Fiverr Community Forum

'Programmer' scammed me by selling me code he found on the internet

Hi, I just finished my first sale where I got a “programmer” to make a game for me in python. They sent the product, I tried it, liked it, and completed the order. I searched some of the code up out of curiousity and found out that he clearly took it from another source, and was able to find a game that was exactly what I was asking for. There were some red flags throughout our interactions and I should’ve noticed them.

I opened a ticket in the customer center, but I have a few questions:

  1. Since I have proof the code was stolen, is it likely I’ll get refunded?
  2. Assuming he has the money now, where does this refund come from?

He was the cheapest option and had solid reviews already as well, but I lost $70 to a game that I cannot use as it already exists.


Yes, it is most likely you will get the refund, I will recommend you to get in touch with the seller to sort out things before getting in touch with C.S

You will get the funds from the seller’s account.

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Where in the ToS does it says sellers get to steal others’ work for profit and pretend it is original work? That makes no sense at all. There is more to your story than you are telling.

The ToS says the opposite. This is a bannable offense.

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I really think the best way to make sales is excellent customer service and making your own things.

I don’t know how and why it is one.

May be that is the reason one my repeat customer is asking me for reference

You can complain to customer service and get the account of the seller banned for intellectual property claim.

Just make sure you send them the correct screen shot of the TOS to CS and proof and you will not only get your money back byt the seller will also be punished for that

That isn’t at all tantamount to the case in this thread: theft, lying and plagiarism.

There is indeed a grey area in your case and that it is why your claim was rejected by CS.

So that above statement makes no sense at all. They said that to you because there is a grey area with your case. They wouldn’t say that to this buyer because the ToS expressly forbids theft, plagiarism and fraud.

This case is not at all comparable to what you experienced. You’re comparing apples to oranges because you have a grudge against Fiverr. It is very misleading to this buyer.

Don’t mislead other buyers into thinking CS won’t help them.


If you contact customer support they will ban delete seller’s ac and refund you money in your fiverr ac(you can’t transfer that money into bank account). you can purchase another gig from that money. The best way is to contact your seller and he\she will surely create new game for you.

The buyer doesn’t get his money for 14 days after the order is complete. If less than 14 days have passed since the order was completed, you will most likely get a refund

Most likely yes, especially if it’s within 14 days I think. If you show them proof that it infringed copyright/that the seller didn’t have the rights to sell it (eg. screenshots or other attachments maybe).

First, you have to contact with the seller. Maybe he will solve your problem. If he will not solve it then you can contact support. But you have to do it within 14 days.

These type of questions allow me to be more careful as i am new. Thank you for sharing your problem and doubt

There are some red flags with your story.

Was it part of your agreement that the code must be original / bespoke?

What you haven’t said is whether the code used in the game was open source?

The very fact that you were able to search for the code suggests that it is in the public domain and therefore open source. The reason I say this is because no commercial developer is going to publish their code for others to steal - unless they openly do so as open source.

If this is the case, then the seller was ‘probably’ within his rights to use the code.

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He probably was but that isn’t the point. The problem was the buyer commissioned him to create a game, not take an existing game and pretend that he made it.

Agreed. But if the source code used in the game was open source - then the seller did not ‘steal’ the code as the op has alleged. The seller would ‘probably’ have been within his rights to use it.

I say ‘probably’ as the term open source has many variants covering commercial and non-commercial use, and I am certainly no specialist in this area.

I think the case will come down to what the original buyer / seller agreement stated. Did it specifically state that the game must be 100% original and that all code must be written by the seller? If not, then maybe the seller has done nothing wrong. At the very worst it might be a grey area…


I’m not sure how this could be interpreted as “Can you find me a game and send me the code for it?” unless you’re saying he’s lying.

But who pays someone to find a game/open source code for it? He could do that himself.

In many ways this depends on the game we’re talking about.
If someone else’s code without any changes was enough to suit your needs initially, then we’re clearly talking about a very simplistic and basic game, likely without any original characters, dialogues and features, probably in a genre that doesn’t require any of those. In this case your exclusive and original code wouldn’t be much different from any other person’s code. Some parts of the code aren’t even copyright protected by the law (like algorithms and such), unless it is patented, and then again you can’t just patent anything you want.