Client: I find it annoying that you keep emailing transcripts of what we discussed over the phone - I don't need a paper trail.
Client: I want a design for my business incorporating the attached image.
Me: Sorry I can’t use this because it’s someone else’s copyrighted work. I’d need permission from the copyright owner.
Client: Don’t worry, I paid for the comic book, I do own it.
I work for a company that installs custom made desks for manual labor.
Me: I'm just following up on the installation we made last week at your factory so we can tie things up before your final payment.
Client: We are still reading through the documentation and validating the installation, please call me later next week.
Weeks pass. I keep calling, they don't respond. Finally:
Me: Have you finished your evaluation?
Client: Sorry, but last week we sold everything on the factory floor to someone. You should be able to get your payment from him.
Me: Uhhh... no. This was not agreed to and is a breach of contract.
Client: Oh no, no, no, no. We still have everything on the factory floor. We were thinking you could come and take it back. We were just showing the new owner what he could do with the space when he moves in. Like a work in progress exhibit.
Me: So you sold the desks to the new owner, but you want us to come pick them up so you don't have to pay for them?
Client: YES! You still have time to pick them up, and then the new owner will buy them back from you. He will want them installed at his factory right away.
Client: This is good business for both of us.
Me: Expect a message from our lawyers.
I work for a small family business in the entertainment industry as an Office Assistant (aka whatever needs doing at the time). Recently I've taken up doing updates and writing some content for our WordPress site.
Client: We're going to start offering three or four new products and I want to get our new sister website and running. I'll need pictures and descriptions for all of them.
Me: Got it, I'll start writing...
Client: Just go on our competitor's sites and copy-paste the stuff that looks good because you know they're going to be doing it to us too.
Me: ...Got it.
Needless to say, I'm not actually going to do that. My hard work helping my boss avoid copyright cease and desist will never be appreciated.
I am a prepress technician for a full-service commercial press (but not a trade/online printer), as well as being a graphic designer. This following exchange happens again and again in various forms...
Client: I can't print your proof. Can you please send me a print-ready proof?
Me: Our soft proofs are screen resolution for review/display only. We do not release press-ready printable files for proofing.
Client: But I need to be able to print it and make changes. Your file is locked. Can I have the password?
Me: We do not release press-ready printable files for proofing, and we do not share security information such as passwords used for document protection. I am happy to make any changes you need and proof it back to you. We do offer and recommend hard-copy proofing prior to print. The first hard-copy proof is free of charge. Would you like me to make your changes and email you an updated proof? Would you like a hard-copy proof for final approval before we print your brochure?
Client: Why can't you just give me the password? I am just trying to run my business. I need to be able to print this proof. I need to be able to make changes to your PDF before I print it. You are keeping me from running my business.
Me: I'm sorry, we don't release security information of any kind, and we don't provide press-ready printable files for proofing purposes. Please let me know what changes need to be made and I can get it done for you very quickly.
Client: I don't need changes now. I need to be able to change it in the future, and I need to be able to print it NOW. Every other printer that has designed something for me has given me a printable file. I plan to bring you tons of business and you are hurting my business by not providing me with the password.
So I send a printable file with a watermark...
Client: This is not acceptable. I cannot print this. It has a mark on it. Can you delete the mark and send me a high quality file? I need it right now. No other printer does this to me.
Yes. I'm so sure that every other printer you work with provides you with a printable press-quality/press-ready file as a "Proof." Uh-huh.
At this point, this particular client chose to be verbally abusive and I had my boss take over the call. The client complained about me, told my boss that I was being uncooperative and hurting their business, etc. My boss pretty much repeated everything I had already said and reaffirmed our willingness to update and re-proof as needed. Th
Client: Fine! I'm going to get my designers to figure out how to unlock the file and fix the file for print. I'm NEVER going to work with you again.
But, wait... wasn't I your designer? And didn't you agree to a work estimate that included printing services with us? Hmmm. Good luck with that. I know you can get around the security with 3rd party software; but, I still sent you files that were exported at just 96dpi and don't include the bleed!
Client: I am looking for someone to photograph my family reunion. I need 6 hours. Can you handle this?
Me: I'd be happy to! What date is your family reunion?
Client: My budget is [X]. How can I make a deposit?
Me: You'll be happy to know then that at my rates I only charge [Y] for event coverage. I can accept cash, cheque, or e-transfer. Do you have an email address I can send the contract to, or would it be easier to meet in person at a cafe?
Client: I will have you know that due to health reasons I need to do this through credit card in person. Can you do this?
Me: Unfortunately I cannot take credit card payments at this time, but I can accept cash, cheque, or e-transfer. Do you have an email address I can send the contract to?
Client: Good, I'll set you up with a merchant service then.
Red flags start flying up all over the place.
Client: This can easily be set up with your bank. I will give you my credit card and even pay the setup fees with your bank due to my health issues.
Oh yeah, this sounds scammy...
Me: Unfortunately I am unable to setup anything to take credit card payment, but if we can arrange an alternative I'd be happy to do the work.
I never heard back from the client again. The date of the event came and went and nothing else came of it. Between his insistence on setting up something with my bank and him dodging my requests for an email address to send the contract to, I like to think I dodged a bullet.
I was working an internship for this small company that sells all kinds of cheap products made in China and the boss had me making advertising banners for their many websites. Most of it was typical stuff like promos for sales, holiday/seasonal-themed ones.
The client came over to check on me and I showed him what I had so far.
Client: Hmmm. No. I don't like any of these pictures. Why don't you just use Google?
Me: I did. This was the best I could find.
Client: Let me check.
He sat next to me and did a basic Google image search with no Creative Commons filter.
Client: Oh, hey, see? THIS one's better.
Me: Yeah but that might be copyrighted. If it didn't show up when I used the Creative Commons filter, that usually means it's copyrighted.
Client: Naw, I can usually tell whether an image is copyrighted or not. I'll check it.
He then stared at the image for a few seconds while I watched in disbelief.
Client: Nope! It's not copyrighted!
Thankfully I found a similar image that WAS okay to use because sorry but I am NOT risking my neck on your "magic vision."
I am a professional event manager. A few years ago, I was approached by a non-profit organization that wanted to erect a monument for all the victims of domestic violence. The three-headed organization had already organized a big event but decided that they were going to organize a concert to get the remainder of the money needed for the monument. They asked me about six months in advance if I was willing to be the stage manager for the concert. It was a worthy cause so I agreed. Then they invited me to a meeting.
Client: So, we are going to do a great concert, at this amazing venue. There are all kinds of artist that are willing to work with us for free, but they are all C-listers. We really want A-list artists. We also want a full crew of volunteers to do everything from sounds and lighting to stagehands, greeters, bar-staff, PA’s to the artists, promotions, etc. Besides that, we need full media coverage, and of course a great media campaign. We don’t really have anything yet, everything needs to be organized and designed. We have about six months to pull this together. Since we’ve already put in a lot of time in the last event, we decided that you get to do this one.
Me: You mean you want me to fully organize this massive event?
Client: No, no.
Client: We keep the last say in everything, you don’t get to make the final decisions. But other than that: yes.
Me: ...Okay, that is a lot of work for one person. If I would basically carry the sole responsibility for this and have my name tied to it, I would like to get some insight into the finances of the foundation. I'm sure you can understand that.
Client: NO! You just have to trust us! The money is none of your business!
Me: Okay. Then at least what is your budget for this?
Client: Pay? Oh no, we don't pay employees nor do we pay expenses for volunteers. Do you know how much of our own money we’ve already put into this fund? This must be a fun thing to do for a great cause!
Client: You’re very serious, you shouldn’t be so serious!
Since I was sitting there with them, I didn’t really want to say something, so when I got home, I’d send them an e-mail saying that I was not interested in doing this project, but that I was still willing to work as a stage manager. They not-so-politely declined.
A few months later, news trickled out that the director had been using the monument money to pay for his house renovations. So much for "you have to trust us!"
Client: I’m not going to give you appropriate credits on my project.
Me: Why? I literally did everything in it.
Client: If I credited every person for their work, I wouldn’t look so cool.
Me: But crediting people means being honest.
Client: Now I feel conflicted.
I'm a web application developer. For over a year I worked productively with this client. We even made a follow-on contract.
One day, not even two months after the follow-on contract, my client suddenly came in for an escalation meeting, telling me he would need to forward my services to one of his business partners. He said that I wasn't performing as expected, which was the first time I heard that from him. We had meetings before in which he praised me and my results.
Me: Well that's a surprise. I'll have to think about it.
Two days later, I had thought about it and told him I did not want to forward my services.
Client: Well I can see if we have another project you can work on. But if not, I will have to terminate our contract.
Three days later, he calls me:
Client: I'm calling to ask if you can reconsider forwarding your services to our business partner. We have something special planned for you there.
He continued to tell shady details about how he wants an insider at his business partner to enable him to take them over. Basically I would be working for him as a spy.
Me: Well I'm definitely not comfortable with that.
Client: Don't tell anyone. This call and everything said falls under our NDA. Think about it, ok?
I did not hear from him for a week and continued doing my work according to our contract. One Monday I had an email in my inbox - written at Sunday evening - stating that he is sorry to tell me that he has to terminate our contract. The attached termination letter (I also received in print via mail two days later) was dated back at the date of the escalation meeting.
As our contract stated, that one side cannot terminate the contract without proper reasoning, I filed a suit. Three weeks went by with a lot of back and forth between my lawyer and his resulting in him withdrawing the termination.
During this process, even Even his lawyer said the client was difficult to work with
I used that lawsuit as my valid argumentation to fire the client shortly after and could enforce indemnity claims as well as other compensations.
Happy Ending. Always have a good contract.