Clients from Hell

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Horror stories from freelancers
Updated: 47 min 57 sec ago

Clients From Hell Animated: Dead Browser

15 April 2019 - 4:44pm

“Honestly? I truly believe that you’re the last one.” 

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(g)Old Words

15 April 2019 - 2:00pm

I was illustrating an interactive e-book version of “The Monkey’s Paw” short horror story. At some point, the soldier character pulls out a “trifle” from the satchel to give it as a souvenir for his friend. I drew a generic but nice trinket. I send the first batch of sketches for revision.

Client: I think we’re missing something. There is no trifle in the batch you sent us

Me: Oh, It’s the illustration with the soldier handing his friend a trinket.

Client: Ah, ah… I see. Well, that’s not a trifle.

Me: Oh, okay. Maybe you want another kind of figurine?

Client: I don’t know what you’re talking about. See, I think there is a translation problem here.

 I’m from Argentina, the client is from England).

Client: Don’t worry, I’ll send you an example via mail.

He sent me several pictures of trifle cake. You know – cake, custard, brandy, fruit and whipped cream. Because apparently a Boer War Soldier always travelled with a wet dessert in his satchel. 

The client kept arguing that i should draw the cake, and I strongly refused based in common sense. I won. They never worked with me again.

I’m happy.

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The Woman with the Checks

15 April 2019 - 1:00pm

This is a story from years ago when I worked in construction. My father, brother, and I formed a three-man crew handling maintenance for a local landlord.

All money transactions from the client – be it paychecks, utility payments, materials, etc. – were handled through an intermediary… and this is where we hit our problem.

The woman who handled the checks had it in for us. It seems that her husband had been the client’s maintenance man before us, but he was fired for incompetence. I guess she thought if she could scare us off then the client would have no choice but to hire her husband again.

First, she would simply take as long as possible to write checks. We learned quickly that if we wanted a paycheck by the end of the business day then we had to get on her as soon as her office opened. When that wasn’t enough, she would come up with excuses to not pay us.

On one memorable occasion, she was given money with the specific written instruction (I saw the memo myself) that it was for us. She instead used it to pay a water bill that wasn’t even due yet, forcing us to wait another month until the client could collect rent again and pay us from it. When my brother went to talk to her about this she called the police on him.

Fortunately for us, literally everyone else involved liked us. The client liked us, her boss liked us… even the police officer took our side. If it hadn’t been for that I doubt we would have ever seen a single penny out of her.

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Get hygge with it! 115+ Scandinavian patterns for only $9!

14 April 2019 - 2:00pm

This week’s deal lets you “get hygge” with over a hundred comfy cozy design elements for only $9! 

> Yes, I know “hygge” doesn’t rhyme with “jiggy” if you pronounce it correctly. I don’t care

Scandinavian design is world famous not only for it’s groundbreaking vision and clarity, but also for “hygge” [hoo-gah] the design philosophy of creating a cozy, warm and welcoming space. These borders, patterns and textures perfectly express this philosophy and are both retro and forward-thinking. Comes in AI, EPS, JPG and PNG formats so you can fully customize them, these elements would be perfect for kitchen products, tote bags and countless other items! Just look at them – don’t you want a set of bakeware with these fun designs? Well you can make that happen. 

Normally all 115+ of these elements would cost $70, but for the next few days you can get them all for only $9 at 87% off! Pour yourself a cup of tea with some honey and treat yourself. 

> Check out the deal here!

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needs more hood

14 April 2019 - 1:00pm

I am a concept artist and recently had a job where my client wanted to design a series of characters for a fantasy based story.

The art director sent the first character requirements; needs to have a cape, a hood and a mask in dark colors. I Nailed it. Second character; cape, hood, mask, in dark colors. Sort of nailed it. Third character; dark hood, dark mask, and a dark cape. Okay, this wouldn’t be too bad but the client insisted that the cape cover the shoulders to the thighs on all characters, AND have the same hood and cape style AND prevented me from adding details to the capes that would individualize them…

Client: Just trust me, it makes sense for the story. 

Fourth character came around and yup, sure enough, hood, mask, dark cape. I then sent a group shot of the almost identical designs side by side to try and plead my case.

Me: See? I know they have reasons to dress similarly, but you need some way to distinguish them as characters.

Client: Hmm… I see what you mean. Tell you what – in order to make this character different, why don’t you add more hood. 

Me: …?

One week later: 

Client: We regret to inform you that we will no longer need your services. We feel that your designs are just too similar to each other to even differentiate one character from the next. They are also too dark and the last one has a ridiculous sized hood.

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User Submitted Post

13 April 2019 - 2:00pm

I had a client who loved to micro-manage every little detail. They’d give me 10+ edits a day that really had no effect whatsoever.

It wasn’t my job to report to them and they didn’t like me, so I figured I’d cut out the middle man and save everyone some hassle.

Me: Okay. I have you set up as an admin, so that you can log in and review any changes. You’ll log in at XXXXX, with the following credentials.

Client: But I don’t have a login to the website.

Me: I just set you up. You’ll use XXXXX as your username, and XXXXX as your password.


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User Submitted Post

13 April 2019 - 1:00pm

Client: Remove the background from the image, please.

Me: Okay but it’s difficult to deep etch when the person in the photo has wavy, wispy hair.

Client: I didn’t ask you to deep etch the photo, I asked you to remove the background.

Me: Yeah, that requires deep etching.

Client: No it doesn’t, it’s easy. I do it in MS Paint all the time.

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Forewent a Contract One Time

12 April 2019 - 2:00pm

I did a graduation shoot for a client’s son a few months back and the photo session was stellar.

It was short notice and the man was technologically challenged, so I didn’t send a digital contract beforehand. I told him what would incur additional charges and we did the shoot without a hitch.

He paid his invoice quickly. However, since then, he’s had a myriad of problems, including wanting prints, edits, revisions, etc. I’ve been doing them since I need a positive review from him, but by now I’ve now spent more money than I made. It’s been 100 days since the shoot and I’m still getting edit requests and questions from him.

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User Submitted Post

12 April 2019 - 1:00pm

I’d been doing some freelance work for a client for the past few years. Eventually, I was making enough money doing bigger jobs that I no longer wanted the stress of squeezing their work into my free time. I sent them an email :

Me: I’m afraid I’m going to terminate our working relationship. It’s been great working with you but the time has come for me to move on. I’d recommend you find a new freelancer to work with in the future.

Client: Oh, I knew you’d have to move on one day, but honestly I’ll hold out for now in case you decide to come back.

Me: I need to be very clear here- I am not coming back. I’m done. I know we forged a friendship through this, but it’s just too stressful trying to work for you when I’m otherwise very busy.

Client: Oh okay.

A few weeks later, they ask me if I can do some work.

Me: I told you I can’t. You need to find someone else.  

Client: I just want you to know the door is always open!

Me: Thanks, but seriously, I have quit. 

They send me chatty emails here or there, like we used to do while I was working for them. It was kind of nice to have a chat outside of a professional relationship. Except then they asked if I’d do some work again. 

Me: Please… I need you to stop asking. Do not ask me ever again. The answer is no. You are stressing me out and making me waste mental energy by constantly asking this. Do not ask again.

A few days ago, I get a chatty email where they ask me what’s new. I’m wary, but decide to answer. I tell them nothing much, still working, just finished a big project I’d previously mentioned, and that I was doing some teaching.

Client: You finished that project? That’s awesome! So I have to ask… does that mean you’re free for work?

I did not reply.





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User Submitted Post

11 April 2019 - 2:00pm

Client: I want you to create an online gambling site, where the players could win cars and real estate betting only a small sum.

Me: Ok. Just to doublecheck, do you have the legal license to run a gambling site?

Client: No, it would only look like a gambling site but they would never win. So that would not require the license.

Me: Hard pass. 

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please fix

11 April 2019 - 1:00pm

Client: The website is down! Our clients need to access the website. Please fix ASAP.

Me: I just checked, and that’s because your hosting company is doing routine maintenance. I can’t change that but the site should be back online soon!

Client: Please fix.

Me: this is not on our end, it’s the hosting company. I have no control over when they choose to do maintenance.

Client: Please fix.

Client: Please fix.

Client: Please fix.

This went on for several more texts and for so long that by the time I gave up and stopped answering, the hosting company had completed their routine maintenance.

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User Submitted Post

10 April 2019 - 2:00pm

Client: What an absolute waste of £300!

A client’s exact words after he discovered his new, four-page website does not rank on the first page of Google results for “home insurance.”

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Client gets own wedding date wrong

10 April 2019 - 1:00pm

I am a wedding supplier but work in schools during the week. This exchange has just happened with a wedding client:

Client: Hi, I’d like to book you for my wedding on 13/05/20. Are you available? 

Me: Hi! I will have to check about that as it is a Wednesday and I work in schools. Leave it with me to talk to my boss and I’ll get back to you.

I then arranged a phone call with the boss of my day job, to see if it would be possible. I work for a very good company who can be flexible, but this time my boss said it’s too far in advance to be sure, so better say no. 

Me: Hi, I’m afraid I am unavailable on that date as it is term time. I’m sorry. 

Client: So you’re working on Saturday 23/05/20??

Me: Umm… you asked for the 13th, which is a Wednesday. Did you mean the 23rd? If so, I’m free. 

Client: Yes! 23rd! 

Not only did the client get their own wedding date wrong, but they didn’t even apologise or acknowledge their mistake! They KNEW I went out of my way to clear that date already! Own up! 


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<p>Client: Can you, like, convert a JPG

9 April 2019 - 2:00pm

Client: Can you, like, convert a JPG to HTML?

This client worked for a very large design-centred corporation.

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<p>My aunt recruited 14-year-old me as

9 April 2019 - 1:00pm

My aunt recruited 14-year-old me as a videographer for the church’s theater performance of the “Passion of Christ” at the church. There were three cameras: two were owned by the church and stayed mostly still once they were set up on either side of the stage, and I brought a camera with me to get a dynamic front view of the stage. The play went off without a hitch, all the cameras worked to perfection, and I was all set to hand off the flash drive with the video file from my camera to the pastor. 

Client: Thank you so much for doing this for us. Now on the topic of payment…

Me: Oh I wasn’t expecting payment for this, just tell my aunt that I had fun!

Client: Oh no you misunderstand, YOU need to pay US.

Me: What? Why?

Client: Rental fees for the 2 cameras of course! What did you think we would let you use them for free? 3 hours of use means you owe us $30!

Me: You mean to tell me that you want me to pay for the use of cameras owned by the church, to use within the church, to make a video for the church, of a play performed by the church?

Client: Yes!

Me: …Tell my aunt I will call her tomorrow, I’m going home.

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<p>I work in a small mobile phone

8 April 2019 - 2:00pm

I work in a small mobile phone repair and accessories shop.

One afternoon an older gentleman and his wife came into the shop carrying a plastic shopping bag that looked like it had a box in it.

Client: Our phone isn’t working.

Me: (imagining they have been given a new mobile phone by well-intentioned family) Ok, what’s the matter with it?

Client: We can’t make or receive any calls and it’s very inconvenient.

Me: Ok well I’ll take a look at it, maybe there’s something wrong with the network settings.

They open the bag and dump onto my counter a “wireless” landline phone complete with cradle.

Me: This is a landline phone.

Client: *blank stare*

Me: I work with mobile phones.

Client: Well it is mobile. It’s one of those cordless ones that you can walk around with in the house.

Me: Well, yes, in that sense. But it’s still a landline phone. I can’t fix it.

Client: (looking equal parts annoyed and desperate) But we NEED to be able to make calls!

Me: Have you tried replacing the batteries in the back?

Client: Do you sell those?

Me: … No. But your local supermarket will – they’re standard AAAs.

Client: Why don’t you sell them?

Me: Because this is a mobile phone shop and mobile phones don’t use standard AAAs.

Client: But this IS a mobile phone!

They might have said more, but I didn’t hear them over the banging of my head against the desk.

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<p>I’m an Etsy store owner. I state

8 April 2019 - 1:00pm

I’m an Etsy store ownerI state clearly in my listing description that I do not provide the images and that they must have permission to use any kind of design/artwork they submit.

This one client sent me a bunch of images that they clearly found on Google that they did not have copyright for. Some had watermarks, one was even a link to someone else’s OneDrive account…

Me: I can’t work with these. You clearly don’t have copyright for these.

Client: Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t know.

Then they sent me links to stickers and t-shirts on Redbubble and Teepublic.

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Turn photos into high-quality vector illustrations with this $5 Photoshop Action!

7 April 2019 - 2:00pm

This week’s deal is on a Photoshop action that turns photos into crisp black and white vectors in just a few clicks! 

> Seriously, the results look like FANTASTIC fully scaleable illustrations with almost no effort.

A striking pen and ink illustration is always a showstopper. Your clients will think you’re a wizard when you give them vectorized portraits with just a few clicks. Whether you’re throwing together a sales catalog, a business card or a personal website, this tool will give you awesome results every time – and at only $5 it’s a steal. I could even imagine producing an entire graphic novel with this tool! 

That’s right, Photoshop Vectorizer is only $5 for the next week. Skip two coffees and you have the budget; sell one project with this look and it will pay for itself and then some. 

> Check out the deal here!

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<p>Me: Okay, I’m halfway done with your

7 April 2019 - 1:00pm

Me: Okay, I’m halfway done with your report. What do you think?

Client: Good, it’s still only $10 right?

Me: That’s not what we agreed. The end price will be $40 because it’s 4,000 words. I’m not even including the $5 editing fee that I usually do with such big projects.


Client: That’s ridiculous! I have five other people doing this report for me and you are by far the most expensive. I’m not going to be paying.

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<p>While reviewing our Google My

6 April 2019 - 2:00pm

While reviewing our Google My Business page I noticed a bad review from a former “client.” She was a website project that one of my former employees took on as a contractor and out of charity, I picked it up to finish what he couldn’t.

Prior to the project, I had a call with the client to sort out the mess. The client had no contract with me and never paid my company any money and I made it clear that out of the goodness of my heart I was helping her out because it was so close to done.

The project essentially had to be redone as she changed her mind about everything she wanted every week. Since I had no scope or contract from the original project (and didn’t bother setting one up for my crack at it) I had to take her word for what was included and what wasn’t.

Needless to say, the project tripled in hours from what was budgeted but throughout the whole process I never got an indication she was unhappy with the work, quite the opposite. Her emails stated things like, “You rock!”, “This feature is awesome!”, “Great work!”

When it was time to launch the website I went through my normal pre-launch checklist, getting approvals from her to launch, etc. After we launched the site, she demanded we take it down as she “hadn’t looked at the site” and that we had launched it without her permission.

We quickly redirected the domain back to her old site. I told her that I can’t continue to work on the site as my paying workload can’t allow further free work and introduced her to another developer to fix and finish what she couldn’t make time to review before.

Weeks went by and I reached out and asked how things were going. 

No response.

I then found the review stating we were poor communicators (we communicated by email at least three times a week), took too long (a month of that she was on vacation and said, “don’t worry about it till I get back”) and lacked professionalism and customer respect.

After following up by email to get clarification on the bad review she stated that I should have gone above and beyond her expectations so that I could have received referrals from her family and friends but now that she was going to use her experience as a Case Study of what not to do with her business students.

I just thought, “Right…because giving you triple the hours for free and a far superior product than you had before at no extra cost wasn’t going “above and beyond”

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