Fiverr Community Forum

Should I offer a refund? First tricky customer

Hi there, long time listener, first time caller!

I’ve been on Fiverr a few months now, just awaiting the mid-month assessment and I’ll be moving up to Level One having completed about 45 gigs successfully.

I normally do proofreading and editing, but had a customer request that I come up with two sentences to put on little gift cards for Mothers Day. I agreed a price and provided 6 sentences. They came back and said they wanted each sentiment to be 3-4 sentences long. No bother, I again completed this and gave them a half dozen choices.

They accepted my delivery, but have come back again to say that they could have just googled phrases, and that if I don’t come up with something more ‘special’ they will request a refund. Looking at the examples on their website, my suggestions are in better English (they are not a native speaker) and as sentimental.

I don’t want to ruin the good reviews and ratings I have, but I feel like I have fulfilled my end of the bargain. What do you guys think I should do?

Thanks!

8 Likes

Firstly, I would contact customer support and state that a buyer is threatening to cancel if you do not meet their demands. CS won’t do anything about it, but you’ll have stated your side of the case first.


As awful as that feeling of missing out on leveling is, even if you don’t make it this month, the bad stats will cycle out in 60 days and you’ll be eligible again.

Have you read this thread yet? Your Level Doesn't Matter. It’s a controversial topic, but there’s a lot of good points to consider.

7 Likes

Thank you. I have sent a message to CS outlining the issue. I don’t want to offer a refund as I feel like I’ve gone beyond what was agreed upon. It’s totally irrational to worry about the level, as I’ve done much better in terms of orders/earnings that I anticipated, but I set myself the target of achieving it and I’m a competitive thing!

5 Likes

This made me smile. Nice intro!

Bear with me here… I know my own standard of work and I’ve been a freelancer for long enough to know it’s better to slightly under promise and slightly over deliver. This way genuine customers will always be delighted! By default this means a buyer who is not ‘delighted’ will likely be a bad buyer or a scammer. Either way - alarm bells.

This is my long-winded way of saying so long as you’re happy that your work was to your usual standard and met the original brief, then I would always choose to stand my ground and not be bullied into cancelling or doing additional work.

A bad buyer or scammer who doesn’t get their way will likely hit back with a bad review, but you have the option to publicly respond. Sometimes a single negative review among a sea of positive reviews (accompanied by your measured and well-crafted response that paints you as a professional) can look incredibly refreshing and honest.

Either way, a cancellation or a negative review will affect your stats to some extent, but there’s nothing you can do about this. You are already caught between a rock and a hard place. Report the buyer’s threat - as has already been mentioned - and have some pride.

4 Likes

For me, and this has happened to me a few years ago, I had a very similar experience.

I finally cancelled the job and blocked the Buyer.

It’s one of the few times I’ve had to do that.

For me, I kept coming up with names for a product the Buyer was developing and at one point he gave me the same “I could have found those on Google” response.

It was a red flag for me and sadly, I had already given the Buyer plenty of names that he got for free from me and although he said he didn’t like them, probably used one or more that I submitted.

Luckily for me it was a low price Gig so I didn’t lose much but I stopped taking those kinds of jobs after that.

2 Likes

As you can see from the two answers above, there’s really no right or wrong answer to this.
I have a policy of not cancelling after delivery but on occasion I would, simply because it can be more hassle than it’s worth.
I would usually caution people offering services where the delivery is small - a couple of sentences etc - because it is hard to make that look impressive, inspirational or the type of mind-blowingly awesome that some buyers seem to think is possible to do.

When delivering projects like this, I would suggest including a couple of lines with an explanation for your choice of words and phrases, to bulk it up and get the buyer to read it more than once before judging it.

3 Likes

I understand that you are new and want to get orders, but when a buyer asks a new person who is not a writer to do this kind of job, they may have been a scammer from the beginning. It may be best to stick to what you sell and not be drawn off on tangents.

That being said, I would not cancel. Your stats will take a hit either way, and these types of sellers need to learn a lesson. Plus, you worked for the $4 you will make! :wink:

They may go to CS, but CS usually tells them to work it out with you. Then you stick to your guns and say you will not cancel. They may ask to cancel through the resolution center, but even then, all you need to do is deny the request. It ends up being a case of who is more mule-headed stubborn. So, whoever gives up first is the loser.

4 Likes

Thanks for making this point. It’s really easy to underestimate how underwhelming a few words or sentences can look on a page when you’ve paid for a service. As @vickiespencer has said, in this case the buyer might have been a scammer from the beginning - but it’s true, very little prepares a buyer to receive a nearly blank page.

Also, in my experience (and there must be a psychology theory that applies here), whenever I take on ‘small’ jobs they nearly always end up taking much, much longer than planned. The buyer usually says something like “It’s a small job and should only take 10 minutes” (I’ll be the judge of that thank you!) - but then, after delivery, the very same buyer wants to chat the ideas through and then come up with alternatives, or maybe asks for ‘just another couple of suggestions’ etc.

Before you know it their ‘10 minute’ job has turned into a half hour job. It’s almost like there’s an unwritten rule along the lines of: the smaller the job - the more a buyer wants to micro-manage it and get maximum value.

6 Likes

The path of small jobs:

  1. Can the price be low cos it will take ten minutes?
  2. I like what you did but can you redo it completely because x or y
  3. I think we are getting there but if you added in z then that would work
  4. What do you think are the chances of this becoming the next Apple/Facebook/Budweiser/Spandex?
  5. Why not? Do you not believe in the work you did?
  6. I’d like to cancel the order please
6 Likes

Okay…

I hate to be that person but…

What did the original order or request say? To come up with XYZ would usually mean they’re looking for something unique. If they can find it on the internet, I’m sorry, but CS can also consider it as plagiarism.

However, if nothing of that sort was mentioned, and if they have rated the order already, your best option is to say something like: They need to buy a revision (because the order has been marked complete).

Be super cautious though. There are no good choices here.

Xx

1 Like

When I first started on Fiverr a buyer said it wasn’t the quality he was looking for so I actually offered a refund thinking I was being nice… bad idea! That stayed on my stats for 60 days. I thought because I initiated the refund there was no lasting affect… wrong!

If it were me… I take the blame for not recognizing the red flags before they happen. I will do anything to make this person happy. Most of you would gasp at the lengths I go to if I have a demanding buyer. Talk about revisions… 10? 15? Yep! But I do everything in my power to spot and avoid these buyers with demanding requirements and higher prices.

I take the responsibility and do what I can to save that order. It always works out if they hang in there with me.

Saying that it’s about principal and putting your foot down only hurts you in the end. These buyers don’t happen very often so I always just do what’s needed. I can walk away feeling that my effort thwarted a catastrophe and that makes me feel WAY better than a 1 star. I hope this makes sense.

But if after all my work they wanted to cancel and customer service was not intervening, I would cancel because a cancellation is just a temporary blip on your stats where a poor review is forever… and who won then? Not you.

You can discipline your children for bad behavior but you can’t discipline your buyers after they break the rules…because they don’t play by the rules.