Psychopathic client. Public slander. What should I do folks?

31 replies
Hey all,

I recently ran an offer in the Warriors For Hire section, offering to write copy for an insanely cheap rate, with the added bonus that I would only charge a 30% deposit to do the work, then collect the remaining 70% on the condition that the copy actually converted.

So, I send the proof to this guy, and his first email back to me is extremely angry, ranting and raving over some errors.

Fair enough, I admit there were issues. I corrected with a smile.

The second time, I send the proof and he totally blows his lid, claiming that I was plagiarizing, lying, and all the rest of it. He also refuses to try a certain angle I was going with in the copy.... before even testing it.

Despite my replies, the guy simply won't listen. Again, I make the changes to to keep him calm more than anything else (he was getting pretty abusive at this point.)

Finally, I send a proof that he decides to test.

Sadly, according to his test of sending 500 cold visitors, there were no conversions.

I make some suggestions, and again, he flips his lid, then refuses to listen.

Then he throws out more abuse and begins to make threats that he's going to leave all these bad reviews in the Warrior Forum.

Bear in mind, I stuck to my side of the bargain. I worked solid for a week and unfortunately, won't see my money because I wasn't able to get the copy to convert (allegedly.)

So, I accept that.

However, he's now spending all his time trying to flame me publicaly, and make out that I "should not call myself a copywriter" and that I'm a "liar" and all this other stuff.

He's PMing other people who have shown interest in the thread and my services, sending "evidence" of my "pathetic work."

I've warned him, this isn't how you conduct yourself in a public forum... and he's not only breaking the forum rules, but also being a total jerk about the whole situation.

Any advice on what I should do?

Thanks guys,

Nick
#client #folks #psychopathic #public #slander
  • Profile picture of the author lindgren
    Hi Nick
    what a story. It makes me sad to read that
    you've been treated this way. It seems to me, this person
    didn't want to pay you from the very beginning.

    I mean why did he fly through the roof, already at your first
    suggestion to the copy?

    The fact that you kept on working on his copy (despite his abusive behavior) tells me that you are a genuie guy.

    Your client probably expected that you would make his bank account be flooded from day one ( Like all the other opportunity seekers) and when that didn't happen he blaims you.

    the fact that he try to put you down in public, just proofs that he is completely out of balance.

    Don't worry Nick - You just raised your bar in my mind - I wouldn't hesitate a second to work with you.

    cheers
    Tina
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    Best Wishes
    Tina Lindgren


    http://www.tinalindgren.com
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  • Profile picture of the author rammonster
    Yea i saw him post a thread here yesterday. Sad really...

    I once offered a guy some help with his squeeze page. He was giving away a free guide on reducing the effects of hemorrhoids. The only thing I asked for in return was a screenshot of his conversions and a testimonial.

    I spent a whole week on his squeeze page. He wouldn't tell me what the free report was about and was very vague. I asked him questions in hopes of finding a decent hook but he never even answered my questions properly.

    I finally finished his squeeze page and sent it to him... I sent him 2 copies...one was in .doc format and the second was HTML. I wanted the right font and colors to be used for my copy. I knew how my copy was supposed to work. Anyways...he replies a week later telling me it only converted cold traffic at 0.5%.

    Which i thought was a pretty good number considering he was giving away a free guide on how to "cure" hemorrhoids. Without proper testing, he simply emailed me telling he wanted it to be re-written.

    His incompetence in understanding the copy or even basic salesmanship made me mad. He said he didn't wanna leave his contact info at the end, not even his email address. This just made me mad and i never bothered to reply again. He was simply a "marketer" who didn't understand his crowd. Its sad to see such incompetence.

    Anyways, I know where you're coming from bro...people can be *******$ sometimes. But then there are also those who understand the hard work that goes into writing a good copy and appreciate our work. Its all about finding the right people to work with.

    Hope everything works out mate...

    Cheers,
    kunal
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  • Profile picture of the author zaggernaut
    Nick,

    I don;t think there is much you can do now. Good news is that unless that guy has unlimited time his slandering efforts will fizz out soon. So relax.

    Some lessons to take out of this-

    1. NEVER, I repeat, never settle for an 'insanely cheap rate'. You are running a business and its foolish to pay out of your own pocket. I know my minimum is $1/100 words- that too for bulk work. And I am not ripping myself when I get orders on this rate. SO find your minimum comfortable rate.
    2. 50% advance is becoming a norm. Genuine buyers accept this. I don;t even do free samples. Nor should you.
    3. Copywriting is NOT a performance-based thing. Conversions depend on a lot of other factors and writing is just one of the piece of the jigsaw. You are stupid to be offering this in the first place and that too on such a low rate. That guy is taking you for a ride 'cos you literally begged him to do it.
    For any future client that refers to his PM's, simply point them to this thread. My post will put their minds to rest I am sure.
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  • Profile picture of the author BigSexy
    If I were you, I'd try to make a videoconference through Skype with this guy and try to solve the problem "face to face".
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  • Profile picture of the author Audrey Harvey
    That's annoying, Nick. I know that you can't deliberately harm someone's WSO, I wonder if there's a similar guideline for the Warriors for Hire thread.

    If he's not happy, fair enough, he's entitled to make a comment publicly in the thread, and give you the right of public reply. If he is as abusive as you say, then he's going to harm his own reputation more than yours - you're very well regarded in the forum.

    I think PM'ing other forum members to cast aspersions on your work is just not on, and that's where he steps right over the line.

    Scroll down to post #2 here - http://www.warriorforum.com/warrior-...15-2011-a.html

    Then maybe have a chat to the mods here -

    http://www.warriorforum.com/warrior-...pport-com.html
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  • Profile picture of the author TheCopyGirl
    Nick,

    Ouch, ouch. Just went over the said thread. Quite a fight going on there

    Anyway, off the bat, here are the things I can see working in your favor:

    In your responses to the accusations, you have kept your cool, and you sound reasonable. Your reputation and experience as a WF user is way ahead of the so-called client. I suppose if this was happening to a new user with less than 50 posts, recovery would have, unfortunately, been tricky, but I do believe that the fact that you've been around is going to count for a good deal.

    My suggestions:

    A few genuine reviews at this point, in your thread, coming from reputed warriors, will help like nothing else will. You might even go as far as PMing some folks asking them (or check in the "Wanted" section if there's anyone looking for services like yours and PM those people), offering them perhaps an even better offer than what you have listed. I know, this might incur you a loss, but you are paying it to 'fix' the situation.

    You say in your letter that you have "been responsible for dozens of Clickbank sales letters that have generated multiple millions in sales for my clients in 2009/2010." You follow this up with testimonials. You can write a short follow up post, or edit your original ad, to attract attention to the positive reviews. I am assuming they are all genuine, so you can be a bit aggressive and say something along the following lines:

    I challenge anyone who has the slightest doubts about my standards of professionalism and ethics to contact any of my previous clients and confirm the accuracy of every single review and testimonial that I have posted here.
    You are the writer, so you can make the above sound good!

    Finally, get in touch with a moderator. This does look like it is getting somewhat out of hand. Use the warrior help desk, and I am sure the case is in your favor, and some corrective, or at least preventive, measures will be undertaken soon.

    Good luck, and don't lose your sleep over this. I am sure you'll come through just fine!


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  • Profile picture of the author Rezbi
    I'm not making any judgements here, against Nick or his client.

    What I see is others doing just that.

    I'm not saying Nick is making anything up, but I don't see anyone wanting to see both sides of the story.

    It looks to me like everyone is just assuming Nick is the victim here, whereas is could be the other way around.

    Like I said, I'm not picking on Nick or his client. But there's always two sides to each story. And they should both be looked at before making judgement.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nick Brighton
    Thank you for all the intelligent and supportive replies... this place warms my heart so much.

    The bottom line is, I fullfilled my part of the bargain - we agreed a 30% deposit for the work, then the 70% payable on an improved conversion rate.

    As I couldn't improve the conversion rate in 500 visitors, I don't get paid... it's that simple.

    So, despite everything else, I met my requirements and did my job. Sure, I wish I could have done better, and I offered my time and advice after the test was over, but to no avail.

    I've learned a major lesson in the way I attract clients from now on. Everything I offered this guy was completely backwards in terms of my better judgment.

    I won't let myself attract such a client in the future, that's for sure.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nick Brighton
    I just went to the thread where my client was "trying" to slander me without justification... and looks like some of his posts were removed and he's now Banned.

    I did try to warn him, but just like the copy itself, he just wouldn't listen to my friendly suggestions.

    What's also amusing is that he ran a test on copy that essentially HE forced me to write, instead of my original ideas.

    So, technically, it wasn't even my copy.

    Now I've just got to deal with his pathetic chargeback on the 30% fee ($149 for a week's work) that he's trying to claim back from me.

    Fun times
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    • Profile picture of the author High Horsepower
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      • Profile picture of the author Nick Brighton
        Originally Posted by TrafficGuy Claude View Post

        I know how you feel buddy, but I think you bought a lot of this on yourself by the way you were marketing your service and positioning yourself in the section.

        As a fellow copywriter, I can tell you its suicide to guarantee a conversion rate.

        First off, with Photoshop and Camtasia, its just so easy to doctor screenshots and video "proof" logins, that you never really have any idea if they've even tested at all.

        Your video and headline could be converting at 5%, but if the guy is a thief and liar (which isn't too far fetched, seeing how he's behaving), he'll take your $149 fee from you if he can.

        Secondly, sometimes the offer is just crap, and no amount of copywriting will sell it.

        Just give him his money back and keep it moving.

        I think if you had just refunded him when he first started acting up, instead of wasting a week jumping through his hoops you would have been fine.

        Now that he's banned, start a new thread and get some of your old clients to make you some videos, or at the very least drop a line or two in there extolling your virtues.

        You'll be fine.

        I totally agree - and to others who shared the same sentiment. It was largely my fault. I laid out the peanuts and got the monkey.

        Great advice and a depth of warmth from good supportive people... this forum is really an amazing place to be part of.

        Thank you to everyone who replied. You're all good people... and funny too.

        Moving on swiftly!
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  • Profile picture of the author darkhazza
    I think you're always going to attract bad clients. I think all you need to have is a professional canned response to them referencing good reviews and hammering home that copywriting isn't a guaranteed fix everything and make a lot of money solution. You're a business, businesses get complaints. I've heard of a business lay a whole garden for someone, then the customer walks all over it and claims it was laid it uneven.

    From the other side of the coin, people selling a product can't afford to spend that sort of money without seeing a return. So there has to be a meet in the middle. You did that. If he's gonna waste all his energy on you he won't be making money. If your copy selling your services is good I doubt he'll have any real impact on your business.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nick Brighton
    So true. I totally agree.

    Still, I'm taking even further measures to weed out the nasty, mickey mouse clients and only work with people who know what's going on.

    Touch wood - this is only the second client in over 3 years of full time professional copywriting that has been a total asse. The other was a guy who should've known better, and again, insisted on writing the piece himself after I sent my proof in.

    Lesson learned. Moving on upwards...
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  • Profile picture of the author MissLizzie
    Nick - just seen your reply to your client. I think that it pretty much says everything and I hope this horrible situation works itself out for you.

    The only thing I would say is that maybe it's worth changing the title of this thread? He's clearly out to get you with the Paypal dispute, and I don't think that describing him as 'psy%^&pathic' will help your case.

    Hope that helps,

    Lizzie
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    I had a similar experience here only the client didn't make it public. This was a guy who was trying to launch his own MLM company. He had no previous success and very little experience with MLM. And... he had a tiered program with the upper level selling for more than two grand. Ugh, what a challenge.

    He did claim to have success in other business stuff so I was forced to exploit that for the sake of credibility. He also made the point that he wanted a lot of 'pain' in the letter. What he meant was the in setting up his opportunity I should go into a lot of stuff about the failing economy, loss of jobs, increasing prices, etc. And obviously, his program was the solution to all of that.

    I didn't need to be told this and wrote it up that way. What was interesting was that when I showed him some of the preliminary stuff he insisted that there wasn't enough pain in it. I had to explain that too much of that stuff will depress people and they'll click away.

    This is when I should have baled but I sort of compromised and added some more negative motivators. He also insisted that I be vague about this thing being MLM. He felt that people wouldn't bite if they knew it was. Talk about having your hands tied. Still, I did my best.

    And since he had absolutely no experience with MLM, and since he had such a high ticket product, I had to paint him as a business whiz, a philanthropist, and of course, someone who cares a lot about his fellow man. My stomach is getting queasy just thinking about it.

    I finish the work and submit it. He tells me he'll get back to me. Then he shows the letter to a 'panel' of five friends. None of them have a lick of business or marketing experience. And they tore it up.

    Their first complaint was there was way too much background stuff about the principal. I think they all knew the stuff I'd written about him was puffed up BS and seeing him described that way was incongruous with reality. Then they all said there was WAY too much pain and negativity - something I'd told him many times. And then he wanted a complete rewrite.

    I finally told him to kiss my hiney. I got half up front for this gig. I told him that there would be no more rewrites and then billed him for the balance. He refused to pay saying I was no kind of writer at all. Hmmm.

    That's when I just let it go. He didn't try to make trouble but for a couple of weeks he was obstinate and unreasonable about the rewrite. At the time the experience really sucked but I ended up being happy about it because I relearned something. That is: some people are simply ass*oles and that's all there is to it. Now I interview clients even more carefully than they interview me. Live and learn.

    One of my mentors once told me this: with some stuff you can be right or you can be happy but not always both. And long ago I decided I wanted to be happy. When you know in your heart that you've done the right thing, just let it go. We don't have to make everything right (even when we are) because there is a higher authority in place that takes care of that quite nicely. :rolleyes: Good luck.
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  • I know how you feel buddy, but I think you bought a lot of this on yourself by the way you were marketing your service and positioning yourself in the section.

    As a fellow copywriter, I can tell you its suicide to guarantee a conversion rate.

    First off, with Photoshop and Camtasia, its just so easy to doctor screenshots and video "proof" logins, that you never really have any idea if they've even tested at all.

    Your video and headline could be converting at 5%, but if the guy is a thief and liar (which isn't too far fetched, seeing how he's behaving), he'll take your $149 fee from you if he can.

    Secondly, sometimes the offer is just crap, and no amount of copywriting will sell it.

    Just give him his money back and keep it moving.

    I think if you had just refunded him when he first started acting up, instead of wasting a week jumping through his hoops you would have been fine.

    Now that he's banned, start a new thread and get some of your old clients to make you some videos, or at the very least drop a line or two in there extolling your virtues.

    You'll be fine.
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  • Profile picture of the author dvduval
    I just plan on the fact that 1 in 100 are going to be whacko. It goes with doing business. If it is more like 1 out of 10, then you need to look at yourself or the area of business you chose.
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  • Profile picture of the author wfoutsourcing
    I am sorry that this happened to you.
    Dealing with bad clients can be rough on your nerves.
    Just chalk it up to a learning experience and keep on doing what you enjoy doing!
    The good ones will come along with time and patience.

    In my experience, by the way, smear campaigns rarely, if ever work.
    At least none of the ones I have seen or heard got very far.
    The internet is just way to big to reach "everybody" and "ruin" someone completely.

    I'm sure it's possible, but highly improbable.

    Best of luck to you though with getting nicer customers!
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  • Profile picture of the author colmodwyer
    Not taking 100% up-front and marketing to bottom-feeders invites these kinds of problems.

    Learn from it and move on.

    Colm
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  • Profile picture of the author Stephen Dean
    Before I even saw you were the copywriter I asked John to see the video.

    I told him it looked pretty good and did a lot of things right... and was probably just a few tweaks away from converting well.

    Finishing that mammoth script in 4 days for that low of fee is pretty impressive. You more than earned your fee.

    Cheers,
    Stephen Dean
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  • Profile picture of the author arfasaira
    Ooh!! I just read said thread. Probably every copywriter's worst nightmare. At least you have one thing on your side - the ability to fire the client!!

    Thank goodness I have never encountered anyone as nasty as that - and I hope I never do. And I think the others on this thread have it spot on too - give him a refund and refuse to do business with him.

    When it gets to a stage where you are bending over backwards to please a client and still getting abuse, it's time to move on.

    I just hope this episode doesn't detract from the real value you have to offer others - and from what I have read here, you are most certainly well respected. So, chin up dear, accept the guy was out of order and try not to let it faze you.

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  • Profile picture of the author Dexx
    I believe it was John Carlton that says he charges enough up-front that even if he never received the rest of his payment he would still be content with the money he was paid...and when he gets full payment then it's like gravy.

    ~Dexx
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    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      Another point that nobody has bought up.

      Nick, it seems to be un-professional to be talking about
      a client in a public forum...especially where clients
      and prospective clients congregate.

      If you, or any professional have issues with a client,
      the best forum is with an associate, mentor, coach,
      you can confide in...

      ...and behind closed doors.

      It's a code of conduct professionals keep to,
      in a wide range of professions.

      This creates confidence from existing and would be clients.

      Client, meaning, "under the care and protection".

      Since you are not the only one who has divulged client break ups,
      I thought it was timely to bring this to you, and other forum members attention.

      Best,
      Ewen
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      • Profile picture of the author wrcato2
        Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

        Another point that nobody has bought up.

        Nick, it seems to be un-professional to be talking about
        a client in a public forum...especially where clients
        and prospective clients congregate.

        If you, or any professional have issues with a client,
        the best forum is with an associate, mentor, coach,
        you can confide in...

        ...and behind closed doors.

        It's a code of conduct professionals keep to,
        in a wide range of professions.

        This creates confidence from existing and would be clients.

        Client, meaning, "under the care and protection".

        Since you are not the only one who has divulged client break ups,
        I thought it was timely to bring this to you, and other forum members attention.

        Best,
        Ewen
        It seems to me that Nick, is trying to explain his side since the client is bashing him all over the forum and messaging others that has shown interest in his service.

        Granted he should take this concern up with administration and maybe his mentor but I understand that he wants others to hear his side.
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        • Profile picture of the author Nick Brighton
          Originally Posted by Stephen Dean View Post

          Before I even saw you were the copywriter I asked John to see the video.

          I told him it looked pretty good and did a lot of things right... and was probably just a few tweaks away from converting well.

          Finishing that mammoth script in 4 days for that low of fee is pretty impressive. You more than earned your fee.

          Cheers,
          Stephen Dean
          Thank you Stephen. My thoughts exactly.


          Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

          Another point that nobody has bought up.

          Nick, it seems to be un-professional to be talking about
          a client in a public forum...especially where clients
          and prospective clients congregate.

          If you, or any professional have issues with a client,
          the best forum is with an associate, mentor, coach,
          you can confide in...

          ...and behind closed doors.

          It's a code of conduct professionals keep to,
          in a wide range of professions.

          This creates confidence from existing and would be clients.

          Client, meaning, "under the care and protection".

          Since you are not the only one who has divulged client break ups,
          I thought it was timely to bring this to you, and other forum members attention.

          Best,
          Ewen
          I agree Ewen. In principle, I would never drag things into public like this. In fact, my original post mentioned no names... and I still mention no names, or who I'm specifically referring to.

          However, it's not hard to put two and two together. But if a potential client finds me through this thread, I'm sure they might also find me through another thread.

          So as mentioned below, it was intention to restore balance and protect myself publicly. Also, I don't have a mentor - this forum and its' wonderful members ARE my mentor.

          So yes, point taken, but I hope you (and any prospective clients) can see my intentions were for self preservation rather than playground antics or unprofessional conduct.


          Originally Posted by wrcato2 View Post

          It seems to me that Nick, is trying to explain his side since the client is bashing him all over the forum and messaging others that has shown interest in his service.

          Granted he should take this concern up with administration and maybe his mentor but I understand that he wants others to hear his side.
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  • Profile picture of the author Caleb D Miller
    Really really sorry to hear that Nick!

    We really should have a "swipe file" of signs that we need to not deal with a certain client or customer. A swipe file that includes different "remedies" for getting out of the situation.

    It sounds emotionally stressful enough to where you would almost give him double his money back just to try to make him sort of happy.

    I wish I had a great answer.

    I just know that it'd be great to have a file that was like:

    a. "if client starts to talk about _____ " then 80% of the time this is a bad client who will make life miserable.

    "Therefore ____ (refund???) him and hopefully he won't bother me."

    Hope it works out soon!
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  • Profile picture of the author wrcato2
    I would start charging the full amount up front and if a person gets
    Belligerent like that with me, I will just finish the copy and nicely say good bye and good luck.
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  • Profile picture of the author The Copy Nazi
    Banned
    Any truth in his claim that you copied word for word entire sections from one of his competitors videos and put it in his video?
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  • Profile picture of the author n7 Studios
    Originally Posted by Nick Brighton View Post

    So, I send the proof to this guy, and his first email back to me is extremely angry, ranting and raving over some errors.
    Originally Posted by Nick Brighton View Post

    The second time, I send the proof and he totally blows his lid, claiming that I was plagiarizing, lying, and all the rest of it. He also refuses to try a certain angle I was going with in the copy.... before even testing it.
    Originally Posted by Nick Brighton View Post

    (he was getting pretty abusive at this point.)
    Originally Posted by Nick Brighton View Post

    I make some suggestions, and again, he flips his lid, then refuses to listen.
    Originally Posted by Nick Brighton View Post

    Then he throws out more abuse and begins to make threats that he's going to leave all these bad reviews in the Warrior Forum.
    Fire him.

    As service providers, we all make mistakes - and it's our responsibility to correct them.

    However, you should never have to work in an aggressive, abusive environment. It's just not acceptable. Period. Sure, we're human and from time to time get frustrated - but you've mentioned at least five occasions where this client has shown a complete unprofessional attitude and disregard to your professional advice.

    Therefore you simply need to contact the client, explain what you have done, that clearly it isn't up to your client's high standards and therefore it is best for your client to seek another copywriter.

    (Incidentally, I use the words 'high standards' loosely there - this is no reflection on you, but rather an objective reason to diffuse the situation and ensure this person moves on. Of course you can meet high standards, but there's no point trying to do this with a client who continues to act in this way).

    In terms of your reputation, report his posts (if you haven't already, and if they're personal), and focus on the good clients and good work you produce. This will far outweigh one loose cannon of a client.

    To prevent this happening again the future? As others have said, price competitively but not stupidly low; insist on a 50% deposit and do your research on your client. Look up their username on the forum, see the posts they have made, see their profile on the web, perhaps on other service provider web sites, where feedback is commonly given. If there's a red flag somewhere, it'll crop up quickly, and should give you cause for concern.
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    • Profile picture of the author Nick Brighton
      Originally Posted by The Copy Nazi View Post

      Any truth in his claim that you copied word for word entire sections from one of his competitors videos and put it in his video?
      Not exactly. There were two or three sentences that did come close to a competitor, which he pointed out, and I duly corrected (with a very apologetic tone, as I couldn't accept that myself... but not wasting time with excuses.)

      And yes, there were other errors on my part too. I openly accepted these errors.

      But does that excuse the behaviour? Does that justify not listening to my advice? Does that call for public slander? Does give him the right to twist everything to make me look like I was some kind of con-artist? Does that mean I can't convert for clients? Does that excuse him from accepting my final draft and actually running the copy, before screaming when it flopped?

      I'm not sure it does.
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      • Profile picture of the author OutOfThisWord
        The BIG mistake you made here was working for cheap...

        ...as not only does this attract undesirable clients, but...

        does not encourage you to do your best work because you aren't being paid for your time.
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        • Profile picture of the author amanita
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