Saturday, January 10, 2015

My Experience with Printerpix

If you have parents like mine who never seem to want anything other than "you getting good grades", you'll know that finding them gifts is always a struggle. However, two years ago, I saw a deal on Living Social (a site that offers deals or coupons which often allow you to buy a gift card for less than its value - ie. buy a $50 dollar gift card for a restaurant for only $10) for VistaPrint, a company that specializes in personalized printed items such as calendars, cups, mugs, shirts, etc. I ended up getting a calendar filled with family pictures for my parents and they absolutely loved it. Last year, I made a family book with pictures from our family trips all the way back in the 1990's when I was a kid and they loved that too. So this year, sticking with the whole family memories tradition, I decided to get another calendar for which I had seen a deal on Living Social from the company, Printerpix. Now I've always trusted that the sites Living Social offers deals to are legit and what not (trusted meaning I never even stopped to consider that the sites wouldn't be reputable because I always assumed like if Living Social is legit, their deals should be fine right?), but after some of the problems I had with Printerpix, I went online and on Yelp the company have an absolutely awful rating. However, I'm not going to completely bash Printerpix and I just want to give you my whole experience and honest opinion about them so hear me out if you will.

Knowing that Christmas time always gets busy, I decided to make the calendar ahead of time and placed my order on November 15th. I would have placed my order earlier but I had difficulties working with the calendar creating page and of course school got in the way. If I were to compare the online program/site to the one VistaPrint has for their calendars, I would definitely say VistaPrint is way better. The zoom function from Printerpix's program is super annoying and it often lags (no, this is not a problem with my computer!). Some of the positive things though are that it does have background designs for you to choose from, you can add in your own personal holidays (ie. birthdays) onto the calendar, there are stickers that you can add to decorate the calendar (though they can be a little tacky), and it lets you know if you picture quality isn't high enough to guarantee a clear image when printed. You can also upload pictures from multiple sources like Facebook, your computer, and other media sites. Once I completed my order, I received a confirmation email stating that my order had been received and that I would be sent another email with the tracking ID once it was shipped.

Now all that was done by November 15th. Fast forward to around the first week of December when I realize.. hm I still haven't gotten my calendar. I check my email - no email from them regarding shipment. I check the website - my order status says 0% .. what?! I call them and it takes a while to get through but finally I get connected with a customer service representative who informs me that my calendar has been shipped but the "website isn't updating for some reason" and gives me the tracking information. Now first off, if they know that the website isn't working, I think it would be nice if they sent out an email or at least informed their customers of this because it's quite concerning seeing that my order is at 0% when it's been almost over a month. Furthermore, I never received an email with the tracking information which I'm not sure if that's linked to the website issue or not but they DEFINITELY should let customers know then because then how are we supposed to know to expect our order and when to, right? Luckily for me, the customer representative that I was speaking to was very nice and helped me look up my tracking ID which they had sent via USPS and low and behold, for some reason it had arrived at location near/very close to my address but then somehow went off to the city next to it and then "departed the USPS facility" and just never was scanned again. So the Printerpix lady told me to contact the USPS to see if they could find out where it was and if they couldn't help me, to call back again and she would send me a new copy.

Getting a hold of the USPS was another long wait but I managed to talk to a customer service representative and he (supposedly) opened up a case for me to track my package and said someone would contact me within 48 hours but no one did so I contacted Printerpix again (by then it was the second week of December) and the person who I explained my situation too was great and helped send out a new order request for my calendar in no time. However, I forgot to ask them to change the shipping address because by the time it arrived, I would be back home for the holiday break and obviously wouldn't be able to give it to my parents then. Within a week (not sure why it took so long), I received an email with the tracking ID for my reprinted calendar and was able to track that over my winter holiday break at home. It arrived in about 5 business days (right on Christmas eve actually) but I wasn't able to retrieve it until January 4th when I came back to my college apartment. I was a bit displeased because I found my calendar shoved into our tiny apartment mailboxes when I expected it to be left outside our doorstep like most larger packages or in the office. The reason why it was even able to fit into the tiny 4" by 8" box was because the cardboard packaging was thin and flimsy and barely sturdier than the card-stock the calendar was made out of. I was super disappointed about this because after about 2 weeks of being shoved up in that tiny mailbox, my calendar was curled up almost permanently. Since then (so for about a week now), I have put my heavier textbooks/flat objects on top of it in hopes that it will flatten out with no permanent wrinkles or folds. I sent an email complaint to Printerpix and have yet to receive a response but am definitely upset and annoyed at the poor packaging. Although I may have paid for my calendar using a Living Social deal, the calendar normally costs $20 if I remember correctly (if not more) which completely does not justify such poor effort put into the packaging.

Regarding the calendar itself, I was also a little disappointed to find that it was double sided meaning that it goes to January to June I think and then you have to flip the calendar over and on the backside you go from July to December. I'm all for being eco friendly and all but something about that bothered me. I'm not sure if they list that in the calendar description on their webpage but I do feel just a little cheated/disappointed in the quality of the calendar. Nevertheless, one good aspect is that because it's a wall calendar (or at least the one I ordered), it comes with a hole at the top to pin it up and the wire that holds the pages together sort of bumps up in the middle so you could hang it on a pushpin/tack in the wall. I do wish they would give you the option of choosing a landscape or portrait calendar however because they only give you the portrait option for the wall calendar.

So overall my thoughts would be... no I do not recommend this company. I do appreciate the professional and friendly customer service because they did seem earnest in helping me out (as of late I've been having great experiences with customer service like with AT&T and the USPS, it's surprising but refreshing). The downsides are that I feel like this company has a lot of problems (on there webpage they have a specific link to direct you if you have complaints! Like if they actually have that.. I feel like they must get quite a lot of complaints) as my experience showed with their webpage, email miscommunication, shipping issues (though I suppose that might not be their fault, I don't feel like USPS is that reliable and would prefer another carrier), and also delay in email response. They say they'll get back to you within 24 hours but the multiple times I've emailed them, it has always taken more than 24 hours if not no response at all. At least I've gotten my calendar in the end, albeit after Christmas so I'll have to give it to my parents the next time I see them, but do be wary if you plan on purchasing any merchandise from this company. Let me know in the comments if you've had any experience with this company and if so, was it good or bad?!

Edit (2/26/15): I sent my complaint email about the condition I received my calendar in on January 5th. On January 27th, I received an apology from their customer service and an arrangement for another calendar to be sent to me. Now if this had been something more urgent or a present for someone other than my parents I definitely would have been a bit more upset at the super late response (3 weeks?! Really?!). But because I had managed to flatten out my calendar to a somewhat presentable state and given it to my parents, I wasn't too bothered. I would like to mention that even my mom thought the quality of the calendar was pretty bad in both the picture quality and just overall look/design/material. On February 16th, I received an email confirming the shipment of my order and received it on February 20th so at least I got the package in a decently timely manner. The packaging was still this pretty thin cardboard material but at least this time the mailman (or woman) left it on my doorstep and not crumpled up in the tiny PO boxes that apartment complexes have for normal mail (as it was for my first order).  I do appreciate PrinterPix shipping me another calendar and trying to make up for the poor condition I received my calendar in so points for that and I do think their customer service tries hard to make up for their companies faults, but I do not think that excuses the company for poor quality products.

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