Fiverr Community Forum

Can the buyer take what you delivered after cancelling?

Hello everyone, hope you’re all having a wonderful day.
I had a situation. For the first time ever, I have received a gig request. I tried to meet all the buyers needs and requirements but they started to ask for more (my gig service is 5$). I changed my deliveries based on what they were not satisfied on but they kept asking me to revise it. Knowing they won’t be satisfied I finally cancelled the order (they also threatened me that they will cancel it right before).
I never got my 5$ and that buyer took my work and posted it in public.
Is that allowed? I know it’s just 5$ but I took a lot of my school time to work on this. The reason why I’m on Fiverr is to earn a little bit of money for school.


Welcome to the Fiverr forums. Please see:
. Top 5 Tips to Protect Yourself from Badly Behaved Buyers
. Stand Your Ground: Setting Boundaries as a Seller
. (the section on Ownership)


It is true, I have read and watched through those. I understand that there are buyers out there who could scam or take advantage of us. However, my main question is are they allowed to take your work and post it in public after you cancel?

From the ‘Ownership’ section:

All transfer and assignment of intellectual property to the Buyer shall be subject to full payment for the Gig, and the delivery may not be used if payment is cancelled for any reason.

If your ‘Buyer’ used the work, contact CS with proof.


Morally, of course a buyer shouldn’t do this. But it happens a lot according to reports in the forum.

As @imagination7413 has said, contact customer support with evidence. However, and the reason I’m posting, is that you cancelled the order. It’s not like the buyer decided to cancel the order and then steal your work.

In an ideal world this subtle difference shouldn’t make a difference, but it might.


Hmm, I see. I agree with your statement and I have acknowledged that this situation may have been my fault to an extent. Thank you for posting this.
The reason behind my cancel was with reason: The buyer asked for more than what is set in my gig. I can only assume that his intent was to get me to revise numerous times since my gig is cheap (even though he’s already satisfied), cancel it so he doesn’t have to pay, and take my work nonetheless… But unfortunately that’s just an assumption.

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Sorry to hear about this, but I think it happens to everyone at some point. It is a part of selling unfortunately. You can protect yourself though. Go to your seller page and click on Gigs. When you get to that page click on your photo and information will drop down read and there is a button to put a watermark on your work. It will only be done to work that is put in the delivery though. If you send anything by the message route, then it will not show up there if my memory serves me correct. I clicked on that and I am not sending anything to anyone through the message section. That is the way people get large sections of their audio done for free. Hope this helps. Good luck.

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Was it subtitles that he took? That’s the only gig of yours that I see, if he took your writing or something graphic design related, I can advise you on getting him in some serious trouble with his ISP and host. Let me know - I’ve already eaten one thief for breakfast this week and I’m perfectly happy to take on another. :wink:


Yes, it was the subtitles that he took. It’s relatively minimal (obviously compared to the professionals and experienced out there) but it took me some time and stress. I knew that sellers should have boundaries or they get taken advantage of. However I was tempted to keep my reputation (especially because it’s my first gig) and I wanted to have a 1st good impression here in Fiverr… Unfortunately that’s not the case now.
Furthermore, I regret not checking his profile earlier. It seems that he has committed other acts of fraud to other people. And I fear he will continue to do so. I do not want anymore victims.
Thank you for your help. Are there any advice on what steps I should take? I’m a little lost on where to start.

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I understand it is a part of selling. In fact, it taught me a good lesson. It was a bit of my fault for underestimating the possibilities of frauds.
Thank you for your advice. In fact, I didn’t know there was a watermark option. I’ll keep that noted for future references.
Though, I must admit, is it really supposed to be a part of selling? I don’t believe businesses involve becoming a victim or a suspect of fraud. What defines business, such as this, is an act of agreement. Where two ends are in satisfaction. Committing acts of fraud or scams kills the meaning of selling and buying. If it is really just a part of selling, then businesses would lose the ability to develop. Because we find issues, we look forward to resolve and improve. Improve for the future generations of sellers and buyers won’t have to face these issues ever again.

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Competition drives innovation and improvements. Fiverr doesn’t have much competition (or, rather, is growing fast enough to outpace the need to compete), and thus has no ‘reason’ to fix things. Their business plan seems to focus more on pushing new features or partnerships out rather than fixing old issues, and that unfortunately includes many foundational problems.

Functionality aside, Fiverr permits several questionable services that appear in conflict with it’s own ToS/Standards, and thus compromises its ability to actually stop rumors and rule-breakers.

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Have you reached out to CS yet? With subtitles in particular, it’s difficult to leverage a DMCA - technically the original content was the buyer’s and you performed a service on that content, so the content itself remains his property - there’s no real way to separate out your work from his to punish him. CS, however, might need a little throat-clearing in his direction to look at what seems to be a pattern of abuse and theft, as you allude to.

That said, if someone’s willing to be unscrupulous in one aspect, they usually don’t stop there. If, for example, he was…using copyrighted images? Well, you’d just be acting as a “good citizen” if you were report those videos to YouTube, right? :wink:

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Well, when we first start out, we are so eager to please that sometimes we do not protect ourselves. You have to click on that watermark in order for it to work in the delivery. Try not to beat yourself up over this. There are about one percent of the population out there that want something for nothing and they make like miserable for the rest of us.

Furthermore, I regret not checking his profile earlier. It seems that he has committed other acts of fraud to other people. And I fear he will continue to do so. I do not want anymore victims.

Yep, my advice (for future situations when a buyer contacts you before placing an order) would be to do a bit of research to see if it’s beneficial to work with them. What I do each time a new buyer contacts me is I visit their profile and from there I check the profiles of the sellers they’d worked with and read the reviews and ratings that particular buyer had left those sellers. Detective work, but really helpful.

This way you can see if it’s a reasonable buyer or someone who constantly leaves bad reviews or even states in said reviews that they are extremely hard to please and picky. If I see something like this, there’s no way I’ll risk working with that buyer.

After checking the buyer’s feedback pattern:

  1. If all seems right, you can go on, discuss all the necessary details, and invite them to place an order when you have a complete understanding of what they want and you know you can deliver that. Also, having an efficiently-structured requirement section on your gig is extremely helpful: you can set up a small questionnaire which will require that the buyer provides all the information you need so you can deliver the results they expect.

  2. If you see some red flags regarding the way they had reviewed all the other sellers, you can politely decline working with them and even block them afterwards, to make sure they would not order despite your refusal.

I hope this will help you avoid bad buyers from now on. Good luck!


Whether you cancelled the order yourself or not is irrelevant and you’re right–this is theft.

Let me clarify that your work remains yours and NO, a buyer cannot do this and it should be reported to Fiverr Customer Support. Just because you cancelled it yourself (due to his unreasonable behavior) does not make it any less of an offense that he is using your work for which he has not paid.

Although it is diffcult to prove ownership of subtitling, it’s not impossible. Send customer support clear screenshots of the wording you provided, alongside (side by side) screenshots of the wording exactly as it appears when he uses it.

Although the original material was his, and therefore he owns the core material on which your titling was based, it would be very unusual for several subtitlers to take the same original material (say) and each come out with precisely the same wording! So, if they are truly identical, I think Customer Support may still find in your favor and they may contact the buyer to request removal of your work. That would be all they can do in this case, however, as you cancelled and therefore, they cannot pay you damages.

But I’d suggest the most important thing here is to ensure he cannot get away with using work he has not paid for.

Plus, if the buyer ‘is not fully satisfied’ with the work and believed it needed some extra elements, then the question I’d put to customer support is why he is now using the words–if he’s unhappy with those words!

Irrespective of whether he might try and claim they are his own words, apparently those words don’t work for his needs, so why display them? It sounds as though this buyer is habitually using fraudulent tactics and will never be satisfied, so he can receive work for free,

I find it doubly shocking that someone has stolen from you when you are working hard alongside school. It’s exploitative and disgusting.

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Definitely! Once I found out their profile I noted to myself that I should understand the buyer a bit more before I agree to work with them.
Thank you