Nov. 15 came and went, no refund. I understood that the maker was having trouble with her former business partner, so I sent her an e-mail as a reminder to contact me with further information about when the refunds could be expected. No response. Same deal a couple of weeks later. I think it took three e-mails before I set my foot down and wrote that if I did not get an e-mailed response from her within a week of sending my own e-mail, as well as a full refund by Jan. 5, I would contact Visa for a chargeback (I had paid through PayPal with my credit card). I got a response, all right, that she would "do her best" to get my money back to me.
On Jan. 5, I sent her an e-mail stating that I had begun the chargeback process with Visa. She replied with a "transaction pending" forwarded e-mail, supposedly from PayPal, that looked spoofed, especially seeing as how it had "Washington" misspelled on it. I replied with confirmation that she had my correct PayPal address, and waited nearly a week after receiving that "pending" e-mail before getting fed up, forwarding the e-mail I received to PayPal's abuse department, and sending her an invoice for the $150 she still owes me.
At no point was I anything other than understanding -- overly so -- in my dealings with her. I wanted, many times, to tell her that the manner in which she was running her so-called business was grossly unprofessional and that her conduct would kill, by reputation, any business she would start up again. In fact, I was so nice that I pretty much screwed myself over, because it's long past the period in which PayPal would have stepped in and helped out. I'm more or less certain that she has no intention of giving me back my money, no matter how many loans she's supposedly waiting for, and the only times she has replied to any e-mails I or any of her other customers have sent were when they involved threats or notices of legal action.
Let this be a warning to you people who might decide to let the migrants from customers_suck dictate your actions. Be courteous, but don't bend over and take it up the ass like I did for fear that someone I've never met and who has effectively stolen my money might think that I'm mean. You paid for a good or a service, and if you don't receive it, raise hell when politeness doesn't work. It doesn't matter if doing so makes you "no better than them" -- a business transaction is a contract, not a morality contest.
<sits back and waits for the flames>
ETA Jan. 20, 2005: OMGWTFBBQ. I got a refund. Like, a real one. As in it appeared in my PayPal history. Sweet.