This happens to me all the time in the tech world and I'm sure there is some kind of term to describe this behavior. Here are some examples:

With website hosting, you move a website and it's not functioning properly or the same way it did before even though it is.

A client wanted to move their email and web hosting. They gave me their current hosts login and before I could touch anything, they complained they couldn't connect to FTP and their email stopped working and they try and blame you (this has happened many times to me).

A clients computer is running slow from spyware, malware, whatever the case is. You clean it up and then they complain it's running slower.

  • 5
    I think the technical term is "users" or in your case "clients". It's part of working in IT, you need thick skin. – Supercereal Jun 14 '12 at 21:50
  • Are you writing a song? Some people will always find something to complain about; "perpetually disgruntled", if you will. – iglvzx Jun 14 '12 at 22:07
  • @Kyle It has nothing to do with thick skin, I just want to be able to describe to my peers or boss how the customer was acting easily instead of trying to explain it all the time. Just like people have phobias that have names, I figured there would be a name for this. – kel Jun 14 '12 at 22:47
  • @iglvzx Nope, just trying to figure out the term to describe the client issue to peers or higher ups. – kel Jun 14 '12 at 22:48
  • People tend to think in binary. Either you did something or someone else did it, either way, SOMEONE did it, and someone has to be blamed. If you are trying to explain it to a boss or supervisor, you need to be careful. If my employee told me that the customer was complaining about something, I would ask them how they fixed it and kept my customer happy. It's not fair, and I know that, but that's the way things are. – user22244 Jun 15 '12 at 2:08

They’re scapegoating you.

…the practice of singling out any party for unmerited negative treatment or blame as a scapegoat.


Roughly compiled from a previous career in the automotive industry. Service jobs are a lot alike when it comes to customers.

Technosavages - minimal knowledge of how things work

"Ever since you changed the left rear brake light, the right front brake rotor has started making scraping sounds. I know you broke something."

A) A tail light runs off the electrical system and is turned on by a switch attached to the brake pedal. That is the only connection to the rest of the brake system. B) Sounds like you're due for brake pad replacement which was noted on the work order when you had the brake light replaced.

Give a deep internal sigh, educate them a little, quote a brake job and thank your service writer for noting the brake condition on the preliminary writeup.

Malcontents - never happy with anyone

"The last mechanic who worked on my car ripped me off!" More service writer discussion brings out that the potential client has never had a good relationship with anyone who's worked on his car.

You start to realize the best way of handling the situation is to turn down offering to repair the vehicle as you're next on the list.

Freebie Hunters - out looking to see if they can guilt you into more free work

"You worked on my car, told me the distributor was worn out and that the emergency repair wouldn't last very long. Well it's been nine months and its doing it again and I think you should fix this for free as it should last longer than that." Hmm. The repair order here says we thought it would only run for a month or two while you saved up for a replacement and you were to bring it back 7 months ago and get that taken care of.

Documentation of your work is a very good thing, indeed!


Why did X stop working, even though you didn't touch X? That would be called a coincidence.

As for being blamed for something you didn't do, you could say their case is based on circumstantial evidence.

(Not exactly what you asked for, but those terms could still be useful in the situations you describe.)



Someone who accuses


(transitive verb) To find fault with, to blame, to censure.


Wrongfully Accused

Being wrongfully accused of something you did not do is a frustrating experience. Whether it is your spouse accusing you of having an affair or being accused of doing something criminal and illegal, there are steps that you can take to help you deal with the situation in a proper manner.

(How to Handle Being Wrongfully Accused | eHow.com)


The term is human being. People tend to lash out when frustrated or upset and "kicking" the dog is a fairly normal response. In you case, however, you apparently had to fill in for the dog just because you were present. No, you are not a scapegoat unless a calculated endeavor is in play to blame, more or less, all things on you. And the accusations are primarily to persons other than your self. There is not such word as you ask other than whatever you might coin for the purpose.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.