Clients from Hell

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Horror stories from freelancers
Updated: 2 hours 14 min ago

<p>Yet another bizarre request that I

24 January 2020 - 2:00pm

Yet another bizarre request that I will never understand:

Client: Do you have some choices of a turn of the century font that is vertical?

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<p>I cleaned up and converted a client

24 January 2020 - 1:30pm

I cleaned up and converted a client’s logo to a vector then sent them PNG and EPS files.

Me: The EPS file is for your printer – you’ll want to use the PNG whenever you need the logo yourself.

Client: Hey, when I place the EPS files into a word document the response is “this image cannot currently be displayed.


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<p>I work in banking, which normally

23 January 2020 - 1:59pm

I work in banking, which normally means I only need to communicate information using hard, objective numbers. However, I was assisting a client who was wearing a pink sweater while I was wearing an orange shirt, and she excitedly pointed back and forth between our clothing.

Client: Hey! Same color!

I can only be grateful I wasn’t in charge of designing anything for her

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<p>Client: Will you be available to

23 January 2020 - 1:02pm

Client: Will you be available to meet Thursday at 4:30 PM EST instead? Also, could you please provide your email address for the meeting invitation?

Received via email.

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<p>Me: I can get a technician to your

22 January 2020 - 2:00pm

Me: I can get a technician to your home tomorrow between 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM. Would that work for you?

Client: Is that the soonest you have?

Me: Yes Ma’am.

Client:  You see? That’s the problem with society. There are all of these out of work homeless people begging for money and here we have a company like yours that clearly needs help. Why couldn’t you guys do something about that?

Me: You want us to send homeless people to your house to fix your computer?

Client: Well no, not really but I’m sure you get my point.

Me: No Ma’am, I don’t.

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<p>I had just submitted a 63-page e

22 January 2020 - 1:00pm

I had just submitted a 63-page e-learning course for review. It was fully interactive and had things like triggers, light boxes, etc.

Client: Can you turn it into a PowerPoint or a PDF so I could edit it?

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<p>I worked in a small IT department at

21 January 2020 - 2:00pm

I worked in a small IT department at the time. More often than we’d like, customers would get upset and demand to speak to a supervisor. At night, when the supervisor went home, a few of us senior techs would take on the role of “supervisor” to handle these calls. One night, I got this call from a high-value client who missed his technician appointment.

Client: I want another tech out here within 15 minutes!

Me: Sir, it’s currently 8:30 pm and our techs have gone home…

Client: I don’t care! I was promised someone between 2-4 today and he never showed!

Me: According to the tech’s notes, he showed up at your office at 1:45 and waited until 2:15 before leaving. He even came back at 2:45, but the office was still closed.

Client: Well, of course it was! I was still on a plane at 1:45!

Me: …Pardon?

Client: God, LISTEN. I was on a PUH-LAY-NEH. A flying machine! I had a meeting in another city and I just flew back today!

Me: Well, our techs can’t work when you’re not there.

Client: I was promised 2-4! He should have waited for the full 2 hours for me!

This continued for 45 minutes…

Client: If you aren’t going to send a tech that will wait for me to be at the office, then I don’t want an account with you anymore!

I’ve asked around to friends at other tech companies. This guy apparently can now only get tech support for his office from overseas since he acts like this to everyone.

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<p>Client: Just open up Photoshop on

21 January 2020 - 1:00pm

Client: Just open up Photoshop on your phone and whip up these posters! I need them done yesterday!

It was 2012, I owned a flip phone, and the client was my mother. 

She grounded me for two weeks for “insubordination” when I explained that I couldn’t.

She was my first “Client from hell.”

Love you mom.

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<p>I just worked with the least

20 January 2020 - 2:00pm

I just worked with the least decisive client I’ve ever had, an attorney who wanted me to design an ad campaign for them to be used on Facebook and social media. 

They wanted “edgy and very memorable” so I gave them that. 

Me: Here’s the mockups for the series of 8 ads.

Client: Oh dear lord no, none of these are acceptable.

Me: You said edgy, and I gave you edgy but still tasteful.

Client: I meant change the font.

So, I toned it down, resubmitted to them, and waited. A few days go by and then I’m suddenly bombarded with revisions, which is something they’ve never ever done anything close to before. And then there are revisions on the revisions before I can even get around to doing the 1st set….

Next thing I know, another client clued me in on a secret Facebook group the attorney created and invited literally dozens of lawyers to suggest revisions. The attorney threw the raw designs open to the group and was literally sending me every revision suggestion they made.

Me: So, about the revisions. I won’t do design by committee, especially a committee of dozens of lawyers.

Client: But I thought you’d appreciate it. I open-sourced the design. 

I tried to speak, but nothing came out. I’m still dumbfounded.

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<p>I work as a voice artist and

20 January 2020 - 1:00pm

I work as a voice artist and recently dealt with an international client with a several page script. I recorded it, delivered it, and it was rejected 4 times (over multiple days) with the same conversation over and over:

Client: Too much ISSSS. Remove ISSSS sounds.

Me: I’m sorry, I don’t understand. Do you mean the sound of the recording, or the way I pronounce words?

Client: Remove ISSSS sounds, we cannot use with ISSSS.

I then applied incremental de-essing to the track (which stunts vocal ’S’ sounds) to the point of making me sound like I had a severe lisp (far outside of what would be considered an acceptable mix) but no avail. The same rejection reasons over and over ….with an ever-increasing fury level from the client.

Client: How can we use this?! Unacceptable! Still ISSSS. Remove now!

Me: I’m sorry, I still don’t understand what you mean by that.

Client: Sounds like amateur, why the ISSSS?! Thought you were professional in studio. Remove ISSSS or we demand refund!

Me: I record upwards of 2,000 voiceovers a year in a sound-treated studio – I apologize, but I’ve never received this complaint before. I truly don’t know what you mean by ‘ISSSS’. I’d be happy to help if you can clarify.

After four re-recordings, a novel-length email chain and enough vocal processing to kill a horse, I finally realized the client had been listening on broken speakers. I suggested they listen on another playback device and never heard back from them again. At least the check cleared.

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Get a year’s subscription to StockUnlimited for just $29, 3 years for $49!

19 January 2020 - 2:00pm
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StockUnlimited has over one million premium photos and vectors, made by professionals, and they’re giving you access to their enormous catalog for only $29 for one year. If you find three images that work for your project, that’s already paid for itself! Even better, pay $49 and your license expands to three years. That’s even more savings over time!

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> Check out the deal here! 

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one more little tweak

19 January 2020 - 1:00pm

Client: (two weeks ago) One more little tweak and we’re done!

Client: (one week ago) One more little tweak and we’re done!

Client: (Monday) One more little tweak and we’re done!

Client: (Tuesday) So if we print this 8.5×11 brochure on 11×14 will it look the same?

Client: (today) We’re going in a different direction with content and images. We’ll get back to you.

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<p>Client: We want to add a piece of

18 January 2020 - 2:00pm

Client: We want to add a piece of voiceover to explain something we forgot to say.

Me: Okay get a new member of staff to record it, that way it won’t stand out when people watch the video.

The client sends over two voiceovers… both from people in the video. I edit it anyway and send it back.

Me: I think you’ll see when you watch the video – because the audio conditions changed on the same voices, the clip you sent it sticks out. I would still suggest getting another member of staff to do it so it just seems like another voice in the mix instead of the same voice, but weird.

Two days later.

Client: We see what you mean about the voiceover. Our idea [emphasis added] is to have another member of staff record it instead.

Wow, genius.

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<p>I was working on a website redesign

18 January 2020 - 1:00pm

I was working on a website redesign for a client, staying within their existing themes and plugins, after various delays back and forth from both sides during design phase, I managed to push through the bulk of the dev work and get the site near-ready inside of 5 days. All it needed was the copy from the client (as had been requested multiple times) and it was good to go.

Me: Here are the links to the preview pages as per the agreed design, it’s almost ready to go live, if someone can send me the copy for the pages I can get these live this evening.

Client: (three days later) this has taken too long, it’s now way past deadline, I’m very disappointed, I’m canceling the project.

I followed up with an email explaining that all that was needed was the copy and I could have live that same day, but respected their decision and wished them all the best if they still wanted to cancel. No reply, left it there.

Two weeks later, I see their site had a basic “site under construction” page in place (something my work avoided). Three months later their new site launched with a basic overused theme, inconsistent font sizes and styles, spelling errors, poorly laid out content with 12pt text sprawling edge to edge of the screen, nav menus that run over into 2 lines, etc. I think (and hope) it was a DIY job, if not, they got ripped off.

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<p>I have a client who is notorious for

17 January 2020 - 2:00pm

I have a client who is notorious for “overworking” ideas. A project was coming close to completion, and it required them submitting their final artwork for printing:

Me: Are you certain this is the final version?

Client: Yes, it is

Me: You’re entirely happy with it, then?

Client: Yes – I am. This is it, print away!

Three months later – he calls me on the phone

Client: DUDE! I’m looking at the prints now! It’s not the final version! I can’t believe you made this mistake!

Me: I’ll forward you the email where you said this was the final version and you were happy with it.

Client: Well, there’s clearly been a miscommunication. It looks like someone has used an old draft and sent it off.

Me: No, there definitely hasn’t been a miscommunication. You agreed right there that this was the final version. Twice.

Client: So, how much will you refund me for this miscommunication?

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<p>Client: I just got my bill and it

17 January 2020 - 1:00pm

Client: I just got my bill and it says I owe $100. Why?

Me: Well you haven’t paid in two months, the last payment we received was in September.

Client: Did you send a bill OUT for September?

Me: Yes… We send out a bill every month.

Client: No you don’t.

Me: Yes… we do.

Client: NO. Y’ALL DON’T.

Me: I’m sorry but yes we do, it’s automatic.

Client: Well I just checked my account online and it said a zero balance.

Me: Well if you haven’t paid in two months that’s not possible. A bill generates every month.

Client: Well I’m not gonna pay it!

Me: Alright. But I have to let you know it could be disconnected at any time.

Client: I’ll pay it tomorrow.

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<p>Me: You want a set of posters using

16 January 2020 - 2:00pm

Me: You want a set of posters using the 13 quotes you supplied, can I add images to the poster to give visual strength to each quote?

Client: Yes! But I don’t want to pay for stock imagery. Just use some of your original work – that way I don’t have to pay extra.

Me: You think if I take the photos, they’ll be free?

Client: …Yeah?

Me: Ok, so we’ll just use text with no photos.

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<p>I design and make custom

16 January 2020 - 1:03pm

I design and make custom Championship-level dance costumes. Typical prices range from $600 for a boy’s outfit to $2000 for an adult lady’s dress and I charge a $300 non-refundable deposit.

Client: I dance for [well-known dance school] and I’d like you to make me a dress.

Me: Great, I’d be happy to! Just pay the deposit, and if you could send me some ideas as to what you would like, we can start the process and I can give you a price quote as to what your dress will cost and approximate delivery date.

Client: I will. I look forward to the dress, I love your designs so much!

Three weeks of no deposit, but she does send her measurements and plenty of pictures of dresses she likes. Then an email.

Client: Hi, I just wanted to ask when the dress will be finished?

Me: …You haven’t paid the deposit yet. I haven’t started.

Client: What deposit?

Me: The $300 so we can get started. It’s in the contract you signed.

Client: $300 just to get started? But I can only pay $300 for the whole dress! You know I’m a student! Can you not do it as a favour? I’ll be a great example for your art.

Me: No thank you. There are already plenty of dancers wearing my dresses. Are you prepared to pay?

Client: Of course not, I don’t have that kind of money. You are a bad person for taking advantage of a broke student.

I figured I could live with that.

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<p>Client: I received my desktop from

15 January 2020 - 2:00pm

Client: I received my desktop from the company but when my son was here to help me put it together he said there was a part missing so it won’t turn on.

Me: Was it the power cord?

Client: You’re going to have to be less technically with me; I have no idea what that is.

Me: The cord that plugs into your power outlet…

Client: Look, I’m not a “computer wizard” like you. I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Me: Okay, it’s the same type of cord that would be attached to a lamp that you plug into the wall so that it comes on. Is there one of those coming out of the computer and into the wall?

Client: This is getting nowhere. Can I speak to your supervisor?

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<p>I worked for a small software

15 January 2020 - 1:00pm

I worked for a small software company and the week before this one of our installers had done a week’s worth of installation and training at the client’s site.

Monday morning the client called screaming that nothing is working and he isn’t going to pay. He won’t talk to tech support and won’t allow anyone to walk him through the issue over the phone. He insisted someone return and uninstall everything. Our company president convinced him to let us send a tech team to find out what’s going on.

We drove 3 hours one way and arrive at his office. He yells and blusters that he isn’t paying and he doesn’t know why we have to be there since nothing works anyway.

We got to his office and he and most of the people in his organization are there, all squeezed in, and he goes to the desk and points at the screen.

Client: See? It isn’t working.

Me: Ok, let me take a look. What’s your user name and password?

Client: I don’t know! That’s why it isn’t working!

Other worker: Hey boss…remember? We set all of our user names to our first name, and the password is our last name.

At this point, the client typed his first and last names in the field.

Client: Huh. I guess it is working. Ok, I guess we didn’t need you after all.

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