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VistaPrint: Bait and Switch? - Comments

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I linked into VIsta Prints from this site, and have ordered from them a number of times.

Some hints I've learned are that you have to click into their site from the link providing the offer you desire, as their various e-mails take you to specific "free" offers. You can use more than one email to select the free products you desire, but when you get to the checkout, verify that each is the "free" price and quantity you expect. If not, "remove" the item from your shopping cart and go back to the initial e-mail offer, and click in again. You may order up to 10 free items per order. You may place multiple orders for as many times as you are willing to pay the fee
$20-$30 shipping and handling fees.

The only item that I've had problems interpreting are the Christmas cards. Other items show whether there is an upload fee or not at the bottom left of the pictured product. And when uploading a picture, it is awfully frustrating to try to figure out some of the wording on the instructions. You must have a very high quality photo (I use 600PPI) or the transfer blurs.

I called VistaPrints twice and the customer service was excellent.

Although I do agree that this situation is inexcusable and that attempting to "bait and switch" customers in this fashion is reprehensible, I'd like to speak out in defense of the CSR you spoke with on the phone. Speaking from experience as a six-year veteran of the call-center work environment - sometimes as much as you want to help customers and fulfill the promises set out on the website, sometimes not carrying out company policy to the letter will mean your job; alternatively, sometimes our tools and database systems simply will not allow us to carry out the order as desired. More than likely, when he had you on hold, speaking with the supervisor, it's because he was asking "What can I do for this customer?" All I am saying is don't be too hard on him - it's more than likely he was, in fact, trying to get you the best deal possible, within his ability.

I have done business with VistaPrint, and have had excellent customer service. I have also found their prices and quality of work to be excellent. While I can understand the frustration experienced by Randy, it was gratifying to see that they went to extraordinary measures to get it right in the end.

Nobody is perfect. But one important measure of customer service is how they respond when it's not perfect. In this case, they worked at it and got it right.

That means a great deal to me!!

Ok - 3 years ago, I decided to do some IT Consulting on the side. I went to vistaprint to get my 'free' business cards. Everything (except S&H) was free, and the S&H was reasonable, so I went ahead and purchased them. An excellent transaction, with NO problems. 6 months ago, my wife was going through the credit card statement, and noticed a charge, that didn't make sense ($13.00) for some company I had never heard of. We looked at the previous month - and so on. It was on ALL of our statements, for as far back as we could look. I did some research on the company - and found that it was 'related' to VistaPrint. Ironically, it was some sort of fraud prevention service that would notify you of unauthorized charges on your credit card. When we called the company - they explained that the FREE business cards, required a sign up for this service, and that I could have cancelled at any time. My wife said "he didn't see anything about this when he ordered the cards" - to which they replied "yes, it's pretty small print, and difficult to read". They then agreed to stop the service. "But wait", she said, "What about the charges that we didn't authorize?". The rep. said, "Ok, we can remove 6 months of charges." My wife said that was unacceptable, since the 36 months equaled roughly $460. He put her on hold and checked with his supervisor. He was literally gone for 30 seconds, no way that was enough time to talk to a supervisor, and said "Ok, my supervisor said I can take off 1 year, but that's it". My wife again said that was unacceptable, and could SHE speak with the supervisor. The rep said; "wait one second please". Another 30 seconds later (and I'm not exaggerating) he came back and said, "Ok, I checked with my supervisor again, and he said we can take off the entire amount." The only downside to it was they didn't just credit the $460, they did it one transaction at a time, so there were 36 (or so) credits on our next statement.

Keep an eye on the FREE offers, and watch your credit card.

I too took advantage of an offer too good to be true. Only to find that Vistaprint kept on charging my credit card for further non-existent orders. They did send me the stuff they charged me for but the fact remains, I didn't order them in the first place. I had to cancel my credit card to put a stop to it. My emails and phone calls were not answered. Consumer Affairs here said they were inundated with hundreds of similar complaints. Reputable companies like Amazon etc should not have anything to do with Vistaprint. BUYER BEWARE!

Wow. That link to the EDGAR Filing sure is revealing. They admit in their RISKS section that they are blacklisted by many independent anti-spam organizations (and therefore many ISPs and corporations). They list the class action lawsuits and regulatory orders against them for questionable business practices.

While they say the believe they are compliant with anti spam laws, the fact that they remain blacklisted and have had trouble finding hosting and other internet provider services shows how the internet community in general feels about their unsolicited commercial e-mail practices.

They are organized in Bermuda for tax reasons.

Their Risks section goes on for dozens of pages. I'm used to seeing much less than that in financial filings.

All I can say is: "Been there, done that too with VistaPrint". :>(

Nice follow-up, but still too little, too late. That's always the pat answer. "This isn't the typical service; it's a glitch that we're glad you brought to our attention." Baloney, it's only when they realize that it's going to cost them national attention that they trot out this old, hackneyed line. Most of us already gave them the opportunity to fix the problem and they not only failed to do so, but refused to do so. Sorry, but mismanagement is top down. Common, routine, lower level mistakes don't happen unless they're tolerated by common, routine upper level mistakes.

Companies, one of two things are going to happen: Either you're doing so well that you're arrogant and really don't care if you lose a little business, or you're going down the toilet and wondering why, without ever listening to your customers that have gone to the competition.

Actually, the cost of these cards was far higher than $19.73. Most people forget that their time is their most valuable resource; plus it is completely non-renewable!

If someone makes $52,000 per year their time is worth $25/hour ($52,000 divided by 52 weeks per year is $1000 per week; $1000 for 40 hours of work is $25 per hour). So if that person is robbed of an hour's time to get a $19.73 product, their actual cost is $19.73 + $25, for a total of $44.73...

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You may have noticed I mentioned, "And I want that hour of my life back, too." At least they just duplicated my whole order, so I got another rubber stamp out of it. -rc

To Mario of Vancouver: What "extraordinary measures" did VistaPrint go through?

The basics of this situation as I understand it are as follows:

1. Item(s) were offered by VistaPrint at a pre-negotiated price/deal.
2. Pre-negotiated deal was accepted by Randy.
3. VistaPrint then attempted to renegotiate the deal electronically AFTER acceptance by Randy.
4. Randy refused the renegotiation, demanded the original deal and complained. Whether or not this was a "back-end" error is irrelevant at this point because once the original deal was noted, there should have been no further negotiation.
5. VistaPrint's customer service then attempted to renegotiate the deal through their CSR.
6. Randy refused and requested the original deal. After 45 mintues, the CSR agrees to give Randy the original deal.
7. Randy obtains his receipt and realizes that VistaPrint STILL failed to honor the original deal. He posts on Cranky Customer.
8. VistaPrint OBVIOUSLY does not pick up the phone and call to apologize. It would appear they sent an EMAIL!!! How is this great customer service? This is called "covering your backside" not "Great Customer Service". It would appear to me they wanted to leave a "trail" in case things took a turn for the worse. And let's examine the wording, shall we?

"I can help you get the deal that you were looking for whenever you like, and have a number of ways that we can do this, but want to see what that is most convenient for you. I apologize for any inconvenience that this has caused you and want to help get you the deal that you were looking for."

Let me translate this to what I hear: "I am important, and because I am important, I can make this deal happen. I want to make this deal happen just to shut you up though. This is special and we are doing this just for you. It doesn't matter that we did this to a lot of folks, and we won't be fixing it for anyone who didn't notice the deal or who didn't complain. This is just for you - because people listen to you. I don't really know what will make you shut up, so I need to talk to you to find out, even though I could have picked up the phone to call you myself. I realize that you just wanted the original deal that we promised you, and I know this is evident in your on-line Cranky Customer post, but I need to talk to you to make sure that you will shut up and won't be trying to get us into trouble for the bait and switch that we did to you and everyone else who made the order. I already know what you originally wanted, but need to make sure that will shut you up. And the crazy thing about all this Randy, is I want to make you do more work to get what I promised you but didn't deliver, so you'll need to get in touch with me. Oh and one last thing, this is a deal you were looking for, not one that we offered."

WHERE EXACTLY IS THE CUSTOMER SERVICE???

Good customer service would have been a call or even an e-mail saying, "Hey Randy. I saw your post on Cranky Customer and your extra cards are being shipped as we speak. I apologize for the inconveninece and the systems problem is being repaired. We truly appreciate you bringing this to our attention because we are NOT a bait and switch sales company and do not want to be viewed as one. We really don't enjoy ripping off our customers or lying to them. Thanks to you, we have reviewed our orders and have found that many more customers deserve more free cards. We are sending out additional cards to those folks as well. Because you brought this to our attention and have potentially saved us thousands in law-suits and fines, we are throwing in an additional free stamp. You are a valued customer and we hope that our transgression will not stand in the way of our good name and your confidence in doing further business with us in the future. If you ever have any issues like this please feel free to contact me directly for assistance. And once again, thanks for helping make VistaPrint better!"

But they didn't even remotely get to that because all they cared about was shutting Randy up. That is my opinion and I've never even ordered from them. I will never order from them.

People and corporations should take responsibility for their actions. VistaPrint clearly does not.

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(Read the article that everyone's commenting on.)