Fiverr Community Forum

The 3 Tips you MUST Know to Spot and Avoid Bad Buyers

It can be tough being a Seller here on Fiverr!

When you’re a new Seller here, every single potential Buyer is SO important to us – not because of the revenue (because, let’s face it – earnings aren’t much at all in the beginning) but because of the rating power they yield.

Which is why dealing with what I’ll call “Bad Buyers” can be especially stressful. They may be critical of everything you do (even when it’s exactly what they have requested), they may demand free work, they may receive your delivered work and then demand a refund … and all the while they have the upper hand, with the ability to leave a negative review.

If you find yourself dealing with someone like this who has already placed an order, I’m happy to share my thoughts and advice, but that’s the topic for another post. Here, I want to share with you how to avoid dealing with these people to begin with!

I’ve put together a series of three “red flags” to watch out for. Pay careful heed and hopefully you can save yourself a few headaches!

  1. In his/her first message to you, the potential Buyer is already addressing you like a servant.

    This person may use phrases like: “you have to do ___,” “you must do ____,” “I expect ___ or else…,” etc. These are all signs that this person will not respect you (at best) and may even demand more and more services as you progress with the order. Which brings me to number 2…

  2. The potential Buyer demands free “extras.”

    You may have extras listed on your gig description that the buyer demands as part of the fixed package, or the potential Buyer may demand, up front, that you deliver services that aren’t even part of your gig. To be fair, Fiverr is a great environment for negotiations and striking a deal! But when someone is DEMANDING that you do something for a given price, it’s no longer a negotiation … and it’s no longer someone you should be considering doing business with. Speaking about negotiation…

  3. The potential Buyer who contacts you with a single sentence, asking “what’s your best offer for ____???”

    You know the type: there’s no “hello,” no polite introduction, etc. This type of Buyer is often just interested in getting the most possible for the least money. And as I’ve mentioned in #2., this isn’t a bad attitude from some perspectives, but when this is the ONLY thing the Buyer wants to discuss from the very beginning, it can be a bad sign.

    There are a handful more red flags, but I’ll leave it at this for now and open up the floor for anyone else who wants to share their own thoughts or experiences!

    Good luck to everyone out there, and feel free to reach out if you’d ever like advice!

Reply to @misscrystal: Wow. That would have to be a “Sorry, no thank you” for me.


Here is a bad buyer:

Buyer gets something from me for $10 and is delighted with it so gets it again in a more expensive version but says he wants a refund of the first one since it is the same as the new enhanced version he now is getting.

I worked for over an hour on the first one and he was thrilled–but wants a refund of that one to “help pay for the new one”.


great stuff


Very interesting and helpful advice. I have just realized that avoiding a bad buyer is just as important as getting a sales with a good buyer.


@fawhash, thank you! And I couldn’t agree with you more. It was a tough lesson for me to learn in the beginning, but I’m glad I did…

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LOL before reading this few minutes ago I recived this on private message:

Buyer: Is it possible to do the design now , then pay at a later time for the .ai file? Id like to get the project started.

Thank You

My answer: Hi there, no is not possible the order needs to be place first then I get the job done, also if you want the source file is not in Ai but in PSD.

Thank you L-)


I can’t say that I’ve had any of these experiences yet. The worst I’ve had so far is a client who wanted me to give her a picture of the cards along with the audio recording of her reading, but I don’t provide that service because the only tool I have to take digital pictures is my laptop computer. I didn’t mind indulging her since it wasn’t that much trouble to hold the computer over my desk for the picture, but it was still one of the so-called red flags that describes a bad buyer: despite what I did to accommodate her request and the time and care I took in my customer service (and specifically ask for a review), she wouldn’t leave a review.

In the future, I’m not sure that I’m going to accommodate this request again. I’m also undecided if I’ll accept more business from this buyer. I want to keep my rate of mutual cancellations low and I’m here to make money so it doesn’t make sense to cancel sales for cosmetic reasons, but still - I gave (a little) more than I advertise in my gig, and didn’t even get a positive review for my trouble.


@alessiobux - that’s great… exactly what I’m talking about! I got a similar message this morning from someone who had put a job offer up on the “Buyers Requests” section that I responded to. He is messaging everyone to submit the work to him, and then the “winner” will get a special purchase. So classy.

And @jamesbulls, I totally agree. Someone like that doesn’t respect you or your time.


Thank you!

Whenever I get messages like the ones you described in point #1, I politely decline them (or don’t answer if they’re really rude).

Unfortunately, bad buyers can seem completely normal at first, and once you’ve delivered, start demanding free extras, rejecting work that is exactly as they requested… I usually don’t mind doing small modifications if the customer changes his or her mind, just don’t be rude about it and don’t make it seem like it was my fault.

david388 said: someone who had put a job offer up on the "Buyers Requests" section that I responded to. He is messaging everyone to submit the work to him, and then the "winner" will get a special purchase.
There are PLENTY of spec/contest sites for that crap. The sad part is that I'm sure they'll get flooded with free work from desperate people - most if it will be terrible, but it's still a shameful precedent.

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This is very important topic, and in my area of expertise there are a lot of ignorant buyers. I usually disregard all of them who contact me without even saying ‘Hello’. That’s something elementary, and it says a lot about a person.

I have a note in my gig description for buyers to contact me before ordering. But, still, I’ve had a lot of situations where a buyer had made an order without contacting me. That tells two things about them: they didn’t even read my gig description and they expect me to work for the price they want ($5). What I do with them is make them cancel the order, and don’t discuss anything at all.

kasijus said: I have a note in my gig description for buyers to contact me before ordering. But, still, I've had a lot of situations where a buyer had made an order without contacting me. That tells two things about them: they didn't even read my gig description and they expect me to work for the price they want ($5). What I do with them is make them cancel the order, and don't discuss anything at all.
Fiverr isn't set up to be a custom offer shop. The purpose of gig descriptions is to describe what a buyer will get for $5. The extras are for add ons.

If you don't offer a $5 base gig, you shouldn't be on Fiverr.

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I’ve only had one really bad buyer. I went above and beyond to meet his changes (re-recorded a spot 3+ times). I did this to keep my star rating high and cancellations low. He did give me a 5Star, but the comment wasn’t great sounding.

I wish there was a way to protect ourselves from bad customers, but as long as comments and ratings are key, I don’t see it happening.

I do ask folks to message me first. I’ve been able to cut off most bad customers or people with products that don’t suit us, off at the pass.


Reply to @itsyourthing:

Actually, it’s none of your business if I offer a base gig. The point is they didn’t read a gig description. Every job is different, and if you can afford to think of couple of words for $5, which takes about 5 minutes of time, I salute that. But you cannot expect to get a website made for $5.

Anyway, Fiverr is encouraging custom offers, just because of the reason the base gig is not practical enough for most of the gigs. Thankfully, Fiverr recognized that, and adapted.


Thank you very much for the advice and heads up, we newbies in particular needs this. L-)


Reply to @kasijus: It is every user’s business if you don’t offer $5 gigs when you create regular gigs - not including purely custom gigs. The reason for that is that Fiverr does still require a $5 option on every normal gig and it’s clearly written in the Terms of Service. If you refuse to do that, it makes buyers assume this is a scam site. If they think it’s a scam, those who are not pulling scams lose out too.

When the base gig isn’t practical you can certainly offer your buyers extras and custom orders. Creating base gigs that have no $5 option is different. Maybe that isn’t what you meant? I read just one of your gigs and it says “And, please, contact me before buying. The price has to be discussed BEFORE ORDERING.” Does that mean there is no option on that gig that a buyer can pay $5 for?

I’m trying to understand if you just meant that custom orders were encouraged by Fiverr and OK alongside $5 options on regular gigs, or if you meant that some of your plain gigs don’t have $5 options. It wouldn’t be hard to write in what the $5 choice is if you want to and your wording overall is good.

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Reply to @candyrose11: No problem! I figured the more people that could learn these lessons without having to experience them, the better.

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@kasijus a quick reply to your comment above: I totally relate to your feelings, but I would add one small point - I’ve had a handful of Buyers who were new to the system, and purchased a $5 gig of mine without adding on the appropriate extras.

I have a gentle point of clarification that I copy-paste to those people, and so far it has resulted in an “oops, sorry,” followed by a $40 gig extra add-on within minutes for a handful of Buyers.

So I’d recommend to always give them the benefit of the doubt. But yes, if someone is rude, I agree: no second chances for that behavior, period.

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Reply to @firebugweb: that’s really frustrating. Glad that you got a good star-rating, at least. After a few more reviews, no one will see the comment any more, but the numerical score will continue to help you…