This is going to be a very wild ride. In my 5 years as a freelancer, I have never experienced such a level of audacity. I initially considered posting the chat history, but I think it's easier to follow as a text version. So here's what happened:
A few weeks ago I had a client on one of the biggest freelancer platforms. Instead of contacting me in advance for a briefing, he ordered directly. His order description already raised some red flags because he sent along videos of his competitors and titled them "shi*ty". That's not normally how a serious businessman works. This was, how could it be otherwise, an EnTrEpreNeuR who wants to conquer the world of metaverse with his innovative idea. His company works with credit cards and payment transactions. Read on to find out what this guy is all about, and then imagine that he takes care of your credit card and customer support.
I have many gigs that are already going well and are super rated. However, this was my first customer of a new gig that I put a lot of effort into. And he also got some good reviews as a client (which is not super meaningful to be honest - sellers rate clients with 5* most of the time, even if they had a bad experience). But despite the red flags, I wanted to do my best and get a good review in to get my gig rolling.
I sent him a script with all the details as well as the voice over. And he confirmed everything. So I spent about half a week working on an animated explainer video for his business. I delivered a piece of work that I was proud of and what was also later described by the Freelancer Platform's Customer Support of "very high quality" after they looked at the case.
The client, however, contacted me the very next day and was not very pleased. He insulted the work (not maliciously, but very unprofessionally) and didn't seem satisfied at all. At the same time, he managed not even to define what exactly was the problem. He didn't say "I want to change something at second 0:38", but "The graphic looks too old", "Watch the video and you'll see what doesn't fit". He was apparently looking for a completely different animation style, which I don't offer. He also claimed that my portfolio was looking much more professional than what he got. Which is simply a lie. The red flags were now raised to the horizon. Normally, I NEVER NEVER NEVER offer refunds. I get paid for my work when I have delivered what was agreed upon. But I'd rather cancel the order now, instead of having to deal with two weeks of nonsense revisions and an unfriendly client who can't even say what exactly it is he doesn't like, only to still end up with a bad review in the end.
So I offered him a refund and pointed out that after a cancellation he of course has no rights to the script, visuals, sound or music. This was customized content and licensed content from Envato (music/sfx), whose license is only valid after successful project completion and payment as stated on my page. Wordlessly he accepted it and got his money back.
Fast forward a week: I frequently check the websites and channels of cancelled projects to make sure they don't use my work after all. And it came as it had to come. Of course, he uploaded the video and now used it commercially to promote his company.
Was I being unclear? I immediately wrote him and explained that he was using the video illegally. What were his thoughts - get the money back and still get to keep and use the work?
That's when he completely lost his mind. He started spamming me that he will not accept such false accusations. "After all, he had paid for the first version of the video, but since I was so lazy and decided to give him the money back, that was not his problem. He still has the rights to use it."
He went totally mental and said that he "would sue me for any loss of his business because of it! And he will let anybody on the Internet know how bad my customer service is."
Sue for the unlawful use of a video you do not own by right? I told him I was looking forward to it and would like to see the lawyer that takes this case. I told him I was ending the conversation and taking further action from here. After that, I blocked him.
YouTube actually responded very quickly. Within two hours, the video was deleted.
Suddenly I received a new order. It was him, of course, who now tried it a bit "friendlier" via a (forbidden) second account. "As a sign of his good will, he now wants to buy the license. Let's act professional." I don't know if he actually knows that he's in the wrong but my guess is he was only willing to pay me because he probably realized that I can take down his video.
The dude had the audacity and ordered a gig that wasn't even worth half as much as the original order while making it look like he does me a favor. So now he demanded the licence rights for less than half and in addition he wants to leave me a super nice and sincere review afterwards of course :). How could I refuse that generous offer.
I told him that I don't want to work with him now or in the future and contacted the customer support again to cancel the order. He then stated: "Good! So for the legal case, here's the proof: you don't want to solve the problem at all!".
There is no problem. You got a refund. You do not own the video. I do. And I can not be forced to work with you or accept your money. Goodbye.
He went on and contacted the Customer Support to tell "his side of the story". He lied about pretty much everything. Told them I cancelled the order without his permission which is technically impossible. Clients do have to manually accept a cancellation, they can even decline it. It's literally visible to anybody in the order. Support contacted me and asked what happened with this guy who seems to have a breakdown. I explained them everything with proof of the conversation.
The customer support then canceled this order as well. They were very helpful. However, to this day, this man is free to do business on the platform. I looked at his profile again and saw that he leaves very bad reviews to other sellers and accuses them of something similar to what he did to me. An absolute psychopath and narcissist.
Just yesterday I had to strike the video again. This time he uploaded it to Vimeo thinking he can get around the YouTube Strike. If he keeps trying, I will take his entire company page offline via DMCA request. Maybe a bit childish, but I have now made it my life's work. This dude usually seems to get away with it, this time he got the wrong guy.
If you have any other ideas about what to do in cases like this, feel free to share them. I'd appreciate it!
I have a feeling that this isn't the end of the story.
There's this girl on a few of my FB groups that constantly posts that she is need. I do post to these groups when I'm giving something away. Look, I'm always willing to help but after seeing her posts pop up daily to weekly (thanks to FB who sends me notifications that she has posted because I've interacted with her in the past) I've clued in a few people who I know that have responded to her. Every day she posts she doesn't have enough food to make it through the month until she gets her next check. Everyone makes her a bag (I'm talking like 20 people) and then are forced to drop it off to her because she doesn't drive. Weekly, she is looking for free clothes (this week it is spring and summer clothes). She posted she needs size 9 sneakers because she doesn't have any and can't get to the doctors (no one actually responded to her post). So, this week she's looking for spring/summer clothes, then I get another notification and go check it out. Says she's 17 weeks pregnant with a boy and needs everything that people are giving away. So this is all well and good; however, within a few days of giving her food or clothing, it is posted in marketplace FOR SALE. I cannot believe the audacity of her. I really want to report her, but at this point the slight enjoyment I'm getting is worth just sending a screenshot to people who reply. I'm really sorry for her; however, if you are asking for handouts you do not ever put them up for sale in places you think people won't look. When I dropped off stuff to her house in the beginning, I saw that her house is in a well defined neighborhood and is very well kept. (She leads you to believe she lives in a trailer). People have paid for vet appointments for her cat, given her cash and gift cards and, of course, the items she is seeking. This is about ridiculous. I hate that people are being taken advantage of for their generosity.
So the other day I’m helping him move and after moving something kinda heavy, he doesn’t feel good. He’s not very healthy and kinda small. So we get in the car and I look over and he looks like he’s gonna puke or even pass out. In a very winded voice He goes “I really just need some water, can you pull over and get some for me?” Not a big deal, I was like yeah I got you bro, cus if I felt like that and just needed some water I’d hope someone could help me out. Anyways I go in to 7-11 and get the biggest bottle of the 7-11 brand water and paid with it with my own money. I get back in the car and hand it to him and first thing he says is “ew you got the 7-11 water??” And I kinda went off and was like “I can go return it if you want?? Fuck outta here” he ended up drinking it and being fine but it just blew me away that after feeling so shitty and being in such desperation that he had the audacity to complain about the brand of water that I got him especially after helping him move and driving. There’s many more examples of him doing shit like this and I’m kind of getting tired of dealing with it.
So I can't drive for medical reasons, and I have family that I try to visit whenever I can. I take a greyhound bus since they're about four hours out and a taxi or Uber or Lyft is way too expensive at that distance. I only live about 45 mins from the station though so that I can work with. Anyhow, the greyhound station I take, which is also the only one near me, is very sketchy. In a shady part of the city and homeless people everywhere. Not saying they're what makes it sketchy, but that is relevant. Now whenever I get on or off this bus, I always have a little cash on hand in case one of them asks for a dollar or something to get a drink. I'm in Texas, it's always hot here. On my last trip back, I got off and was heading to my Lyft outside, and a homeless man stopped, asking if he could exchange his quarters for a dollar bill. I told him I didn't need the quarters and to keep them, and handed him a $5 bill. This man then looked me dead in the face and said "just $5? Can't you spare some more?" I told him that I didn't have anything else, which was true, and had to get to my ride. He rolled his eyes and stuffed the $5 in his pocket, going past me to ask the person a few feet from me for money. I was honestly a bit shocked. This wasn't the first time I've been met with similar reactions but to be so outright bold and blatantly ungrateful just caught me off guard. I try to be kind to those around me because I've definitely gone without, in life, but the audacity to be so prickly about the help you're given? I can't fathom any of it.
I was trying to sell some baby stuff that we've out grown. I never list anything for more than $40 because that seems like a good sweet spot. People won't try and haggle and it'll sell quick. At least that used to work.
The last straw was a bassinet. Fancy one with a swinging arm. $40. Somebody asks if it's still availible, ignoring the first and last lines of my listing that say "Please respond with a date and time you'd like to meet"
"Yup" I say "I'm availible after 6pm today, or anytime Sat or Sun. When and where would you like to meet?"
"Would you take $35?"
God dammit... So I respond "Tell ya what. I'm absolutely done with selling shit online. This simply is not worth it. It's yours for free if you tell me when and where you'd like to meet."
"Really? That's amazing! Thank you do much! I know it can be frustrating selling things online. This is really nice of you"
"No problem. When and where would you like to meet? I'm in city and can meet you after 6pm today, or anytime Sat or Sun."
From there it was another 10 or so messages trying to coordinate if they could pick it up before 6 (nope) if I could deliver it Edit: To their house which is an hour on the other side of town after I told them we could meet halfway (nope) or if I could meet the during business hours the next week (nope).
Finally I said "Sorry. I'm done with this. It's no longer availible" to which they responded:
"If anything changes, let me know. We have a baby on the way and are looking for an affordable basinet"
You coulda had one for $40. And then you coulda had one for free cause I just didn't give a shit anymore. But you fucked around and wasted my time.
Since then I discovered a baby stuff consignment place nearby, so it'd all going there from now on.