Fiverr Forum

Theft of Services / Unprotected Selling


Does anyone have advice for me? I would like Fiverr to force a buyer to compensate me for my work, which they stole and profited from after cancelling an order for bogus reasons.

Recently, I was hired to create a video for a buyer’s youtube channel. Having done this before for the same buyer, I merely copied my process which seemed to satisfy the buyer the first time. After delivery, the buyer claimed that I didn’t do a good enough job (from my perspective I did a far superior job the second time, and put in more time and effort for the same price). When I asked for specific feedback, the buyer listed a few things that should have been detailed beforehand, including several things that I actually did perfectly. When I countered that I had met many of said details and that they should have mentioned them up front, the buyer’s response was along the lines of “well anyway - I needed it sooner” which seemed totally bogus given the nature of our agreement and the nature of their youtube channel. They insisted on cancelling, so I obliged, despite all of the work I had done.

Weeks later, I get a hunch that I should check their channel - and their was my video. My content. My hard work. Not only had it been edited with their watermark and a lighting filter - it had been up for three weeks, serving google ads and gaining views and positive comments to which the buyer had been replying. To add insult to injury - it was the channel’s featured video. Not the most recent upload. The feature. Out of roughly 700 videos.

I brought this to the attention of customer service and all they did was ask the buyer to take the video down. No compensation. No penalties to the buyer.

If I hadn’t done due diligence, this user would have profited from my stolen work for decades. And fiverr has done next to nothing. I have a 100% 5 star rating, level 2 seller, and this was the first time a buyer has requested cancellation.

Am I wrong to expect some level of protection against theft?

Has anyone had a similar experience? Is there a “can I talk to your supervisor” option to try and get paid?


Next time refuse to cancel no matter what they say. If you completed the job you have a right to be compensated. They may very well leave you a 1 star rating afterwards but there’s nothing you can do about that.

I would have hit up youtube and ordered them to take the video down due to the fact that it is not their property to use. I would even show proof of the canceled transaction so youtube knows they do not own the rights.

Then i might even get so petty as to making my own youtube video describing how the events unfolded and put their whole channel on blast for being scheming thieves. :slight_smile:


Ratings are everything though - I would rather eat it than get a 1 star review


Let me see you pay your rent using a Fiverr rating. Remember that cancellations also hurt your stats as well. Good luck.


Haha - thanks for the perspective. Maybe down the road I will be a little less afraid. I’ve only done around 60 gigs orders total


Did he actually removed his video after fiverr warning?

I hate buyers like this and I would’ve been furious.
I think I would’ve reported to YouTube that they are using copyrighted content that they stole, to Instagram (if they used it there) and fb, on top of that I would’ve wrote to the client himself saying that he don’t have rights to use this video and if he wouldn’t take it down I will contact relevant authorities to claim copyright infringement, and after that I would’ve comment on his videos and photos that he is a thief and has no professional behaviour.

But o would not recommend you to do all that :grin::wink:


Yes! He should totally report this to Youtube.


Never let yourself be blackmailed. You can improve your rating. You can’t get content back once it’s out in the world. If you set this precedent, you’ll not only be consistently scammed by terrible buyers, but your work will be supporting their businesses and will be out in the world without you having any control over it. What if your work helped the client earn thousands of dollars? You just gave them free value. If your business isn’t worth more than that, something is very wrong and your business won’t grow. Sellers who appear submissive or desperate simply don’t grow.


The user did take it down after the fiverr warning, but I feel let down by fiverr. The buyer was dishonest about their lack satisfaction. I did the work. I feel like fiverr should either make them pay or give them the boot.

Fiverr asking them to take down the video or else is just a slap on the wrist. Maybe my perspective is off but it feels like the case was decided in favor of the dishonest buyer instead of the reliable seller.


Thanks for the advice. I really do value my business, but it’s tough being a musician - music gets devalued more and more each day. No matter which part of the industry you are in, there is less to go around. Even this user, who has a music-based youtube channel, and is ostensibly a fan of music, sees it fit to steal from a musician. Outside of fiverr, getting paid accurately and/or on-time is a constant struggle. I do my best, and my business is growing, but it often feels like a battle.


I understand your frustration, but the work was NOT stolen. You gave it to him for free, because you let him con you into an unnecessary refund. Never agree to a refund or cancellation after the work has been completed and delivered. The guy could have asked for a revision, but instead he convinced you to give him all of your work for free.

The buyer was wrong, but – and I hate to say this – he wasn’t entirely at fault.


According to TOS the buyer has no right to a seller’s content unless buyer has paid in full.

" * All transfer and assignment of intellectual property to the Buyer shall be subject to full payment for the Gig and the delivery may not be used if payment is cancelled for any reason."

How is that not theft? How is a buyer who violated the terms of service not at fault?


Theft means that he would have had to have taken your work against your will. In reality, he did not – because you agreed to refund the order. You voluntarily gave him his money back, you got paid nothing, and the work is now in his possession.

Yes, he is wrong in using that work, according to the TOS quote you mentioned, but that still doesn’t mean that he stole the work against your will. You allowed him to keep the work fair and square by refunding a completed order.

Never agree to refunds after work has been completed. You deserve to get paid for the work that you do, especially if it was done according to the terms of your gig/package.


Hmm - I see what you’re saying, but I still think of it as theft. The first sentence on the “theft of services” wikipedia page reads : " Theft of services is the legal term for a crime which is committed when a person obtains valuable services — as opposed to goods — by deception, force, threat or other unlawful means, i.e., without lawfully compensating the provider for these services."

The buyer obtained services by deceptively asserting that they were dissatisfied and wished to no longer continue - with the intention of using the services in violation of TOS

Point taken though, and lesson learned. I will be more careful and more assertive in the future.


I’m glad to hear this. It’s okay to say no to troublesome buyers. Standing your ground against these kinds of people is what can, ultimately, make you a more desirable seller to other legitimate buyers in the future. Good buyers love strong, confident, sellers.

In the future, if another buyer, like that guy, tries to pull that stuff on you, be polite, say no, and offer him a revision (if included for free within your package terms), or present him with a custom offer for more purchased work (if he does not have any free revisions). He does not deserve a refund just because he wants one. He hired you. By doing so, he agrees to pay you for your services. :wink:

Do what you can to help him get what he needs – within the terms of your gig, but ALWAYS make sure you get paid too. Your work has value. Unless you are a non-profit charity organization, giving your work away for free, in any form, usually removes that value.


Thanks Jon and other folks who have chimed in - I feel much less afraid of poor reviews now. I wish I had hopped on the forum sooner.


You’re welcome. Great sellers choose not to live in fear of unreasonable bad reviews. The better your built reputation is – the more honest, trustworthy, and genuinely helpful you are, the less power negative reviews from bad buyers will have.

Bad buyers will always be around. I’ve had my fair share. But when you don’t give in to their foolishness, they come to realize that you are not a seller they can take advantage of. This instance may have been a learning moment for you here on Fiverr, but you are already a better seller as a result.

Keep the momentum going. :wink:


It helps to think of each Fiverr order as a contract. When you click that button to refund, you are not only rendering that contract void. You are also disabling all the terms and, most importantly, protections of that contract. And you become the guilty party as terminating a contract almost always has consequences, on Fiverr or anywhere. Only the contract can protect you legally.

Philosophically, yes it is theft and manipulation, but a contract is a contract. That’s why it’s so important to not only protect yourself with a solid contract that you stick to, but also to protect your brand.


Update: Fiverr is providing a 50% reimbursement


Why did you agree to cancel?

I would like to know why a seller would agree to cancel, then complain about cancelling.

You gave him the work. Free. How is this fiverr’s fault? . Why didn’t you refuse to cancel?