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Strange experiences with customers trying to string you along or scam you?

Hello, all. I’ve had experiences with two different customers in recent weeks that’s left me scratching my head. I hold the philosophy the customer is always right. But, where do you draw the line and prevent being taken for a ride? Let me explain.

The first incident happened last month. I had a customer in Switzerland buy a 200-word voiceover gig. I delivered on time. A couple of days later, the client sent me a message saying the voiceover was unprofessional and I pronounced “all” of my words wrong. I was very confused and asked for him to elaborate on some words he felt I voiced incorrectly. I told him I’d happily make revisions. It wasn’t until a few days later he messaged and said it wasn’t actually “all” of the words, but “several.” But, he still wouldn’t provide me a list of the words. After further pressing, he said it was technically just “one” word he had a problem with. I never argued. I made the revision- being careful to look at the dictionary, even, to make 100% sure I was speaking this particular basic word correctly. But again, he didn’t like the newest version- though when I inquired, he wouldn’t tell me how he thought the word should be pronounced. After some similar back-and-forth exchange, it became obvious it wasn’t going to work out. Frustrated and fearing a bad review, I requested a cancellation and he agreed to it- my first and only cancellation in my few months on Fiverr.

My second, similar incident happened last week. I had a different customer from overseas order a gig, and I recorded and delivered it. The customer never marked the order as complete; the system did it automatically. Several days later, the client came back with a list of revisions. These had to do with him being dissatisfied with the length of my pauses between some words in the script. These were natrual milisecond pauses, but I happily re-recorded/re-submitted. He was still unhappy. For the next revision, I went in and edited-out every last bit of pause between these words. It was to the point everything sounded strung together and there were no spaces left whatsoever. But, the customer claimed the pauses were still too long…even though in the new file no such pauses existed. He then came back with a list of additional “pause too long” revision requests which he never mentioned to begin with. These back and forth re-records and resubmits went on for an hour to no avail. I finally apologized and stated it was becoming obvious I was unable to deliver what he needed. I offered to contact Customer Service to help us get it worked out. His responses stopped.

Has anyone else had experiences like these? I do my best to go above and beyond to deliver perfection to my clients. But, in these two instances, I felt I was being played like a game and something was “off.” I would love to hear your thoughts!

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When I was newish to Fiverr, some buyers would try such shenanigans with me. I never agreed to cancel, even if they asked me too. Sometimes they went to CS, and it got canceled, and sometimes it did not.

I think this outcome was your buyer’s intent all along. Some buyers are :smiling_imp:s and prey on new sellers in this way.

Once this happens, you do not owe the buyer any revisions unless you choose to. The buyer can however, leave a review up to 10 days after the order autocompletes.

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I’m sorry you had to deal with this. How frustrating.

In the rare time I have a client like this, I explain that I delivered the scope that was ordered and give an ultimatum: I deliver the service again as-is or create a resolution to add an add-on for a price that would include the extra things they would like (and the grievances in your situation ARE extra things).

Once they see that I won’t take their you-know-what, they lay off.

If your scope is clear and you delivered the scope exactly and professionally, they have no grounds to be so difficult and you shouldn’t let them control you. If they have a specific grievance, they need to tell me what that is. Generalizations don’t hold water.

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I’m sorry you had to deal with this.

He knew you would do a lot to try to make him happy, and he had already decided that he would be impossible to please, until you gave up and gave him a refund. He also knows you do not want a bad review. These people are despicable.
It’s such a hard situation to be in. I think humanissocial had a good solution.

The only thing I would not do is give an offer to do a revision since I wouldn’t want to keep having to deal with him. I would have told him I did it as I said I would and the job is finished, although I long ago decided I won’t be held hostage to the threat of bad reviews,

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Thanks! I’ve found it helpful to lay out options and make a firm, but professional case. I’ve found people usually then see they aren’t going to get away with it.

The great thing about having scope in a contract is that it’s indisputable and overrides many of the subjective excuses buyers make to try to get things for free.

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Thank you for your thoughts! Yes, I learned the hard way about canceling. It was at the beginning of my Order Completed period, and I only had a handful of orders under my belt. So, that single cancellation took me down to an 80% and my orders dropped way off for a couple of weeks! It took a lot of hard work to dig out of that! Had it happened later on, I would have had more of a cushion.

My only guess is that these “customers” are hoping to get away with a free order. If they drag you along and you cancel, they get a refund. Meanwhile, they already have your voiceover downloaded to their computer. I guess it’s not like a store where you have to return the item to get a refund!

Honestly, I was unaware I didn’t owe revisions after the order is marked complete. Of course, my fear would be a bad review being left. I wish there was a way of knowing ahead of time what’s going on. Once you’re in the pit of a situation like this, it’s hard to find a good way out that won’t affect your ratings. Thanks again for offering your wisdom! :grin:

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That’s why it’s a good policy to only accept revisions BEFORE the order is marked completed. That way they can’t run away with your file.

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I appreciate your insight! It was equally frustrating and confusing. There have been some instances where legitimate clients have asked for specific revisions. That’s a part of it. I happily do another take and everyone is normally pleased. So, it becomes dizzying when you end up going 'round and 'round with someone who wants to be difficult. It’s unfortunate, but I’m glad to know it’s not just me. Lesson learned! Thanks again.

Great advice! Yes, as a newer person on Fiverr, you try so hard to get and keep your ratings and reviews as high as possible. When you get to a good spot, you don’t want to lose that. Not that I ever want to deal with a negative review. However, I’ve thankfully built up enough orders and numbers at this point that- if another one of these situations happens- I shouldn’t have to fear the threat of them leaving something negative. Thank you!!

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Are you recording with protools? You can use that to shorten pauses. It’s very easy, the pauses appear as straight lines, so you can cut them in half.

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Hello! I actually use Adobe Audition for recording and editing. It also has great features for dealing with pauses. I believe this was more of the client not having a true problem with the pauses, but coming up with something to get me to cancel his order on purpose. I say this because, at one point in the revision process, I went to the extreme and edited out every single space between the words to where everything sounded strung together- almost in an unnatural-sounding way. However, the client still claimed the pauses were too long. The problem with his claim was, there really were no more pauses in the track…I had clipped them all out. I couldn’t make the pauses any shorter than having no pauses. I will check out ProTools. I love Audition, but am always looking to learn and try new things! :slight_smile:

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You bet. That’s going to be my new policy now, too!

Some successful voiceover artists do not give any revisions unless they made a mistake. They specify to put any difficult words into the correct pronunciation, to write it as it is pronounced, and if not then the artist is not responsible. One I am thinking of says 3 times in his description no revisions. I think he charges $100 for a revision as an extra they can purchase.

And just giving this message in the description can be enough to discourage anyone from thinking they can take advantage of you. If they try to get you to do revisions and act difficult, you can simply tell them that you said no revisions. Without specifying how many you will do you leave yourself open to abuse.

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Absolutely! Sounds like a good idea. I’ll be spelling that our more clearly in my gig description.

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This is the root of your problem.
It’s a bad philosophy and one that even it’s originator didn’t actually follow literally. This cliche should be used as the goal for how the customer should go away feeling rather than how you should take their opinions or instructions.

On Fiverr a large amount of customers are coming to you specifically because they don’t know anything about the service they are purchasing or can’t do it themselves. In the light of this, how could they possibly be right? How could they know how your service works or what is standard practice and what is being unreasonable? It’s up to you to define what the limits are.

Regarding the non-specific revision requests: tell them that the way Fiverr works is that revisions are allowed only when the request is specific about the issue and the seller is given reasonable time to complete it. Any attempt to get a cancellation instead of a revision is at the seller’s discretion.
If they leave a bad review, so be it. Cancellations just make it more likely that they will consider doing the same to other sellers. Just leave an honest review in return and respond to their review professionally.
Then move on.

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What you could do is show the buyer an image of the waveform (eg. screenshot) to show how short (or non-existent) the pauses are, and maybe also a screenshot of how it was originally/what they normally are like. Visual proof might help.

It’s also a line people use to sound accomplished in customer service, when really they have zero practical customer service experience.

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If you love Audition and it works great for you, stick to it. I love ProTools, well, loved, since I haven’t used it in years.

Seems to me your client is a scammer, he wanted you to get frustrated and cancel the order so he gets his money back.

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Hi there,

I’m also a voice over artist and I never experienced those specific situations that you described. But I have other type of problems. From time to time I have clients who ask for proofreading and recording. I always send the text for approval after the proofreading and sometimes people don’t answer so I cannot proceed with the recording and complete the order delivery. Usually I wait 1-2 days and then I send another message saying that I will contact the support to solve the situation and clients decide to answer. But other times they don’t answer at all and I have to contact the support and report the situation.

My suggestion for you is that you state at your GIG that you don’t do revisions for lack information. Also ask at the requirements for clients to put all the specifications. That may help you to prevent these type of situations.

Whether or not it’s a good philosophy, it is one that seems to be held by this platform. I’ve had two instances where customers didn’t follow my posted gig requirements, were communicating poorly and were demanding something not agreed upon. The issues were brought to customer service. Regardless of them being out of line, in the end I was the one left with the cancelations and incomplete orders which sank my ratings. When I was younger, I worked for a couple of different retail companies that held similar few-questions-asked/customer-always-right return policies. The only difference there was I personally didn’t eat it in the end.

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