I'll be honest, I always liked the concept behind Fiverr.com.
Just a few clicks and a client can place an order with a freelancer based on a specific set of deliverables.
Easy peasy, right?
Sure, but it comes at a cost. A big one.
This is one the few freelance platforms where buyers are given free reign to abuse, threaten and outright blackmail sellers any way they like.
Why? Because Fiverr turn a blind eye to it.
In this post, I want to share a recent bad experience as a seller on Fiverr, and why I decided to give up on the platform altogether.
How A Regular Order Quickly Turned Into A Hostage Situation
While I've been using Fiverr myself (on and off) for a while, this particular experience relates to my girlfriend's account, not my own.
(I've been advising her on building up a reputable account, and how to go above and beyond with every last order. Everything stated is her doing, I'm just an observer.)
In this case, she had just gotten another $5 order on her logo gig, which seemed to be like any other... or so we thought.
The order was fulfilled in good time, and my girlfriend had even included a bonus logo concept as well as the source file (which is usually part of the more expensive package).
The client "loved" one of the concepts and so we proceeded to send her the appropriates file sizes, as stated in the gig description.
Soon after, things got a little weird.
The client came back asking for a social media kit to go with the logo, something that is clearly not offered as part of her gig.
Against my advice, my girlfriend decided to deliver the additional work, despite not getting paid any extra for it.
After that, the client responded with even more demands and some changes to the social media files.
At this point, she agreed enough was enough.
Despite every effort to please this person, they were clearly overstepping their boundaries here.
So, she sent the client a polite message:
The next reply was the nail in the coffin.
This is when the client went from simply overstepping boundaries to unquestionable blackmail. (The equivalent of taking my girlfriend's Fiverr reputation hostage.)
While she took some time to ponder a response and reach out to Fiverr support for assistance, the client did eventually go ahead and leave a 1 star review.
Presumably this was to show her he/she wasn't kidding.
Soon after, while still waiting on Fiverr's response to the support query, the client paid an extra $10 for the social media kit.
Of course, the payment was accompanied by yet another threat.
At this point, all I wanted to do was go all Liam Neeson and hunt this person down so I could repeatedly punch them in the face.
(Seriously, I would have paid good money for the privilege.)
But, at the time, I still had hope that Fiverr support would step in and rescue my girlfriend from this PITA client.
Enter The *Almighty* Fiverr Support Team
When the response came back from Fiverr support, they told her they couldn't force the buyer to accept the order.
Okay, that's fair enough. (Even though the buyer already accepted it, technically.)
They also suggested drawing up a list for the buyer to show the work has been completed in accordance to the gig requirements.
Honestly, this reply just didn't cut the mustard.
My girlfriend communicated in her initial email that the client was trying to extort her for free work outside the agreed terms, by leaving a negative review if she didn't comply.
Of course, it wasn't really about the work, it was about seeking protection from an abusive client who was blatantly pushing their luck.
Their reply didn't give either of us any confidence that Fiverr really understood that, and even at this stage we felt like they didn't want to get involved.
Here was her reply to Fiverr:
At the same time, she also responded to the buyers latest threat, explaining that she would not continue to work with them unless the feedback was changed/removed.
(Again, this is feedback that was clearly and intentionally left to bully her into providing work outside of the agreed terms.)
A fair request by anyones standards, right?
Well, apparently not.
Rather than acknowledge what the buyer had done up until this point, Fiverr immediately turned the tables on my girlfriend.
Turns out, she was the one breaking all the rules.
Because she had asked the client to change their feedback, she was no longer entitled to any help from Fiverr support.
You can imagine how we both felt reading this.
Everything that the buyer had said and done prior to her last message was now being swept under the rug — as if never happened at all.
Fiverr essentially chose to support a manipulative bully, leaving my girlfriend with a permanent stain on an account she'd worked so hard to build up.
What a f*cking joke.
Think This Was Just A One-Off? Think Again.
If everything that happened wasn't upsetting enough, it's knowing that this person is still running rampant on Fiverr, preying on defensless sellers without a shred of repercussion.
And believe me, there are plenty of buyers doing exactly this on Fiverr, knowing they can and will get away with it.
How do I know?
Well, as all of this was happening, I did some research to see if any other sellers went through a similar ordeal with a buyer.
Very quickly, I found a number of almost identical cases on the Fiverr forum dated years back. (that's right, years.)
Here are just a few examples:
I could go on, but I won't.
This is clearly something that's been going on for a long time and it all stems from giving buyers too much power over sellers.
If there's one thing I've learned about Fiverr, it's that clients are ALWAYS more valued than freelancers.
Doesn't matter how much time you put into a project, or how hard you worked on it, or even how well you handled communication during a dispute, when it really comes down to it...
...freelancers have little to no protection.
Even when it's a clear cut case in your favour, there's still every chance the client will come out on top. All it takes it one tiny thing you "did wrong" according to their terms of service and EVERYTHING else is disregarded
The worst part?
Looking at the evidence, it's obvious to me that Fiverr is well aware of what's going on, yet is still willing to sit back and let it happen.
A Final Message To Fiverr...
If you're a decision maker at Fiverr and you're reading this, I implore you to seriously reconsider your current support procedures for freelancers.
It's not right that someone can put all that time and effort into building up an account and over-delivering at every possible opportunity, only to be shot down by the very people you rely on to protect you.
Look, I don't want to abandon Fiverr.
I don't want to be telling people to avoid your platform.
But after everything that has happened, you haven't left me any choice.
Until something is done to protect freelancers from this kind of abuse, I will continue to spread this post and do whatever I can to prevent others from falling victim to your one-sided support team.
The second you actually do something about it and give freelancers a way to fight back, I'll be more than happy to update the post.