Fiverr Forum

Catch 22 on Terms of Service


Hi everyone! I was on the fence about posting this, but I believe a bit of perspective, and a general community discussion outweighs the concerns regarding airing my issues on the forum.

Generally, I’ve been a happy and mostly satisfied seller… On here since 2014 with nominations toward TRS since the system was changed (and always trying to improve the service to get to that sweet spot). I’ve never once had a bad review, up until this situation, and now…suddenly I’ve been demoted to Level 1, and lost revenue, sleep and a general trust in Fiverr’s system.

So here’s where it got sticky:

A buyer, without contacting me first, ordered from my gig. The gig description is 100 words for $10. The script, I discovered, was over 350 words…therefore I initiated a modification to the order for the full price of what it should have cost.

After no news, and the deadline approaching, I opted to complete the work, since sometimes buyers aren’t great about checking their messages. I notified the buyer that the work was complete, and I was just waiting for their response.

The buyer refused the modification, and said I was trying to “force” more money from them, and that they went ahead and got another seller to do it, so please cancel.

Per what I understood to be procedure, if the work is complete, I had the right to deliver what the buyer “purchased” up to the 100 words on the order. Which is what I did.

Threats ensued, and I won’t bother recounting that struggle, but Customer Service was approached from both sides.

After a tumultuous week, and a bad review, I believed “well, lesson learned” and just accept a cancellation even after work is done, and I’ve lost the income, and my percentage of completed orders dips…but no. They weren’t done with me yet.

Then, I’m notified I’ve breached the Terms of Service for “using the delivery button for an improper delivery” AND I got demoted, AND lost the revenue, AND the review is still there.

I began a fruitless communication with customer support where they said over and over that they reviewed the entire order, and upheld their decision.

So, Terms of Service “seller must deliver completed files/proof of work…according to the service that was PURCHASED and advertised on their gig description”… apparently means that whatever your buyer decides to put in their script or instructions, THAT is what you have to deliver, regardless of whether they actually paid for it correctly, or are asking for something outside the scope of what you offer.

That’s my Catch 22

I think the Terms of Service need to be clarified, because I believed I was acting according to them before this whole debacle started. I shouldn’t be penalized for an unclear or misinterpreted policy that blatantly favors improper buyer behavior. Customer Support should have forwarded my communications to the department that writes the TOS, but I doubt they did. They seem to want to sweep my issue under the rug.

So, to end my saga, I’d like some unbiased opinions:

Is the TOS clear on this point? Did I misunderstand, or do something inappropriate?

Is there a catch 22 in the system, since they encourage seller/buyer negotiations to resolve an order, and penalize cancellations (I would have been more open to cancel if there wasn’t a rating bar staring me in the face every day on my dashboard)?

Is fiverr condoning or abetting improper buyer behavior to the detriment of their sellers, and thereby their own revenue?

I’m just full of curiosity what the responses will be!

Now, off to enjoy my 30+ days of being level 1 again, and working back up to level 2 and hopefully someday TRS!

Thanks for reading, I know it was a long rant!


:arrow_up: first error

:arrow_up: second error

:arrow_up: third error

I don’t see a catch 22 problem, rather a couple of passive aggressive people (one is the seller, the other one is the buyer).


Did you use delivery button for this or did you add an extra to the order to cover additional words?
Based on the CS response it seems you used the delivery button and if that’s the case then I’m sorry to say that this wasn’t the correct use.


I think the terms of service should make it clear what should be done in the specified circumstances.
eg. what a seller should do If a buyer orders something priced for a certain word count but in the gig requirements says (or attaches something that says) they require something with a higher/lot higher word count.


Hi! I used the Resolution Feature, from the start. Not a gig extra. I only delivered the order of 100 words after the buyer refused the resolution. They did not initiate any cancellation before delivery.


Communicate with the buyer before starting.

You ordered 3x for the price of x. Choose between:
1) pay 3x
2) receive x
3) cancel

I don’t even start if you don’t answer and if you don’t answer I will cancel.


But if the terms of service was clear what a seller should do in cases like this (and there was an official Fiverr policy for what should be done), more sellers should know/it should be better for sellers. Or maybe it could be in a seller help section.


I see.
When buyer refused you should have cancelled the order rather than deliver because mutual agreement was not achieved.

I don’t quite see it as catch 22 because if delivery doesn’t meet buyer’s requirements then order should not be delivered (no matter what the requirements were). You did the right thing by using resolution center, but if buyer ignores your request or refuses it then cancellation should be the next step.

However, I do think that the buyer could have resolved the situation better and you would have ended up with a single cancellation rather than demotion.


I understand the fine line here, yes. I think I should have accepted the cancellation when he became belligerent rather than try to “prove the point” of his lack of ethics. I guess my issue still stems from the language of “delivering” an order that was placed for 100 words vs. the buyer’s requirements not matching that.

Thanks for contributing to the thread! You always have well-thought responses!!


I like your suggestion, I just wish I knew how to mention that in a way that Fiverr would consider…they don’t seem very receptive on CustSupport. I honestly think that with Fiverr’s access to technology, the script should be put through a word count program via Fiverr’s order process, and the buyer doesn’t have the ability to manually fill out that number. That would also resolve the confusion.


Hello, I do understand what a difficult situation you were in.

It sounds like you completed the 100 words the buyer paid for. When he refused to pay for what he wanted which was 350 words, you should have cancelled.

I’m so sorry this happened to you. It takes a lot of careful thought and even discussing it with CS sometimes in a difficult situation like this. I’m sure you will be back at level two soon.


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


The third passive aggressive person being yourself, naturally.

I don’t see the problem here. Why can’t sellers request full payment for the actual price of what has been ordered? If you are a teller in a supermarket and a person’s goods come to $30 but they only want to pay $10, you don’t get fired or pulled into HR for a warning for not letting them get their way.

@lkwelsh I would have done exactly what you did in this situation. Lots of buyers know that Fiverr manages situations in their favor. Hence a culture starts of "well the seller has to do it anyway, so why pay more than the bare minimum?"

From experience, almost every order where buyers don’t pay the full price or don’t supply full details results in a nightmare. This is true even when sellers deliver the full amount of work requested, despite losing time and $$$'s.

In future, cancel any similar order.

Can you clarify whether you used the delivery button to send your work? If so, I fail to see how you have breached TOS.

In either case, all you can do now is move on.


Checking how long a buyer has been around, determines how I deal with bad communication/blatent gaul.


Sellers must request the actual price. Just don’t start the work if the buyer disagree on the price or does not provide a clear feedback on the price. If the buyer doesn’t want to pay he/she will obtain nothing.
On Fiverr the matter ends with a cancellation before starting the work, and that is where the analogy with a real store ends. A cancellation penalizes the seller no matter what.


This is a sticky situation and I am really sorry for what happened to you.

First of all, there are a lot of things that don’t work how they should here, and the only error that I see in what you did is the fact that you agreed to do the work after the buyer didn’t agreed to the modification of the price. But we must adapt and learn what we can do to avoid issues with this system.

I guess what they considered “using the delivery button for an improper delivery” is the fact that you delivered 100 words of work (what they paid for), but not what they asked for (350 words). This makes the order technically incomplete in the eyes of the buyer. While I don’t see why you got punished for it, I could somehow understand that they try to avoid situations where buyers claim they didn’t know that would cost more, and they are not willing to pay more, but also can’t do nothing with a 1/3 of the order done.

If someone orders a full article with the price of a paragraph from me, that paragraph would be useless to them.

Best advice that others have mentioned as well is to ALWAYS cancel orders that you don’t agree upon. If the buyer doesn’t agree to cancel, go to CS to cancel it for you.

Anything else it seems that can and will result in bad reviews, cancellations and warnings. Just avoid it completely next time, it’s best that way.

Good luck with your levels and I am sure that with hard work and dedication you can come back stronger and better. :+1:


You could add a mandatory field in the order requirement section of your gig where the buyer HAS to enter the word count of the script that they want you to work on while placing the order. You could frame the order requirement statement along the lines of:

Please state the word count of the script that you want me to work on (NOTE: I charge $10 for 100 words. If the number of words does not match the correct gig amount, I WILL NOT be working on your order).

At least, this way, you will have a better defense for when something goes awry in the future. You could show this to the CS; it will definitely be more convincing (cuz it is the buyer who manually filled in the word count in that mandatory field).

If the buyer entered in a wrong word count, you could confirm it with the buyer and get a written correction of the word count from the buyer in the order page (before you start working on the order).

What are your thoughts on this? Would this help? Are there any potentially negative aspects to this approach?


you roll the dice with angry customers cancel the order.


The best thing for every situation like this would be to have order clocks not start from new buyers until it has been confirmed by buyers and sellers that order details are correct.

I keep getting this from Fiverr:

This is XXX’s first purchase on Fiverr! Creating a great first impression can lead to higher rating and more orders coming your way. Here’s what you can do:

• Review the order requirements.
• Got everything you need? Let them know you’re good to go.
• Something’s missing? Ask them to provide more information.

If you’re missing information that’s stopping you from working, ask XXXX to extend the delivery time at the Resolution Center.

If Fiverr wants to eat up more of my time by forcing me to send confirmations out when I receive orders, they should make sure that the clock doesn’t start on an order until I do.

The first time I received this message, I was faced with an order for a single article from someone asking me to create a Wikipedia page, write a biography about them, and write a third article covering 19 different topics.

This is the Catch 22 here. Sellers are in no way protected from this kind of behavior, innocent or not.

It is also easy to say “the seller should have done this and this etc.” However, it needs to be remembered that on the other side, Fiverr is breathing down the necks of sellers to stop them from canceling.

It is increasingly difficult to do anything right. Lower delivery times to offer clients better value for money, then get hit with late delivery penalties and cancellation penalties when clients request work which isn’t offered and don’t respond to order modification requests.

I have mandatory gig requirements on most gigs. 50% of buyers ignore these and everything in my FAQ section.


First off the buyer, before anything even starts, should have a box where he enters the entire script or requirement, the seller determines the word count and the price, and the buyer can either pay that price or not buy it.