or suggest it for debate or put it here... or if it's even been discussed before (in that case I'm sorry xD"!).

      Yeah... just curious o.o...
    2. Hm...well, I'd have to say that the customizer is responsible. It's akin to lending a friend your car. If my friend drives my neon blue T-bird (see, it's a hypothetical situation, so I can dream :lol:) off of a cliff, I'm sure as heck not paying for the repairs! Whoever is in posession of the doll at the time is responsible, in my opinion.

      However, what happens if, say, you send a sleeping head to a customizer for an eye opening, and the mod is totally botched? Like, end up with a doll with one very long eye kind of botched? -thinks-

    3. Lol@hypothetical dreaming XD

      I understand. I'm thinking more though of TOOOOTAL DOLLY ANIHILIATION~!!!!!!!!!!!1111 Rather than extremely bad modding. I'm talking completely un-salvageable.
    4. Of course it's the responsibility of the customizer, and you should have reimbursement. Also of course, that's why there are such things as business accident-insurance, incorporation (to limit your liability in case you're sued), etc.

      It's one thing if the post office loses it in transit after it's well packed (and there's insurance for that too), but unless you're very good friends and inclined to just forgive and forget, the customizer should offer restitution of some kind.

      Even if it's a case of someone doing heads on their veranda, it's still a business, and even if a squirrel got in, got its little foot trapped in the eye hole and proceded to whack the head all over the house while trying to escape, they're still responsible (the person, not the squirrel).

      Actually the same way a homeowner is responsible and could be liable to be sued if an invited guest slips and falls on their front steps.
    5. I run a faceup shop and I believe if the customizer wrecks the head beyond repair, it is the customizers responsibility to own up to what they did and replace it. There is no excuse for breaking or otherwise wrecking something that you were trusted to keep safe and make beautiful. That goes for badly done mods as well. If you take the commission you automatically assume full responsibility for your actions whether they be accidental or deliberate.

    6. Yes, I really understand and totally agree with what you're saying. In an ideal and just world I think this is correct, I'm just wondering... because say it really is a head worth $500. Do many people have this amount lying around that they can reimburse someone in case of an accident?

      Commissioning someone on DoA is a little bit different than working with an actual business it seems... since you're just dealing with another hobbyist one on one and making an agreement based on trust rather than a bunch of laws, conducts and policies. If there were no written agreement, could legal action even be taken against the customizer if they refused to pay for the price of the part? Of course, if it were some huge company we would DEFINITELY expect some sort of compensation, but because these are mostly just doll-loving individual artists, I didn't think many of them would have an insurance or emergency plan incase of a bad event like this x_X!

      I guess it just makes me wonder how many people are actually prepared for something like this *_*
    7. If you go into something on a business basis -- you pick a business name, you advertise for customers, create a portfolio, you may even be taking offf "business expenses" off your taxes, yes, you have to consider these things. If you're taking money from people, providing a service, then you have to do your best to be responsible for their goods. And in the back of your mind, you have to consider what you'd do if....

      If customizers are just "doll-loving individual artists", then why the lengthy threads about how to be a professional and about conducting your customizing business in a professional manner (i.e., communication, timeliness, etc.)? And why do people (rightly so) get upset when they're NOT treated in a professional manner?

      Look, as SF/media fans, we put on a number of cons over the years, and in the beginning we never even thought of insurance. But technically, a con-goer who gets injured at a con can not only sue the hotel but the people holding the event. But even then, until event insurance became pretty cheap and easy to get, we just prayed every year when the con chairs weren't interested in getting a policy for the weekend. Irresponsible, yes. And I've belonged to many a hobby club that doesn't bother with insurance to cover their meetings, even though there's liability there too. But that's why I do understand the impulse to not cover one's tooshie. Bad things seldom happen, and most of us work on hope. But if they do --
    8. Quote: Even if it's a case of someone doing heads on their veranda, it's still a business, and even if a squirrel got in, got its little foot trapped in the eye hole and proceded to whack the head all over the house while trying to escape, they're still responsible (the person, not the squirrel). ~hobbywhelmed

      XD LOL! Ohhh this is too precious! I never laugh so hard! Thanks hobbywhelmed, you make my day!! XD :lol:
    9. LMAO. :aheartbea

      Anyway, the customizer should definitely be held responsible! If it was indeed an extremely valuable head, they need to replace it. Either pay up or find another one! And in the rare (I think) instance where that person is unwilling to pay/replace, you just need to make a big stink about it so nobody will ever commission them again :|

      I was actually talking about something similar to this earlier! I work at a frame shop, and one of the previous employees accidentally ripped an original signed Woodstock poster that was worth like $5000. Sucks, but they had to replace it XD;; (Yeah first of all they had to find the same poster in the same good condition, and also track down the same person who had signed it and get him to sign it again while taking photos of the signing to prove to the customer that it wasn't being forged, and then they framed the new poster for free.) Uh needless to say that customer never came back...
    10. I had a similiar thing happen to me..though it wasn't an expensive head, it was a 27cm head,,and I was the customizer...I refunded the money and added extra for the person to buy a new head...I think if a customizer ruins a head they should own up to it, and refund the money plus pay for a new head..its only right.
    11. That's commendable, and really, really smart. At least it keeps customers happy and coming back.
      If a customizer wrecks an expensive head, by accident or not, and refuses to replace it, his/her customer base would soon be non-existent once word got out, so it's better to suck it up, take the loss, and stay in business, than refuse to make amends and lose credibility, not to mention the possibility of any future business! ;)
      It's probably also safe to say that most die-hard professional customizers started out as hobbyists at some point or another and built their customer base that way.
    12. I believe the customizer should refund the market value of the head for sheer ethics alone. If the customizer doesn't have the money to refund at the time, then they better work for it and pay it back over time. XD

      If it's their fault, they need to be owning up to it.
    13. Of COURSE they are. No question about it. It broke when they had it, they are 200% responsible.
    14. This is a very long winded post... I hope it is helpful to somebody. This is only my personal opinion, and I tried to think very carefully about this.

      If something happened to my LSG Elf Pepe, I would just die... Not literally, but I would be devastated. I only put him in the hands of someone I knew, had met before, and he never once went in the mail. Yet I was still nervous. Spork is one of the most expensive and precious things I own.

      If a mod/artist damaged something like my Pepe, they would have an incredibly difficult finding one for a reasonable price at this point, if at all... An LSG Roko or Kumi would be even more difficult. If it happened to a Misty Rose it would even go up from there because they seem to be much less common. I would expect them to acquire one to replace the one they damaged however. They were trusted with a very expensive piece, and they should do everything within their power to protect it, and if something still happens, they are responsible.

      If they/their dog/kid/cat/furnace/frog/vacuum/dremel did damage the doll, they should step up and pay for it. And not a quick fix, but to actually acquire a new piece for you. It may have been accidental, but it still happened while under their watch, so it is their fault. Accidental damage is one ship, very simple: they own up to it. If their friend went crazy with the piece while in their care, they are responsible. If they want to pursue getting that from their friend it is their responsibility, you shouldn't have to wait for an unreasonable amount of time. While you may trust someone 100% you do have to remember that accidents do sometimes happen.

      There is a huge responsiblity when an artist takes on projects like these. Not only is there an expectation for a timely and pleasing moddification, they have the responsiblity for caring for a very expensive and possibly very rare piece of art. If they are not prepared to handle the unexpected tactfully and responsibly, then maybe they are not yet ready to be offering these services.

      Sometimes, you have to just take a deep breath, and understand that something could happen and it may not be resolved how you like. Life is not very fair, but a good artist will do their best to help you however they can. It is a very difficult thing to tell someone that you broke their doll. Imagine how you would feel if you were in their shoes before you go crazy... Attitude is a big thing in this business, if they come forward and are very professional, then you should be professional with them. If they are belligerent and accuse you for their mistakes, then you might want to consider a different course of action...

      Artistic interpretation is a whole another story... Now if that is what you asked for, as in: you commissioned for some crazy damaging mod to the sculpt, and artistic differences in interpreting the way you worded something causes it to be unlike anything you wanted/expected -- that's your fault for not being clear enough. If it is unwanted mods, it is their fault. There is a very fine line between the two. A change in heart resulting in a cop out is not the artist's fault, even if you try to make it seem that way. I firmly believe in concept sketches, photoshopped images, clear concise descriptive and directive language, and more than one consult where the artist actually writes down what you are saying and asks questions.

      I went into a commission with no experience, and very little information for the artist to work with. Fortunately it was a non-permanent faceup, but feelings were hurt a little bit on both sides, and it was mostly because I did not communicate what I wanted very clearly. I was doing more nodding than directing. Nothing is worth more when trying to get customization right than communication.

      If you can't draw what you want, find a friend who can. Or commission someone who can, and work with them to create a concept photo of what you want. It is sure to be much cheaper and less emotionally charged then blindly sending out your doll to be modded, and it will give you and the artist a base to work from. The artist can then tell you what they can or cannot do. Not everything is always possible, but at least there is a solid foundation to work from, and you both are on the same page. Even submitting a photo with an interesting color you like helps. If you like an artist's work, and would like to see how they would interpret your doll when you let them go "free range," you should ask for a drawing. Ask for progress photos if you are especially nervous or paranoid.

      Typically, the artist is not out to get you in anyway. Their goal is to create a beautiful work of art that you will treasure. It makes them so happy to see their work around on the forums, and making you happy. Just like we love getting complements on our dolls, they love seeing the complements the dolls they worked on get. They love seeing the lives their work touches. I firmly believe that a little piece of the artist goes out with every doll they work on.
    15. Artists should: Do their research and be as professional as possible.
      - list their experience/ show previous work
      - provide feedback from previous customers
      - list what products they use
      - ensure they have a clean safe workspace
      - write up a disclaimer or contract stating what they agree to be accountable for, what they agree to do. Make sure the customer reads and understands before accepting any money from them.

      Buyers Should: Do their research.
      -how much experience does the artist have
      -what do their previous customers have to say about their work
      -what products do they use
      -what is their work space like (is it clean and safe?)
      -what are their disclaimers if any
      -will they agree to a contract which explains what they are accountable for.

      They should also fully insure their mail and send it via the quickest means possible. Many people will have the disclaimer: "not responsible for what happens to item in the mail." because things get lost and damaged by rough handling. However damage can be reduced by proper packaging. Package all items as carefully as possible to ensure the items saftey as much as possible!


      Finally: Unless otherwise stated in a disclaimer or contract the artist is 100% responsible if the item was permenantly damaged or otherwise destroyed in their care. Even if it was an accident. It really is serious business when you are taking someone else's money and property.

      Not many people understand this when they first start out. You should always, always do research before plunging into anything whether you are a buyer or a seller.
    16. No, the customizer should accept it as a danger of accepting this business. If it's in your care, it's your responsibility. If you don't feel comfortable taking responsibility for an ultra-rare item, don't take the job. Pure and simple.

      There is a written agreement. I'm sure you and the customizer sent PMs back and forth agreeing to what would be done and how much it would be cost. That is a contract, and it's just as binding as one written by a lawyer. Everyone, please don't make the mistake of thinking that because there aren't lawyers and business licenses involved, that these are not legally binding agreements. They are, and people being commissioned are expected to treat them as such.

      (With standard IANAL disclaimer. Dammit, Jim, I'm an engineer, not a lawyer.)
    17. I would say that a customizer is responsible for damage or loss to a head while it's in her possession. If they're not responsible, then who is? I would expect the customizer to either pay the owner the market value or replace the part. And if it was something that was totally irresponsible that caused the loss, I would expect the customizer to consider closing shop.

      "Botched" mods... are an odd topic, I think. There's no clear definition of what is necessarily 'botched' or whose fault it is - it may be beautifully done but not what the owner envisioned. Owners are not always clear in terms of saying what they want, sometimes they don't exactly know what they want. Sometimes they want things that can't be done with the head they've provided. It's REALLY important for customizers to tell owners if they feel that they can't handle a project, and to explain any risks or possibilities of things looking bad/stupid up-front. (i.e. "if I open the eye that much, there won't be any upper eyelid left... he may look sort of staring or bug-eyed.") This way everyone knows the risks and ability level up front... it's also an opportunity to confirm that everyone understands what's going to be happening.

      I think with mods and faceups, it's vital for owners to look at portfolio pictures and find the artist that suits what they want. It's not fair to expect an artist to do a faceup "in the style of" another faceup artist... there's a high potential for disappointment for the owner and it's kinda of demeaning to the customizer's own style.
    18. I totally agree with this. If I was to take a doll in to dye it and something horrible (and unrepairable) happened, I'd expect the owner to want me to replace it. Period. It might take me a while, and about fifty billion apologies, but I'd pay for a replacement. I look at this like my job. If you break a $500 machine at work, they are going to expect you to fix it. If you borrow something from a friend and screw it up, the right thing to do is fix it. It's not just customizing either, it pretty much applies no matter what the situation. If a friend's doll comes over to stay with me for a while, and I break it; I am responsible. It's just good sense and respect for other people's belongings.
    19. my experience is that it was a vinyl head...when she sent the head she had already put some sort of varnish on it and painted the hairline and top of the head black, the varnish was sticky when it arrived {probably due to it being in the high 80's-90's} and she didn't put the head in anything to protect it..and the styro peanuts stuck to the head..and they put marks on the vinyl when I peeled them off..

      the person wanted elf ears on it...it was easy to do..but the head was of a cheaper vinyl than most and very squishy..and after the ears were put on, the polymer clay cracked,,so I took it off and the clay actually took a big chunk out of the ear!
      so I felt bad and gave her money back and extra to buy a new head, I even offered her two 27cm heads I had {one being an eyehole head} if she didn't want to order another...but the head was only $5...
      the heads I have are harder vinyl and wouldn't be a problem putting ears on.
    20. Obviously, if you send your head in for a face-up and the person doing the face-up breaks of damages the head, it will his/her responsibility as the person in charge of the head for that period of time to pay back for all damages and many even interest for compensation. I sure know that if I sent my face in for a face-up and he came back broken or the person sent me a photo or email saying what had happened, I'd really be upset.

      Usually, a person or company is only not held accountable if he/she sends the head back to you during the mail and something happens to it then. Hopefully that doesn't happen too often though.