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Difficult buyer - did I do the right thing?

Hello all,

Just hoping for some advice on here - I feel I may have done the wrong thing here.

So I received an order from an individual for four documents for a university application, to be ‘rewritten’, these were apparently for four separate individuals. I took this on on Christmas Eve, and thus I did a great deal of the work on Christmas Day - no problem, it was a large order and I was happy to be able to complete the work. I did give her quite a large discount, too, since it was a bulk order.

I received the documents: no wonder she wanted them rewritten - they were double the maximum word count, and in the most broken English I’ve come across in my five years doing document and statement work, as well as not being culturally what is required for this kind of document (arrogant in places and over dramatic in a way that I often come across with buyers from this part of the world: it’s not their fault, it’s just a cultural thing that doesn’t translate well)

So, I spent eight hours on the work: four on Christmas Day, and four on Boxing Day, staying up to 2am to finish them off (not that this is the buyer’s fault), and I was so pleased with the work: I’d transformed the documents, editing them down to word count, adding detail, making sure the grammar was perfect, etc. I was expecting some revisions since there was so much work, but then I received:

We need the improvement and restructure, not the grammar check :frowning:
Thank you for your work, but they did not meet my friends’ expectation. Sorry.

So she wanted a further discount, AND she wanted more revisions - she essentially wanted a new document, which is not what she paid for. Obviously it hurts whenever someone doesn’t like your work, but I can take that: documents like these are very personal and buyers often don’t make it clear what they want, or don’t understand culturally what is expected in the document. Fine.

What irritated me is that it was so painfully obvious that I hadn’t completed a ‘grammar check’: I’d completely rewritten these awful documents into something I’d be proud to submit myself, and I had a feeling she just wanted more than she’d paid for. I’m out of office for the next two weeks as I have deadlines outside of fiverr, so I just cancelled the job. And here’s where I think I might have messed up somewhat:

Dear [redacted],

I think you had better cancel the whole order - I clearly cannot meet your expectations, and I don’t have time among everything to deal with insatiable buyers - so the money is yours, and I don’t mind, because I expect it will save me more hassle in the long run.

But let me be clear:

I received four statements which were almost double the length that they should have been. Not only this, but they were in completely broken English, and they were quite obviously written by individuals with no grasp of either the proper use of the English language, nor the correct way of going about advertising oneself in an American context. I spent a total of eight hours working on these statements, and I got them down to the requested word count - and you claimed I had performed a ‘grammar check’. You can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear.

I also worked on Christmas Day, and gave you a hefty initial discount as you had placed a bulk order.

You mentioned when I took you on that you had had trouble previously with a seller - and now I know why. Please enjoy the refund, with the knowledge that you have four professional, high-quality personal statements - a far cry from what you submitted.

I really wish you no ill will, and I hope that some other seller might be capable of meeting your expectations.


Yikes - did I go too far? I think I was certainly too rude, and I’m worried I’ll be penalised for it. I’m not going to follow up - I have to stick to my guns and I’ve already lost hundreds of pounds on this order, but I am worried she might report me. I know it’s necessary, but I hate that we have to be so kind, even when people are rude - it reminds me of my days waiting tables, cowering in fear at the power of a tripadvisor review.

I don’t even know if she was trying to scam me. I expect she actually works for an agency, and is selling my work on - this is very common on Fiverr, and they often say it’s for ‘friends’: I don’t mind, I get the work. But such buyers are always picky: they don’t really know what their client wants, and their clients are often entitled because they’re paying hundreds and hundreds of pounds for their service, in turn. Of course, as a result, the client is a V.I.D - with whom, I must say, I’ve always had trouble in one way or another.

Please advise - I knew I’d encounter difficult buyers on here eventually, but this one has really got to me for some reason!

Christmas blessings, if you celebrate,



Dang! I’m real sorry that happened to you. I definitely think you did the right thing. It sounds a little rude but considering the circumstances it’s completely understandable and you never said anything hurtful or profain. Buyers like this really suck and shouldn’t be allowed on the website. I wish you better luck in the future. Happy holidays!

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Hello Olivia,
First of all I am so sorry that you had to deal with this…ahem,well, throw in whatever word you’d like! :crazy_face:

I get the feeling some people might say “You should have kept your cool and not snap back like that,” and depending on the situation I agree, but in this case I feel like you didn’t cross any lines. I don’t think you messed up, you clearly stated what the problem was and why you want to cancel the order. Yes it does sound “snappy,” but at an acceptable level. Well, at least for me it is :wink:

Having that said, here’s some stuff I’d like to point out, personally I would have NEVER given the person a discount, even for bulk orders. Bulk orders means “a lot of work”, and you should get paid for every second you put into it. I have buyers ask for discounts when they place a big order, but I almost never give them that.
I get the feeling when you offered this buyer the discount, she/he thought they can get away with more.

Also, maybe you should have asked them to send the document first, THEN give her the quote. I never accept orders until I have the chance to check documents because I get sneaky buyers every now and then.
It’s written in my gig description to always contact me first before placing an order.
Now I still get buyers who ignores that message, but adding that line in the description AND the gig image does help.

Again I’m sorry for what you had to go through, but clearly you are a very skilled person.
Don’t worry, I’m sure your next order would be from a much nicer person who is respects your work. (from my experience, when I get a nasty buyer I almost always get a lovely person after that!)

Get yourself some wine and good sleep, and you’ll feel better in the morning.
Happy Holidays!!

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I often talk on the forum about how sellers have to stay in control of orders. This includes the ‘signals’ we send to buyers.

Why offer a discount? If anything, in my opinion, you should have charged a premium for working at Christmas. I would have charged at least 1.5 or 2x my normal rate. You only had to read the forums ahead of Christmas to see how many good sellers were looking to pause their gigs or activate out of office mode over Christmas.

Why work on the order if your buyer was a liar? I would have thrown the documents straight back at her saying “This is not as discussed. You told me the documents contain X number of words when in fact they contain Y number”.

Following on from the above, I refuse to work with buyers who come across as entitled or as liars unless they show signs of compliance. I simply tell them what I think - it often shocks them into realising that you are not to be messed with.

I do sympathise with you, but in my opinion you were far too lenient with a buyer who abused you.


I agree. There were huge red flags and she voluntarily exploited herself when at Christmas you should be charging a premium.

She turned herself into prey.


Oh shoot, I actually worked on one order on Christmas.
Awe darn, I should have charged extra!!!
(…well, the order was pretty simply, but still. )


Ha ha. If it helps you feel better, I worked on one large order around Christmas. I did charge nearly twice my normal rate, which the client was happy to pay (as they recognised that many sellers were not working), but I still regretted it - as I spent three hours on Christmas Eve and four hours on Boxing Day working. It didn’t feel right. I will remember that feeling for next year, and say “no” if I’m asked to work.

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Cover letter and Personal Statement work, as well as university level essay writing and proofreading.

The above is from your profile description.

Helping to prepare academic work (essay writing and proofreading) is against the Terms of Service at the bottom of the Fiverr main page and to do so is to risk your account.

The writing of Personal Statements to gain university places may be questionable.

Such a gig has been denied before in a previous post.


Yeah - I’ve spoke to CS on this to check, and upon their advice I did take my university essays gig down (which I do continue to operate outside of fiverr, as I have done with my alma mater for years). It’s a strange policy, but there you go. CS were happy with my statements gig. Go figure! I should edit my description though, thanks for flagging that.


This is really great advice - thank you! I have no idea why I didn’t have enough self-respect here, I am so inundated with orders at the moment that I’ve had to go OOO. I probably got scared by the V.I.D thing - I’ve been running my services as a business for years and obviously that sort of thing doesn’t exist outside of Fiverr

You and @humanissocial are both quite right - thank you. How interesting that I didn’t expect this advice. I expected ‘work harder to be nicer to buyer’, not ‘don’t leave yourself open to difficult buyers’! I need to ignore V.I.D and the like, I imagine that’s what did it.

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Yeah - ditto, let me tell you. I’m interested by the way in which this platform works psychologically: I’ve been doing this work for years under my own steam, and have NEVER thought of working on the week around Christmas. It’s probably the presence of other sellers/fomo type thing as well as the rating system.


Students are supposed to write their own personal statements. Those who try to hire someone else to do it for them are likely to be dishonest (otherwise they’d be doing it by themselves), and therefore, to be trouble. Especially here on Fiverr.

Perhaps sticking to services that are less likely to attract dishonest buyers (and changing your profile description accordingly) might help?


Sorry to hear about what happend. Well, what happend is now gone and you should learn with the mistakes and move forward. Yes, Costumer is always right but you also need to have self-respect as you are doing hard on building your business. I hope next time you will be more careful on Fiverr.