VistaPrint has just lost my business for good.
I have used Vistaprint exactly 2 times.
The first experience went off without a hitch and the cards came back better than expected (for the price) and I was actually impressed. This was in the summer of 2009.
I have an excellent printer and prices, so I didn't find opportunity to try them again until recently.
A friend wanted some cards done, and I decided to Vistaprint another shot in order to save my friend exactly $35. I was expecting the same quality of cards and printing. I designed the card, so I knew what to expect and I figured saving money was the objective.
Well.. Vistaprint somehow managed to print a 2 sided all blue business card with one side yellow.
I've been in pre-press and publishing, designer for years and I can't fathom how they managed to make this mistake or get that result.
I wasn't happy nor was my friend, but I figured Vistaprint would be very apologetic about the obvious mistake, and either issue an immediate refund or offer a completely free re-print with possibly a discount or something for the trouble..
What I got was a blunt letter blaming me for the mistake, and stating that I must have sent it that way or else one side would not be printed yellow. They simply printed what I had sent, and if I wanted it to be blue - I should order an additional run with a blue side instead. The Vistaprint customer service rep. included instructions on how to view a proof of the print job. And a link to sign in to that order.
When I logged in, sure enough.. it was yellow on one side. I was baffled. Until I revisited my design which was completely fine. I then double checked a screen shot of the original order proof, and it was clearly blue, NOT yellow. IT was then that I noticed the most disturbing fact of all. The date on the artwork and proof they sent me, was showing it was altered that day.
I couldn't believe my eyes. I know I didn't alter my design. So what was this date all about?
I then looked at the portfolio, which showed everything I had sent in the order. And nothing I had sent was yellow. And the date was correctly 2 weeks previous.
What does this mean for Vistaprint?
It means that they actually took the time to make a proof fit the printing mistake, so they could blame me for the error and suggest I re-print the job.
If this isn't fraud, I don't know what is.
And I sent a very to the point letter explaining exactly what I found, and that I was not a spring chicken but a seasoned designer with extensive pre-press experience.
I made it clear that I did NOT send a yellow side to that business card, and that I had proof of their alterations. Not to mention the original artwork - date stamped and emailed to myself with a screen capture of the ACTUAL proof that I agreed to when I pressed "OK" to the order.
I explained that I was no longer interested in a free re-print at all, but that I now wanted a full refund without question. I was also going to be sending my findings to the Better Business Bureau and take the time to present it at their next shareholder meeting so that their shareholders could better understand what kind of business they are investing in.
In the same email, I requested a call back or email from a supervisor or somebody that could possibly explain how my design turned yellow, was altered without my consent, and more importantly.. how it became altered without ME altering it.
that would explain how such a set of circumstances and events could have possibly transpired without malicious and fraudulent intent. I said, "I look
Needless to say, I have received an immediate refund.
They then went on to include a link to a 'proof' that clearly showed that one side was yellow and not blue.
RESULTS OF MY LETTER, and catching them in the act.
- I received an immediate refund (within 20 minutes).
What was suspiciously missing from the refund notification was ANY apology or attempt to explain what had happened. Just a clear and itemized list of what was being refunded. Which was everything.
I did receive a call from a woman at Vistaprint.
Unfortunately it went to voicemail, as I was on another line. This was clearly the apology that should have been given in the first place. Now, too late and still without any explanation or reasoning to the error.
She simply said, "Just wanted to say we are very sorry for the inconvenience, you have been given a full refund." Please call back if you require any further information or would like to continue to do business at Vistaprint.
I did not call back.
As much as I would love to hear the excuse.
I had wasted enough time proving they lied and attempted to defraud me out of my money, as well as additional money by blaming me for their error.
So.. Potential Vistaprint customers, you have been given fair warning.