Saturday, November 15, 2014

Clients From Hell



During the week news.com published various items from a website called Clients from Hell. The website link is:

The website was created by a graphic designer responding to unreasonable demands and difficult clients.

Before I post some of the complaints lodged anonymously on the site, let me add a few of my own experiences:


Some years ago just after midnight on New Year’s Eve as my wife and I were clinking glasses, wishing each other Happy New Year and with Sydney fireworks still on the TV screen, my mobile phone rang. I thought it was one of the kids ringing to say Happy New Year but it was a client, Tom, who was always demanding and slow on payment. 

Tom: "Happy New Year, Otto."

Me: "Same to you Tom."

Tom: “Otto, can I talk to you about my matter?” 

Me: "Get fucked."

(I still act for him).


A difficult and demanding woman saw me and asked me to lodge an appeal against a court determination, civil matter. I had not acted for her before this and she had been represented by other solicitors and a barrister in the previous court proceedings. She refused to accept my advices that she had minimal prospects of success. She also told me that she had been refused legal aid and that her other lawyers had not wanted to act further when she did not have the money to pay them.

Me: “Then how will you pay if you have no money and don’t have legal aid?”

Her: “I thought you might do it for free to restore confidence in the legal profession.”


Attending court for a young man on assault charges, I saw him enter the court building wearing work shorts, work boots and a yellow fluoro vest. 

Me: “What part of ‘Wear a collar shirt and tie, a suit if you have one’ didn't you understand?” 

Him: “I understood it, I just thought the magistrate would be more sympathetic if he could see that I’m a working man.”


My son Thomas had a similar matter and rang the client when he was a no-show at court.

Thomas: “Where are you? You’re supposed to be here at court .”

Client: “That’s not till Thursday.”

Thomas: “Today is Thursday.”

Client: “Oh, fuck, is it? I’ll be there shortly, I'm working nearby.”

He did attend a short time later, in his labouring clothes and hard hat, covered in mud, dust and sweat.


From Clients from Hell:

CLIENT: “I don’t like the type.”

ME: “What don’t you like.”

CLIENT: “I don’t like how it goes all to one side.”

ME: “You mean ranged left.”

CLIENT: “Yes, yes, arranged left.”

ME: “How do you want it?”

CLIENT: “To be the same on both sides.”

ME: “Justified?”

CLIENT: “I don’t have to justify anything for you. I own the fucking company.”


CLIENT: “I don’t mean to sound racist, but…”

ME: “But what?”

CLIENT: “But the site is too black.”

ME: “Like, literally too black?”

CLIENT: “Yes. The background is too black.”

ME: “That’s not racist. That has nothing to do with race.” 

CLIENT: “Phew. I can never tell with you black people, what’s offensive and what’s not.”

ME: “I’m actually Lebanese. And, yeah, that one might be a bit racist.”


I was at the airport, ready to leave for vacation when I got a panicked phone call from a client. She stated that the video I sent her - part of a large marketing campaign - was missing the sound. After a lot of shouting and threats on her part, I agreed to go to her office try and fix it. 

After being escorted into her office, I played the video and double-checked her computer’s sound options. Then I unplugged her headphones. Then I billed her for my missed flight.


At 3am, after finishing a website template for a client who had to have it “by 6am their time,” I sent an email letting her know that it was finished. The next day I get a call:

CLIENT: I don’t appreciate you staying out all night when you should be working on my project.

ME: I’m sorry? I was working all last night. As you can see, I sent you an e-mail - 

CLIENT: I see that. At 3am. Do you think it’s okay to party all night and then work without sleep at 3am? It’s very unprofessional and morally reprehensible. 

ME: What makes you think I was out partying?

CLIENT: Why else would you be up at 3am?

ME: You gave my 24 hours to do 18 hours of work. I had to stay up 

CLIENT: Don’t try to use math on me!


After sending two invoices for payment, I sent another and called the client when the receipt that they had received it came back. 

CLIENT: Why are you calling me? 

ME: You haven’t paid and this is the third invoice I’ve sent. 

CLIENT: It’s even more than the last one!

ME: Yes. The contract you signed stated that I would add a late fee for payment. 

CLIENT: You mean I have to actually pay you? I thought you were joking!

ME: What on earth made you think that? 

CLIENT: You’re a freelancer!

ME: And…

CLIENT: Well, you work for free! If you were supposed to be paid, you’d be called a paidlancer or something!


CLIENT: I’m not too sure about the blue…

ME: Actually, that’s green.

CLIENT: Who’s the client?

ME: You.

CLIENT: And what color is it?

ME: …blue?

CLIENT: Right. Now let me see what other shades of blue we have.

We settled on pine-tree ”blue.”


I was rounding off an Instant Message chat with a German client. I intended to say “Let me know if I can help further”. Instead, my clumsy fingers typed and sent the following before I could stop myself:

ME: Let me know if I can help fuhrer.


CLIENT: Can we change the heading font to more acrylic?

ME: Sorry?

CLIENT: Can we change it to more of an acrylic style font? You know, like slantways.

ME: Oh, you mean italic? 

CLIENT: No, I think its acrylic, please don’t correct me again. 



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