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A collection of client horror stories from designers and freelancers on CFH.

And Then You Fired The Client, Right?

, , , | Right | June 29, 2022

I am on the phone with a client who I do web service for. She is incredibly rude to me the whole time. Our conversation is also constantly interrupted by her yelling at what I assume is her cat (“Get down from there!” “How many times have I told you not to climb on the mantel?” “Stop it!”) without warning to me and my ear.

After about ten minutes of this, I hear another phone ringing.

Client: “Oh, I have a call on my cell. Let me put you on hold for a minute.”

Me: “That’s really okay; you can just call me back—”

Client: “No, I will put you on hold.”

From the sounds that follow, she proceeds to put the phone down on a hard surface and answer her cell phone. 

Thinking she will only be a minute, I wait, trying not to eavesdrop. After about a minute or two, I am finally about to hang up when it sounds as if she has picked up the phone I’m on and her voice gets very loud.

Client: *Sighing loudly* “I’m going to have to let you go now. Yeah, this stupid girl from that web service company is on the other line. I have to help her finish figuring out how to do her job…”

It Would Appear We’ve Reached An Impasse

, , | Right | June 28, 2022

Client: “I have a potential gig for you.”

Me: “Great, what is it?”

Client: “I have a customer who is using [Equipment Brand I specialize in] and he needs some new programming. Can you let me know about how much you’d charge?”

Me: “Sure, get me drawings of their system or a list of the equipment they’re using, and let me know what kind of content they are looking for, and I’ll get you a quote.”

Client: “Oh, well, we don’t really know what kind of equipment they have or how it’s laid out.”

Me: “Okay then. Can you tell me what kind of content they are looking for?”

Client: “Well, we can’t determine what content they’ll need until we know what equipment they have. Can you just give me a quote based on how long you think it’ll take?”

Me: “Not until I have something to determine how long it’ll take.”

Maybe If We Just Put Your Face On Someone Else…

, , , | Right | June 27, 2022

Client: “Hey, can you retouch photos? I’ve got my album cover photo but it needs some minor touch-ups. Zits and stuff.”

Me: “Sure, let me take a look.”

Client: “So, just remove that blemish on my nose and the zit on my forehead.”

Me: “No problem.”

Client: “Also, I forgot to shave, so take care of my stubble.”

Me: “Stubble’s not the easiest thing to remove—”

Client: “Ah, well, my sideburns and hairstyle could use some help, too.”

Me: “Well—”

Client: “And how do you think I’d look with sunglasses and different clothes? You know, this is getting ridiculous. Just let me see some options.”

Please Tell Me You’re Joking

, , , | Right | June 26, 2022

After the third round of changes, my client is happy and approves our new design for their website. We code it and send the URL over for approval before launching.

Client: “Hmm. Looks all right. But could you try the logo a bit smaller and in the center?”

Me: “Sure, like this?”

Client: “Yeah, no, that didn’t look as good as I thought; change it back. And could you try the sidebar in darker purple?”

Me: “Sure, like this?”

Client: “Yeah, like that! But now the content boxes look a bit bleak. Could you make them stand out more?”

And so on. This goes on for about seven rounds of editing (and about seven times I managed to talk them out of something). We get closer and closer to the original until:

Me: “Look, you approved the design. Any changes are heaps easier to do in Photoshop than on the actual site with code. What are we doing here?”

Client: “Oh, sorry. I’m used to working this way. By the way, I talked to our AD and he had some good points. I’ll send them over.”

I receive a PowerPoint that’s similar to our first design but requires fresh coding and work. The back and forth occurs five more times.

Me: “All right. Like that?”

Client: “Yeah, that’s good enough, I guess. But we decided to postpone the launch until after summer, so just save it somewhere and we’ll pick this up in August or something. I trust you won’t invoice us since you haven’t delivered anything yet.”

Just Take The Compliment And Call It A Day

, , | Right | June 25, 2022

Client: “So, when you were away, the girl I talked to said it would be much easier for your people to do the typesetting if it was all typed out in Word first.”

She hands me a printed document.

Me: “That’s great, but it would be much better if you could just email us the Word file, so you won’t have to pay for us typing it all out again.”

Client: “Oh, you’re brilliant! I knew you would come up with great ideas! That’s why you’re in this business!”