TL;DR - Always contact Fiverr Customer Support if you need to communicate outside the platform, always copy important messages to the Fiverr messaging system, and always request and receive payment through the Fiverr platform.
I thought it might be worth exploring what Fiverr says you can and cannot do regarding communications outside the platform. Some sellers offer this as part of a “Consultation” style gig, and some buyers request communication outside the platform for various reasons.
Contrary to popular belief, it is OK to contact a buyer outside the platform if, and only if you need to do so to complete the work. Here are the relevant parts from the TOS:
Communication for handling orders should be performed on Fiverr, through the order page. Users who engage and communicate off of Fiverr will not be protected by our Terms of Service.
Requesting or providing Email addresses, Skype/IM usernames, telephone numbers or any other personal contact details to communicate outside of Fiverr in order to circumvent or abuse the Fiverr messaging system or Fiverr platform is not permitted.
The key here is " in order to circumvent or abuse the Fiverr messaging system or Fiverr platform" - essentially Fiverr needs you to communicate, accept, and get paid for orders on the platform for a few reasons:
- To see the communications between you and the buyer in case of dispute resolution or questions.
- To ensure you and the buyer are protected by the ToS.
- To ensure Fiverr gets its commission.
However, you’ll notice if you type a word like email or Skype into a message box, you get the following warning:
Providing email, Skype, or phone number is only allowed if it is needed as part of the service. Otherwise, all communication must go through Fiverr.
What this means is that you can communicate outside the platform if you need to do so as part of the gig. A good example of this would be a consultation service. However, this comes with some important caveats:
- You should check with CS ahead of time that it would be OK for you to contact the buyer outside the platform.
- You should copy any important information and messages about what has been agreed to the Fiverr messaging system, so CS has access to it, and it is protected by TOS.
- You must always deliver work through the Fiverr platform.
- You must always request payment through the Fiverr platform.
If you can follow those four areas, then you can provide a consultation gig, but it is essential you follow those four points.
The key takeaway is this: Any time you want to do something and you’re not sure of Fiverr’s position, always contact CS and ask them, before you do the thing! They will be able to provide clarity on what you are, and are not allowed to do.
Incidentally, I am speaking from personal experience here, I frequently have Skype and phone conversations with Fiverr buyers outside the platform, mainly because they have complex requests that are not easy to communicate in text. I received permission from my Customer Success Manager to do so.
I hope this helps.
Again - Always contact CS and ask them, that’s how you can be sure you’re on the right side of the TOS and will avoid nasty surprises. It is also possible that CS will say “No” and that’s something you need to pay attention to as well.