Clients From Hell 🔥 - Share Your [Freelancing] Horror Stories

The life of the average freelancer isn’t easy at all. I often lose my sanity over absurd modification requests, or just having to communicate with “one of those” clients. Sometimes, I just wish to have a 9-5 job, but then reality kicks in - and I start to appreciate that I can work in my pajamas…

Anyways, I have started freelancing way back in the ancient year of 2014. Life was simpler back then, selling fake reviews on Amazon, getting paid and have nothing to worry about. Fast forward a year in the future, when I started selling graphic design services. Things have become interesting, the weirdos have started to arrive.

My first horror story was with a client that presented him as Dr. Emmet. An old African-American gentleman that just started some lame business. Me being a 16 old, a newbie and a meksell at the same time; I knew jack :poop: about freelancing and how to protect my grounds.

This was happening on Fiverr, in the days when almost everything was $5. Get this, I used to charge $5 for setting up social media pages, designing them, writing a short description, linking them with the client’s website, adding product photos and pretty much everything that the client asked me to do. The obvious reason was that I didn’t want to lose $5 - and I did not like to get a bad rating.

It turns out, this client sensed that. He manipulated me in working two months on his gig for just $5… After that, even though the order was closed, he kept requesting modifications in my inbox. I was happy to do them. I fell for the “I am an old’ man and short of money, had to sell a lot of my belongings to set up my business”.

Well, I was stupid back then, plus scared of a negative review, plus just a 16-year old that started freelancing. Yeah, I know many pluses. Anyways, if you don’t learn from your own mistakes, you will never learn.

So, guys and gals, what are your freelancing horror stories. I know everyone has them.

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One of my favorite parts too! That and sleeping in.

My CFH was a “Christian” that asked me to proofread a book he had written. It was handwritten as well as in PDF format. I do no work with either type of document. When I told the buyer this, he said he would have it typed for me too proofread, which he did.

However, when the transcription arrived in the order, he apologized and said the typist was not a person who had English as their first language. Furthermore, the buyer said he realized it was of poor quality, so he included his original PDF for me to use as well as the transcription. He also proudly noted that he had not paid for the transcription because it was so bad he had to cancel the order. I should have canceled right there. But it was a big order, and I was going through a slow time as far as sales, so I accepted it.

I finished proofreading his book and made the delivery. The problems started right away. The buyer immediately asked to cancel.

Then he would quote a few sentences from his book that I supposedly had not proofread correctly. However, when I went back to the book to check on how I could not have corrected such a blunder, I found that he had misquoted my work. I think he was putting on a show for CS, so they would think I genuinely had messed up. Each time I quoted the section, he had misquoted correctly.

Also, when I pointed out that his book had over 2000 errors when I started to work on it, he said, “That is what the other three sellers I hired to proofread my book said too! I do not care. I want everything to be PERFECT!”

I, of course, did not accept his cancelation requests. Lol, during the time the buyer spent opening a cancelation and the time I spent declining it, he said, “May the Lord forgive me for the anger I am feeling now.” and “May God forgive me for the thoughts I am thinking about you now.”

Finally, I wrote to CS with screenshots of where the buyer said he had not paid for the transcription and yet had sent it to me to use while proofreading. By the next morning, the order was marked as completed, and I never heard another word from that buyer.


I remember about this person, if I am correct you had trouble with him for a couple of weeks. :slight_smile:

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One of the clients from hell from me was fellow seller actually. We worked together for years. There was small jobs all the time, but over the years we did around 20 orders. Then last job we did she said something like “Who did this, this wasn’t you… There is not any design to it, this is garbage. I can’t use this. If you can’t do job, why did you take it…” etc. And all requirements I got from her is “I need something to track my work on website, something where I could add what is done and what else needs to be done and something that is very easy to use”. I did exactly what she asked. And later I got that message from above.

Also, I just have one that is pain in the …

Book formatting of 280 pages. He gave me specific requirements (very detailed). Then after work was done, he changed his mind completely (few times already). Ohhh, and explanation is “This is my first book, I don’t know how it works”… If he doesn’t know how this works, he wouldn’t give me detailed requirements.


I always find it working with fellow sellers difficult. The only seller that I had great experienced working with was @JoeKamel.

I don’t. There are some (typically resellers, though not all of them) who make it difficult, but in many cases, working with fellow sellers was perfectly fine, or better than fine.

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Yeah, maybe I got the luck to work with resellers only.

I liked working with Joe too, as well as you and Zeus.

That has been my experience too.
@HungryOne, sorry for your experience.

On the funny side, I had a student want me to proofread their proofreading class’s final test. :upside_down_face:


ex-Client: Have you ever travelled to (some country)?
Me: Um, No.
ex-Client: I would like to send you a plane ticket. I could be your personal tour guide.
Me: That’s a sweet gesture. However, I can’t accept your offer.
ex-Client: Why? You deserve to be treated like royalty.
Me: I don’t mix business with pleasure.
ex-Client: I understand. I just feel close to you…

[The rest of the message gets super creepy] :flushed:

Me: Spooked and BLOCKED!!!