Fiverr Community Forum

A Writer Gets Scammed for the First Time: What I've Learned

So it finally happened to me. You all probably know the drill but in a nutshell:

First time Buyer account, places order with fast delivery, cancels without asking for revision claiming they don’t like working with me, CS ends up siding with them, I ended up doing work without compensation.

As a writer - and this probably extends to editing, proofreading and translating - there is very little we can do to safeguard our work from being used without compensation. I made the grave mistake of posting the article on my Medium once the cancellation shenanigans started and that’s what CS latched onto in the end.

I take ownership of that mistake. Not doing that again.

So, what are we, the word warriors, to do to help reduce getting scammed for the sweat off our brow?

In an attempt to make lemonade out of the sour lemons I received this past couple of days, I’ll share a few lessons I learned. If this helps at least one person out there, I’ll be content.

  • Gain as much upfront information as you can. Optimise your gig page so that it makes clear what you do and don’t offer. Use every formatting tool at your disposal. Include a statement that first-time buyers are encouraged to contact you first before ordering. Use the gig requirements to gain as much information about your orders as possible.

  • Remain vigilant with first-time buyers. They’re not all scammers but that doesn’t mean you won’t end up labouring for free if things don’t work out. Be professional in every piece of content and don’t let your emotions get the better of you. Make your process clear whenever necessary. Outline what you have done to meet the buyer’s requirements during delivery.

  • You will probably never outsmart them. As I learned through my own blunder, scammers are seasoned in this area. They’ll find a way around whatever you do and it will be used against you. Take the previous tip here: remain professional, assertive and clear about your how you’ve done your work. The moment you leave those boundaries is the moment you lose the battle.

  • Treat every buyer as a collaborator. Build the rapport and ask questions. If things aren’t working well, you can always walk away yourself by cancelling. As long as you’re not abusing this to discriminate against anyone, maintain a solid completion rate and have done everything in your power to deliver the best service, you should be fine.

That’s all. I hope this has been helpful. Yell at me if I’m wrong about something.

10 Likes

In the future, don’t accept the cancellation. If you did nothing wrong, just keep declining and offer a revision. One thing that these scammers don’t have is patience, I’ve learned.

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The best tip I can pass on, and I sound like a scratched record, is to never offer $5 gigs.

Particularly as a writer of original content, this price point is way too cheap anyway. In the real world you would stick a zero on the end of that five, and it would still be cheap.

The $5 gigs attract scammers like bees to honey. The moment you double your minimum fee to $10, many (not all) of the scammers magically disappear.

And you know what, people are still prepared to pay $10 for original content.

It’s almost like the scammers are prepared to take a chance on losing $5, but they’re not so keen to lose $10 - as there are plenty more $5 sellers to target first.

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I only post a cancelled article on my own site after the cancellation has been done. I also let the buyer know that if the article is cancelled, I can do whatever I want with it. If they try to deliver that work to their own client or post to their own site, Google will downgrade their rankings as they have plagiarized it.

I guess the good news here is that you now have content for your Medium page!

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I believe new sellers in the writing market have to work for 5 dollars in the beginning.

As we know, sometimes we have to work for free (to produce samples) there is no way around it. Also, on Fiverr there are many “writers” who only deliver plagiarized content so, I understand the point of view of someone who doesn’t want to pay more than 5 on someone who has no reviews yet.

As a new seller working for 5 dollars, I try to do my best to avoid scams by not replying to rude buyers, new accounts with no reviews and being aware of sketchy offers, but I still fear this might happen to me.

If this happened to me I would not accept the cancelation so easily though, I would dispute the request for as long as possible.

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The thing is, if the buyer disputed the charge with their credit card or PayPal, there is nothing you can do - you don’t even get a chance to reject the cancellation. Yes, supposedly the person loses their Fiverr account for doing a charge back, but, how does that help when someone works their behind off and gets ripped off? Fiverr is not out however many hours it took someone to write an article or do whatever job was ordered.

I had this happen a couple weeks ago. Person orders a 24 hour turn around job, then does a charge back with their credit card. I lose out on $280 and there is nothing Fiverr can do. Yes, I inquired, and tried to get them to fix it, but, clients here who want to steal, will steal. I didn’t even have the opportunity to decline the cancellation - and believe me, I would have!

GG

1 Like

I work in music and and this happens all the time for various reasons. There are just some really rude, ignorant, and dishonest buyers who will try to cancel orders for reasons that are no fault of your own. What’s unfortunate is that CS does seem to have a bias towards buyers. I believe they are afraid that if they don’t side with a buyer, that buyer will never come back to the website, but a seller is not likely leave just because of a bad experience. I’m sure they’ve done the math and in the end have figured that an angry buyer is a larger net revenue loss than an angry seller.

I’ve had buyers place orders for the wrong package. I’ve had buyers place orders then have problems with their files. I’ve had people accuse of me scamming them when I did exactly as they asked they just didn’t understand the process or after they literally sent me the wrong file and then didn’t communicate with me for days. I’ve had buyers change their mind and claim they need the money for something else after an order was complete. I’ve seen buyers dispute bank charges. I’ve had buyers insult me. You name it, I’ve seen it, and in almost every case, I lost the time invested, was never paid, and CS did very little to help me.

I’ve just learned that when you detect even the slightest red flag with a buyer, it’s best to just not risk taking the order, because there is just a higher potential for things to go bad and for you to lose time and money and get your account hit with cancellations. Raising your prices will also help with this a bit, but of course you still have to find a balance. But overall it helps to be selective, which becomes easier to do as your gigs gain momentum. That being said, you’re still bound to run into scammers and problematic clients from time to time. It’s just the reality of a platform like this when you have strangers from all over the world interacting purely over the internet.

Hi, I’m curious, how do you usually refuse to take the order? I had one user who --after being blocked from abusing the revision button-- used a different username and asks for the same service & price which I brought so low previously because I’m a new seller and was just trying to get an order.
I kept on refusing him when he asked for a low price but he kept on asking what’s my lowest rate. I eventually reported the message and blocked him. I wanted to ignore him but there’s the response rate system. Not sure how it works but I’m worried that if I ignore his message, it’ll affect the rating. Probably my case is a bit different as he knew I was previously a pushover (and new at fiverr), so he was just trying to see if I’d cave.

Have you ever had cases when a buyer didn’t want to accept your rejection?

You’re right about the $5 gig. I’m currently reworking my pricing structure as I’ve hit Level 2 and honestly I’m not full time so I’d rather have fewer orders that pay better (and better quality clients).

The reason I’ve kept the $5 so far is that I’ve had good experiences with buyers who started off with $5 and then moved up.

Thanks for saying this, though. Feels reassuring to know that my work is worth more.

You’re right, I should have waited for the whole thing to be done first. Lesson has been learned!

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I had this happen more than a dozen times during my Fiverr career. That’s why I split large orders into smaller ones. Even if they do a chargeback, they can do it only on a single order. They can’t do a chargeback on everything.

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Great question. I’m trying to not obsess as much about my percentages as I used to. Just because everything isn’t at 100% and 5-star across the board doesn’t mean you’re account is doomed. I generally have a three strike rule in life that I try to apply on Fiverr as well. I actually had a buyer insist on me doing an order for him even though I said I had no expertise in the topic he asked for (buyers looking for gambling content bleed into the video game gigs for some reason). After 3 pleas, I just stopped replying. Despite that, my response rate has never gone higher than 2 hours.

When you say “large orders” you mean bulk? As in buying, let’s say, multiple articles?

Unfortunately, with the type of order it was and what I offer, I cannot split things into small portions.

GG

1 Like

Only your first replay to a new conversation factors into your response rate. If it’s an existing conversations you can ignore them.

I’ve had this happen once before too, but I caught it because the person was a singer so I recognized the voice even with the new user name. I cannot understand why someone would want to work with a seller who clearly doesn’t want to work with them. In my case, I explained that I knew who it was and that It was just not economical or easy for me to work on his projects anymore and wished him luck.

Lol, I wish I told that person I knew who it was too, but I was afraid of sounding rude or breaking some rule I’m not aware of for assuming something without proof. I was overthinking it, definitely. I kinda hinted, telling the user that I had a bad experience previously with a similar order so I am now more selective towards project. It didn’t matter.

And thank you for the information about first response thing.