I made an involuntary donation for the sake of art
August 22, 2008 3:15 PM   Subscribe

My favorite web comic took my money, didn't send the T-shirt...I feel robbed! And torn! But also robbed!

Ugh. I ordered a t-shirt and hoody from my absolute all time favorite web comic (a long running internet institution and a favorite of many Mefites as well) on June 27th. I got sent the hoody in late July, but no T-shirt. After three emails to orders at myfavoritestwebcomic.com which elicited no reply, I finally (reluctantly) decided to file a dispute with Paypal. Alas, given all the time I gave myfavoritestwebcomic guy to respond, I am now outside the statute of limitations as far as filing a Paypal dispute goes. I get: "This dispute closed because it was opened for more than 45 days after the transaction date or did not meet other filing criteria."

So, now I'm torn. This is my favorite web comic. Did I mention this? I've ordered things from them in years past without issue. I also know that myfavoritestwebcomic has received a great deal of mainstream critical acclaim in the past year, and is probably doing a much larger volume of online retailing, while still handling orders processing personally. So, should I cut the dude some slack and treat this as a 22.50 donation (and make a mental note to never handle anything through Paypal again)? Or should I make a more strenuous effort to recover the cash (how)?

Again, if this were a big box retailer, I would be making a fuss, but since this was an effort to support a favorite artist, I'm just not sure what the protocol should be.
posted by Wavelet to Shopping (15 answers total)
Keep trying to contact them. Try alternate methods. See if you can find a phone number, or a different e-mail address.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 3:20 PM on August 22, 2008

I'd try contacting the author/artist's main e-mail address instead of the order address specifically. Or any other available e-mail addresses. It might just be falling through the cracks; I get the impression that most of those guys are just ridiculously busy, especially the ones who handle their own merch orders. I seriously doubt it's any sort of malice on their part.
posted by Caduceus at 3:25 PM on August 22, 2008

If the paypal payment was funded from a CREDIT card (rather than an existing paypal balance or bank account), file a dispute WITH the credit card company for the charge. Hurry though...they are limited to 60 or 90 days...

-good luck.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:30 PM on August 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

I know some webcomic guys schedule regular regional meetups for fans in randomly located spots each day. This sort of webcomic guy would probably find it really amusing if you used his wiki to locate another fan in his area and then got that fan to present him with some sort of elaborate demand for your merchandise. This would be a good way to get your stuff, further show your appreciation for his work, and give him a little good-natured ribbing for letting your order slide. If this isn't the sort of webcomic guy you're talking about, I guess just keep trying to get in touch through normal channels.
posted by contraption at 3:33 PM on August 22, 2008

Wait, wait, wait...so you support the artist by going to their website and, presumably promoting it to people, clicking on ads, etc. And, buying their stuff. Now you're afraid of, what, hurting their feelings because they've screwed up one of your orders? Of course you should continue to put up a fuss. Being talented and successful isn't a license to be a bad businessman. To a great extent his artistic success depends on his business acumen. So, yeah, look for more email addresses, leave comments on his blogs, etc. It seems unlikely that they're just purposefully ignoring you, but an artist who chooses to use his art for business is no different from any other business when it comes to their responsibility to their customers.
posted by sevenless at 3:33 PM on August 22, 2008

If your favorite web comic is a web comic I enjoy myself (sounds like maybe), I had an identical situation and it took me a fourth email with some calm but stern words to get the thing I ordered sent about 6 weeks late. They were just disorganized, and apologetic. In the end I was glad that I took the friendly-but-enough-already approach rather than either getting legalistic or writing it off entirely, since I would have felt differently about the comic afterwards if I had just let it go, and like you I don't want to go aggressive on a working artist.

CC the main dude of the comic on any mail you send them (that finally made the difference in my case) and remember that you wish these folks well. Feel free to mefimail me if you want the relevant email addresses, and good luck!
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 3:38 PM on August 22, 2008

So, should I cut the dude some slack and treat this as a 22.50 donation (and make a mental note to never handle anything through Paypal again)? Or should I make a more strenuous effort to recover the cash (how)?

Does the webcomic have a forum? You could whine there a bit in the hopes of bringing the problem to the seller's attention.

Or you could write a letter and send it to them (use the return address for the goods which have been delivered, if there isn't one on the comic's website). It's also reasonably inexpensive to send a 'signed for' letter so the postman will actually get the guy out of bed and put the letter in his hand.

You could pursue the matter in court, but in the situation you describe it would probably be better to just write off the $22.
posted by Mike1024 at 3:45 PM on August 22, 2008

After three months, you should be naming and shaming. Here, elsewhere and everywhere. Whether it's just one guy in his home studio is completely irrelevant. Not only do you do yourself a disservice by now going public with your grievance, but you do a disservice to all of the other people who might be in the same boat as you and not know that they're alone in this.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 3:51 PM on August 22, 2008

If contraption is barking up the right tree, MeMail me, I've got a direct line.
posted by sarahsynonymous at 3:52 PM on August 22, 2008

If it's QC, my girlfriend ordered me two shirts for christmas, they never got here, charged her card, she emailed several times with no response and in the end did a charge back and got her money back. If its them, maybe their shopping cart software sucks and their email server eats emails?
posted by Brian Puccio at 4:58 PM on August 22, 2008

Two months is indeed a bit of time. Email him again though, email every favoritewebcomic.com email address you can find. Make sure that its not a third party site that does their merch, if it is email them as well. Then again, you might be absolutely right with the uprising in popularity thought. Still, I would raise a ruckus over a t-shirt not being delivered. I'd say after one more attempt, the shaming begins. Write a blog entry, name the company so that others don't get ripped off as well. Keep hounding them, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
posted by Meagan at 4:59 PM on August 22, 2008

If you made the paypal payment with a credit card, you can still dispute the payment with the bank.
posted by winston at 5:02 PM on August 22, 2008

Maybe he never got your emails. Have you tried making a throwaway account on gmail and seeing if he gets them? Perhaps your domain is blacklisted or there's something in your email that is triggering his anti-spam agent.

I'd also email:


Lastly, is there a phone number or address when you do a WHOIS of myfavoritestwebcomic.com? If so call him or mail him a real letter.
posted by damn dirty ape at 6:09 PM on August 22, 2008

The main dude of the webcomic that I suspect this is was slow with my cookbook, but it came with a nice note after several weeks. I'd be persistent and patient.
posted by Countess Elena at 10:15 PM on August 22, 2008

Wavelet, I'm curious: did you ever get your stuff?
posted by contraption at 12:57 PM on October 16, 2008

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