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Clients from hell: why you should stick to your guns

"I work as a typesetter and a book designer and was working on a book about makeup. About 60 pages into the project, I had the following conversation with the client:

Client: So, when are you going to start changing the font?

Me: Which font?

Client: All of them.

Me: I was never planning to.

Client: You need to. The font is too manly; it needs to be more feminine.

Me: It needs to be more feminine? You approved this layout and these fonts. You approved everything at every stage throughout the briefing process. I have a signed approval with this font in it. If I change it, I'll have to redesign much of the book, and I simply can't do that for free or as part of your edits.

Client: Well, to be honest, I thought you could just press a button and change it.

Me: A fair misunderstanding, but I'm afraid it's not so easy.

Client: Well, I can't afford to pay you any more for further work, and if you don't fix this, it's a clear breach of contract and I won't be paying you anything.

Me: It's not a breach of contract.

Client: Look, this is going to get messy if you keep this up. I assure that breaching a contract is serious and I can sue you for it –

Me: As per the conditions of our signed contract, in the case of a dispute, I'm going to burn you a disc with all my work. You can cut me a cheque for all the work I've completed so far, and you can feel free to use the remaining money to replace any fonts you want to.

Client: I think don't think we're understanding each other ...

Me: There's no misunderstanding on my part. You approved something, and I worked to those standards set out in a brief. It's your business to change those standards, but it's my business to protect myself if a client tries to bully me.

This article was originally published in issue 250 of net magazine. To read more stories of client nightmares, head over to Clients From Hell.

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