I Smell Fiverr Caving into a Refund Request but it's not Right!


#1

So I just got this lovely message in my inbox from someone whom I delivered $100 worth of work to almost a month ago:

Hi Andy, Sorry i haven’t replied sooner. Ive only just heard back from the client. Unfortunately they weren’t very happy with the copy you have provided. Their comments were:

"As feedback for you, we aren’t overly impressed with this copywriter and would have expected that a basic proof read would have been conducted by them before submitting it for client comments. There were many punctuation and grammar errors, the phrasing wasn’t great and we’ve had to change a lot of content (including contradicting statements and inconsistent terminology).

We’ve only had time to go through the first documents and I’ve tracked my changes/comments in the attached. Mark may have other input into the content but at this stage this is our initial feedback on the first 3 pages.

In all honesty (and just for feedback for you as a referrer) we were looking to submit a lot more work to this writer but based on what we’ve received we wouldn’t be inclined to use this copy provider again.

I have attached the 3 pages that they corrected. Would you mind having a look at them and fixing up the remainder of the pages accordingly."

Now, this makes me sound like the worst writer in the whole world. The thing is, though, it’s a load of horse poo. Firstly, this buyer never asked me for a sales copy at all. They instead asked me to rewrite and SEO the content of a competitors website. Moreover, since they wanted 3,000 words of content and the original website had just 300, I had to dissect a severely lacking brief and in the end, delivered pages of content which detailed far much more than really should have been expected.

Aside from that though, the tracked changes in the articles returned to me simply don’t make sense. The apparent proofer has removed question marks at the end of questions, created long run on sentences where these didn’t exist previously, and cited high-ranking (100% naturally used) key phrases as inappropriate/confusing.

In fact, they have severely undermined the readability of the original work. What’s more, they have called me out for not talking about topics in some pages which I haven’t, purely because the topics in question have been fully discussed in separate standalone content pages. (Which makes much more sense).

In short, I have a middleman reseller with a poor grasp of English who has obviously misinterpreted their clients brief and to top that, the end client themselves clearly can’t seem to understand what constitutes a viable sentence structure.

Anyway, this order was automatically marked as complete almost a month ago. Also, there were no revisions included in the original order. What is really getting me, though, is this bit:

“In all honesty (and just for feedback for you as a referrer) we were looking to submit a lot more work to this writer but based on what we’ve received we wouldn’t be inclined to use this copy provider again.”

This simply doesn’t make sense. Why would this person have plans to submit lots of work to anyone who they only knew of through someone else whom that person had never worked with previously?

In fact, this makes it all sound a bit fishy and threatening to me. In this case, I have sent a response document back which compares my original work to the modified work from the end buyer. In this document, I have identified several nonsensical changes and stated that I am very sorry but it will not be possible for me to revise the original work in line with the end buyers apparent understanding of English.

The only big question is will Fiverr take the side of the buyer should they complain?


#2

I guess in your line of work, you deal with many resellers or middle men. I hope customer support can see your point of view and deny a request for any refund (If that’s the route it ends up going).


#3

Yes, and I actually had a bad feeling about this one. The thing is, with orders going so up and down, I have been taking on work from people whom my instincts usually tell me to be wary of. Poor brief, just created their account prior to ordering but seem to know all about how Fiverr works…

Also, thinking about this, I way over delivered. I researched everything from new Australian tax laws to relevant current events to really help each article rank better for authority in searches, as well as just for freely researched keywords.

I would be happy to revise any work if this was actually doable. The simple fact is that this is simply not possible. Doing so would require direct communication with the end client and 10 new pages of content created around their actual brief. They clearly haven’t wanted content rewritten from a competitor website. They have wanted 10 pages which detail their exact products and services, each one of which is designed to sell these services. That is not the brief I was originally presented with.


#4

As someone who deals with people like this a lot - just bear with it. Fiverr is not going to give out a refund to the buyer even if they contact them and buy the looks of it the buyer is contacting you after a month the order was marked as complete so don’t worry about the review either.
If the buyer annoys you too much then just tell him what you said in the first post.


#5

I think he’s realised he can’t blackmail you with a review or threaten for a refund, so is probably trying to guilt you into doing further work for him.


#6

For me the fact that it was completed a month earlier is all that matters. That puts it into the ancient history bin. I wouldn’t think fiverr would take any interest in refunding their money after all this time.

Add to that the buyer is a middleman and is relaying what his client said about, and this is a non issue.

I don’t see any reason to concern yourself with this.


#7

Firstly, I know the accusation or complaint does not stack up and I hope you know that too.
From what you have written here, I suspect this may have been a Grammarly proofreading rather than a native speaking human. I have had plenty of this type of thing with translation and writing and the bottom line is that Grammarly is better than nothing for a non-native speaker but for judging a native speaker it is pretty worthless. It does exactly the type of thing you describe above.

It sounds like you have responded correctly and like others have said, its unlikely CS will cancel it. The only reason they would is if you do not engage with the buyer - they ask something, you answer - they ask something else, you answer again. This is because complaints by buyers or sellers to CS initially get the canned “work it out between yourselves” message. If you are unresponsive or rude, then the buyer can go back to CS with that.
(This is my opinion, based on things I have seen and read, not a definite).


#8

I never accept big orders from new buyers. If they’re outsourcing, I remind them I’m not responsible for their clients not liking my work.

By the way, I love your Create A Pro Real Estate Listing Video gig. Your prices are perfect, and it seems like a gig that doesn’t give you much trouble or drama. Reminds me of my Facebook gig. Other gigs create lots of drama.


#9

Off topic, but I’d just like to add that as a writer, I hate Grammarly - there are so many false positives and false negatives in that thing, I swear it creates extra work for me.


#10

Yes, my real estate gigs can/used to be stress free-ish. Now, though, I hardly get any orders as I simply can’t compete in either price or the Fiverr search itself with people selling knock off Videohive templates.

I looked into selling the same (but tweaked to be more unique) templates but I would still have to pay approx $80 per sale for the correct license from Videohive and that would send my end buyer prices into the stratosphere. I have tried to replicate a few styles but even the templates which I have created take hours to build from scratch and when the sales don’t come in to justify the time spent working on them, I just end up feeling foolish.

That said, everyone selling knock off Videohive material could be hit by a bus tomorrow so you never know.


#11

That’s interesting, I saw a company that does something similar for TV commercials, but I didn’t feel comfortable using it. I’m not good with templates, I like to create things from scratch.

Have you thought about using iMovie? Maybe there’s another way to make those real estate videos, one that doesn’t cost you money beyond buying the software.


#12

I think you misunderstand my point. I already use 2 different kinds of animation software and I have no problem making my own videos. Per year, however, I am paying $1,500 approx to create videos legitimately in this way before I start work. (For full commercialization & monetization rights of the software I use).

My problem is that I can’t compete in price against someone who steals a top 10 rated template from the Envato marketplace and sells this for $5 after (presumably) using a ripped copy of Adobe Aftereffects to edit the template in question.

I was the first on Fiverr to offer high-quality 2D real estate videos. What is more, earlier this year, I shopped all sellers selling stolen Envato/Videohive material to the original copyright owners. This resulted in removal of these gigs from Fiverr and my sales returning to what they used to be at my peak last year. Now, however, the same sellers are back selling the same stolen material.

There is just no way to compete. Even if I sold videos at $5 (despite the fact that each still takes at least 1-3 hours to create), I would have to sell 28 videos a week just to cover my production costs. This is why I get really angry about things like Fiverr Pro. Fiverr is knowingly allowing people to sell plagiarized work every day and yet at the same time, is saying ‘hey, we’re the place on line for real trustworthy professional media, marketing, and writing services.’


#13

I get your point now. You’re paying $1,500 and other people aren’t. Suppose you didn’t care about commercialization and monetization, would you get in trouble? It seems to me only the realtor would get in trouble, and there are so many online videos that how will anyone know if they’re legit or crooked?

For example, on Million Dollar Listing, Luis had an apartment with a dated kitchen, so he hired a photo retoucher and made it contemporary. When he had his open house, other realtors got angry because they saw the truth, and Luis failed to disclose that this photos only represented what the apartment could be instead of what it is.


#14

Sorry, you are still missing my point. It doesn’t matter whether I care about commercialization or monetization rights.

For example this seller:

gig

Is selling this exact video from Envato:

In order to be able to do this, they have paid $28 for a one time non-commercial/redistribution/monetization licence which states explicitly that they can NOT sell this video. If they did want to sell this video, they would have to pay $84 every time.

This is can be confirmed with the actual copyright owner of the video material in question who has this to say:

fiverr

I have no problem making my own videos. My problem is that I can not compete in price at all with some like this seller who has no overheads because Fiverr knowingly allows them to sell copyright infringed media.

My competitors lifetime costs for selling this gig = $28. Every sale they make necessitates approximately 15 minutes of actual work. The only way to compete with them (and several other sellers all doing the exact same thing, would be to download a cracked version of After Effects, buy the same one-time individual use licence for the same video format on Envato, and start selling.

The only problem is that although this would be easy (since Fiverr won’t care as long as I make lots of sales) I have a moral backbone which means quite a lot to me.


#15

I get that, but answer me this, why are you using Envato?

Why not just drop the pictures in iMovie or whatever platform is free, then drop music, add titles, and do your video that way?

Is it faster with Envato? Prettier? Fiverr is flexible, and not everyone comes here for something that looks like million dollar production. Sometimes the “rough and tough” approach is better.


#16

Are you serious? I don’t use Envato!

You really seem not to be able to get my point.

In writing what I am talking about is the equivalent of me buying your books from Amazon and selling them here under my own name.

Your responses to me are therefore the same as me saying to you, "hey, don’t sweat it, you can use article spinning software to write new books. Sure they will be a bit crap but not everyone is looking for a great work of literature.’

I think we best leave this.


#17

You wrote:

Whatever, I don’t understand your gig, don’t understand why you pay. Everything I do on Fiverr costs me nothing., if what you do is costing you money, you need a better business model or a different approach.

I have a proofreading gig, and I don’t pay for Grammarly. That website is a big help, but my clients appreciate that the work they get from me is 100% original instead of relying on machines to help me out.


#18

Okay, I think that the confusion here has arisen because you think that I am spending $1,500 just to create real estate videos. I am not. I create lots of different videos and it just happens that the real estate niche used to be my most profitable on Fiverr.

I do use lots of free video creation tools and regularly experiment with new ideas. In this field (video creation) though, it does pay to have the best tools which you can afford at your disposal. This is why I was recently hired to make Christmas themed product promo videos for a new niche gift company in the UK. I presented a pitch of a high-quality but low price product (which the tools I currently use allow me to create) and the buyer got excited enough to hire me for a job which we both know I’m not really the best candidate for. - He just wants my product and my budget prices.

I really do use free software wherever I can. In fact, I format all my ebooks professionally in Linux using free software and I can do a way better job than Book Baby and/or Create Space. Sometimes, though, you do have to invest a little more in the tools of your trade when that trade is about a different level of competitiveness.

I think I understand why we have clashed in regard to this subject and I am sorry that I did not appreciate why sooner. I hope that there are no hard feelings. :slight_smile:


#19

No problem. You’re a videographer, I’m a copywriter, it’s not surprising we struggle understanding what we do and how we do it.