Clients from Hell

Submit your story
April 21, 2014

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 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.

April 14, 2014

Client: Why would I hire another designer when I could just get you to do it for free?

Me: … I wasn’t planning to work for free.

Client: I meant that I’d get you to do this work in addition to the work I’m already paying you for.

Me: I’d have to charge if the scope of the project gets bigger.

Client: You can’t just spring something like that on me. 

April 06, 2014

Client: Why haven’t you started on the project? We discussed this over month ago.

Me: I issued a fee proposal three weeks ago, and a follow up a week ago. You never responded to either.

Client:  Well, this is critical now. We need it for tomorrow morning.

Me: But as I outlined in my fee proposal, that’s four days worth of work.  I can’t do that in a day.

Client: You will if you want to be paid.  

Me: I’d have to charge rush -

Client: You can’t be serious. If it’s only takes a day to do it, you won’t charge for more than a day.

Me: So, because you’ve left it late, you’d like me to work through the night so I can do four days work in eighteen hours, and you’d only like to pay me for eight of those hours?

Client: Yes. If you want to keep working with us, I expect you to work to our deadlines and accept our payment terms.

I am no longer working with these clients. 

April 05, 2014
"Can’t you just draw it not as good for cheaper?"
April 04, 2014

Client: My previous Flash developer, who lives in the States, can’t be contacted. We got an email saying he was admitted to hospital. I’ve got a .swf of what he’d done for us.

Me: But you don’t have the source files?

I look at the .swf. The site is enormous, but it looks good. However, there’s no animation, audio, or video, which the site clearly relies on for content.

Me: Well, you can recreate the source .fla from a .swf, but it’s hard work. A lot of hard work. Do you have a budget and a deadline?

Client: He got all the money. There’s nothing left. The deadline’s a week away. Oh, and this is part one of eight similar modules. He might be dead, so you’ll fix it for me, right?

March 31, 2014
"We can’t afford to pay you, do you want some practice?"
March 28, 2014
"Hey, we need [model’s dress] to be the colour of water. So like, cobalt blue. Also, don’t do any retouches, we won’t pay you for that. Just make her thinner, make her skin smoother, brighten her eyes and teeth, and small things like that."
March 07, 2014
"If I pay you half that amount, can you complete it in half the time?"
February 21, 2014

Me: Alright, the translation will be 220 Euro.

Client: Ok, 200 Euro.

Me: No, 220 Euro.

Client: Oh I know, I’m not trying to bring your price down. I’m just looking at the bigger picture.