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Is it okay to ask a buyer what they're going to use my work for?


evansmith93
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I am a new seller, and I offer programming services. I buyer asked me to write a program to send emails (which on its own is completely legal). However, I have a slight suspicion that the buyer might use it for illegal purposes. Is it okay for me to ask the buyer what they plan on using my work for? Thanks!

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I think it makes sense to ask especially if it helps in completing or avoiding the order. I mean you don't need to be too nosy and ask the exact details. But just a general idea would be fine to ask.

Although do you not know at the moment what the purpose of the program is for? I mean if its coding stuff you would at least know what the program does.

Of course, you will have to frame the question accordingly....... You would definitely get a bad response if you ask "Hey are you going to use this program for illegal means?" haha! But anyway I'm sure you get my point.

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1 hour ago, theratypist said:

Although do you not know at the moment what the purpose of the program is for?

Yes and no. I know that the program will be used to send emails, but I don't if the buyer will use it to send spam/scam emails.

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I would say, depending on the actual case, if there really is reason to be suspicious, it might not just be okay, but obligatory. And might be crucial for your account's safety, too, in case you'll actually end up helping someone with something illegal, or against their academic institution's code of honour, etc., and Fiverr somehow learns of it.

In any case, while I'd say it's okay to not ask, if there's no real reason to be suspicious, I'd also say it's okay to ask, even if there is no suspicion. (you might simply want to know, or be able to do better work if you know, some sellers in some categories need to know, because they'll ask for an extra fee if something is going to be used commercially or not,...)
And it's okay for the buyer to not tell you, if they don't want to then.
And it's okay for you to tell the buyer you don't want to do the order without being told then.
And for both you and the buyer to decide to not work together then.

If you're really in doubt about something, you can also ask support to see what they'll tell you, to have some "official backing".

And welcome to the forum!

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6 hours ago, evansmith93 said:

I am a new seller, and I offer programming services. I buyer asked me to write a program to send emails (which on its own is completely legal). However, I have a slight suspicion that the buyer might use it for illegal purposes. Is it okay for me to ask the buyer what they plan on using my work for? Thanks!

Of course you can ask. But I wouldn't ask in a way that makes them feel suspected of anything. If you're sure enough about your suspicions that you have to be so direct, you should run from the buyer anyway. 

The thing is: you might turn away a completely legit buyer by asking too many questions. Even so, you have the right to know what you're working on. 

I have a rule: if it feels unethical, it's just as bad as "illegal". I've been asked to do plenty of jobs that were totally legal, yet felt unethical to me. I quickly turn down that type of job. 

You also have to consider that the buyer can simply lie to you. If your gut feeling tells you that something is off, something is probably off. 

Edited by smashradio
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