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

It’s Always Aliens

, , , | Right | November 3, 2021

I had a great working relationship as a designer for a local company. I’d even been complimented on my work by a retired editor-in-chief of a national magazine publication loosely associated with the company.

Over the summer, I receive a project from someone in the company with whom I’d never worked with before. There were a lot of absurd requests and delays so I was pretty happy when the project was finalized. Or so I thought.

Client: “I had your design printed by the main office but they said it looked unprofessional.”

Me: “I’m so sorry to hear that, can you tell me more about what was wrong with it?”

Client: “I have not seen it myself but they said the model featured in the design is green, washed out and the quality isn’t great. What DPI did you use?”

Me: “300 DPI. The image of the model was the one you provided.”

Client: “I know it might be because I wanted the full design to be green and maybe something is wrong with our printer but I thought I’d ask. The poor thing looks like an alien.”

That evening, I take my design to a professional printer. The printer’s assistant and a patron who is in line both compliment me on the design. It prints consistently with what was requested. The quality is great, the model isn’t green, washed out, or alien-looking. I explain this to the client and show them what the print looks like.

Client: “Oh my goodness, I didn’t expect you to look into it! I’ll look at it from our end and see if something is wrong with the printer.”

Me: “Check to see if it’s low on red ink!”

They Want A Nice Vista

, , , | Right | November 2, 2021

Client: “I didn’t want XP; I wanted Vista.”

Me: “But you asked for XP.”

Client: “But I want Vista now.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but you signed the form; it says right here in bold letters that there is no return on software.”

Client: “I only signed it. I didn’t read it.”

Me: “Again, I’m sorry; but it’s in bold letters for you to pay attention to it.”

Client: “Maybe YOU should pay attention!”

The client then grabs the form from my hands and runs out of the store. Three minutes later, he comes back in silence.

Client: “…I left the CD.”

He then apologized and returned the form. 

Stick To The Basics

, , , , | Right | November 2, 2021

I’ve been re-creating a series of medical illustrations for an online hemophilia handbook. One of the diagrams is an example of parents passing on X and Y chromosomes to potential offspring. The client wanted the new diagram to be more “ethnically diverse” than the original.

After several hours and much illustrating later:

Client: I love it! But, I gave it some thought, and I don’t want readers to insinuate that ethnic people are more predisposed to hemophilia. Can you just do stick figures instead?

Thanks For Putting Me On eBlast

, , , , | Right | November 1, 2021

I have been contracted for many years to make content updates to a Joomla website. This past week, this client had her “programmer”, who can’t be bothered to do updates, transfer this website over to WordPress. Other than a few minor changes in updating content, it was fairly seamless. This client also has me in charge of her Constant Contact eBlasts, which are scheduled ahead for several months and usually have up to ten scheduled at any one time.

One problem: all the files being moved from Joomla to WordPress meant that all the file locations of the images uploaded for the eBlasts had a different URL and all the URLs of the links were also changed. She emailed me all in a snit because the eBlast went out and the links and images were broken. I patiently explained to her that all the image locations were now different, as were the files in her website that the eBlasts were linked to, and that I would have to go in and recode all ten of the scheduled eBlasts so that the images would appear and the links would work. I did so and then invoiced her for my time.

She blew a gasket.

Client: “You must get my permission before making any extensive changes to my website!”

But I didn’t make any changes to her website. I never touched her website. She ragged on and on about her wonderful programmer and her wonderful new website (which is ugly as f***).

Client: “How dare you make any changes to my website like that without my permission?!”

I replied back in ALL CAPS, which I never do.

Me: “I ONLY UPDATED YOUR TEN BROKEN EBLASTS ON CONSTANT CONTACT.”

Now I regret being the nice person and being proactive to fix them all, even though I know she’d email me about every last one if they went out broken and throw me under the bus. Trust me, I’ve been under that bus with her so many times I could work on the transmission.

I explained yet again, as if to a very small child:

Me: “The changes I made were to the eBlast code in Constant Contact, which has nothing to do with your website.”

She spent four more emails ragging on, demanding that I ask permission, telling me she didn’t know anything about code (which is obvious), but how dare I change her website?!

I finally gave up. After all these years of working for her, the stupidity was just too much to deal with. (That and never being paid on time.)

I’m Just Gonna Shut Up And Take Your Money

, , | Right | October 31, 2021

This is a few years ago when I didn’t charge what my art is actually worth. I have just finished a commission and only want five bucks for it. The client actually sent over twenty-five bucks. When I go to thank them, this exchange happens:

Me: “Holy moly, that’s really generous! Thank you so much!”

Client: “No problem. I think your art is worth it. But don’t raise your rates to that; I enjoy making people thank me and you wouldn’t do that if I just paid your rate.”