Yeah :/ I'm afraid I'll have to learn $150 lesson. But I'll message him anyway, it can't hurt.
Yeah most things look 10 times better in black and white to begin with. I don't think it takes much skill. But then again I am not a photographer so I 'just don't understand'.
Yes, message the fella. If it wasn't your fault, he should refund or replace.
As for black and white photos, it actually does take a bit of skill to get it right. There's a lot to it. BUT on the other hand, with all the presets available, it's really easy for anyone to just click one button to convert it. Pros usually spend a lot of time changing the midtones and other stuff.