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

Lost In Cheap Translation

, , , , | Right | October 14, 2021

A potential client approaches; they have a complex website and they need to add another language.

Client: “We are losing a million euros a year because we do not have multilingual functionality. As we are an international company, it is very important for us to have another language.”

Usually adding another language (translations excluded) is very simple, but the website itself is very big and requires a lot of customised work, so the offered price is 1000 euros.

Client: “Are you insane? No, we cant invest such an amount of money, this is ridiculous. I can pay 50.”

Me: “This is a very complex website; it is not enough just to install a plugin; it requires a lot of customization. But the strangest part for me is that you say you cant invest this money. I am actually offering you to transform your 1000 euro to a million euros, and you say my offer is not fair? How is that even possible?”

Client: “What?”

Me: “You told me yourself, you are losing a million euros per year because your website is not multilingual. If you said that only to look cool, well… anyway, good luck with the project, I hope you can find someone who can do it for 50 euros, but we can’t do that.”

Never heard from him again.

It’s So Satisfying To Call A Liar’s Bluff

, , , | Right | October 13, 2021

Me: “This project would cost [price]€. It could be done by [client’s deadline], but only if we start no later than next Monday.”

A couple of days later:

Client: “I have another proposal for this, and the cost is [more than 80% less]€. I’d like you to match it.”

We then sent a message explaining our pricing structure and informing him that we couldn’t match the price. We pointed out that it was freelancer pricing; we are an agency, and you can’t expect freelancer pricing from a well-established agency.

We thought it was it, but a week later, we got a message from the client.

Client: “So, how about this project we talked about earlier? Are you able to do it by our deadline?”

Me: “Sorry, but we have already booked our development fully for another three weeks, and we can’t start this project immediately. The earliest we can do it is [new deadline].”

Client: “Wait, what? Why the h*** didn’t you inform me? It will cost me a lot of money if I miss that deadline.”

Me: “What do you mean? You yourself informed us that you’d found someone who would do this for the price of [lower price] EUR, and we are unable to match it, as we are not a one-man freelancer. We are an agency, and at least four different highly experienced people would be working on your project. Anyway, why aren’t you working with that person?”

Client: “I was just assuming this could be the budget. I believe I could have found someone else for that kind of budget. Is there any way you could still do this?”

Me: “Not on our primary proposal. If the deadline can not be moved, we need to charge more for a rush job. It is a standard procedure in any agency to add a percentage for rush jobs because it means we will need to pay our people for working overtime or weekends.”

So, overall, our budget increased by 30%. The client was happy with the outcome of the project, and we are planning future projects, as well. I bet he won’t be using a fake “I have this proposal for [a lower price]; match it” card again.

Photografree

, , , , | Right | October 12, 2021

I do photography on the side as something to keep me busy when I feel like it and do software development as my daily job. I get messaged on my personal Facebook account a week and a half before their wedding on the 4th of July weekend.

Client: “Hi! I’m getting married on July 3rd and my photographer just dropped out. I only need 2-2.5 hours from around 10 or 10:15 to 12:15 or 12:30?”

Me: “Sorry to hear that happened. I can definitely do that! I would bill just for three hours at $100, just for some leeway for shots after the wedding with family and friends. Let me know what you think.”

In my experience as I’ve done a few weddings, a little extra time never hurts.

Client: “Thank you! I will probably take it! I will let you know. Do you have some pics of your work?”

Me: “Sounds good! You are always welcome! I do! Here’s some of what I’ve done in the past year.”

I insert my (watermarked) portfolio.

Client: “Thank you! So would we do more of a 10-1 thing?”

Me: “You are welcome! Yep! That would give me enough time to get any shots you want outside of the wedding.”

No response after that. The next day:

Me: “I was just checking in to see if you are still interested in me being your wedding photographer. I wanted to scout the location of your wedding this weekend to see what I would need to bring. I also want to get in touch with the venue operators and see if there are any regulations regarding photography at their place of business. Please let me know by tomorrow, or I will assume that you have chosen someone else to do photography for your wedding. Thank you!”

Client: “Hello! I should know within the next couple of hours if we will be receiving pictures for a gift or not! I will let you know ASAP! Also, the wedding is actually at my parent’s house.”

The evening of July 2nd involved a Coors Light or two. July 3rd involved me sleeping in and enjoying my long weekend.

Explain It To Them And It Might Right Click

, , , | Right | October 11, 2021

Client: “We’re worried that someone will steal our logo from their website. We need us to protect the logo and we’re willing to pay to have the right mouse button disabled.”

Entitled Client From Hell

, , , , , | Right | October 10, 2021

I’m a freelancer doing a website for this couple. I did the wife’s website first three years ago when she asked me to help her because her website was down, the thing is she just forgot to pay her server, charged her really low because we’re good friends. Everything was good, I gave her all her log-in details, told her to change her password, etc.

Two years ago the husband asked me to do three websites for him. The husband choose a host server that I had never heard of before, and he did it without consulting or asking advice. It was a confusing server to work with and required a lot of customization to get what he wanted. I managed to finish the websites. I remind him if there are changes required to the website then let me know first. All is good, and I am paid. Again, I charge less because we’re good friends.

For the third website, he asks me to make an “NGO” website. I make a demo on my own server to show him if he likes it. He doesn’t make any payment and I don’t hear from him for a couple of months. All of a sudden he emails me to meet because he moved his domain to another server that I never heard off, again without notifying me, so I didn’t have time to make an updated backup. There’s an error on the first website and I can’t work with the confusing host server so I tell him to find somebody else, and I will give him all the content and the old backup that I have.

He agrees and emails me to send the backup to the new web developer, which I do. He emails again asking for the demo website. I politely tell him that I did the demo and it’s there’s very little left to do, so if he wants it he has to pay: half of the full price, because who would just give something they did for countless hours for free so their new web developer can just upload it to their server and get paid?

He finds my rate too high apparently, so he starts asking “didn’t I get paid already per hour?”. Just to be clear, the first two websites were paid for the whole website. I politely tell him that he was not paying me for the hour but he’s insisting on how much should I charge per hour. I again reply that I don’t charge per hour but charge for the whole website.

Then, he asks me if I’m paying taxes. I don’t reply because I have no obligation to tell people – even clients – regarding my personal finances, etc. He emails me again insisting to answer him so can I come up with what he considers a “lump sum” of money but only if he knows who is paying taxes. I still do not reply.

Then here comes the threat: If I don’t want to answer him, I will answer one way or another because he will report me for tax fraud; seems like extortion to get my demo for free. I block him and his wife on social media, and all of a sudden the wife’s website is down. Instead of emailing me her issue, she goes on Facebook and accuses me and my boyfriend of blocking her website. Like I’m really gonna waste my time anymore on their websites?

And BTW, if your website is down why don’t you contact your host provider first, maybe you forgot to pay again…