Fiverr Forum

Warning signs of a potentially troublesome buyer


Have you been conned by a buyer? Just spent 10 hours on what should have been a 1 hour gig? Had to give a refund on finished work just to get rid of an awkward buyer?

On Fiverr you don’t want to spend time on difficult customers. Most buyers are easy & good to work with. Most aren’t malicious, they just don’t know what they want. Some are too difficult to make it worthwhile. Some are setting out to con you.

If I think a buyer might be troublesome in any way, I end the conversation as soon as possible. It’s taken a while to learn some of these, or have the confidence to apply them, but these are some red flags to be wary of.

The buyer:

  1. tells you a previous Fiverr seller did rubbish work (they’ll rarely be satisfied)
  2. never answers your questions fully, even if they write a lot & are friendly & professional (they don’t actually know what they want & it will take time to elicit requirements or they will request revisions once they see your solution)
  3. asks you how many revisions you offer early in the conversation (they’ll rarely be satisfied)
  4. asks you if you do refunds if they’re not satisfied (they’ll rarely be satisfied)
  5. asks for a free sample based on their requirements (may be conning you or may be a cheapskate)
  6. doesn’t provide specific requirements (they don’t actually know what they want & it will take time to elicit requirements or they will request revisions once they see your solution)
  7. says they’ll leave the implementation up to you as you’re the expert (they don’t actually know what they want & it will take time to elicit requirements or they will request revisions once they see your solution)
  8. says ‘this will be easy for you’ (they don’t know how to do it or how long it will take you but they won’t pay more than $5)
  9. asks you to do extra work and will tip if it’s done. (they probably won’t tip)
  10. is too friendly (they may be conning you or at least making it difficult to have a professional relationship. You may end up doing more work for less if they’re good at it.)
  11. messages are short, and abrupt. (They’re treating you like a commodity and won’t hesitate to decline delivery/they’ll rarely be satisfied/may just go silent on you)
  12. takes a long time to answer messages before the order. (Can increase the chance of declining delivery if you have questions and they do this during the order)
  13. tells you that if this order goes well they have a lot of other work lined up (this is usually a con to get a cheaper offer)
  14. doesn’t have real requirements – they just say, ‘improve this’ or ‘make this look nicer’. Requirements are subjective. (they don’t actually know what they want & it will take time to elicit requirements or they will request revisions once they see your solution)

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Fantastic list! I also try to shut down conversations as soon as possible if I feel a buyer may be troublesome. But weirdly, I’ve had a lot of good experiences with buyers who come at me with Number 1 on your list. In fact, buyers who are initially wary because of a bad experience with another seller frequently end up as some of my most loyal clients, and are usually extra-appreciative of my work. So maybe there’s a caveat with that one… If the buyer is clear about what went wrong with the previous seller, and you know you can do better, it could be a good opportunity!


What about one who writes after delivery

“I guess I will go with it for now. Thank you… I guess.”

I haven’t had buyers like these before.


This is an excellent post that’s extremely spot on. After being a fiverr seller for over two years now, I can say I’ve faced each of these scenarios. ALL of those clients were extremely troublesome, to say the least. Thanks for letting others in on this so they can avoid a potentially disastrous transaction.

My worst experience was a “10” (not rating wise, mind you. lol). At first, their over-the-top kindness seemed refreshing. She was talking to me like a close friend, but things quickly turned sour when she was asking me to do extra work at no extra charge. When I delivered, she left me a 1.5 star review (my first and only negative review so far). Her reasoning made NO sense, as the work provided was high quality and error-free. She admitted that she didn’t even open to read all the files. I contacted fiverr support to no avail. Even after I sent her a different version of the content I wrote and asked her to reconsider her rating, she wouldn’t budge. Then her initial kindness turned into making threatening and patronizing remarks. After about a week, I got a notification that fiverr refunded her $80… I spent hours on that order and another few hours trying to reason with a red-flag-ridden buyer.

Worst thing of all? The 1.5 star review stayed. I honestly still can’t believe that wasn’t taken down after going through all that.


Nice post and worth keeping in mind.
I would also mention that many of these things are done by buyers because they have seen tips for buying on Fiverr elsewhere. Just because a buyer does these things does not mean you should avoid them, simply be aware of the potential for abuse.
There could be other factors too, for example regarding number 1, I have had buyers come to me having tried a variety of sellers and been seriously let down. Remember that a high proportion of buyers are self employed people just like us - they may not have someone else to moan to (and haven’t discovered the forum) so they do it with the first seller they meet who seems some way competent. In that situation it is useful to ask what the issue was, what they expect you to do differently etc. If it is a small order then it may be more hassle than it is worth but for larger orders and potential repeat buyers it is very worthwhile.


It’s definitely the case with a few of these that they aren’t always problematic. You are right, there will always be exceptions.


How demoralising! Yep, you definitely wouldn’t want to work for them again.


@authoreva That was bad luck. :frowning:

@eoinfinnegan I do agree that not all buyers in that scenario are troublesome. Some could turn out to be very loyal clients and I can see how that might be. I think it’s hard to identify a repeat buyer at that point though.
This is actually not something I come across much but twice I’ve given refunds on $20/$35 orders respectively. Then, once the buyer complained that the previous seller they worked with hadn’t done what they asked, only for me to find out that what they asked for wasn’t technically possible and the previous seller had done a stellar job working around that. Only once did it work out okay but the buyer wasn’t after additional work. I’m jaded by my experience.


This is a great post. My worst buyer ever fit most of these traits, and was particularly bad about wanting extra work and promising to tip (then never doing so).


“promising to tip (then never doing so).”

Say to them “can you tip me now?”



This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


Really helpful for newbie like me. Thanks


I believe I agree with pretty much everything except the “1. tells you a previous Fiverr seller did rubbish work (they’ll rarely be satisfied)” part.
I’ve had more than several people contact me saying that their previous sellers were not
satisfying or simply bad, so I decided to give it a try and I ended up making them quite happy.
I guess you could somewhat tell whether the person is going to be a pain in the neck or not
if you ask them questions like what did the seller give you, what exactly did you ask for, and
if the buyers are able to answer them clearly, in many cases they work out.

IF they say something like “well, I can’t really explain what I want…but I have this idea…image…
it’s up to you…” then yeah, run away! :sweat_smile:


When they tell me they’ve been scammed by lots of fiverr sellers in my category, I don’t want to do work for them.


I have one now! They have gone to 3 other sellers and were no satified with the work. Having viewed their efforts, there was nothing wrong with the work. Whatever. Now I’m in My Revision Hell, which hasn’t started yet. Indeed, My Revision Hell began today with the ominously vague

I need to make a revision but have not been able to craft the best direction, I should have the information by tomorrow.

That’s a paddlin’. I bet this “best direction” turns out to be a complete overhaul. This person is on their 4th iteration as far as I can see. Doesn’t this person realize that perfection doesn’t exist? Doesn’t this person have the self-awareness to consider that maybe the work of the sellers isn’t the problem, but rather…


For me it would be easier to start out fresh on the subject rather than try to revise someone else’s lousy work.


Yebbut it (the original other work I saw) wasn’t lousy. They wanted the same thing, but better. So I did the same thing, but better. Now they want it betterer.


How horrible, to do your best work on a revision of already good work and still it’s not good enough.