VistaPrint: How NOT to Run Your Company a Cautionary Tale

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Inner Architect

How not to run your business is often too well documented online and in the real world. The problem occurs when we are victims of poor service, uncaring people, or unmatched promises. After my experience with Vistaprint last week, I can honestly say that I will never ever buy another product or service from that company. I don't understand anything other than the fact that when I asked if they wanted to keep me as a customer, they provided me a resounding no--as in NO REFUND.

The following is an article I wrote on my blog deansguide which outlines my experience in broad strokes. I did not go into detail as I did not feel it necessary. Suffice to say, my experience was so bad I had to write this post, become an evangelist against this company, and an active

According to Consumeraffairs.com VistaPrint has many dissatisfied and angry ex-customers with complaints aka nightmares ranging from customer service to billing. VistaPrint is a low budget, high promise printer. Vistaprint.com makes it’s living, not on the quality of it’s products, on the shipping fees it charges for it’s orders. With the knowledge VistaPrint was all about the “delivery”, I assumed that they would be able to print and deliver my cards to my home before my deadline: WRONG.

Three (3) Business Days?

We placed our rush 3 business day ship order on Monday April 27 with the idea that Vista Print would deliver our cards in 3 business days ie. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday with the product arriving either Thursday April 30 or the morning of May 1, 2009.

My Mistake

When we ordered the cards, we did not read the fine print which states that orders placed after 5pm PST would be placed as orders for the following day. Consequently, Vistaprint’s promise of a 3 day ship would give up to 5pm Friday May 1 to deliver our cards.

My Problem

We needed business cards for a conference that we were speaking at in San Francisco. We had to have the cards no later than 12:30pm Friday May 1. When we had to leave for the conference, our cards were no where to be found.

Complaint Button

Vistaprint’s Solution to My Problem: No Customer Service

I called asking for a refund on my shipping fees of $30.80 (3 business day rush shipping). I was told by a customer service rep that they could not help me and they fulfilled their end of the “contract.”

I pointed out that 3 days is not a rush in my opinion, that $31 for shipping is not cheap, and that the cards never arrived in time for me to use them. The answer to my plea was simple and stern: NO REFUND.

Final Offer: Remain a Customer or Leave

My final offer was simple and one that I have made in the past when I felt I was getting the raw end of a deal. I offered to remain a Vistaprint customer if they provided a refund on my shipping fees. I promised to be a consumer affairs advocate fighting hard to highlight the no customer service I was receiving if they denied my request. Guess what happened?

Top 10 Page 1 Google Search: “Vistaprint complaints”

Here is a library, and it is so much longer, list of the complaints detailed and often lodged against Vistaprint:

  1. Consumeraffairs.com: “Consumer complaints about VistaPrint.com
  2. Smartmoney.com: “VistaPrint Faces Complaints Over Third-Party Bills
  3. thestreet.com: “VistaPrint Can’t Hear the Knockin
  4. Complaintsboard.com: “List of VistaPrint Complaints
  5. PlanetMike.com: “VistaPrint Sucks!
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Rainmaker
453,199
Allison Stewart
St.Cloud Homes - Saint Cloud, FL
St. Cloud Fl Realtor, Osceola County Real Estate 407-616-9904

DEAN

Perhaps it would have been a "better deal" to have gone to a local printer since the time line factor was so important.  Many offer competitive prices and quick turn around (next day delivery) as opposed to using mail order. 

May 07, 2009 08:48 PM #1
Rainmaker
142,890
Dean Guadagni
Inner Architect - San Rafael, CA

FLA,

I ordered cards via VistaPrint in the past with the understanding that the quality was subpar but the product was delivered on time. My local print options were never a resource for reasons I have already covered. Any product that is a rush delivery is usually considered a rush if it is overnight or 1-2 day. They had nearly 3 1/2 days to deliver. Worst fact was that the package was at the delivery company but they were unwilling to allow ME to pick it up because the Fed Ex workers had not "broken down" the loads. My cards were sitting less than 3 miles from my house as early as the night before I needed them.

No I am not blaming Fed Ex because it is VistaPrint who makes the decision on the carrier. As far as I am concerned they stink.

dean

May 08, 2009 03:38 AM #2
Anonymous
Ralph
I ordered a bunch of checks with a 6-7 day delivery on it on May 1st ...it is now the end of day May 11th and still no delivery. I have searched their site to try to contact them only to face an electronic run-around. The web-site states to call their 800 number and when I do the automated system directs me back to the web-site!! At one point for some reason the automated voice was in what sounded like Japanese! Not sure what do do anymore. Exasperated.
May 11, 2009 08:44 AM #3
Rainmaker
142,890
Dean Guadagni
Inner Architect - San Rafael, CA

Ralph,

Welcome to my pain! I understand your frustration and I can't say I know what to suggest to you. My long term approach is to not use them again and move on to another printer. Best of luck!

dean

May 19, 2009 06:12 PM #4
Rainmaker
142,890
Dean Guadagni
Inner Architect - San Rafael, CA

To Whom it may concern:

It amazes me that I have received 2 so called "comments" from people admonishing me for this article. Each comment was left by people who did not leave a live link to their site, their name, or any identifying information.

Without this type of disclosure aka transparency, I am forced to assume that the comments made were left by Vista Print employees in an effort to discredit me.

Anyone who wishes to see how many complaints about Vista Print live in the blogosphere simply type the following keywords into Google:

"VISTA PRINT CONSUMER COMPLAINTS" You will find 496,000 queries returned about this company.

#1 on Page 1 is filed by the consumeraffairs.com department see the link here: http://www.consumeraffairs.com/online/vistaprint.html

No comments will be accepted without the proper identification.

Jul 06, 2009 01:16 PM #8
Rainmaker
142,890
Dean Guadagni
Inner Architect - San Rafael, CA

Last communication on this post:

1. Google is the #1 search engine in the world

2. 70+% of real estate related searches begin with Google. Whether the links are relevant or not does not seem to matter to the public at this point

3. Type in keywords "Vista Print Consumer Complaints" and 4,440,000 queries are returned

4. My article sits at #6 page 1 on a Google Search for "Vista Print Consumer Complaints" as of 7-7-09

5. ConsumerAffairs.com has an entire library on Vista Prints questionable practices and makes a solid case for not doing business with them

6. I am a not trying to topple or bring down a multi million dollar company--I am just a blogger

7. My opinion and activisim was displayed in my blog post

8. I have the right to my opinion as you do. I also have the right to my publication of the FACTS in the manner that I was treated by Vista Print.

9. Anyone who wishes to publish their opinions or experiences here or in the blogosphere have that right

10. Poor customer service, lies told over a phone call, anything in writing or not in writing are not the end all be all to a situation. It's called customer servide for a reason-and when a person is not given a voice nor given the recognition for their continued patronage, WE all now have the power to react accordingly.

Jul 07, 2009 05:58 AM #11
Rainmaker
142,890
Dean Guadagni
Inner Architect - San Rafael, CA

Del lets just agree to disagree. This is a waste of your time. On other subjects we may be in the same camp and completely defend each other's positions. It's run it's course-thanks but enough is enough

Jul 07, 2009 06:35 AM #13
Rainmaker
375,081
BILL CHERRY
Bill Cherry, Realtor - Dallas, TX
Broker & Wealth Coach

I use them, but only started this past year.  They are substantially cheaper than local printers, and frankly what I've ordered has been of equal or better quality. The trade off is the time eaten up by shipping.  A couple of times, something didn't turn out as I had hoped it would.  They immediately corrected it, reprinted it and sent it to me by overnight delivery, all at no charge. Maybe they turned over a new leaf after you and others complained.

Jun 25, 2015 09:17 PM #18
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Dean Guadagni

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