After 8 years in the freelancing game, I thought I know how the game works. However, every now and then, you learn something new. This is my most recent learning.
- Buyer buys two orders back to back, week after week.
- Both cases, Buyer gives 5 stars.
- Two Weeks Pass. Buyer is upset. Goes back to Fiverr and claims work was never completed.
- Fiverr cancels the order. Refunds his money.
- I get a TOS violation warning.
- I raise two tickets. Learn more details as to how Buyer managed to claim cancellation.
- Now, I share my learnings and how others can avoid a situation like this.
- Buyer was actually an offline customer of mine. I dragged him to Fiverr (I did not meet him here), and made him place orders to help out with my new Fiverr account.
- I found out that the buyer used a couple of very specific TOS terms, which he was aware, and I was not.
When you press Order Complete, you get a pop up box. In this box, I am supposed to write full details of work done, and also attach files of all work done. This is the part I did not fill up.
Funny thing is, before pressing Order Complete, I confirmed with buyer in the order chat, that work is completed. So, I left the pop up box, blank. This was my first big mistake.
Second, as this was a coding project, files were shared on GitHub. In software work, it is natural to work on Github. Obviously, files were never shared through Fiverr. Buyer exploited this fact.
Buyer wanted to recorded all our conversations on Zoom (without my permission). So, he purposefully avoided initiating video calls on Fiverr. Further, these zoom links where shared offline (over ■■■■■) as he was my offline client from last with no connection to Fiverr until these two orders. So, there was any record of our calls, discussions in Fiverr chat. Buyer exploited this fact too, to claim no discussions happened, and hence I cheated him.
- Buyer kept saying (for over a year) that he was my “friend”. Like a idiot, I fell for this. A friend who secretly records your zoom calls is not really your friend. A buyer is a buyer.
- If client wants to use his own Zoom, Google Meet or any other video links, ensure they are sent through Fiverr Chat. I find Fiverr Chat has a lot of lag and delays. Still, ensure the links are shared through Fiverr chat.
- Files. Files are shared through GitHub. Still, zip your work and send it through Fiverr. This is duplication of work, and is not convenient, but satisfy Fiverr requirements. When in Rome, Be Roman. Follow the rules.
- The Order complete pop up box. I should never have left it empty. Order Chat and Popup Box are different things. Fill them up. This is also where I should attach files, even if files are attached in previous Fiverr chats. Support was very clear with me that the Order chat and the Order Complete Pop Up Box are two separate things, even if they both live in the same window/chat history.
- I ended up with a TOS violation warning. It is clear to me that I made some mistakes. I was dumb, and the buyer used that to his advantage. Ultimately, I dont blame the buyer or Fiverr. I blame myself. I should have been more careful.
- Fiverr support was helpful, but its unfortunate that the Buyer can access Chat Support (The buyer kept taunting that he has direct chat support, by sending me his chat screenshots on ■■■■■, to show me how superior he is to me), whereas I had to raise a support ticket and 24 hours for a reply.
- I also found out that, the Order cancellations was unilateral. Buyer says I did not send file. Support goes ahead and cancels order, puts a violation on my account and wont wait to see if perhaps, I have something to say as well. In fact, Buyer kept taunting me that he can get everything cancelled within seconds, and there is nothing I can do about. Turns out, he does indeed have such power. The fact that he had given me five stars, twice, and confirmed that order was complete had no bearing on the situation.
Ultimately, I should have been more careful. I blame myself, and hopefully, my experience will help others as well.