Clients from Hell

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Horror stories from freelancers
Updated: 1 hour 39 min ago

1) Client didn’t do their part of the project. 2) Client charged back all fees paid for “product not received”. 3) I’m considering filing a felony larceny charge. 4) Yay!

19 February 2020 - 2:00pm

Client’s original request was for a brand refresh, seminar content & material design, and an eCommerce upgrade to their website.

Client: We’ve received your quote, but can’t afford it. 

Me: I’m sorry to hear that. Tell you what – if you’d like, you can hire me as a coach for a fraction of the cost and I’ll guide you through doing the work yourself. 

Simple? Yes. Easy to understand? You’d think so.

After months of stalling and admitting they didn’t want to do the work, the client left for the summer and, upon returning, surprise! They requested to pivot and change directions. At that point, I had already paused on retainer payments because we weren’t doing any meaningful work (BTW – only an idiot is nice and does this). I advised that a change in scope would end our current contract. Client obliged and I even – shockingly – suggested other vendors (again, only an idiot is this nice).

Client agreed. We parted ways. They met with suggested vendor. Happy Ending!


Client: How much of the fees we paid you will be forwarded to the new vendor to continue the project on your behalf? 

Say what?

Fast forward months and months and emails and harassing phone calls later and my lawyers send the client a letter only to be met with a full dispute and a chargeback from Wells Fargo for “product not received”. I didn’t sweat it because I have plenty of evidence and it should have been overruled. Except it wasn’t. 

Now I have options: 

  • File a lawsuit with the client for the fees and emotional distress (because this shit is stressful AF)
  • File a lawsuit with Wells Fargo claiming lack of investigation on said chargebacks (because they didn’t even bother contacting me or investigating before doing it).
  • Oh yeah. And I can press charges against the client for “friendly fraud” in my state because by for intents and purposes they committed felony larceny for submitting a fraudulent chargeback.

Curious oh wise CFH community: what would you do?


The post 1) Client didn’t do their part of the project. 2) Client charged back all fees paid for “product not received”. 3) I’m considering filing a felony larceny charge. 4) Yay! appeared first on Clients From Hell.

User Submitted Post

19 February 2020 - 1:00pm

Client: I find it annoying that you keep emailing transcripts of what we discussed over the phone – I don’t need a paper trail.

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Overcome the starving artist within: Duane Jones of Art Pays Me

18 February 2020 - 3:30pm
Overcome the starving artist within: Duane Jones of Art Pays Me

You have to suffer for your art. If you truly care about something, you’d do it for free. Great artists aren’t recognized in their lifetimes.

We’ve all heard these ideas, and internalized them to some extent. Duane Jones fights back against them with his clothing and lifestyle brand, Art Pays Me, reminding everyone that what you do, and who you are, has value. It takes courage to turn creativity into a business, and he talks with Kyle Carpenter about why the world will be a better place if more people can get paid for their art.

It’s a great and illuminating talk about how to change your mindset towards being the kind of artist who gets paid. Tune in for the REAL difference between art and craft (and believe us – it’s the best definition you’ve ever heard). 

Today’s links: 

Want to support the show?

Order a custom infographic from! Use this link ( for a great price! 

Think you’d be a great fit for the show? Let me know at

Leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or recommend us to a friend. It helps immensely.

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<p>Client: Can you make that a color

18 February 2020 - 2:00pm

Client: Can you make that a color better? Or maybe use a cooler font?

Me: That’s really not helpful feedback.

Client: Okay. Make it nicer then.

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<p>I’m a web designer. This particular

18 February 2020 - 1:00pm

I’m a web designer. This particular client has a massive website, consisting of tens of thousands of pages.

Client: I want to take out this sentence.

Me: Thanks, I can do that right away. Can you send me the URL?

He sends a screenshot of the offending sentence, circled in red, no URL.

Me: This is great, thank you. Can you tell me what page this is on?

Client: It’s on the [company name] website.

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<p>Client: The router you installed isn

17 February 2020 - 2:00pm

Client: The router you installed isn’t working!

Me: What exactly is the issue?

Client: The internet was down two hours ago, when we called.

Me: You also have IPTV set up, right? Was the TV working, or did it display an error?

Client: I don’t know. The power was down in the whole building.

Me: And you expected your internet connection to work… why exactly?

Client: Why wouldn’t it work if it’s wireless?

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<p>Client: I saw your portfolio on

17 February 2020 - 1:15pm

Client: I saw your portfolio on Behance and really like it… can you come to our office in [nearby town] to discuss a project?

Me: That’s actually pretty far from where I live. Can you send me a brief so I can decide if I want to make the trek?  

Client: It’s a very confidential project… You come here and I’ll explain it to you.

Me: At least tell me the something: medium, budget, direction, anything. Budget, anything… It will take my whole day to come there, meet you and return and if I don’t want to take the job then that’s a big waste for me.

Client: We want a 5 minute 3D animation like Toy story from you.

Me: …But i don’t do 3D animation. I do 2d animation and illustrations.

Client: Why don’t you come here… I will explain it you.

At this point, I don’t know if it was really a job or if someone wanted to kill me.

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Incredible variety in 109 fonts — 99% off!

16 February 2020 - 2:15pm
Incredible variety in 109 fonts — 99% off!

This week’s deal is on a pack of 109 fonts with all the bells and whistles, selling for only $12.

> Twelve. Dollars. That’s 99% off full retail price. 

If you read our site, chances are you appreciate a beautiful font for what it is: a piece of art in its own right, and a powerful tool for nailing a design. This bundle includes 109 fonts in 75 font families, featuring a wide array of OpenType features and language support. Use Evergreen for indie cool, or Happylife, the “very kind and romantic” font for aspirational designs. Cupcake! for designs that are cute and sweet, or Peppermint for designs that are a little more off-kilter. I don’t have to tell you how to do your jobs. You see the possibilities

The listed price for all of these fonts is $1800. That’s obviously too much, but the discounted asking price of $12 is frankly way too little, so get on it.

> Check out the deal here

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User Submitted Post

16 February 2020 - 1:00pm

We worked on a big website for a client who kept changing their mind, requirements and design. After confronting them with what they approved in the beginning:

Client: Yes, I approved it… But I didn’t know what I was approving.

The project is still dragging and going nowhere.

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User Submitted Post

15 February 2020 - 2:00pm

Client: What’s the address of your print shop?

Me: I’m on [street] at [number].

Client: Can you give me a landmark?

Me: Sure. We’re near [bank].


Client: I’m just in front of [bank] and I don’t see your store.

Me: I gave you the building number. Have you looked for that?

Client: Yes, but I don’t see it. The bank is right on the corner, there’s nothing after.

Me: Oh, I guess there are two [bank] locations on this street. We’re by the other one.

Client: Why didn’t you tell me it was near the other bank?

Me: I gave you our street address.

Client: Okay, see you soon.

Later, the client showed up, smiling like nothing had happened.

Client: I would like to print some business cards.

Me: OK, do you already have the art for it?

Client: Yes. Here.

They gave me somebody else’s business card with the name scratched out and their information scrawled in blue ink. 

Me: … 

Client: (smiling)

Do you ever feel like someone is filming a movie of your life and not telling you? Because everything this person did felt like an elaborate prank.

I told them I would have to create art assets to duplicate the card and charge them for it. They refused and said they’d go to the “other shop.”

I wonder if it was by the “other bank.”

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15 February 2020 - 1:00pm

I am a web designer that offers SEO services to clients once I have built their site. 

A client wanted me to build a site and then do SEO services for 3 months to get the business going. We settled on a price, I built the site and the client was happy with it. I started the SEO; the site started getting well above average traffic, even though he was catering to a very select customer base. The client was thrilled. 

Until a few months later, when he phoned me:

Client: I demand you take down my website and give me a full refund. 

Me: I am sorry but the site is getting really great traffic. Why aren’t you happy with it? 

Client: Yes it is, but i have yet to get anyone to buy anything. I can’t pay for something that doesn’t give business results.

I knew my SEO wasn’t at fault, so I looked into it. Turns out he was selling products you could get elsewhere, except at a 3000% markup. No wonder he wasn’t getting any business. 



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<p>Technically, this was my boss, not

14 February 2020 - 2:00pm

Technically, this was my boss, not the client. When I started working full-time, I worked for a corporate communications company running the duplication department (videos, CDs, etc). We’d gotten a large CD order that, frankly, we were completely unequipped to handle. 

Me: We can run 12 copies at a time, which it looks like will take about 8 minutes to run. So for 8,000 copies, we’re looking at about two years. We need to get a large-capacity bulk duplicator or else outsource this. 

After some back and forth, we ultimately decided to outsource the order. Since it was a purchasing issue, the boss assured me he’d take care of it.

Two weeks went by, and I didn’t hear anything.

Me: Are we still outsourcing that large order? Do I need to send the originals anywhere?

Boss: I’ll let you know. Why don’t you just give me the originals?

A month later…

Boss: Hey, the client’s asking about the CD order. Did you get it done?

Me: Uh, well… no…?

He then reamed me out for dropping the ball.

Me: … 

I quit shortly after that, and the company lasted another couple years before closing their doors. Turns out I was the first rat to notice the ship was sinking, and the others quickly followed suit.

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<p>Client: You’ve got to make it look

14 February 2020 - 1:00pm

Client: You’ve got to make it look modern, classy and chic. OH! And fresh, yet classic, but not so it looks like a funeral summons. I don’t want a photo or any color and I definitely don’t want it to look like femidom packaging.

I’m a graphic designer with 6-years-experience. I was designing a CV for my mom. This was her brief. 

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Font issues

13 February 2020 - 2:00pm

Client: Could you make the font more poignant? 

You keep using that word… I do not think it means, what you think it means.

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Pays 2k, expects a 50k dollar job

13 February 2020 - 1:00pm

It started well. We agreed on what needed to be done and I worked on the site. Granted, scope creep started early as I had to create mockups from scratch but  I thought “it’s well paid. It’s worth it”.

Nope. Terrible mistake.

I didn’t notice when I was initially reviewing their plans, but hidden deep in their 20-page “needs” document there was a single line asking me to recreate from scratch HubSpot with the Gmail extension + a Hotjar pdf heatmap tool.

Now if you’re unfamiliar with those, those are SaaS companies that have entire teams working for months, costing them hundreds of thousands of dollars in development. And this client wanted me to recreate the entire thing by myself, in a couple of weeks, for 2K. 

What’s more, after I started work they started asking for MORE features that weren’t even in the document as part of my original document. I did the math on their asks; they wanted to pay me less than a dollar per hour. What a joke. 

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<p>Client on a Monday morning: Client:

12 February 2020 - 2:00pm

Client on a Monday morning:

Client: We tried to call you Saturday afternoon, but you didn’t answer your phone.

Me: Sorry about that, I was at the beach.

Client: Why would you do that?

Me: It was hot?

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<p>This one time a childhood friend of

12 February 2020 - 1:00pm

This one time a childhood friend of mine asked me to photograph an event. Since she was a close friend, I agreed to do it for free before really thinking about it.

I wound up having to cut a vacation short to do it, but I’d given my word. I rebooked my return flight so I arrived just in time to cover the event. I showed up, took about 400 photos, and then went home and fell right asleep because I hadn’t slept in over 20 hours and had gone straight from a long flight to covering this event.  

The next morning I woke up to a Facebook message:

Client: Why haven’t you sent me the photos yet?

Me: I still need to process them! It will take a few hours and I was asleep.

Client: Well by when can you do it? I need to post the photos on Facebook now!

Me: I would say about a week but if you are in such a hurry I can look through them, choose some standouts, edit them and send them to you tonight.

Client: No, I need them all now.

Me: You wanted these edited. I can’t edit 400 photos in one night.

Client: But I need them all now!

Me: Sorry but that’s impossible.

Client: Well then don’t edit them all, just do, like, half of them.

Me: That still takes more than an evening for me, especially since I am busy with my day job besides. Best I can do is 4 days.

Client: Okay.

Half a day later:

Client: Why haven’t you sent me the photos yet?

I just ignored the message. The next day:

Client: Why haven’t you sent me the photos yet?

I hurried to do something and sent her roughly 40 edited photos and another 250 unedited. She was still complaining I was late and ended up posting badly over-filtered versions everywhere.

She didn’t say “thank you” once.

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<p>Client: Can you do a caricature of

11 February 2020 - 2:00pm

Client: Can you do a caricature of one of our editors? We want to use if for the Twitter profile picture.

Me: Sure. Can you send me a couple of pictures of the editor to use as references when you have a moment?

Client: Sorry, we don’t have any. When can you get started?

Me: So you want me to do a caricature of a person when I don’t know what he or she looks like?

Client: Yes. That’s why we’re asking for a caricature and not a portrait.

Me: …

Client: Can you have it done today?

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<p>A company recently hired us to make

11 February 2020 - 1:00pm

A company recently hired us to make a 3-minute long animation for their website. They had spent months reviewing the script, storyboards and character designs, making sure everything was following their brand. Finally, after several drafts, I had finished the video and we were hoping that this version would be the one they approved, and I could put my attention on other projects that were piling up.

Client: Everyone LOVES the animation, you did a great job! But we have one problem…. Turns out we sent you the wrong guidelines. The character designs you used go completely against our brand. 

The character designs they originally wanted us to use were very basic, almost like what you’d see on a restroom sign. The designs we were SUPPOSED to use have very realistic features: clothes, faces, hands, etc. We would have to start from scratch to make it meet these new standards. 

Client: By the way, we’d like this before the end of the year.

It was December. 

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<p>Client: I keep getting an error

10 February 2020 - 2:00pm

Client: I keep getting an error message when I try to check out. I’ve tried checking out three times and I’ve tried EVERYTHING.

The error message?

“You must be logged into your account to checkout.”

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