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How to Deal With Bad Customers
Last Updated November 13th, 2014

99% of people you do business with will be a pleasure to work with.

But there will always be the 1% who are absolute nightmares…

Customers who demand refunds way after your refund period. Clients who refuse to pay up and then threaten to bash your company on social media. People who will harass and attempt to manipulate you and your business into giving them what they want.

I call these people “social media terrorists,” and in this video, I share a few stories about some crazies and How I dealt with them.

Social Media Terrorists: Your Worst Nightmare (And How to Deal With It)

How To Deal With Social Media Terrorists

First, before I get all negative, here’s a positive statistic for you:

99% of people who you do business with will be a pleasure to work with.

Then there’s that other 1%…

The people who will harass you, threaten you, and attempt to manipulate you (and your business) into giving them what they want.

I call these people social media terrorists. And unfortunately, there’s little you can do to prevent them from harassing you.

I’m Derek Halpern, the founder of Social Triggers, and in this video, I’ll show you how to deal with social media terrorists with grace, when warranted, and with a smack in the face when grace just won’t do.

First, a story:

I sell premium, in-depth training courses. And they’re not cheap. That’s why I offer payment plans. These payment plans make these more expensive courses accessible to more people.

Every so often, I’ll get someone who emails me and asks me to stop charging them. And we always politely explain that this is a payment plan, not a membership. And 99% of the time, they say, “oh ok, I’m sorry about that. My mistake.”

But then there’s that other 1%…

The 1% that demands I stop charging them and refund them all of their money, even though it’s 6 months past our clearly-stated refund policy.


Instead of asking nicely, they make demands. Instead of explaining why they feel we should make an exception, they threaten us.

Like this one guy, I’ll call him Alex. He wrote in, demanded we stop. When we explained the situation, he went on about how he never even looked at the materials.

This was a lie. We had proof that showed him downloading ALL of the content 5 minutes before sending the email.

After we called him out on it, he threatened to bash my company on social media.

Now, if you talk to most online business owners, at this point, they’ll tell you, “give him the refund and be done with it. It’s not worth fighting.”

And you know what?

That’s probably the RIGHT way to handle it a lot of the time. There’s no sense wasting your time on a BOPITA.

But sometimes, it’s not about the money or the headache. Sometimes, it’s about the principle.

Sometimes you just can’t negotiate with social media terrorists.

So, we uphold our clearly-stated policies. And we have the RIGHT as business owners to do it.

But it got me thinking…

Right now we live in an interesting world. We live in a world where we can hold companies accountable.

If a company wrongs us, we can take it to social media and get the justice we deserve. Because if they don’t make it right, there’s a chance it will go viral and create a huge PR disaster for that company.

The problem is, people don’t turn to social media when they have been wronged. They turn to social media when they don’t get their way, even if they don’t DESERVE to get their way.

And therein lies the problem.

We now have a voice to hold companies accountable and people like this guy, Alex, is ruining it for all of us.

And that’s why I want to share with you how I deal with these crazies in Social Triggers.

Because if we keep letting them get away with the nonsense, it’s going to be a tough world to live in.

So how do I deal with them?

1. I Realize It’s Not About Me, It’s About Them

Some of these people will say some hurtful stuff. Much of it has nothing to do with you. It has to do with them.

One person sent me some nasty emails and, after a few back and forths, they said, “I’m so sorry about that. I was having a bad day and I took it out on you.”

That’s usually the case.

When you’re dealing with people who ask for refunds months (or years) past the refund date, I’ve found it’s almost always because that person decided they need money. And they think you’re the easiest way to get it.

In fact, I have one friend who offers a one-year long refund policy. Not surprisingly, every year, about 1 to 2 weeks before Christmas, refunds SPIKE drastically.


Because it’s Christmas time and they need the money.

Now, obviously, he has to uphold his one-year refund policy. But that’s not my policy and if it’s not your policy, you don’t have to offer them a refund!

You can be the sap that gets taken advantage of or you can be the guy who upholds their policies to ensure people like this don’t take advantage of you.

2. I Remove Them From The Social Triggers Community, Immediately and Indefinitely

Let me clarify something:

If someone refunds a product, I don’t hold any grudges. Sometimes, the product just wasn’t right for them.

However, if I notice that they buy everything I sell and they refund every single thing, you can bet I’ll put them on the blocked and banned list.


Because that person is what, or WHO, I call Refund Ralph.

Who is Refund Ralph?

He’s the guy (or girl) that buys everything, benefits from it, and asks for the refund because he’s cheap.

Surprisingly, this isn’t something that just online business owners deal with. It’s something big box retailers deal with, too.

I read an article in Business Week about what’s known as refund fraud. Long story short, clothing stores discovered that people would buy a dress, wear it once, and then refund it because they wanted to buy another dress.

This is called refund fraud because even though they can technically do that, they’re taking advantage of the refund policy and the store is suffering because of it.

So, what do companies do?

They actually track what’s known as a serial refunder. And eventually, they tell them they’re no longer allowed to refund products they purchased at their store.

Amazing, right?

I honestly think that’s too nice. In Social Triggers, I’ll ban that person for good.

Now that I’m done with that little tangent, back to dealing with the crazies…

I remove all crazies – people who threaten, attack, or bully me (or my employees) – from the community indefinitely.


Because if they did it once, they’ll do it again.

3. I Reframe Their Hurtful Responses As A Big Joke

When people say horrible things, it’s easy to let it get under your skin and ruin your day.

Luckily, I’ve got thick skin, but I noticed something about my behavior. When people are extra crazy, I like to share the craziness with my readers.


I also forward the really crazy ones to friends so we can all laugh about it.

A psychologist would probably tell me I’m doing this because I’m seeking approval. Whatever. Sometimes it’s just fun to point and laugh at someone who’s trying to cause you grief.

Do you know who else did this?

In the John D. Rockefeller biography, Ron Chernow mentioned that John used to read all of his hate mail at the family dinner table.

Amazing, right?

I can’t wait until I have kids and a family. While most families talk about their day, I’ll come prepared with email print outs for everyone.

4. I Prepare For The Worst

Now, here’s where we get serious:

When people threaten you, they rarely follow through on their threats. Following through would be too much work.

But when they do, you’ve got to be ready to defend yourself. I like to arm myself with proof.

Like in the case of this one guy:

He tried to get the best of me, but I had everything I needed. I had IP logs, email confirmations, and other proof. I could take him to court and beat him in 20 seconds.

(Okay, maybe not 20 seconds, but you get the picture).

5. I Don’t Let It Take Up That Much Of My Time

As I mentioned earlier, most people appease these crazies by giving them what they want. Most big companies do and so do most small companies.

And you know what?

You could take that route. It would probably be less work, and you can focus on doing what actually helps you.

But if on the off chance you feel like picking a fight with them, like I sometimes do, you need to make sure it doesn’t prevent you from working on what matters most: keeping your other customers happy and finding new customers.

And that’s it for this video.

So, tell me…

How do you deal with the crazies? Leave a comment below this video.

Also, do you know someone who’s suffered the slings and arrows of a social media terrorist?

Pass this video on to them.

If nothing else, maybe it will put a smile on their face.

If you’re new around here, subscribe to Social Triggers.

I send videos out like this each week. You’ll love them.

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56 comments Leave a comment

Great but we need support a site that lists these bad customers to warn others and ultimately have the bad customers pay higher prices for services because they are a known problem. Just like higher interest rates when you don’t pay your bills on time. Let’s get together. As a country! We need stop these people and save our business.


Derek, you’re so funny. Love the video


Loved this! As a an easy-going, border-line chicken kind of gal (it took me years to recover from getting my arse whooped in 5th grade by Nina Rivers), I avoided confrontation at all costs! If they wanted their money back, even though they went through all the material, I just did it without asking questions. But then something clicked last year when my first real cray-cray case showed up. After she started it, I came out with fists a’blazin’ with zero fear of sticking up for myself. while I don’t purposely pick fights, I’m no longer afraid of what anyone will think – I just do what I feel is right for me in that particular situation. Think it’s safe to say, I’m not afraid to put my dukes up 😜


Love this video Derek, thank you!

I just had my first “refund fraud” experience, which we lost… I could not give a f@#% about the money, like you said, it’s the principle.

The customer didn’t go social media terrorist on us, we said no to the refund (which was a month after the refund policy ended!) so they disputed it with their bank.

But here’s the pure mental part, the customer is actually attempting to teach people what I teach in my online product…

How did I handle this? I removed them from the community and black listed their email so they can’t buy any other products… Oh, and I also shared this video with them.

Thanks for all you do Derek, your work means so much to so many people 🙂


Great video, funny and true information you put out there. We need to be patient and understand that there will be crazies here and there, we just need to know how to handle them.


I run a float tank centre and am really struggling with setting and maintaining a cancelation policy.

This has inspired me to test a zero tolerance no exception approach

Jan Koch

Great advice as usual Derek 😉

When I have to face a bad customer, it usually means she wants an update on a website I created without paying for it. If this update is a small update and doesn’t take me that much time, I’ll do it ONCE. Because I believe that is customer care.

However, if they ask me months after the website has been finished, I’ll send them a proposal. If they don’t want to pay, they’re free to hire another web guy – I don’t bother too much about those people anymore.

None of those crazies has taken a discussion like that to social media yet. If they did, I have an army of well known entrepreneurs who are satisfied with my work, that I can use as credentials.



Hi Derek – I love this video, and I totally feel for you.

It’s nice to know we’re not alone in holding unreasonable clients accountable.

I adhere to a strict policy that anything said publicly about myself or my company reserves the right for us to respond using the client’s full name, other applicable information, and any proof the Company has collected that the client has benefitted from the service. Social Media/Review Sites works both ways and they aren’t there for anyone to be bullied.

This encourages them to be more honest in their reviews (rather than emotional and opinionated) which leaves a fair ground for a problem to actually be resolved. They are also motivated to keep the conversation private (via email) until resolved, which results in protecting themselves from a defamation/libel lawsuit which is always the next step when a Client attempts to disparage the Company in a dishonest manor.

Some people have called this harsh – but I call it evolution. Most companies will work with the client to resolve the issue, and it’s a real pain when clients jump the gun and put the Company’s (and their own) reputation at risk just to be a bully. I’ll be sharing your vide0 with my tribe 🙂



Hi Derek – I love this video, and I totally feel for you.

It’s nice to know we’re not alone in holding unreasonable clients accountable.

I adhere to a strict policy that anything said publicly about myself or my company reserves the right for us to respond using the client’s full name, other applicable information, and any proof the Company has collected that the client has benefitted from the service. Social Media/Review Sites works both ways and they aren’t there for anyone to be bullied.

This encourages them to be more honest in their reviews (rather than emotional and opinionated) which leaves a fair ground for a problem to actually be resolved. They are also motivated to keep the conversation private (via email) until resolved, which results in protecting themselves from a defamation/libel lawsuit which is always the next step when a Client attempts to disparage the Company in a dishonest manor.

Some people have called this harsh – but I call it evolution. Most companies will work with the client to resolve the issue, and it’s a real pain when clients jump the gun and put the Company’s (and their own) reputation at risk just be a bully. I’ll be sharing your vide with my tribe 🙂


Ash Ambirge

I’m a fight picker, too.

If there’s a legitimate concern, that’s one thing. If you’re coming into my house a year later and being an irrational asshole, I’m going to call you on it.

I suspect most of the people that have ever emailed in like that?

Regret it. 🙂

It’s up to us to hold them accountable – glad to hear I’m not the only one, D.

Mr. Avelardo Lopez (aka: Mr. Suave)

Derek, this video lesson was amazing. I really did get plenty of thoughts from watching this episode. I am going to create a policy that goes in depth for this eventually on all of my channels. Thank you for bringing such a topic up and discussing.

Sanel Busuladzic

Have a strong message like Ramit Sethi right at the start. You have credit card debt, I don’t want your business right now.
This should be somewhat sufficient to scare the crazys off.


I could not agree more!
I am doing the same in our Facebook group, if trolls or bullies come in and get nasty I kick them out and ban them forever. No time to deal with them, I have more important things to do.

Ron Killian

Very instesting video. Luckily as you’ve mentioned, most of my customers are the same, 99% of them are great people. but yes it’s that 1% and can ruin your day. Even with thick skin it can be tough to NOT let it get to you.

What surprises me is how incredibly unreasonable and how out of bounds some people can be. While I hate to say it, it’s the only word I can think of, is that some people are “psycho’s”. Only good way I can explain it. But is is very rare. I honestly think some of these people are mentally unstable.

As far as how I handle them… Usually I let the email sit, so I can calm down or adjust my attitude. My first step is to help them as much as I can and try to make it right, even if they are being unreasonable. On rare occasion I will just refund them and be done.

I sell many small ticket items, so refunding is not a big deal and to me it’s often just not worth it. I’d rather just be done with it and get them out of my hair. To keep them from ruining more than one of my days.

I’ve also found that when people are that unreasonable and out of control, it usually doesn’t matter what you say or do, it’s never going to be good enough. Often continued communication only keeps their rants going.

Also, I often just stop communicating with them because it just seems to fuel the fire they have. I keep emails short and if there is no need for a reply I don’t. I let it die.

You also have to be careful of what you say, because most of our communications are through email and it’s VERY easy for people to take an email reply the wrong way.

Personally I don’t agree about posting the problem customers rants in public. Even while keeping names out, I think it’s just a bad idea and bad business ethics. Sorry, my opinion.

In 7+ years I’ve only had to tell one person to stop emailing me or it would be reported as harassment.

Mary Kathryn Johnson

Thanks Derek! Needed the additional tool of laughing at them at the dinner table! My two teenage sons would LOVE that!

Seriously, though, these crazies are no different from the bullies in my son’s middle school. The other students, the teachers, and even the administrators simply try to ignore them…unless they get physical, of course.

Boy would I love to be able to ban these kids from the public school, but, unfortunately, they were probably banned from some other school already. Maybe we could create a “bully school”?

Thanks for the pick-me-up!

Happy Friday!

The Get In Shape Girl

I will do one of the following things..
– hand them off to my partner who deals with people much better than I do
– take on my other personality named “Betty Sue” a real southern belle and charm the shit out of them until they feel so bad they apologize
– give them a refund no questions ask, on to the next one…
– state the terms and conditions to which they agreed upon, citing previous email exchanges, etc
– make jokes about them with my partner

thank goodness there are more good customers out there than bad, but it definitely makes me become a better customer to others!

LaShondra White

Thank you for this video! Somebody had to say it! Having worked in retail, and being an entrepreneur, I can identify with each word in this video. These are tips I will remember.


Hey Derek,
just one question.

Have you ever had to deal with the chargeback fraud?

I had several clients who consumed my content and after 3 months, they simply asked their credit card company for reversing the payment.

I lost the case, of course, because when you provide digital services, noone will accept your proof of delivery.

Too bad.


    Ron Killian

    I sell digital products and have actually won a couple chargebacks. Not the majority of course, but a few.

    I provide proof of the order, the information the “buyer” submitted for their account. I also point out if they have ordered before and if the email looks legit, as most scammers use some fake free email that it clearly a scammer.

    Guess it goes back to what was said in the video, if you have proof they consumed the product, you should be good. If that is possible.

    Just saying, some chargebacks can be won. The credit card companies don’t always win.

Antonia Zorluer

Oh, Derek, before I was so frustrated from people who have a problem in their life and look for ME to complain to (complaining about products instead)

You are so right, it is all about THEM! There was this one girl who bought a gift from me after at least 20 back and forth messages for tweaks…I knew at the start it will be THIS kind of customer…

They demanded faster delivery and personalization…Once they got it, they started complaining about the quality. I just replied I don’t see any faults on the pictures they sent me and if they wanted a refund they should just mail the product back.

Once she saw I stopped caring about her, she stopped demanding refund and never replied! I am still expecting some follow up but, well, it’s funny maaaan! If you are needy, go get a cat, you know…

Frank Casanova

Using Attack Humor is a wonderful tool. If you’re witty like you and I are Derek, we can turn the aggressor into a buffoon by our use of humor in the situation. It keep us from becoming insulting and thereby fanning the flames, yet it shows the absurdity of the aggressor’s position.

Geniece Brown

Thank you for talking about this Derek. Your comment on ‘not putting too much time’ into dealing with the ‘take advantage of crazies’ is extremely helpful. I don’t like confrontation and can see how dealing with someone like this can drain me and take my focus off my business and even affect my relationship with my other clients. I hope I never have to deal with this but will be armed for the ‘crazies’ going forward just in case!

Janalyn Voigt

Derek, thanks for a smile, and your hair is just fine without the fan. :o)


It’s part of doing business. I personally don’t tolerate BS from anyone… even paying clients and customers.

I will point to the proof, etc. And I don’t take the bash-threatening too seriously… unless they’ve got a Huge following, my business can take a little negative publicity… I just counter with more of the positive.

Glauber Couto

We sometimes need to deal with this kind of customers to realize that even if you do everything how should be done, you can’t satisfy everybody. Great tips

Tanya Patxot

hahaha LMBO that shirt is awesome. Great content this is sad and true legacychangers.org

Scott Stuart

Hey Derek,

Great video mate. You can definitely get some interesting people…

I own a design agency, and as designers it is really easy to bash clients (there is even a whole website dedicated to… clientsfromhell), and we used to do heaps of experimentation on different processes, etc to improve. I found some really interesting things, like people who pay high prices ($10k+) are the absolute easiest to work with and truly appreciate you and your work vs a lower priced customer who sees you as the tool they are using to get the job done.

I found the more stringent I made my processes, and the harder we made it for someone to get to work with us, there were huge improvements in the quality of the relationship.

But when someone just takes you for a ride, absolutely do not just give in because you can be bashed on social media. That’s an overvalued currency.

Keep up the great work mate.



Well, Derek, I agree with most of what you said. However, I don’t agree with your idea that people who report bad companies on social media are just scam artists looking for a refund. The only time I use my energy to talk negatively about a company online is when they have truly been unscrupulous. Second, I wouldn’t use the Rockefeller name with any type of social moral example or business model. If you read the history on this family and do some extra digging, you know you’re talking about evil incarnate on this earth. I don’t care who they’ve contributed to in order to make themselves look good. You lost credibility with me on that one. Let’s do honest business with honest roll models.

Scot McKay

There’s sort of an unwritten rule in IM not to break the “fourth wall” except for high end coaching clients. I’ll do it, however, in those rare instances where we have customers like you’re referring to, Derek.

Nearly all of these unreasonable bullies thrive under the cover of the interpersonal buffer provided by Internet anonymity. I’ll pick up the phone and when there’s an answer, I’ll simply say. “Hello, this is Scot McKay in San Antonio, TX. I’d like to speak to [name].”

I’ve never had any problem with someone after doing that. It’s usually a very short and very reasonable conversation.

On one particularly notable occasion, we had someone who REALLY crossed the line. The person actually hung up in shock as soon as he realized it was me. Problem solved.

    Alexander Heyne

    I’ve found the EXACT same to be true Scot. People that are pissed often quickly get reassured with a short phone call. The internet makes people squeamish and nervous to begin with – and often that human connection quickly realizes that they’re dealing with a person.

Alex Mangrolia

Thanks for the video Derek. Well the thing is that there are nuts like this in every business. I used to help open small dollar stores and there would be people returning things they used and that cost $1 and if you didn’t refund them their $1, they would bad mouth the store and business would drop. We just put up a sign that says “No Returns & No Refunds”. As far as digital products go, you’re right there are about 1% of those people who are the problem people. I usually just give them their money back and let them be on their way.


So timely! Grate video like always. I’m dealing with a case of harassment/manipulation with a branding + web design client who got more than I initially offered and now must be thinking that just because I have a generous nature she can have free of charge ongoing services and coaching. I have told her that those services were not included but she claims she has a tight budget and that got to me the first time around so I gave her extra help but now she’s just being abusive.

Why do people behave like this?! When I use to work retail there was this girl who would come by every 6 month or so with 90% of her Chanel compact powder and foundation already consumed claiming she was allergic and threatening to sue the company!

Maybe we should all do biz the South American way, no refunds what so ever, end of story.


Hey, is it possible that you talk about how to develop a thick skin in one of your future SocialTriggersTV videos? I could use that a lot. I hope there are other ST readers who would benefit from this too.

Also, Refund Ralph, he’s not doing it just because he’s cheap, he’s doing it so he can later post it on forums and torrent sites.


Hey Derek,

Funny you should mention that you share the hate mail and complaints with friends. A few years ago I did the same when a reader started chewing me out for my “coming soon” teasers on some writing projects, I actually wrote the response to him/her (the coward actually called themselves “anonymous” in their email) on my home page where ALL of my regular readers would see it as soon as they entered the site. I made sure to use courteous words (as if I was explaining to a kid, but without ever talking down to them), and I actually got emails from other readers telling me how sorry they were that this individual was giving me a hard time! And BTW, I don’t think this tactic is approval-seeking. To me it’s like turning on a light to show there’s no Boogeyman. Turning the situation into a joke kills the fear and negativity, and the more people you have laughing with you, the more you can feed off their awesome positive energy, and the easier it is to shake the hater off . Friends are just epic like that.

Love this post!


    Hi Katie,
    Hi Derek,

    I fully agree with both of you.
    But, here my question, how you deal with those “haters” (or “Social-Media Terrorists” SMTs) who don’t talk openly about you but behind your back and you have no prove of it but know they are here and wreck-havoc your network?
    I do face a case since a long time and it’s difficult to get a grip on it (ghost like invisible). And Derek, yes, the damage is horrendous.


Hi Derek,

What do you think of mutual non-disparagement clauses in your TOS?



Hi Derek,

What a great video…I’m in a start-up business right now, so no “terrorists” yet; but a sister company of ours gets them occasionally so I am going to pass this video on to the fella in charge…I’m sure he will love it!


Oh….I could tell you stories about my customers. Who wear custom made knits and then decide the colors are simply not authentic enough when they step out of the shadows. Who order a specific size in their custom made knitwear only to ask for a refund because “I assumed it would fit”. Who order custom made knits (which all pass strict quality control as they are being knit, assembled and once again before they are packaged) and THEN damage the item, while wearing it. Then wear again and mysteriously, the holes are “popping out” all over! Really? You know what’s coming next right? The refund request. I could go on with the creative reasons for a refund.
Bottom line? It was custom made and sized for YOU – it’s yours. You wore it once, twice – it’s still yours. Now and forever.
Anyone have any better suggestions for dealing with such peeps? And yes, the nasty comments pour in – without even thinking that they sent in photos as proof. Too bad they forgot that the photos do not document the ever expanding damage.
Now we add photographic documentation of the item’s condition prior to shipping. preemptive damage control aimed at the crazies.

Marketing Bees

It’s really hard to deal with this group of people. It’s not impossible, but sometimes dealing with one of those “social media terrorists” for only five minutes can make your day much worse, no matter what you’ve you done before that.


Derek, this is clearly a recent event that has hit close to heart as I can see your frustration and passion about the issue. I agree with the premise that you shouldn’t allow anyone to EVER bully you or your staff and that one must hold their ground once they feel to be right.

However, I also do believe in getting all the facts first, listening to others and finding out what’s really behind their gripe. Not everyone who complains is wrong and this level of self-awareness will serve us all well. We are all people and by design, we make mistakes.

Good luck going forward and I wish you minimal interruptions by those you have described above.

    Derek Halpern

    Milos: this incident happened about 2 years ago. The frustration you’re seeing is there because of the injustice of the entire event.


I find it really interesting when people/companies sell “digital products” that are released over a 2-6 month period… yet put 30-day refund policies… as though these customers have some kind of psychic sense to determine if the product they have never actual seen is good or not. So the refund period passes and then after reviewing the entire product they don’t actually find value, request a refund and are seen as “social terrorists” because they actually had the integrity to see the full product before saying it sucks prematurely. I also find it really interesting how many digital products are sold WITH a promise of a social community of others to brainstorm ideas with… and then when those communities turn out to be places of BS marketing, pitching, bullying, fake praise, ego stroking, pools of deception… that the customer who came in with good intentions, is now the bad guy for pointing out the clear and obvious dysfunction within the group (part of why they purchased the product). See the reality is… that if you buy a pair of shoes, you are going to know pretty quick if you want to keep them or not. BUT with digital products — including social communities that promise “mastermind, brainstorming” support — it can take time to truly evaluate the content and real value. Businesses that offer these type of products should WANT people to give it a fair chance… spend the time it takes to really evaluate the content, apply it and get involved… before they declare they are unhappy! Who wants customer prematurely saying “I hate this — it sucks” ?? You should WANT people to give it a fair shot… and that comes with the realization that it TAKES TIME… often MONTHS. Not 30-days, when the content itself is not even fully distributed in 30-days. 🙂 PS: I have never been a paying customer of Social Triggers… so my comments are not related to anything here. I’m just offering up a different perspective on your topic.


    Giselle – For a product that is a one-time purchase, but it could take months for them to get through all of the self-paced content (plus they are given access to new content added after their purchase date), what would you think is a fair timeline for the refund window? As a follow-up, what percentage of the content do you consider is a fair evaluation before requesting a refund? Just curious.


I have given refunds, I have refused refunds too. I sell real goods mostly, but am trying to build and create more downloadable or e-content: tarot school, wicca school, easy guides and books.

Most good people will listen to an explanation of the value of the product. Have a public *black list. I think this is something I might do if I run into really bad situations.


Great video Derek (love the t-shirt!).

Here’s a crazy one that I am not sure how to resolve. I was contracted to do some work for a client. She estimated the project would take 3 days – and it’s work she has other people do quite often, but I’ve never done it so I deferred to her expertise on the timing.

So it turns out I’m good at this kind of work, and I managed to complete what she wanted done (and then some, I threw in extra because I wanted to be generous) in 1.5 days. We agreed on content, we agreed on the scope of work, etc – I’m just faster than other people she’s had before so it didn’t take as long as we agreed. Now she’s implying she’ll only pay me for half the time. Honestly? I don’t get it. I delivered what she wanted BETTER and FASTER than she expected, and yet I’m going to get stiffed? This makes NO sense to me. I can’t imagine hiring someone to do a job for me, they finish it to a higher standard than I want, and then I stiff them because they did better.

I’ve billed her for the whole amount, but instinct tells me I might be in for a bit of a “discussion” on this one… any suggestions?




    Brennan Dunn talks about this often. Just because you’re more efficient, doesn’t mean you get less money. He encourages you to promote the value the client is getting from your work and he’s right. http://doubleyourfreelancing.com/


    If you agreed on a price, that is a contract. Even if you delivered the work early, it doesn’t matter. By your description she is paying for the work – not the time. Time should come in to play when it is overtime. The hassle she is take to renegotiate is taking up your time. The delay in payment is taking up your time. Add that to the bill.


I sell patterns on my site, and it’s funny… the worst emails or social media comments I’ve ever received have been from people complaining about a problem downloading the one I give away for free. Rather than just letting me know they are having some kind of issue, a few have just been absolutely nasty…. calling me a fraud, even putting me down personally…even though they’re getting something free! It’s only happened a few times, but it floors me each time it does. I do always try to be gracious and help anyway, but I also think, “man, I am soo glad they didn’t actually BUY anything from me. 🙂

Kamila Gornia | for passion-driven entrepreneurs

Love the video, Derek. I haven’t had any crazy hate mail (yet) thankfully for my marketing business but I’ve definitely had some trolls for my wellness one, usually people freaking out when I try to sell something or let them know about a promo. Sigh. Cheap people.

This will def help me prepare for things when I do get more stuff like this, which is inevitable when we’re bloggers and more of a “public” business owner. I like to think I have thick skin but I know I can take things to heart sometimes so I love the idea to make a joke out of it with friends. Makes it lighter.

Keep rockin’ it 🙂

Payam Bahrampoor

Thank you Derek!
Today I had an issue like this 😉
Payam from Iran

Elaine Presley

Wow, I just 4 seconds ago was off the phone with a major phone company and had to fight to get the contract cancelled as the dongle did not work in my area, I was that nightmare customer only this time fighting for my family honor to get justice, they were the nightmare in this case for not being loyal to customers with real contact and product issues. I won and that is what we call TCB!!

The lesson here is that companies and customers have to be business responsible and not try and hold people responsible when the customer is right. The customer is not always right, but if they are right then the business has a responsibility to do the right thing and yes same goes for the customer not to be unreasonable .

Rich Brooks

I sometimes struggle with this, because if I feel the client / customer is 95% wrong, but I’m 5% wrong, I feel like I’m fully responsible.

Probably some religious guilt or something.

However, I’m spending more time up front vetting customers, and I’m much more willing to say “no” to a prospect than I was in the past. If I’m getting red flags before we start working together, I know I’ll see a lot more once the contract is signed.

It’s always easier to walk away BEFORE you start working with someone than separating from them after.


    True that, Rich! Walking away before is much easier.

Borja Obeso

Similar to our conversation the other day on twitter man! complaining about price for a software product, c’mon

And these kind of people are also clearly not interested in the networking part of growing their business, what a wrong mindset they have, it will not take them far.

Barry Carter

Great video.

Funny you mention it Derek, this video of yours about dealing with Haters:

How to Deal With Difficult People, Bullies, and Haters

Inspired me to create this blog about dealing with ‘toxic customers’:

That original video really helped me get through a tough time when a ‘social media terrorist’ spent 100 hours of his own time trying to discredit a $9.99 kindle book he hadn’t read (The story is in the blog).

Great to see this video bookending your stuff on dealing with haters :)


Awesome info as always, Derek. You actually made me chuckle when you say you call those “nightmare customers” social media terrorists.

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