Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Authors Be Warned: Robert Quill - Con "Artist"

Well, add me to the growing list of authors who have commissioned Robert Quill, paid him, and then never heard from him again.

Last May, at the RT Convention in Kansas City, I commissioned Mr. Quill to create two prints for me of one of my AKM characters, Micah. He gladly charged me $400 and told me it would take about three months to create the prints. Here is what has happened since:

In June, I emailed him to ask him if I paid for VIP service. I couldn't remember if I had and wanted to make sure I did. No response.

In October, which was five months after RT and two months after I should have received my artwork, I emailed Mr. Quill to inquire about the status of my order. I had given him two extra months past what he had stated for my delivery, but it was time to begin inquiring. No response.

October-December were incredibly busy months for me with a book release and a huge blog tour, so I didn't get back around to following up with Mr. Quill until last week, because, honestly, time got away from me. I could barely remember what day of the week it was and forgot my own birthday. I emailed him again January 2 to inquire about my order. No response.

I contacted the RT organizers and asked if there was anything they could do to help facilitate communication with Mr. Quill, since it was there that I met him. I also wanted to let them know what has happened so they would reconsider allowing him to have a booth at future RT conventions. They assured me that he has been banned from the convention in the future, because apparently, they have received a lot of complaints about him similar to mine. They also said one of their organizers would attempt to contact him to try and get a resolution to my situation. No response from Mr. Quill.

I emailed him again yesterday morning, stating clearly in my subject line that he needed to reply immediately to avoid legal action. No response.

However, I'm pretty sure Mr. Quill has received my messages, because in the five days since I emailed him on January 2 to today, he has shut down his website. I pulled it up last week to ensure he was still around, and it was there. This morning, I tried to pull it up, and it's gone. UPDATED TO ADD: Lo and behold, his website came up again about an hour ago, as of 1/7/14.

Hmmm. Not a good sign.

So, this morning, I filed a dispute with my bank for the $400. I asked them, "What if he doesn't respond to the dispute?" and was told, "He has to respond." I was like, "Well, he had better say yes to my dispute, because if he says no, I'm taking him to court."

During my research into how to reach Robert Quill, I found that I'm not alone in my troubles. Check out these links to others who have also been unable to get a response from him. Note that Robert (and his wife) did reply on the blogs. Interesting that they can respond to public outcries against him but not to private emails.

Abbielog - Deadbeat Artist
Killian McRae - Author-to-Author Warning

For those like me who are unable to receive responses from him, perhaps these links will help. I'll be saving these for  my own files in case I have to sue him to get my money back:
Here's a listing for him on Wizard World
Robert Quill on Facebook
Better Business Bureau Listing

That's my story. Be warned and stay away from this guy. He took advantage of me, took my money, and that's the last I saw or heard of him. I guess I should have known something was awry when I returned to his booth at RT (when he told me to so I could see the sketches of the artwork he promised me) only to receive a curt and almost rude remark of how he hadn't had time to do it, yet...as if it was my fault. I should have asked for a refund then. Live and learn. But hopefully I'll help others learn from my mistake.

UPDATE: I did send Mr. Quill a Facebook message this morning, as well, notifying him that I've been trying to contact him and that I've filed a dispute with my bank for the $400. So far, no response. We'll see what happens.


  1. So glad to hear he's finally been banned from RT. When I saw him there last spring, I had to hold myself back from publicly announcing to everyone in the room what a cheat he was. I had complained to the RT staff too after my debacle, but they didn't seem at that time to care.

    1. I wish someone had rushed forward to warn me not to use him as I was sitting at his booth. But thankfully he's been banned. I would have been extremely uncomfortable seeing him there after what I've been through and probably wouldn't be able to hold my tongue. Hey, but at least I'd have him where he couldn't get away from me, and then he would HAVE to respond to me, not just ignore me, which is the case with the emails I've sent him.

  2. If I were you, I would post this on his Facebook page....maybe the world of FB will cause a response

    1. I've already attempted to contact him via Facebook, and told him that 1) I've been trying to reach him to discuss my artwork, and 2) that I've filed a dispute with my bank, and to avoid legal action he will need to accept my dispute and not deny it. He has not replied.

    2. However, perhaps posting it on his wall will illicit more action from him. Unfortunately, he can delete anything I post on his wall. As a page owner, he can delete any comment he chooses. I'll think about it, though.

  3. Donya -

    While not an author, I too had the same issue with Mr. Quill, although many years ago. My husband and I ordered a fantasy portrait of myself when we met up with him at the NY RenFaire, I believe. Much the same thing happened as you describe. Long story short, we actually (finally) received my portrait....almost a year later. The whole issue left a bad taste in my mouth. I can tell you that he also appears to frequent the RenFaire circuit (where we met up with him) and some S.C.A. (Society for Creative Anachronism) events. Like you, I did not realize at the time that he was running anything shady. All I know is that whenever I've seen him, I can't forget what I had to go through for that portrait. With all the wonderful artists out there, sorry you had to find the bad apple. ~Syd

  4. Donya I posted this and tagged him with it, he commented and said he has issued you a refund

    1. Where did you post it? And, yes, I did just recently receive my refund, but the incredible lengths I had to go to to get that refund make me a bit angry that he emailed me today to ask me to update this post to say that I did get that refund. Yes, he refunded my money, but I find it a little unnerving and somewhat egotistical that he ignored email after email I sent him and only responded when I threatened him with legal action, and now he sends me an email today and, I can only assume, expects me to immediately come to my blog and express my gratitude and wash the slate clean. Yes, I got my refund, and while I'm thankful I got it, I am not about to wash the slate clean. He ignored my repeated efforts to contact him for MONTHS. My emails went unanswered for MONTHS. I wish I had never met him and wish I had never gotten sucked in in the first place. But at least he taught me one thing: Never pay before the work is completed.

    2. I guess what I'm saying is that it takes a pretty big set of balls to ignore someone, and ignore them, and ignore them some more, and put them through hell to get a refund for work that was never delivered, and THEN email and ask them to update their blog post to indicate the refund was finally granted. I swear to God, I just want this whole situation to go away. I'm so over it and getting those emails from him today brought it all right back to life like it just happened. Like I said, I wish I'd never met him. There. I've fulfilled my duty. Are you happy now, Mr. Quill? I've let the world know you refunded my money. Now leave me alone.

  5. I'm glad you finally got your money back. I'm going through the same thing right now. My credit card said essentially "hey sorry, it's a valid charge. You should try contacting the merchant for more information, mmmkay...."

    So, yeah I'm a little upset. I'm going to try to escalate it and file a BBB claim.

    The bit about him pestering you for an update is priceless. Suddenly he remembers how to compose an email or take care of business matters! A Miracle!

    BTW I linked back to this from my own blog on the same topic. I'm hoping that the word gets out enough that people will be very cautious about this man.

    "But at least he taught me one thing: Never pay before the work is completed."
    Last point: I'm an artist and I do frequently ask for at least partial payment in advance on custom work. It's also hard to trust that a stranger will pay you for the work that you spent time on! This is why I take payments in installments as the work is completed as a show of good faith on both sides.

    The lesson is not to NOT pay in advance, the lesson is to do a little more homework. Ask questions when you hire an artist that doesn't have a personal reference. There's lots of reputable artists out there who shouldn't be punished because of this d****.

    1. Exactly right. What Quill does is reprehensible, and I completely sympathize with Donya (and his other victims) here, but on the other end of the equation, the same thing happens to artists or other contractors with Quill-esque clients: I've had clients outright try to steal my work without paying me for it (luckily, I've got a great stats package on my site, so I saw what was going on when they were poking around).

      My solution is twofold: one, as zellsbells said, is to always have a fee schedule (I usually charge a third up front, as a deposit, another third halfway through, and the final one on completion - sometimes I'll do halves if it's a very low fee); two, there is honestly no reason to ever not have a CONTRACT.

      Contracts make everything clear. They spell it all out. I write mine (I taught contract law, which is an odd story in itself, since I'm not a lawyer!), and they cover both the client and me, and are strict with both the client *and* me, while leaving some leeway for understandable snags on both ends.

      There are always people who smile and flutter their hands halfheartedly: "Oh, we don't need a contract, we're all honest people here." Wrong. Contract, every time. Honest people should have no problem with contracts. I don't work without one. It makes my honest clients feel safer with me, and it makes my dishonest clients wander off, far away, where I don't have to deal with them.

  6. I've been dealing with this scumbag for 2 years! He was at Monster Mania (or Chiller) when I paid him in advance the full amount. Never again. This is a nightmare. Who knows how much money he's scammed out of honest, trusting people.

  7. Add me to the list of people who have paid for an art product only to never here from Mr. Quill.

    Perhaps a website called RobertQuillIsAConArtist.com is in order? We could easily set up SEO for every major con in the US and list our experiences - if anyone did the least bit of due diligence, they would have ample warning.

    Likewise, we could forward to the manager for every major US con.


  8. Is this a reasonable place to talk about setting up an escrow service of some sort for artists? Such that the money does gets set aside, immediately so the artist knows they will not be toiling for no reward, and the payment goes to the artist upon completion, so that the customer knows that the incentive to complete is still there.

    Or does that not make sense?

  9. He got at least 2 more victims at Special Edition NYC in 2015. DAMNIT Shoulda looked him up.

  10. He got at least 2 more victims at Special Edition NYC in 2015. DAMNIT Shoulda looked him up.

  11. He got me at at a star trek convention in Tampa Florida......may 2014...Damn...

  12. Two data points - the Quillinator never paid me back (despite offers and promises) and after the last go around I decided to extract my satisfaction in being his anti-marketing. Upcoming RavenCon reminded me that I need to get going on this, so I am going to design and make some tshirts for wear at cons. Anyone interested? I'll give them away for the cost of materials. Also open to ideas on design. Something like, "I got ripped doff by Robert Quill, ask me how?"

  13. He did the same thing to me. charged an outrageous price and left me with no picture... his personal cell phone number is 603-973-2119. Have Fun!