Carousell user haggles over $1.50 photo-editing service, backs out after work is done

The New Paper
April 4, 2022

It’s hard earning even $1 these days. 

A local undergrad found that out when he was entangled in a dispute with a client – over a service that cost a whopping… $1.50. 

The student, Mr Glenn Tan, offers photoshop services on Carousell and charges between $1 and $40 for editing photos. 

Recently, he encountered a client who, upon being quoted $1.50 for a requested task, tried to lowball Mr Tan for $0.50. 

At the end of the exchange, the client refused to even pay for the work done, citing “late submission” and that the work was no longer needed. 

Speaking to, Mr Tan said there was no discussion about the deadline and that he had replied to the buyer promptly.

Their interaction over WhatsApp began with the client seeking details of Mr Tan’s services and rates. After getting quoted $1.50 for the requested service, the buyer tried negotiating it down to $1, before agreeing to $1.50.

Later, after discussing the job specifications, Mr Tan was asked to take on another two tasks for $1.50 each, though he was instructed to "Just do task 1 first" and to "Put the other 2 on hold".

He proceeded to adjust the image as requested, and there was a back and forth between the two on the specifications. 

But the client stopped replying on the evening of April 1, and sent a message the next morning saying, "Nvm we will proceed with item 2."

When Mr Tan replied that the client would nonetheless be charged for the work done on the first task, the client said it was "no use because it was too late".

The client added, "I requested it at 5pm but you gave it after office hours".

Based on their correspondence, both parties were still discussing the first task way past 5pm – a point which Mr Tan makes later on: “why continue to ask me to edit the shades to your preference”.

'Just an enquiry'

When contacted by Mothership, the client confirmed that they had contacted Mr Tan for his services. However, they said, "We did not engage his services in the end because he did not reply in time".

"We also did not receive or use any final file from the Carouseller, nor confirmed the engagement of his services. It was just an enquiry," they added.

Responding to these comments, Mr Tan pointed out that prices had been agreed, and that he received detailed instructions for all three tasks.

He explains that he took them as confirmation of his engagement.

"They discussed the work with me till 11.29pm night, just to tell me the next day that it was voided because it was delivered late," he said, stressing that the client did not mention a deadline at any point.

"Trying to earn a dollar from them is tough," he remarked.

Mr Tan said he has not contacted the buyer since, and will be changing how he transacts with online customers.

"Certainly I will start to enforce keeping all my conversations on Carousell and make an official offer on the app before working on anything," he said.

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