Fiverr Tech Support – A Dystopian Short

For those involved:

Obviously, while there is a real company called “Fiverr”, this couldn’t possibly be an actual tech support exchange, since it’s too surreal and dystopian. So it’s clearly a work of fiction.

Let’s also note that while “Jeff Mach”, in this case, is quite hard on Support, people who are just trying to do their jobs, the backstory of this “Jeff Mach” character is almost ten years of dealing with Fiverr’s “Support”. Unfortunately, due to what might be some sort of pressure which can’t be seen on a public-facing side, Fiverr needs aggressive response. The “Jeff Mach” character in this story has attempted friendly and conciliatory conversations multiple times, and they have never gone well.

And now, on with the tale!

 

  • JeffMach

    Hello!
    During the course of this order, I first sent a delivery which, while I feel it satisfied the client’s requirements, was not optimal due to the hurricane. Wishing to submit a better and stronger version, and being limited to my phone by the hurricane, I then completed the requirements of my gig, issuing not only a full and custom plan via my phone, but going above and beyond that plan.

    The buyer has requested nonstop revisions. I’ll note, from the Terms of Service:

    “Revisions to deliveries can be performed by Sellers based on the Seller’s Gig and customer care. Sellers may determine the amount of revisions offered to Buyers, including no revisions.”

    This gig includes 1 revision.

    “Requests for revisions can be performed through the Order Page while the order is marked as Delivered.”

    I have done so.

    “Requesting to gain more services from Sellers beyond the agreed requirements by using the Request Revisions button is not allowed.”

    The buyer has requested an unreasonable number of revisions, and not only does he not seem to understand that this is a violation of ToS, the buyer has (a) been minimal in stating what revisions are needed, (b) asked for revisions for work on the basis of claiming that some work is lacking, even though I can go through the work in detail and show that none is lacking.

    I am actually quite willing to do additional work here. But I’m not willing to permit a buyer to take hours of my custom labor and mark it as not done; I am also prepared to show that what I have offered is not only a satisfactory meeting of my requirements, but above and beyond a meeting of those requirements.

    Alex

    Hello Jeff,

    Thank you for letting us know and bringing this to our attention. I understand that this is not a pleasant situation, but let’ try and make the best of it.

    My recommendation for you will be to try to persuade your buyer by giving value to the work that you’ve done to them so that they can be aware of this.

    Try to communicate with them and see if you can reach a mutual agreement, as our role is to maintain neutral on these issues but you can look into solving this order mutually with them.

    You should be able to provide a detailed report with screenshots to your client that proves that you have done the work in line with his requirements. 

    You can negotiate with him about the extension of time if needed, offer to upgrade the order for some additional service, or adjust the price if requested work overcomes the purchased package.

    Unfortunately, we need to abide by our own rules and I won’t be able to force the buyer to accept the order. This will be something you’ll need to negotiate with them.

    wickedjeffmach

    Hi, Alex!

    Oh, how weird–once again, my replying to a message does NOT result in that message propagating here. How weird! Fortunately, I keep records, and am able to send a copy.

    Wow, it sounds quite burdensome to take a ton of my time to send screenshots. But here – have about 70% of them. Since Fiverr has demonstrated that it can and will read anything posted in Fiver, I assume you already have full access to this information anyway. But hey, you ask, I give.

    By the way, RE-OPEN https://fiverr.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/requests/4490733.

    I am now proven 100% correct in the consultation work I did, and request $100 in Fiverr credit to make up for the false loss of financials. Go ahead, look up my final conversations with Robert. I don’t want the full amount, and I don’t want you to take it from him; it’s just that, obviously, I was 100% right in saying that after hours of valuable research, I was providing him with an essential service by telling him Tik-Tok was going to be banned. I was right; you were wrong.

    But we can deal with that separately.

    At any rate, not to worry! I don’t need Fiverr to force the buyer to do anything; in a few hours, the gig will be done. However, I will do the ADDITIONAL WORK, WHICH IS BEYOND THE WORK SPECIFIED IN THE GIG AND SPECIFIED BY THE BUYER, of making this into a new project, so long as I can ask for a good rating.

    That’s reasonable, right?

    It’s better for me to do what the client wants, EVEN though it violates what the gig states it does AND violates the certification that every buyer signs that the information they have given is complete—than to have a customer hate their gig, right?

    So I hope I have your permission to say I’ll do the extra work for a good rating, as the customer has ALREADY expressed that the work is good.

    Thank you for answering my questions.

    NOTES:

    If the customer re-opens the case, I will lodge this same argument, especially as you have NOT addressed my points vis-à-vis the terms of service.

    If the customer gives this an abnormally low rating, I will contest it, via the Terms of Service’s rules against punitive/manipulative low ratings.

    Just be aware.

    Thanks as always for your help, my dear friend.

    Jeff Mach

    Jeffmach

    I say this with politeness and utter respect:

    I’ve read ToS thousands of times.
    I try only to defend my rights, not to be a pain in the neck.

    It might well be said, if one reads the King James Bible:

    “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.”

    Alex

    Greetings,

    There is no need to send this to us but to your buyer. Make it clear in your report. His Requirements = what you have provided. If he has asked for any addtional [sic] work, present that to your client and point out your gig description and what order includes and how that is different from what your buyer is requesting.

    Set the price and explain to him what that price includes and why it’s necessary for him to accept that for the whole project with addtional work can be completed.

    Usually, communicating with your seller is the best way to resolve an issue.

    Regarding your closed ticket, please create a new one to avoid any eventual misunderstandings and mixed info.


    wickedjeffmach

    Greetings!

    1. I have sent this information to my client.Such a thing might be inferred from the fact that the screenshots consist entirely of shots of screens written directly to the client.

    2. While Fiverr was VERY quick to come down on me like a ton of bricks to make a client happy, Fiverr has so far literally ignored my specific references to the CLIENT’S violation of your Terms of Service. How will you be amending that serious issue?

    3. It is clear, from the non-propagation of my emails to you, that there is some difficulty in my requests reaching you. It is likewise clear, from the apparent lack of information being conveyed, that there is some sort of communication barrier. I therefore ask if you would do me the kind favor of re-opening those requests.

    4. More importantly, since you did not answer my question about speaking to the client about a review, I will take this as a clear and visible proof that I am permitted to speak to the client about a positive review. There is no other possible conclusion to be drawn, and I will assume I cannot be held in violation of Fiverr’s terms of service for doing so, since you did not seem to think it was important enough to mention.

    5. You still haven’t address my clearly-expressed ToS questions. But that’s okay. The gig will be done in a few hours anyway – we hope. We’ll find out, I guess.

    JeffMach

    Also, I don’t want to come off as at all snarky, but the very title of this was “buyer abusing revision proviso”. Surely Fiverr takes such things every bit as seriously as every other rule violation.

    Alex

    Hi again,

    1. Your report about the work provided should be exactly as we have informed you, requirements – work provided.  That is the clearest way for your buyer to understand and so both of you can be on the same page.

    2. Asking for any additional work doesn’t necessary and instantly needs to be a violation of TOS. Each case can be different and each situation reviews individually. Some circumstances could have changed so the requirements could change to fit the current situation, that is why you have the option to upgrade the order and work it out with the client. Some buyers are not aware of how things are working here, and all that can be resolved with communication and professional approach.

    3. If the ticket is closed we cannot reopen it from our side, you can make a follow-up, or open a new on and address your request.

    4. That should not be done in any circumstance. It is against Fiverr’s policies for Sellers to solicit feedback, or changes from Buyers in exchange for refunds, discounts, upgrades or any other type of additional benefit.

    5. already addresses in number 2.

    We are here if you need any further assistance.

    JeffMach

    Wow. You really DON’T get responses sent via email, do you?

    Okay, here’s what I wrote, pasted here from the aforementioned reply.

    Hi. In simpler terms:

    1. You really, really haven’t addressed my actual question, which was a specific interpretation of specific passages.
    2. Well, that’s definitely not what I would have assumed, based on every conversation up to that point, including the conversations where you did not respond. So I apologize. I won’t do it again—I continue to feel that this particular rule is bad for you, as in Fiverr—but it’s a little too late for everyone now.
    3. I have now read the ToS on this multiple times. Please help me out and show me where it says “That should not be done in any circumstance. It is against Fiverr’s policies for Sellers to solicit feedback, or changes from Buyers in exchange for refunds, discounts, upgrades or any other type of additional benefit.”
    Because what I see is: “Withholding the delivery of services, files, or information required to complete the Gig’s service with the intent to gain favorable reviews or additional services is prohibited.”

    There’s a fairly large segment on feedback, and none of your ToS say “You can’t change, improve, or add work to work you have completed in good-faith in order to make a buyer happier”.

    If I might make some comments:

    * Sellers talk about living in fear of bad reviews, over which they have no control. You are enforcing rules which increase that fear; without being of any benefit that I can see towards sellers; without any backing in ToS. Please explain this to me.

    * You still have not addressed my complaint. Not even once. Not even a little.

    Again, I say this kindly: I need to be guided by terms of service, and your response to ToS. If your response to ToS contradicts ToS, I will follow ToS and not you.

    -J

  • JeffMach

    Hi, Alex!

    It’s been 3 days.
    During these three days, you have not once–not one, single time, not even once–have you addressed punitive measures towards the person who has clearly violated Fiverr’s terms of service-

    Now, you and he are BOTH expecting me to put in an additional 2 hours or so of my time to get a good rating.

    Obviously, clearly, neither you nor he has any concerns whatsoever about the fact that I have proven, beyond any reasonable shadow of a doubt, that this person is in violation of your ToS.

    So:

    1. I get it. You can’t and won’t actually do anything about it, and you’re just a tech support person, dealing with the nightmarish scenario of someone who insists on adhering to Terms of Service that someone with more power in your organization, someone you cannot name or reference, has told you that you have to deal with. Trust me, we’ve all dealt with management which has hidden behind customer service and left you to bear the justified, but unpleasant, anger of those who are wronged by actions which are supposedly within your control, but clearly out of your control. It sucks. But…ah… somewhere down the line, can you throw me a bone for all the crap I’ve had to deal with?

    2. I know of nothing in your Terms of Service which permits me from putting this whole exchange, verbatim, in my blog, including your screen name (since that’s hardly an identifier and people cannot doxx you based on it.) The second part is–I want to stress–NOT a threat of any kind. I simply truly, really want to check the rules before I use this as tonight’s blog post. You have a good 7 hours before I’ll be posting my blog tonight; I consider that a reasonable time, since I’ve waited 3 days.
    3. Sorry about this. But as I said above, sew the wind, reap the whirlwind.

  • Nenad yesterday

    Hello again Jeff,

    My name is Nenad and I will be assisting you further regarding the order #FO1*******. Please excuse the late reply as we are working in shifts, hence, the agent that you have been communicating in the past may be on vacation or on an off day and is unable to provide you with a response due to those or some other reasons due to which they may not be working.

    I understand how frustrating this must be and I will be more than willing to take action here.

    Regarding the violations made by your buyer, please rest assured as their actions will be reviewed and we will take actions accordingly. However, please keep in mind that our actions do not always mean the permanent disablement of the account as not all violations are so serious that the action taken must be the disablement of the account. Also, while I do understand that you may wish to know which actions we have taken, I most humbly ask you for your understanding as I will not be able to share any such information as we are unable to share information regarding an account with anyone except the owner.

    Based on the information that Alex stated on the sellers not being allowed to solicit feedback, please keep in mind that this is not mentioned within our Terms of Service, but rather, this information is stated within our Help Center and you may review this information by using the following link: https://sellers.fiverr.com/en/article/feedback, and it is stated under the 4th bullet point.

    Also, as I have reviewed the order Jeff, I have seen that it has been completed some 10 hours ago, and looking at it like this, may I assume that this part of the issue was resolved?

    Regarding your posting of any such information on your blog, while I know that this may influence us in a way, I want to inform you that this is your right and that we do not have the right to force you not to do so.

    I hope this clarifies and I hope that I have been able to answer your inquiry. However, if I have missed something, please point out the part which I have missed, and if I may ask so, please be blunt in doing so.

    Regards,


    Nenad |

    JeffMach

    Hi, Nenad,

    I have never, ever engaged in manipulating buyers into leaving positive feedback. Not once.

    Unless, that is, you consider that doing good work is manipulation of the buyer in some way?

    I am going to argue this point consistently: it is not manipulation to say to a buyer: “I don’t wish you to provide me with negative feedback. How can I make you happy so that you want to provide me with positive feedback?”

    ….that is, by the way, assuming I acknowledge that the Terms of Service should be considered to assume a separate set of rules which are not acknowledged in the Terms of Service as being binding. Which I do not. I bring this point up should we need to go to court in the future, as the Patreon lawsuit has been very helpful on this point. But more specifically, if, in the future, someone cites me for a Terms of Service violation for something that’s outside the Terms of Service, I reserve the right to take legal action.

    I mean, I’m probably not going to, but I will if pushed far enough.

    It’s hard to read tone over text, so let me be explicit: none of my tone is intended as angry, hostile, threatening, or rude. It’s just the tone of someone who has had a slow response to his needs, a slow response which caused him significant pain and suffering, and who finds the result to be, in effect,

    “We have resolved your problem by possibly taking an unknown action that we will not tell you about. As far as you know, there is no change in your situation. We note that the gig appears to have concluded, and we hope you consider the matter concluded likewise, despite the fact that the time you have spent fighting for your rights as a seller has been painful and only barely rewarding, but made necessary by our system.”

    Of COURSE my issue is not resolved. The seller has temporarily stopped marking everything I do as unfinished, but still considers the work unfinished. I will still need to choose between additional time I do not have, and a bad rating that you are unlikely to allow me to contest without significant disagreement.

    I would be less upset about the slow response time on the part of Support if Support were more willing to reduce one’s lateness quotient for situations which wait on Support. Or, to be more specific, no, I don’t excuse any of your staff for being slow in reply, nor should I, until and unless you are willing to afford me the same courtesy. That’s not unkindness; that’s just fairness, surely?

    ____

    Jeff Mach


     

    My name is Jeff Mach (“Dark Lord” is optional) and I build communities and create things. Every year, I put on Evil Expo, the Greatest Place in the World to be a Villain. I also write a lot of fantasy and science fiction.. You can get most of my books right here. Go ahead, pre-order I HATE Your Prophecy“. It may make you into a bad person, but I can live with that.

Jeff Mach Written by:

Jeff Mach is an author, playwright, event creator, and certified Villain. You can always pick up his bestselling first novel, "There and NEVER, EVER BACK AGAIN"—or, indeed, his increasingly large selection of other peculiar books. If you'd like to talk more to Jeff, or if you're simply a Monstrous Creature yourself, stop by @darklordjournal on Twitter, or The Dark Lord Journal on Facebook.

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