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

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.


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.”

Day One And You’re Already Three Months Behind

, , | Right | October 30, 2021

I have just been bought onto a project to design an app for a client and noticed a problem. They had talked about hiring me for this project a few months earlier but nothing had come of it at the time.

Client: “You should have indicated a problem with the app sooner.”

Me: “It was only just made available to me to launch. As soon as I saw the problem, I flagged it.”

Client: “But you should have looked for a problem sooner.”

Me: “I just saw it for the first time. I wasn’t involved with the project until now. You just hired me.”

Client: “That’s not true; I sent you an e-mail three months ago about it. Where I said I found someone to make the app at a lower price. Remember?”

Me: “I think so. How’d that work out?”

The Hole, Much Like His Brain, Is Too Small

, , , | Right | October 29, 2021

A couple of months ago, a client asked me to put an image on his website that he scanned from an 8″ x 10″ photo. After I added it to the site:

Client: “The picture isn’t the size I sent you!”

Me: “The width of a web page and the images on it will change depending on the size of the device it’s viewed on.”

He didn’t understand, so I told him:

Me: “Pretend the website is a window and a three-inch-wide cell phone is the open hole waiting for the window.”

His solution?

Client: “Then you make the hole bigger!”

Me: “You can’t change the size of a cell phone.”

Client: “You’re the web designer; just make it work!”

Well, I couldn’t make it work, so he hired someone else who couldn’t make it work, either, because his new website was up for a week and now it’s gone. I think he’s searching for a magician, not a web designer!