We were threatened by Astrid Caroline Cole from ACC Art that she would publish our email reply and give us a bad rating. Below is our summary, but also attached the unedited order forms and unedited email chain. Disputes are always messy, but we welcome alternative views in order to provide better customer service year after year. Obviously we think we are correct at this point in time, but need to publish this post in case someone searches us with regards to the bad press provided by her. I am of the view that a single email will be put out with zero context as to what she sent us first, or even taking specific sentences out of context.
Contactable at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please start with the 2 order forms completed, attached as PDF. The other PDF is our email thread. The 2 orders were for 2 book titles. Our package offered under the 3 concept deal, as also displayed on our website, is 3 concepts will be provided but we will only work on 1 until it is final.
Unclear instructions since the beginning
With regards to “Be anything you want”, the order form was clearly insufficient for us to work on. Her email reply: “I already gave you all the information: it’s a children’s book based on 20 tales and artworks of Frida Kahlo”. Still says nothing of what she expects on the front cover. It’s like saying a book is based on a boy (or a girl)… but what is supposed to be on the cover? A link http://www.narielwalla.com/frida-kahlo/ was provided to let us know about the artwork inside the book. Still nothing about the front cover, and I thought we had to draw something for scratch for the front cover.
“Of course he provides me with respective illustrations. Yet, as I’ve already sent you an image as well as and link to his work, I really start to wonder if you do understand me….”
My original question that sparked the response above: “For the children’s book. Is the artist you are cooperating with able to provide illustrations that we can put on the front so that we can produce the cover for you.”
I didn’t know that we were free to copy images just because someone provides a link to the web page. Also, it was too difficult to just say that the image sent was to be used on the front cover. Instead, we were told that it was “inspiration for the children’s book”. Question: can we from now assume that any link can be copied and that “inspiration for..” also means “please use this”? I would assume that the answer to the first part is “no”, but maybe English experts can provide guidance on the second part of the question.
First order was fine
We proceeded to start with the Art Dealer cover first, which I agreed as I wanted to understand the difficulty of working with someone who doesn’t seem able to provide enough detail for us to work on. Fully prepared to issue full refunds on both orders even after we provide the first 3 concepts. After we provided 3 concepts based on the photo she provided, she had a complete change in requirement and provided us with another photo. While we provide unlimited revisions, the original scope or requirement must be fixed. In this case, the scope of work completely changed when she wanted us to use another photograph. The space available on different photographs are obviously different, so we have to re-work everything as we couldn’t maintain the text in the exact same positions. If she didn’t offer, we would have charged her extra for changing requirements anyway. However she offered to use the second order to pay for this change in photograph and provide 3 concepts.
So far so good since we didn’t have to go through the difficult discussion of explaining to her that changing requirements don’t fall into the same order.
We provided 3 concepts to her, which she responded that all were ugly. We offered a full refund on the second order, which she decided to not proceed with. She chose 1 concept and made her requests. We made another revision, before she suddenly let us know that she wanted the bottom 1/3 of her photo to be clearly shown. I also needed to check with her that the background was essential as we were thinking of cropping that out. Again, we considered this as changing requirements because if 1/3 of the picture should not be covered with any kind of effects then that drastically changes the concept we will provide. Regardless, we did another concept according to her added requirement. Then came the second abuse.
“Unproportional as always! Do you have any certificates in the stuff you are doing or all freestyle?”
Well, the designer thought that she did say nothing cookie cutter so maybe something un-proportional would be what she’s looking for. If it wasn’t, no problem we can still revise it anyway. Totally uncalled for. It’s one thing to ask for revisions, but to imply under-qualification or any kind of name calling is pretty offensive.
Downhill from here
After a few more questions, we proceeded to provide 2 more concepts. She was happy with the concepts but now everything degrades fast. She wanted revisions to both concepts, where this never happens in our original offer anyway. We provide multiple concepts, and revisions to 1. It’s clear. So she argues that because the first order had no revisions to be made, we should do it to both the provided versions. This would be fair if we charged for extra revisions. I.e. if authors used less revisions, we refund some of the money but if authors used more revisions we might charge them more. However, we don’t charge for more revisions just as we don’t discount for less.
She tries to convince us that she has been generous. But we provided 9 concepts in total for 2 orders of 3 concepts each. She then threatens us with bad press, which I didn’t find unsurprising given the abuse she has put us under. It’s not like we did 0 work for $294 ($147×2). However, she seems entitled that paying us $294 allowed her to act in the way she did. At this point, I still offered a 50% refund on the second order since it wasn’t to completion. As she had already used one of our concepts on her page http://www.acc-art.de/book/, and attached screenshot for proof, it didn’t make sense to me to offer the 100% refund. Also, it is quite strange why she would use the cover that she called ugly. It seems that she is just trying to squeeze more out of us than the original order provides for. Nobody should have to withstand such abuse for $294. Other cover designers charge $350 and up for a single design.
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