Damage to a sold print
If this would fit in a different section, please feel free to move it, mods.
About a year ago, I sold a print (on Ilford glossy FB) to someone I know. He's the president of the local art club (which is nother big - about 18 members) and I'm in the club. The photo had been a winner in the club's annual art show (which was mainly why he bought it, I think). So, he left me a message the other day saying he'd damaged it and wanted to know what could be done. He said the glass had broken and there was some damage to the print surface. I'm guessing it got dropped.
What would you do? My first thought is that he bought it and then damaged it himself, so he's stuck. But of course that doesn't help with customer relations. I don't have another one printed at the moment (though it's an easy one to do if I actually had a chance to get into the darkroom). I would feel sorta bad selling him another at the same price, but it wouldn't be entirely fair to me to just give him another print. I haven't called him back to find out what his expectations are, but should do that soon. Have any of you dealt with this before and what did/would you do?
Charge him an hourly rate for your time in making a new print, plus materials would seem fair to me.
If I had been present at the creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better arrangement of the Universe.
Alfonso the Wise, 1221-1284
I would just call him to let him know that it is unlikely the print can be restored, if the emuslion of the paper has been damaged it can't be repaired. However, if it is a slight mark you might be able to use some spot tone to help hide the flaw.
Frankly, i don't think you need to bring up anything else. If he suggests he purchase another print then you can decide if you wish to give him a special rate , but i don't think you owe him another print. Just be nice and understanding and see what road he travels but be prepared.
Adversity can also be opportunity. Seems like a choice time to show him new work. Perhaps you could replace the print at a rate that seems fair, and maybe sell him another as well.
It also depends on how much you sold it for. If you have a sizable margin then half would be a nice gesture. If it wasn't much, then you have to decide what good will pays.
Suggest to him to claim for the damage on his household insurance, that should cover at least part of the costs of replacement.
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sell him a new one with acrylic!
I know what I want but I just don't know how to go about gettin' it.-Hendrix
Was this a "limited edition" print? if so, then you're kind of on the hook legally. You could make a new print to replace it, but you'd have to mark it as such, and reclaim the damaged print to destroy it. If not, you can just print another one with no additional hassles. Regardless, I'd ask for the return of the damaged print. Since you are still a working, living artist, it doesn't pay to have extra copies of your work floating around with damage/flaws that could be misinterpreted as the result of your own carelessness. If he is acting in good faith and not being a jerk about it, I think half-price to 3/4 price is reasonable. If he's being a self-centered twit and expecting you to replace it "under warranty" (as it were), I'd tell him he can buy another at full price.
If you only have a phone message, I'd first call him and see what he's hoping....is he just asking if the print can be retouched/repaired, or is he offering to buy a replacement?
He obviously still likes the print, otherwise he would not have contacted you, so it seems an opportunity, as others posters have said. If you do make a new print, it would seem reasonable to agree on an amount to cover at least your time and materials, don't think anyone could object to that. The print wasn't faulty in any way, and you're not responsible for the damage.....(if I buy a vase and drop it as soon as I get home, I can't expect the shop to replace it for less than the full price.)
Edit:- FlyingCamera's post has just reminded me that I have a friend who publishes
limited-edition images, sometimes analogue or digitally processed/printed and he mentioned that, once he has done the 20 or 40 or whatever, he will destroy or delete all supporting negs or files, and would never produce any more for any reason. As he said, that's his duty to the buyers who've supported his efforts.
Last edited by railwayman3; 11-18-2009 at 11:55 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Rotary International has "4 Way Test" of the things we think say and do as Rotarians. If your transaction fits within this test, I think you would find the yourself on solid ground.
4 What Test of the things we think, say or do:
1. Is it the Truth?
2. Is it Fair to All Concerned?
3. Will it Build Goodwill and Better Friendships?
4. Will it be Beneficial to All Concerned?
I'd probably express my concerns about his loss and offer a replacement at a reasonable replacement cost.
I would replace it in a heartbeat. I don't know your situation, but I am trying to establish myself in my area and would rather make someone happy than not.