Clients from Hell

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April 22, 2014
"Change the colors and the shapes and the pictures - but keep the same look."

A project has a hard deadline of three months away for a trade show, and after two weeks, I’m still waiting on the deposit to start work.

Me: I’m still waiting on the 25% deposit we discussed. If we don’t get it in the next couple of days, we’ll miss the deadline. It’s already tight as it is.

Client: We’re still trying to decide which investor we like best.

Me: At this point just pick one, or you won’t have anything to invest in for another year.

Client: Well, we’re also working on a commercial. Is it alright if we take it out of your deposit?

Me: No, that is not alright. We’re working on the software, not the commercial.

Client: Why can’t you do the commercial too?

Me: We’re a programming firm, not a marketing firm.

Client: Oh, well how much have you done so far? We’d really like to put some of it in the commercial.

Me: As we’ve discussed, we can’t start working on your project until you pay the deposit.

Client: But we haven’t decided on an investor yet!

April 21, 2014
"Does this rainbow look gay to you?"

feedback from a children’s daycare website

My team and I were hired by a small-time political campaign to produce and write scripts for promotional videos. The only direction the client gave was, "Just make something and then I’ll tell you what I like and don’t like about it and we’ll go from there." 

After three different versions and no payment, we emailed to say we could no longer continue on this project without direction and the down-payment.

Client: I gave you direction! On the very first email, I said I wanted you to talk about certain issues.

Me: Yes, but even after we asked for clarification about those issues, you never responded. We sent numerous emails and made numerous calls.

Client: You should have been able to figure it out.

Me: Without the guarantee of payment, none of us have any real time to devote to this project.

Client: I thought I would just pay you for the finished product.

Me: At this rate, there never will be a finished product. As per our original conversation, you must pay us at specific milestones, two of which have already passed.

The client never responded to our team email again, but did contact me on my personal freelancing website to ask if I would like to do some work for him. When I informed him that he already had plenty of my work for free, he apologized and said he would send payment ASAP.

He never did, but he did email again two weeks later to ask if I would be willing to write a script for a new video. I asked him if he wasn’t sure how PayPal works or if he really couldn’t figure out that I was the same person he scammed out of three scripts earlier that same month.

April 20, 2014

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I was sent a brief for an email newsletter. Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, the client emailed me this:

Client: Just wondering how the newsletter is coming along. Let me know if you have any questions. We’d like to send something out by tomorrow afternoon. Happy holidays!

"I want the navigation to blend in, yet stand out."
April 19, 2014

Client: I need this ASAP. I know you said you don’t work on the weekends but this is really urgent.

Me: Alright then. I am going to send you an invoice for the extra hours.

Client: What? You said you didn’t work at the weekend! I don’t want to pay for stuff you do in your free time.

Client: Why is my website green? You know that isn’t the color of my brand.

Me: I’m not sure what you mean. There’s no green anywhere on your site.

Client: Not on my website. The Website itself.


Client: On Google. When I search my company the website name is green. It has to be brown. Same goes for the blue link. That has to change as well.

April 18, 2014

One of my other clients referred this one to me.

Client: Do you think we can meet?

Me: Sure, I’m available after 6:00pm.

Client: Okay, come by to my house at 5:00pm.

For the record, he lives over an hour away.

Me: I said I’m available after 6:00pm.

Client: Okay, well, why don’t you come to my house at 5:00pm, and then I’ll drive you home.

At this point the whole “come to my house” thing started sounding a little weird to me.

Me: I think we better meet at a middle point, let’s say the coffee shop around the subway station. It’ll have to be after 6:00pm.

Client: Okay, sounds good. I’ll pick you up at the coffee shop and we can come to my house.

Me: Sorry, but I have to ask - why do you want me to come to your house?

Client: … I’ll call you next week to set another meeting.

The client never called me or emailed me again.

"Push the design envelope. Use your right brain. Maximise feasibility."