Thursday, March 11, 2010

A warning against Vistaprint

I spent the last two hours of my workday on the phone with the not-so-lovely folks at Vistaprint.  Because I love to vent about frustrating experiences with large corporations, I thought I'd print the letter that I sent to one of the supervisors I spoke with here.  Because if you can't vent your annoyances on your personal blog, well, then I don't know what to tell you.  I can, because it's my blog.  :-)  Names have been changed to protect the employees mentioned (why, I don't know), and order numbers have been redacted to, um, protect my order numbers.
"Hi John,

Per the suggestion of your representative Pamela, I am emailing you the brief history of our unfortunate experience with Vistaprint.  I have provided this information in a timeline below to best illustrate our problems; please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.

·         February 22, 2010 – Order number XYZ placed (total: $128.24)
·         February 23, 2010 – Order number ABC placed (total: $181.45)
·         February 26, 2010 – Both orders arrived; printing was incorrect.  Spoke with customer service representative who assured us a replacement shipment would be sent, free of charge, to correct the error.
·         March 5, 2010 – Both replacement orders arrived; everything looked great.
·         March 6, 2010 – We received an email (signed Betsy Johnson) stating the following:
o    Dear XXX, 

Please accept my personal apology for the error made on your most recent order. I'm sorry for any inconvenience that it caused you.

To make up for it, we have issued a merchandise credit to your account in the amount of $128.24. 

To use the merchandise credit, simply select the "Apply my credit" option during Checkout on your next order. If you would like to go to our site to redeem your credit now, please click here. 

Thank you for being a Vistaprint customer. We know that you have many options when it comes to printing companies, and we appreciate your continued trust in us. 

Betsy Johnson
Director of Customer Benefits
·         March 11, 2010 – We attempted to place an order, on which we planned to redeem our credit of $128.24.  We were informed that we had no credit available, that it had been used on a previous order placed on February 26.  The representative we spoke to was very unhelpful, and we hung up, confused and very frustrated.

After calling back and speaking with Pamela, it appears there was a glitch in your system which caused us to believe we had a credit we did not in fact have.  She informed us that there should have been two emails, one notifying us of a credit of $128.24 and one notifying us of a credit of $181.45 – but that these emails should have been issued immediately following the order Vistaprint placed on our behalf for the replacement orders on February 26th , and that the credits were not for future use.

As I stated, we never received a second email; and the email we did receive was incredibly misleading.  Because we received it over a week after our replacement order was placed, and because it clearly states that we can “use the merchandise credit…on [our] next order”, we believed that we could in fact use this credit on a future order.  We then spent three days creating banners for the upcoming SXSW festival in Austin, because we thought we would be using our credit to pay for them.  In my understanding, to reflect the true meaning of the credit, the email should have stated something like “We have issued a credit to your account to cover the cost of reprinting your order”.

Additionally, Pamela informed us that we had a credit of $30.64 due to VistaPrint not needing to upload our images a second time (for the reprint) – we were never notified of this credit or of our ability to use it until speaking with Pamela this evening.  I placed order number LMN with Pamela at 4:47pm Pacific time this evening, and she confirmed several times that we would have 3-day shipping, with guaranteed delivery on or before Tuesday March 16th.  However, when we received our order confirmation email at 5:21pm, it showed 7-day shipping, which would not arrive on time.

I called back immediately, and (after speaking with a rep who could not help us) spoke with George (cc’d on this email), who informed us that there was nothing he could do to ensure our order arrived by the 16th as it was now past 8pm Eastern time.  Apparently, after 8pm Eastern time, everything shuts down and nothing about an order can be changed.  He offered us a complimentary replacement order, with guaranteed delivery by the 17th, as well as a 50% credit ($85) to our VistaPrint account.  He told us that this was absolutely the best that he could do, and that while he was sorry for the trouble, that’s the best he could offer.

Because we need these banners next week, we accepted his offer, and will just hope that they arrive on time.

While we love the variety of options VistaPrint has to offer, we have been very disappointed in your website and service thus far.  We would like to continue using VistaPrint for our printing needs, but the inconveniences we have faced so far are causing us to look elsewhere. 

Please let me know if there is anything you can do, or if there is anyone else I should be speaking with regarding this matter."

Needless to say, it was a very frustrating way to end the workday.  I came home and immediately Kitchen Cured my freezer.  Pictures of that to come later tonight.  It is possible that I will also end up scrubbing the countertops, though I may decide to watch Thursday night comedy instead.  So there.


  1. Wow! I am so glad you posted this because The People need to know! I have used VistaPrint before, but it was wayyy less complicated (thankfully). According to your letter, I think you should hear back from them with some (actual this time) restitution. Hopefully they will too. Well said and written!

  2. Yeah, I used them for personal business cards when I was unemployed, and it was totally fine. Big projects seem to be more troublesome...

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