Clients from Hell

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Horror stories from freelancers
Updated: 2 hours 53 min ago

"I want a simple site with only 5-6 pages."

29 September 2018 - 3:20pm
“I want a simple site with only 5-6 pages.”

- A liar, always.

Protect my site from hosting

29 September 2018 - 1:40pm

I am a freelance developer with over a decade’s experience in bespoke WordPress sites. I recently finished a small job on a freelance website for a client who basically wanted some minor updates and a blog post added. Easy to do, asked for access to the dashboard and hosting but only got access to the dashboard and although there are 18 updates (including WordPress itself) my client refused access to the hosting control panel.

I advised that I needed access to this to run a backup but again was refused. I did the best I could and my new client seemed happy with this and paid me the full amount on time. I rang the client out of courtesy and to explain that for me to be more effective in my job that I would need access to the hosting to run backups and then Update all the plugins, WordPress and generally optimize the site and make it more secure.

What follows is the most surreal telephone conversation I have ever experienced:

Client: Thank you for helping with my site. I am more than happy. I have settled your invoice in full. Please leave the updates as they will break my site and make it less secure.

Me: Are you sure as it’s insecure as it is? The updates include security patches which will make your site less vulnerable than it already is. It’s this reason why I need access to your hosting cpanel.

Client: No that’s ok, thank you for your help on my site, but we have been hacked loads of times over the past 2 years and was told by our friend who built our sites to never give out hosting info to anyone as it’s his. My husband wishes to talk with you about his website now….

Me: Ok….

Client’s Husband: Thank you for working on my wife’s site. Can you help with mine as well? I just need some info as I can do the job myself. I have been locked out of my site for over 3 years now. WordFence has permanently locked me out. I need you to protect my site from hosting.

Me: Have you filled out the form on the WordFence lock screen? This will unlock it for you by sending an email and you will be able to gain access to the admin area of the website.

Client’s Husband: That email does not exist anymore. My friend moved hosting 3 years back, He has told me never to give out hosting info to anyone which is why I am refusing access as we don’t want to be hacked again.

Me:

I go onto explain that in order to gain full access of the website I WILL NEED full cpanel access and that I will have to delete WordFence itself and then I can reset it for him. That is the only way you can get full access.

Client’s Husband: No my friend told me never to delete WordFence as it’s protecting my site and that I should never give anyone hosting access EVER. I have done it before, I just need to change a line of code, do you know how to do this or not? What is the line of code?

Me: Yes, I know how to do it, But again I need access to hosting. As I deal with thousands of lines of code every day, I need to refresh my memory and I cannot see the code in front of me as I do not have access to your hosting.

Client’s Husband: Forget it, you clearly do not know what you are talking about and are a cowboy, you cannot tell me what line of code I need to change. I will have to figure it out myself, thanks for nothing.

Me: …..

I think that from memory all he has to do it whitelist his IP address. That’s usually the blocking mechanism in these security plugins

I send them both an email with links to my Facebook, Yelp, Google and Trustpilot reviews and a link to a blog post on how to gain access to WordPress by deleting WordFence. I guess his site is so well protected that even he cannot get access. I doubt I will hear of him again in the future.

Protect my site from hosting

29 September 2018 - 1:40pm

I am a freelance developer with over a decade’s experience in bespoke WordPress sites. I recently finished a small job on a freelance website for a client who basically wanted some minor updates and a blog post added. Easy to do, asked for access to the dashboard and hosting but only got access to the dashboard and although there are 18 updates (including WordPress itself) my client refused access to the hosting control panel.

I advised that I needed access to this to run a backup but again was refused. I did the best I could and my new client seemed happy with this and paid me the full amount on time. I rang the client out of courtesy and to explain that for me to be more effective in my job that I would need access to the hosting to run backups and then Update all the plugins, WordPress and generally optimize the site and make it more secure.

What follows is the most surreal telephone conversation I have ever experienced:

Client: Thank you for helping with my site. I am more than happy. I have settled your invoice in full. Please leave the updates as they will break my site and make it less secure.

Me: Are you sure as it’s insecure as it is? The updates include security patches which will make your site less vulnerable than it already is. It’s this reason why I need access to your hosting cpanel.

Client: No that’s ok, thank you for your help on my site, but we have been hacked loads of times over the past 2 years and was told by our friend who built our sites to never give out hosting info to anyone as it’s his. My husband wishes to talk with you about his website now….

Me: Ok….

Client’s Husband: Thank you for working on my wife’s site. Can you help with mine as well? I just need some info as I can do the job myself. I have been locked out of my site for over 3 years now. WordFence has permanently locked me out. I need you to protect my site from hosting.

Me: Have you filled out the form on the WordFence lock screen? This will unlock it for you by sending an email and you will be able to gain access to the admin area of the website.

Client’s Husband: That email does not exist anymore. My friend moved hosting 3 years back, He has told me never to give out hosting info to anyone which is why I am refusing access as we don’t want to be hacked again.

Me:

I go onto explain that in order to gain full access of the website I WILL NEED full cpanel access and that I will have to delete WordFence itself and then I can reset it for him. That is the only way you can get full access.

Client’s Husband: No my friend told me never to delete WordFence as it’s protecting my site and that I should never give anyone hosting access EVER. I have done it before, I just need to change a line of code, do you know how to do this or not? What is the line of code?

Me: Yes, I know how to do it, But again I need access to hosting. As I deal with thousands of lines of code every day, I need to refresh my memory and I cannot see the code in front of me as I do not have access to your hosting.

Client’s Husband: Forget it, you clearly do not know what you are talking about and are a cowboy, you cannot tell me what line of code I need to change. I will have to figure it out myself, thanks for nothing.

Me: …..

I think that from memory all he has to do it whitelist his IP address. That’s usually the blocking mechanism in these security plugins

I send them both an email with links to my Facebook, Yelp, Google and Trustpilot reviews and a link to a blog post on how to gain access to WordPress by deleting WordFence. I guess his site is so well protected that even he cannot get access. I doubt I will hear of him again in the future.

I was hired by a production company to do a series of event ads for placement in trains and public...

28 September 2018 - 3:20pm

I was hired by a production company to do a series of event ads for placement in trains and public spaces. Right before we reach final sign-off, an email arrives from the self-described ‘Very Creative’ client with the subject line “One last change.”

Client: …That is better thank you. I think we can make some space if we put BOOK NOW in a smaller font which means we can make the other copy a bit bigger. Also, Rather than say BOOK NOW can we say BOOK NOW OR A KITTEN WILL DIE!?

Me: … 

I was hired by a production company to do a series of event ads for placement in trains and public...

28 September 2018 - 3:20pm

I was hired by a production company to do a series of event ads for placement in trains and public spaces. Right before we reach final sign-off, an email arrives from the self-described ‘Very Creative’ client with the subject line “One last change.”

Client: …That is better thank you. I think we can make some space if we put BOOK NOW in a smaller font which means we can make the other copy a bit bigger. Also, Rather than say BOOK NOW can we say BOOK NOW OR A KITTEN WILL DIE!?

Me: … 

Me: Could you please answer this important question?Client: *crickets*Weeks later:Client: (in a...

28 September 2018 - 1:40pm

Me: Could you please answer this important question?

Client: *crickets*

Weeks later:

Client: (in a reply to the email asking the question) Hey I haven’t heard from you in a while. What the hell?

Me: Could you please answer this important question?Client: *crickets*Weeks later:Client: (in a...

28 September 2018 - 1:40pm

Me: Could you please answer this important question?

Client: *crickets*

Weeks later:

Client: (in a reply to the email asking the question) Hey I haven’t heard from you in a while. What the hell?

I’m a freelance photographer and last summer I worked at a wedding for my aunt. Alarm bells should...

27 September 2018 - 3:20pm

I’m a freelance photographer and last summer I worked at a wedding for my aunt. Alarm bells should have been ringing when the bridal party fired the girl they had booked only a week before the wedding.

So I did the event for free – because it was family and I was just starting out – and spent a decent amount of my free time getting them ready to print. I hand over the work to them and I hear nothing back.

A week later my cousin posts every photo on Facebook.

I wouldn’t have minded except she cropped out the watermark I placed on the images and makes no reference to me at all.

TL:DR: Could have been a bridesmaid, ended up an uncredited photographer.

I’m a freelance photographer and last summer I worked at a wedding for my aunt. Alarm bells should...

27 September 2018 - 3:20pm

I’m a freelance photographer and last summer I worked at a wedding for my aunt. Alarm bells should have been ringing when the bridal party fired the girl they had booked only a week before the wedding.

So I did the event for free – because it was family and I was just starting out – and spent a decent amount of my free time getting them ready to print. I hand over the work to them and I hear nothing back.

A week later my cousin posts every photo on Facebook.

I wouldn’t have minded except she cropped out the watermark I placed on the images and makes no reference to me at all.

TL:DR: Could have been a bridesmaid, ended up an uncredited photographer.

I had the pleasure of speaking to a guy who would make an obnoxious buzzer noise every time I...

27 September 2018 - 1:40pm

I had the pleasure of speaking to a guy who would make an obnoxious buzzer noise every time I was suggesting anything he didn’t like, instead of saying so like a human being.

Me: So how about we make the background a light blue?

Client: EEEEHH.

Me: Um, alright, you seemed to like green?

Client: EEEHHH.

Me:

Luckily the project fell through.

I had the pleasure of speaking to a guy who would make an obnoxious buzzer noise every time I...

27 September 2018 - 1:40pm

I had the pleasure of speaking to a guy who would make an obnoxious buzzer noise every time I was suggesting anything he didn’t like, instead of saying so like a human being.

Me: So how about we make the background a light blue?

Client: EEEEHH.

Me: Um, alright, you seemed to like green?

Client: EEEHHH.

Me:

Luckily the project fell through.

Client: My boss asked you to grant me access to this software, but it’s still not working! I can’t...

26 September 2018 - 3:20pm

Client: My boss asked you to grant me access to this software, but it’s still not working! I can’t do any work without it!

Me: Ok, I’ll check your account. Can you please hold the line a minute?

Client: Yes, but just a minute, ok? I really need this access quickly!

Me: Your access is indeed not granted, but I can’t find the approved request from your boss. When was it sent?

Client: Well, when I started working on this department, obviously, since I need this software to do my job.

Me: Can you tell me on which date you started, then?

Client: Can’t remember exactly, but it was about 2 or 3 years ago.

Me: … and you can’t work without it, right?

Client: Yeah.

Client: My boss asked you to grant me access to this software, but it’s still not working! I can’t...

26 September 2018 - 3:20pm

Client: My boss asked you to grant me access to this software, but it’s still not working! I can’t do any work without it!

Me: Ok, I’ll check your account. Can you please hold the line a minute?

Client: Yes, but just a minute, ok? I really need this access quickly!

Me: Your access is indeed not granted, but I can’t find the approved request from your boss. When was it sent?

Client: Well, when I started working on this department, obviously, since I need this software to do my job.

Me: Can you tell me on which date you started, then?

Client: Can’t remember exactly, but it was about 2 or 3 years ago.

Me: … and you can’t work without it, right?

Client: Yeah.

Client: So, I have to explain you some legal stuff, but since you’re an IT guy, I guess you...

26 September 2018 - 1:40pm

Client: So, I have to explain you some legal stuff, but since you’re an IT guy, I guess you won’t understand much about it.

It was only about software copyright infringement, which I already mostly know. But thanks for the condescension, dude.

Client: So, I have to explain you some legal stuff, but since you’re an IT guy, I guess you...

26 September 2018 - 1:40pm

Client: So, I have to explain you some legal stuff, but since you’re an IT guy, I guess you won’t understand much about it.

It was only about software copyright infringement, which I already mostly know. But thanks for the condescension, dude.

I work as a Graphic Designer/Illustrator. One of my clients is a very flaky person who some reason...

25 September 2018 - 3:20pm

I work as a Graphic Designer/Illustrator. One of my clients is a very flaky person who some reason will often spring up work at odd hours in the night, well past bedtime.

There was a particular assignment I was asked to do a month prior to its due date, but when I asked about the specs, I was instead given the specs for a different job. Weeks go by and the original work was never mentioned again. It’s finally the due date for the original assignment when I get a phone call from my boss at 1AM asking if I could have it done by 11AM. When I ask for the specs once again, I am greeted with silence.

Not wanting to sit on my hands anymore, I just went ahead and stayed up all night to make something based on some general standards and submitted it.

11AM rolls past. And then 12PM. Finally, 2PM rolls past and my client contacts me to inform me they fell asleep as soon as they called me and slept through the due date.

The graphic was never used.

I work as a Graphic Designer/Illustrator. One of my clients is a very flaky person who some reason...

25 September 2018 - 3:20pm

I work as a Graphic Designer/Illustrator. One of my clients is a very flaky person who some reason will often spring up work at odd hours in the night, well past bedtime.

There was a particular assignment I was asked to do a month prior to its due date, but when I asked about the specs, I was instead given the specs for a different job. Weeks go by and the original work was never mentioned again. It’s finally the due date for the original assignment when I get a phone call from my boss at 1AM asking if I could have it done by 11AM. When I ask for the specs once again, I am greeted with silence.

Not wanting to sit on my hands anymore, I just went ahead and stayed up all night to make something based on some general standards and submitted it.

11AM rolls past. And then 12PM. Finally, 2PM rolls past and my client contacts me to inform me they fell asleep as soon as they called me and slept through the due date.

The graphic was never used.

Client: How much do I owe you again?Me: $65Client: That’s a lot. How about a family discount?Me:...

25 September 2018 - 1:40pm

Client: How much do I owe you again?

Me: $65

Client: That’s a lot. How about a family discount?

Me: That IS the family discount.

Client: How much do I owe you again?Me: $65Client: That’s a lot. How about a family discount?Me:...

25 September 2018 - 1:40pm

Client: How much do I owe you again?

Me: $65

Client: That’s a lot. How about a family discount?

Me: That IS the family discount.

Client: How can I save the photos?Me: Just drag them onto your desktop.Client: Okay, and where would...

24 September 2018 - 3:20pm

Client: How can I save the photos?

Me: Just drag them onto your desktop.

Client: Okay, and where would I find my desktop?

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