After getting burned badly by Elance by the issue I am about to describe to you, I decided to try Fiverr. I was appalled by how much by the 20% cut Fiverr takes openly and even more shocked when I later learned that through an extremely dishonest sleight of hand Fiverr is actually screwing their users out of 25-30% on every transaction. This is 2.5-3 times what Elance takes. Nevertheless, on their website, it looks like Fiverr has many satisfied customers so I concluded that, at the end of the day, what really matters is whether or not the job is done, done right and done for a price I’m willing to pay. I found a freelancer that was supposed to do some light coding work for me for $125 USD, this means $25 to Fiverr, $100 to the freelancer and a $6.25 additional “processing fee” that Fiverr takes just to fuck you and as far as I can tell, hides from the seller (such a scumbag move). The freelancer and I agreed to a timeline of 3 days to complete the work for which I had already provided a detailed specification. I paid up and supplied all the materials required to do the job within an hour. Awesome. Even though Fiverr was going to take $30.25 to do almost nothing (and trust me, as you will see when there is a problem they really do nothing) I was going to get this job done for what was a still pretty reasonable price overall.
I will give all the details gritty details below about exactly what happened to me but for those that don’t want to read the play by play here is the issue: Sellers on both Elance, Fiverr and possibly other freelancer sites can always retain good ratings by simply canceling any order they don’t like, get behind schedule on, have a difference of opinion with the customer on, or for whatever other reason they feel like. They can always cancel an order at any time. Sure the buyer gets their money back but the buyer can’t leave a rating then. What kind of a bullshit, fraudulent rating system is that? Anytime a seller gets the slightest notion that they won’t get a great rating they can just cancel the job and move on to the next one. This works even when they’ve exceeded the deadline by 300%, lied to the customer that the job is in progress, totally fucked them over and not even started the job. As long as the seller cancels the job, which really they can do unilaterally any time, they will not get any bad ratings. The assfucks at Fiverr will pay lip service to reviewing sellers “cancellation rates” but they don’t and they won’t do anything about it. You’ve had two weeks of your time wasted on a rush job you needed 10 days ago this really sucks and here is the response you can expect from fiver:
“Sorry fuck you, you can have a refund but there’s no other recourse for you and we will continue to promote this seller to the unsuspecting public as a 4 or 5 star seller because our business is just skimming transaction fees and we make money no matter what. By the way, even if you get totally screwed we’re still keep the “processing fee”. Oh the seller lied to you? Committed fraud by claiming he understood the project when he didn’t? Committed fraud by claiming the project was underway and would be finished soon when it wasn’t even started? Sorry we don’t care. Fuck you. -Fiverr”
Unbelievable huh? And to add insult to injury these motherfuckers really do steal their ripoff processing fees. Can you believe that? They charged 10% “processing fee” on my first order (also canceled like below but it was small) and 5% on the other. The “processing fees” totaled $6.75. On these canceled orders they didn’t even really give me a refund they gave me $130.00 of the equivalent of “store credit” after I paid them $136.75 for what turned out to be nothing. Don’t believe me? See the screen shot of my payment history below. How is this not fraud? Anyway, back to the ratings scam, follow along below for all the details of how a Fiverr seller can lie to you, go way past the deadline and then retain a perfect rating while you get nothing in return and loser part of your money.
Over the previous few days I had sought out quotes from Fiverr sellers and provided all of them with a detailed project specification. It was March 5, 2015 at about 15:15 when I came to an agreement on terms with one of the sellers. By 16:06 on the same day the freelancer I choose to work with, “wordpressguru11”, was supplied with all the materials he needed to complete the job.
At 15:41 on March 6, wordpressguru11 wrote:
“Thanks for all this. I will let you know when i need any thing. I will deliver as soon as possible. Thanks.”
Great! My job will be done soon right? Wrong! 24 hours later wordpressguru11 wrote a completely retarded message that indicated he had neither begun the job nor even read the the second fucking line of the project description which read in large bold type “You must work on a development copy not on the live site!”. On the very first day within one hour of the project start time I had sent him an archive of the entire site and a copy of the site’s database.
At 15:31 on March 7 wordpressguru11 wrote:
“Hi, please send me the link of admin panel of site because the credentials you send me is not working. Please see the link below for error that I got.”
This means clearly he is trying to work on the live site as he was specifically instructed not to do and has not setup a development copy of the site as he was instructed to do, the “credentials” he refers to were inserted into the database on the development copy but not on the live site to make life easier for him and to ensure that he didn’t ignore my instructions and attempt to go fuck with the live site which is exactly what he did try to do.
Anybody that calls themselves “wordpress guru” ought to be able to access a copy of a WordPress site in about 5 minutes if he has a complete archive of all the files and a copy of the database (he did). Not good. Shortly after this I got an automated message from Fiverr “Order Approaching Deadline! You’ll be able to cancel this order if the seller does not deliver within the next 24 hours.” Fuck, I don’t want to cancel, I want the job done.
At this point I did not yet realize that this freelancer could possibly be so stupid. I thought he completed the job and was trying to install the code. I reminded him that I would install the code when complete, all I need is a link to the development copy to test and approve the work.
At 13:10 on March 9, wordpressguru11 marked my order complete but attached the message:
“I am working on your order..! I will deliver it soon..! Thanks”. OK good, he’ll be a little late but it’s finally under way. I responded on the same day at 16:57 “Please email me a test link when complete. Thanks.”
By midday on March 10 I still hadn’t received anything even remotely resembling “work” so I wrote:
“It’s two days after the due date, is the work done? I would really prefer that the work is done rather than canceling the order and starting over again. It’s now three days past the deadline. When its he project going to be complete. If I don’t have a definite deadline or better yet the completed work by tomorrow morning I am going to seek a refund.”
On March 12, 2015 I received a message:
“Seller wants to cancel. If you do not respond the order will be canceled automatically.”
No other explanation was provided. Fuck, I don’t want to cancel, I already wasted a week here, I want the goddamn job done. It also starts to dawn on me that when the seller cancels an order I cannot rate the seller. What the fuck? At the very least there has to be some penalty to him. He lied about understanding the job, he lied about the status of the job, he lied about it being done “soon”.
I wrote back:
“This is unacceptable to show up four or five days late on a 3 day job after no communication and then just try to back out and cancel. And you definitely should not be able to retain a 5 star rating for this.”
At this point I decide I have to get Fiverr involved mistakenly thinking they care about their buyers, there is no way I am going to let this scum bag pull this shit and retain a five star rating and rip somebody else off too. First he’s a liar, second he seems to be illiterate and third he doesn’t seem to know dick about the subject matter he claims to be a “guru” in.
On March 13 at 14:55, wordpressguru11 writes:
“you said if i am unable to do this within 24 hours you want your refund back..! You have not provided me the cpanel details and domain access so that i can start on it..! So please let me know what you want me to do now..?”
“I said if you are unable to give a real deadline. What I really want is the work done but after you took more than double the time I am not going to let you just walk away for free and retain a five star rating. That’s ridiculous. Why isn’t it done? How long will it take to complete and why isn’t it done?”
“Hi,you send me the user name and password but not the link of the site where i start work. I told you in the start to send me the link of your domain where I start work, but you replied “send me the link of what you have done..” Now tell me without the domain how I do this? This is just like to built a home in the space some where. That is my friend not possible. If you want me to do work on my own domain then you have to tell me at least. I do not have the super natural powers that tells me what you want. I think there is a miss-communication due to that this is happening. If you still want me to do this job then please let me know otherwise I will refund I hope you understand the problem. Best Regards”
“So what you are saying now is that two weeks later you have NOT EVEN READ THE INSTRUCTIONS? You cannot be serious. The very first line of the project description which you supposedly read long before even accepting the job says in LARGE BOLD PRINT: “You must work on a development copy not the live site!” Immediately after accepting your offer I sent you a copy of the site database into which I inserted an admin user and password. I gave these to you above. I then sent you a tar.gz of the entire site. If you know anything about wordpress at all, and read and understood the instructions that means you were supposed to setup a development copy and work on that. Are you actually admitting that two weeks later you DID NOT EVEN BEGIN THE JOB? Even though you had everything you needed for TWO WEEKS!?”
At this point the assholes at Fiverr allowed him to unilaterally cancel the job and they did not allow me the dignity of even being able to rate him. Below I will give you my play by play of the dialogue I had running concurrently from March 13 with Fiverr’s idiotic support rep.
On March 13 I wrote:
“This is just completely unacceptable for the seller to blow the deadline, then basically not respond and then try to cancel. What is my copmensation for this egregious screwup? Nothing I guess. Plus it would seem if I allow him to cancel the order he walks away unscathed retaining his 5 star rating. That’s totally unacceptable and obviously I shouldn’t have to pay $130 just to rate him 1 star and get no work done. Is this the kind of scam you are running to artificially inflate the ratings of your sellers to make them look good when they are actually awful? Any seller can just bail out of a job (and bail out very late) if they think they will not receive a good rating to ensure that they have unrealistic, inflated ratings. Just awful.”
On March 14 Nancy writes:
I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had difficulties with your purchase. I reviewed your order and I see that the Seller has resumed communication and is willing to continue working on the order made. Have you been able to review their last message?
Because the order is currently marked as ‘rejected’, you would not be able to leave any feedback comments, as this option appears only when the order is marked as ‘delivered’ or ‘completed’. And if the order is cancelled in mutual agreement, it does not affect the Seller, however, if you do not reply to the request to cancel (either to accept or decline), the order is automatically cancelled and the Seller’s cancellation rate is affected.
Nancy – Fiverr Customer Support”
On March 15 I wrote:
“So basically what you’re saying is that all your seller ratings are fraudulent? The only way to leave a bad rating is to pay for bad work and if the work isn’t delivered at all if you don’t pay you can’t leave a rating? That’s a pretty stupid system.
Please read the latest correspondence [with the seller] and share it with your supervisor.
Please confirm in writing that you are actually telling me if I want a refund I don’t get to rate this fraudulent seller the ONE STAR (or better yet zero?) that they deserve unless I actually pay for a job that wasn’t even done. That’s insane.
His last communication seems to indicate he DID NOT EVEN BEGIN THE WORK!
He had the full project specification BEFORE even sending me a quote and he had all the details he needed to complete the job within one hour of my acceptance of his offer. So basically what you’re saying is that all your seller ratings are fraudulent? The only way to leave a bad rating is to pay for bad work and if the work isn’t delivered at all if you don’t pay you can’t leave a rating? That’s a pretty stupid system.”
On March 16 Nancy Writes:
I understand that this situation has been frustrating for you and that a refunds does not make up for the time and effort spent on the order. As I mentioned previously, the Seller and the services they provide are currently being reviewed by our Trust and Safety Team, as we wish to keep Fiverr a safe environment for all users.
Regarding your concern on feedback, comments and rating can be added to orders that are marked as ‘delivered’ or ‘completed’ up to 30 days after the completion date, because feedback comments are meant to close the order. It cannot be added while the order is still ‘in progress’ or ‘rejected’, as this means the order has not been completed.
I have forwarded your request as a suggestion for our Product Managers to consider for a future improvement to the site.
Would you like me to proceed and cancel the order?
Nancy – Fiverr Customer Support”
I stated that obvioulsy none of this is acceptable, Fiverr never responded again and stole $6.75 from me. Meanwhile wordpressguru11 is still smiling out at the interwebs from behind his fraudulent 5 star rating. Businesses seem to get less and less honest every day but Fiverr really goes over the top between their inflated hidden fees, fake seller ratings and refusal to even give full refunds. Unbelievable. Avoid Fiverr at all costs. I basically had a repeat of the exact same scenario with Elance for a $1,000 job which is what lead me to try Fiverr in the first place, I thought maybe their ratings were legit. Not so.
Just in case anyone doubts that Fiverr or their sellers could behave in such a retarded fashion I have archived screen shots of the entire correspondence here.
The plot thickens. Fiverr scam artist wordpressguru11 who calls himself “Jhon” (is that really “Jhon” or can he not spell “John”) stole the photograph of a legit developer with a real job. Reflecting back I wondered if this guy wasn’t just some illiterate Indian posing as a real developer so I did a little sleuthing. Wasn’t hard to uncover. There you have it folks: Fiverr!
When I demanded a refund not just for the work that wasn’t completed but also the “processing fees” Fiverr responded by begrudgingly refunding the fees and then deleting my account. My report about the stolen identity received this response:
Your account was closed. You will not use us anymore. Thank you for your polite comments.
Ron – Fiverr Customer Support
They then proceeded to let the scam artist wordpressguru11 continue to do business under a five star rating and someone else’s photo. It was not until 3 days after I tracked down the guy who the photo actually belongs to and got him to make a report that Fiverr took any action. What an incredibly shitty company