Share this content

What’s the most ridiculous complaint ...

... you’ve ever received by a client?

Didn't find your answer?

I've a corker, but it's ongoing ... 

Let's say if A then B and if C then D. Intrinsically, legally, logically, there's no two ways about it. 

me: you could A, but then B. Alternatively, you could C then D. 
client: ok, let's do C. 
[some time later]
client: I want to do A

me: ok

[some time later]
client: B has happened, I'm suing you. 


whats the most stupid / outrageous complaint you've received?

Replies (15)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

By ohgoodgodno
27th Feb 2020 08:22

I have tax to pay??!! you must have made a mistake

Thanks (1)
Replying to ohgoodgodno:
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
27th Feb 2020 09:27

ohgoodgodno wrote:

I have tax to pay??!! you must have made a mistake

That's not a complaint, that a standard client response isn't it?

Thanks (5)
By SXGuy
27th Feb 2020 08:35

Not sure I can say which one is the most outrageous, so ill give both, let you decide.

First client, hadn't paid any fees, gone AWOL for 12 months, had HMRC enquiries, outstanding vat submissions, book keeping etc, after dozens of failed attempts to contact I finally sent a disengagement letter, got a very snotty email from clients father basically saying, I owed his son a duty of care and "my mother would never have treated him so unfairly" (family business, mother used to be the main accountant some years prior), some reason, they seemed to think I was his social worker or something.

2nd one, client paid deposit to start on his accounts, 8 weeks go by, accounts all done, sent letter to state balance now due etc, heard nothing, few more weeks, nothing, this continued for about 3 months, until one day I get a very aggressive phone call asking why he should pay anything as he hadn't agreed to it. Reminded him that he signed the engagement, paid a deposit, and as far as I was concerned that was proof enough that he agreed for me to carry out the work,(why pay and sign if you don't agree? lol)
basically told me to shove it, in a not so nice way.
Fortunately, his wife was more approachable, and after explaining everything to her, made sure he paid. Needless to say, dropped him like a ton of hot coal shortly after.

Thanks (1)
By SteLacca
27th Feb 2020 08:36

Client (at a former employer) got an HMRC enquiry into his SATR, and was proper banged to rights having grossly (like, several hundred 1,000s of pounds) understated his income.

I got the settlement down from over £600K to £350k.

He complained and left.

Thanks (1)
By James Green
27th Feb 2020 09:59

3) “I know you didn’t do this work and that it says that the work was being done by someone else in the prospectus I issued to my investors, but I’m suing you anyway” This was a lawyer who decided to make a film of his life financed by his friends using a London west end tax advisor for film producer tax credits whilst we did the accounts of his law firm, but we (apparently) “should have been looking out for him” and told him that he wouldn’t get the producer tax credits. He lost his claim.

2) Back in the mists of time I suggested that my cousin incorporate his plumbing partnership (£10k @ 0% CT and a nice Goodwill / DLA credit - remember those days).

A year later I get a lawyers letter saying my cousin was suing me.

He’d not done anything about incorporating but his accountant had now told him he’d have saved “£X” by incorporating and so “it was all my fault he’d have to pay all this tax for the last year as I should have made him incorporate“. He lost... and was dropped from the Xmas card list.

And my favourite...

1) The 600 page letter from a Magic Circle law firm that came from an ex-IFA client that claimed that it was all my fault he’d embezzled £25m from his clients because “he felt under pressure to appear a successful businessman to you who he admired and looked up to...”

They lost.

As they say, it’d be a great business this, if it wasn’t for having to deal with clients.

Thanks (1)
Replying to James Green:
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
27th Feb 2020 10:02

You're winning so far James, but I can't wait for mine to get thrown out so I can share ...

Thanks (1)
By lionofludesch
27th Feb 2020 10:13

I had a client who came to me towards the end of the first year of trading. I later discovered I was his fourth accountant, which is not bad in less than a year

He'd been keeping his accounts on Sage - they didn't even balance for some reason that I could never understand. Anyway, they were only a few quid out so we cobbled something together. Lots of the postings were wrong but it wasn't completely horrendous. I sent him his accounts and a bill for about £600 (fair sized fee twenty five years ago); he paid the bill but said he couldn't sign the accounts off as he didn't understand them. So I said that if he had any questions, I'd answer them but I needed the accounts signed if they were to go to HMRC.

Next thing I know, I'm getting a phone call from a bloke in MK saying that there's been a complaint about me not giving this client his accounts and why haven't I done it ? Is there a fee dispute ? "No," I said, "that's the weird thing, he's cheerfully - well, maybe not cheerfully - paid in full."

So the Institute bloke gives him a call, then rings me back and says "Jeez, this one's a weirdo, isn't he?" In the end, we agreed some watered down approval for him to sign and I didn't include any report.

Surprisingly, he drifted off to some other poor accountant who didn't bother with the professional courtesies of writing to the outgoing accountant. If he had, I'd've saved him a lot of bother by advising him not to accept the engagement.

Thanks (0)
By lionofludesch
27th Feb 2020 10:49

Had another client whittling about going onto flat rate.

Client : Some lengthy waffle with numbers.

Me : Sales £8400. VAT at 9½% flat rate £798, normal VAT £500.

Client : How would normal VAT be £500 ? Wouldn't it be £1400 ?

Me : What about the £900 input tax you'd pay to Magnet ?

Client : Ah, yeah.

Me : Stick to kitchen fitting.

Thanks (0)
By Andy Reeves
28th Feb 2020 10:27

Client complained that she didn't get a tax repayment, as she had one the previous year. Pointed out that she hadn't paid any tax this year, so there was nothing to reclaim. She left.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Andy Reeves:
By spcm
28th Feb 2020 15:12

I quite often come across this one! It's never ceases to amaze me how clients feel absolutely sure that they should get a tax refund, when they haven't paid any tax!!

Thanks (0)
By djbrown
28th Feb 2020 10:55

My one and only bad debt in 12 years:

"You didn't look professional - you weren't wearing a suit! And you didn't have a calculator with you"

Those were the reasons he wouldn't pay my £100 invoice

Thanks (2)
By Cardigan
28th Feb 2020 13:13

I had a client who hadn't paid in full for the previous year's fees. As far as I remember, his final payment had bounced. After the nth reminder email/phone call he re-appeared and said sorry for not paying fees and that he needs a tax return done pronto for mortgage etc.

I wrongly assumed that this meant he was going to settle his bill.

He sent in his info for the new tax return. I sat on it waiting for the money to arrive for last year's fee.

Then he called me in a tizzy 2 days after sending in the information, asking why I hadn't done his tax return yet. I tried to stay as calm as possible and told him that we can't start new work when there is an outstanding bill.

He then went off on one, saying how ungrateful I was. Hadn't he rekindled the relationship and also given me new work? No mention of actually paying us! I told him to get lost.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Cardigan:
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
28th Feb 2020 13:44

Cardigan wrote:

He then went off on one, saying how ungrateful I was. Hadn't he rekindled the relationship and also given me new work? No mention of actually paying us! I told him to get lost.


One of my 5 biggest fee paying clients has a group. He only pays me the o/s group balance when he needs me to do the next bit of work for one of the companies. It's regular enough that nothing falls more than 2 months overdue!

Thanks (0)
By [email protected]
28th Feb 2020 15:32

Client: I'm changing accountants because you never give me any tax saving advice
Me: But you havent paid any tax in the last 3 years
Client: Yes but my new accountant says he can save me tax
Spinal tap moment! It goes up to 11

Thanks (0)
Replying to [email protected]:
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
28th Feb 2020 15:46

That's a good one. I have recently had similar:

Client: what do you charge clients you don't give consultancy advice to? You're not giving me any and I'm paying for it.
Me: You're not paying for it, it's never been mentioned in our engagement letters or in conversation.
Client: I've spoken to another accountant who says he can do everything you do plus consultancy for only £XXpcm more.
Me: What consultancy do you want?
Client: Dunno. General business consultancy.

[Best bit ... client is a contractor]

Thanks (0)
Share this content

Related posts