Fiverr Community Forum

Why do I get penalized?

I’m a voice over artist and charge $5 per 100 words. I’ve had several potential clients try to rip me off by ordering a $5 gig and then submitting a 400 word script. This just happened to me again, I’m scared to report it or say anything because the last time I went to through the resolution center, the potential client essentially said, “well if you’re not going to do it, then I’m cancelling” and they do. Then I have the cancellation marked against me. It says cancellations effect my business. It just doesn’t seem right. Thoughts or constructive feedback?

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I hear you. BTW, I’ve seen your work well done! I have patches of buyers like this too. The best method I have seemed to come across is this:

  • I notice 400 word script on the $5 order
  • I then send a message saying “Hi! I noticed the script was a little longer than the order that was placed. Would you like to edit the script before I begin recording? Or would you like a custom offer for the additional words on your script? Thanks!”

I have come across “that buyer” about 6 times. 4 times this worked perfect, and they either modified it or ordered more. 1 time the customer asked why I was charging more money (usually a language barrier here). I just explained the same thing in a different way, and we still completed it.

There is no all being win-win answer, but I hope this can help you out.


Until the review system remains as now, there is nothing you can do to avoid those cancellations impact, though you can try to limit the number of them by taking those simple steps:

  1. Make a profuse gig description.
  2. Try to get into a higher price tier, if possible. $5 is a trouble magnet in my experience, though I left that rates long ago (mainly only for startup), don’t know how it is now.
  3. Be confident and communicate your work and rates clearly from the very beginning of conversation. Propose extending the order if needed.
  4. I don’t haggle, never. I think it opens the door for abuse with some people.

Of course, that’s only my point of view on that matter. I have no trouble with cancellations, BUT, as I already posted here, no one is safe from the cancellation thunderbolt until the review system changes (if Fiverr ever change it).

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Your $5 prices are attracting these people like a mosquito trap. Up it to $30! Problem solved.


Send a follow up message with the updated price.

“It’s just not feasible to record a 400 word script for $5.00. Please accept the custom offer for $15 for the remainde.”

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People messaging me and asking me for more than I provide for my basic gig is something I’ve dealt with so many times. I’ve only been selling on Fiverr for a month, but in 17 orders, I’ve had 2 or 3 where they’ve insisted that I must be happy to do more than I’ve agreed to. It’s not a fun experience, so I sympathise with you.

One thing you might want to try is being assertive. It’s difficult to toe the line between being assertive and rude, but a no nonsense attitude is sometimes the only thing that will get through to a buyer. Just reiterate your point until they understand.

Like someone else has mentioned, you could go to the ‘order chat’ and send them the actual cost of completing their project if they aren’t understanding what you’re saying by being assertive. This gives them an alternative to cancelling your order straight awya, and might make them think, ‘This buyer has good reviews, do I really want to put him off working with me for expecting him to do work for virtually nothing?’. Of course, not everyone will think that, but if they don’t value your work, do you really want to be working for them? Sometimes we have no option because we need to pay our bills, I know, but in an ideal world…

You could also challenge them on their bluff. Often, buyers will say they want to cancel to convince you to complete their work. I had someone who continued to put in for revisions because he wanted me to send him an additional 1000 words for free, after I’d already sent him an article of the same length. I just kept explaining my stance by being assertive, and re-delivered the same order until he understood and agreed to accept the order. Again, I’m sure this doesn’t work in every situation, but it’s worth a try.

Another thing you could do is invite people to message you before placing an order if they want to make sure you can complete what they’re asking of you. I add this in bold in all my gig descriptions, and it’s why most of my orders are custom orders. Sometimes I go ahead and tell them to order the gig, because they’re messaging me to describe a project that fits into the description of the gig but just want to make sure, but I’ve also had occasions where I’ve had to be like, 'I’m really sorry, but I don’t think I’m the best person for this job. That usually stops them.

Most of all, though, don’t just give into their order. Don’t do 400 words because you’re scared of a cancellation when it wouldn’t happen normally. If they do cancel, or leave a bad review, the positive reviews you already have should make future buyers realise that there’s little truth in the review that’s been left. That might encourage other people to come and try their luck by doing the same.

You could put your prices up (am I right in saying that many people in the voice over community offer gigs above the minimum $5 order?), but obviously if you’re just starting out you might want to appeal to people who have a smaller goals in mind.

Good luck with this order, though. I hope you manage to come up with a solution that leaves both you, the seller, and the buyer. Best of luck!

EDIT: apparently, I’m a massive fan of super long answers this evening. Sorry about that. At least it shows that I know what I’m doing when it comes to writing, I suppose. You know where I am if you want to hit me up… :joy:

Do you want to talk about “getting penalized”, read the last comment on this Fiverr post:

Good Luck!