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A collection of anonymously contributed client horror stories from designers.
Updated: 30 weeks 3 days ago

Root problem

2 December 2016 - 4:20pm

Client: Hello, I need help logging into the backend of my server. I don’t know my username.

Me: Sure thing, the username is really easy to remember. It’s just “root.”

I waited a moment while the client tried to log in.

Client: That didn’t work.

I check to see if anything weird has happened, or configured differently, and it all looked normal. I ran a few fixes and attempt to login myself, I get in with no issue.

Me: I’m able to log in fine over here. Are you sure you are using the right password?

Client: Yes, I’m sure!

Me: I don’t see anything that is preventing you from logging in.

Client: Well it isn’t working for me, so you need to fix it.

Me: Okay, I just took a look in the logs, and it appears that you used your email address as the username, you need to login with the username “root”

Client: I thought my email was the root username.

Me: No, the username should just be the word “root”

Client: So what is the username then?

Me: It’s the word “root”

Client: Like my Domain Name?

Me: No all you need to type in is “root”, nothing else.

Client: Just tell me what the username is!

Me: Its root, like the roots of a tree, or a root canal.

Client: Stop playing games and help me out here, what is the username?!

Me: All you need to do is type R then O then another O then T. The word root.

Client: If you aren’t going to be helpful at least don’t repeat yourself!

That’s when he hung up.


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I was copyediting the website for a TV magazine’s annual awards vote. I asked the people in charge...

2 December 2016 - 2:40pm

I was copyediting the website for a TV magazine’s annual awards vote. I asked the people in charge of the site to copy and paste the copy straight from the online voting form and put it into a Word document so it could be edited and styled up correctly. Three hours later, I received a Word document full of screengrabs of the online form, pasted in on top of each other. In the same email:

Client: Please finish this quickly. The site is going live in 90 minutes.  

I scrambled to go through and edit everything, with the added difficulty of having to transcribe from screenshots. I managed to get everything done in time, but the site didn’t go up until the next day anyway.

When the site did go up, while cross-checking I noticed that they’d mistakenly omitted an entire category.

I am a freelance marketer working from home with 50% of my clients being local businesses. After one...

1 December 2016 - 4:20pm

I am a freelance marketer working from home with 50% of my clients being local businesses. After one client received a one star review, they contacted me:

Client: Can we block people before they leave a bad review?  

Bonus: this particular client still uses an AOL email.

I was working in a factory when we converted to using barcode production tickets. The barcodes had...

1 December 2016 - 2:40pm

I was working in a factory when we converted to using barcode production tickets. The barcodes had the operation numbers printed in plain text below them. One supervisor called about a ticket and I asked him what number was barcoded on the ticket.

Supervisor: Let’s see, thin, thin, fat, thin, fat, fat…

I had to mute my phone until I could stop laughing!

A phone is all you need to run a business

1 December 2016 - 12:01pm

We continue to explore the exciting tools that make freelancing easier than ever. 

Sam Madden, the founder of PocketSuite, joins Bryce Bladon to discuss how business software is being democratized. They discuss Sam’s experiences and how they lead to the creation of PocketSuite, a phone app that takes the hassle out of the business side of freelancing. 

> Learn how PocketSuite works

> Learn more about PocketSuite in The Wall Street Journal, Inc., and TechCrunch

 

Questions? Episode ideas?

Talk to Clients From Hell or Bryce Bladon on Twitter. Or shoot us an email

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2015:Me: Do we have photo to leases for all the photos you want featured?Client: Don’t spend any...

30 November 2016 - 4:20pm

2015:

Me: Do we have photo to leases for all the photos you want featured?

Client: Don’t spend any time on that. Our public affairs office took care of the releases from individuals and organizations; the customer photos are covered in the service contract.

2016:

Client: Read this from legal it’s urgent.

Me: What’s wrong?

Client: Legal got a call, and we investigated - we don’t have any releases for photos for our next set of annual reports. The contract to customers didn’t include any of the necessary language, so any photos with people in them need to GO. We also need you to go back to the published report from 2015 and remove all the photos from that. It doesn’t matter how it looks, we’re trying to stop a lawsuit.

This conversation was taking place over Skype with the project manager for a small company who had...

30 November 2016 - 2:40pm

This conversation was taking place over Skype with the project manager for a small company who had contracted me to build their website.

Client: We are very unhappy with your progress so far. Practically nothing has been done since the first week of development.

Me: Yes, that’s the week where you missed your first payment.

Client: Well this is totally unacceptable. This project is two months in and our deadline is this Monday!

Me: The project is one week in, because you haven’t paid for the remainder of the work as stipulated in the contract you signed.

Client: We can’t understand why no progress has been made.

Me: Because you haven’t paid.

Client: I hope you know our CEO is extremely angry about this!

Me: Then he should probably pay for the rest of the work.

Client: This situation needs to be rectified immediately.

Me: You can rectify this situation by paying me.

Client: So what can we do to rectify this situation?

Me: Are you serious?

They did not catch me at my best, most patient moment. In my follow-up e-mail which was addressed to both this project manager and her CEO, I suggested a bodily orifice where they could place this project to “rectify it” and provided a drop-box link to the source code and database backup to assist them in that endeavor.


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