I have been using Fiverr for a few years now, mainly to get covers for my books. And each time I’m there, I spend more than $5. Most of my covers cost $40-50, and if I hate one, I have to redo it. I did a quick calculation, and I’ve spent a few hundred dollars there in the last few months. Keep this in mind when you read on.
And even though I spend time there, I hate the website. Their user interface looks like it was drawn by a five year old with a crayon.
Finding anything is a pain. Every time I want a status on a project I paid money for, I have to click a dozen times, while Fiverr forces me to update my seller details (Im not here to sell, Im here to buy), leave reviews for previous buys (I dont want to leave a review, I want to get a status on something I paid money for), or look at their latest news (to hell with your news, will you let me look at my project already?)
But I put up with this shit, because we have been trained to put up with bad software.
Almost 17 years after Alan Cooper wrote his excellent book on UX design, most programmers are still living in Lala land. Customers have been trained to blame themselves for bad UI, and move on, licking their wounds.
But one thing I will not put up is with bad customer care. And Fiverr really took the cake on this one.
Fiverr Hates Its Customers
I’m not exaggerating or using strong words for hyperbole. Fiverr really hates its customers, ie, those of us who pay them money.
My problems started when I created 3 different orders, and paid for them together. Everything was fine.
One of the sellers decided he wanted more money. That wasn’t a problem, as I decided to just cancel his order.
But then… real horror…
Two of the other orders were frozen. Why?
They contained a “banned” word.
Shocking. What a dirty, dirty, word.
In my defence, the book I was writing was called “Invitation to a Murder”, and it was (surprise) a crime thriller.
But Fiverr didn’t care. My order was frozen, and I couldn’t proceed. It was like I was writing hard core werewolf and sheep porn.
By now, all 3 of my orders are jammed. I waited a few hours, but nothing happened.
No problem, I’ll just contact customer service, I thought.
I write horror fiction, but nothing compared me for Fiverr. I just got my plot for my next book.
The first thing I found was, I had to enter all my details again. Even though I was logged in. Okay. Not a big deal.
But then, I was hit with a captcha.
Yes, you have to enter a captcha to contact user service. Even when you are logged in.
Let me repeat that:
I had to answer a captcha to contact customer service, after Fiverr took my money.
I screwed up the captcha, of course. So I had to do it again. And I got it wrong again.
It reloaded the whole page. I was forced to enter everything again.
This time, I decided to ask my wife to check the Captcha was right. Maybe I should invite all my friends over everytime I want to contact Fiverr.
“Hey guys, wanna come over for pizza and beer? Also, can you help me check my captcha is correct?”
I finally got through, but nothing happened.
Until one hour later, I got an email saying, basically, “We don’t trust you, you SOB. So you have to click this link to confirm you actually created the customer service request.”
And this was after A) I was logged in B) I’d had an account for years C) I’d spent hundreds of dollars in the last few months alone.
I clicked the link, and waited a few hours. No reply.
By this time, it was midnight, and I was really pissed. So I took the nuclear option.
I raised a dispute on Paypal. If you have never done this, Paypal gives both parties 20 days to come to an amicable solution.
Within 10 seconds, I got an email. My account had been blocked by the ironically named “Trust and Safety team.”
Yes, Fiverr are fans of George Orwell’s 1984.
Take that, amicable solution.
I was too tired to reply, so I went to sleep.
Next day, I got an email from Fiverr. They were all chummy. We are your friends. We will refund your money. Just withdraw the Paypal complaint.
And I was like, no you refund my money first.
And they were like, no, you broke our terms and conditions by complaining to Paypal.
At this stage, I had to make a decision. Paypal’s process can take a month or more, and during that time, my money would have been locked up. By this time, my original order had been unblocked (the part where they didn’t like the word Murder), and the sellers were emailing me to say they wanted more details. But I couldn’t reply, as my account was blocked.
So I decided to bend over, and withdraw my Paypal complaint.
They never refunded my money, even for the one order that was never completed because the seller wanted more money. As a thank you to me, Fiverr gave me Fiverr coupons, to use on Fiverr.com.
A real world comparison
Let’s compare this to a real world example. You go to Asda or Tesco to buy some stuff. After you have paid for the stuff, security remove a few items from your bags, and tell you to go to customer service to get a refund.
You wait there for 6 hours, and then you’re told you won’t get your money back, but they will give you these coupons to use instore.
When you try to get your card charge cancelled, the store BANS you. They put a photo of you at the front door, and warn you never to come to them again.
Question: Would companies get away with something like this in real life? Why do we let them in the e-World?
Oh, I know. Because we clicked “I Accept” on their Terms and conditions. The best form of bullying is when it is done using Terms and conditions.
Im a prolific author. I’ve written 9 stories and novellas in the last 2 months. All of which will be published individually and as part of a collection. I can’t afford to spend $500 everytime I create a cover. Fiverr filled that gap.
The sad thing is, short term, I’m going to have to continue using them, as they still have my money (in Fiverr credit). I’ve done a $100 course on eBook cover creation, and I’m going to start creating more of my own covers. eBook covers are easy, but print covers are tricky, which is why I went to Fiverr in the first place.
A quick word to you: If you do use Fiverr, do so with the risk that not only will you not get what you paid for, you wont even get your money back. See it as a gamble, a risk. Don’t spend too much money there.
If you feel depressed after reading that, here’s a picture of a puppy to lift your spirits.