I'd like to preface this by saying that Howard, VP at Media Print Direct, is the nicest printer you could ever work with. So I feel bad for mentioning his name here, but he is who I worked with, and he can't keep things straight from day to day. I would have been able to deal with this and might have been a repeat customer if the company had fixed the problem with my order.
In initial conversations with Howard on 2/2/09, he provided a quote for 1,000 business cards for my client, and I said I'll want to choose the paper. He said he'd send out paper samples. He also required me to give him a credit card authorization upfront at this time.
What he sent was samples of their work -- one sample of a business card and some magnets and brochures. I was only interested in paper choices for business cards, obviously. I told him what he sent wasn't what I was looking for, and he said he'd send more paper samples out the next morning, 2/12.
I received an e-mail with an invoice saying the cards had shipped on 2/13. The client's credit card was charged at this time. I asked Howard what happened and pointed out that I was still trying to get paper samples from him. He said he thought it was a done deal and asked me to see if the client likes the cards when they arrived; otherwise; he'd definitely "make this right." I told him the chances of the client liking the cards were slim because the invoice made it clear that the cards were going to have a glossy finish, which this client has never liked.
The cards arrived on 2/18, and the client did not like the cards because of their glossy finish, and most of them were cut crooked making them unusable anyway.
After weeks of going on with wrong things sent under the guise of paper samples, trying to get Howard to agree to a date/time to meet in person for us to look at paper choices and follow-ups to try to get a response, my client went to a different print shop to look at paper samples and came up with a solution, which was to reprint the cards on the same stock paper -- the one that was on their original quote so that the price wouldn't change -- but with a matte (dull) finish. I e-mailed this solution to Howard on 3/12.
On 3/17, Howard said the cards would be shipped out 3/19. After not receiving anything, I called and e-mailed Howard to follow up on 3/26. No response. I e-mailed him again on 3/27. No response. On 3/29, I got a response from the other VP, Maria, saying they will not reprint the cards for free and that they could only offer a discount as if it were a 2nd order. I replied to let her know that was wrong and explained my case. She said she would meet with her team the next day to investigate further. But I guess that was just another stalling technique because there has been no word from her since then, and I've tried following up a couple times.
1) They let this go on for almost 2 months before reviewing the problem to make the decision to not resolve it. That's extremely POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE.
2) My client is left with unusable business cards that we didn't order (never got to finalize the order with our paper choice). This feels like FRAUD.
3) They had 2 simple solutions they could have done -- either print the cards correctly and make sure they're cut straight, OR refund my client's money. Refusing to do either is BAD BUSINESS CONDUCT, especially since the problem was due to a misunderstanding on their part. If they had fixed the problem, I could have brought them more business being in a design / marketing type of industry.
Note that their address has changed to 675 N. Eckhoff Street, Suite H, Orange, CA 92868. They also have locations in Commerce and El Monte. I entered the Anaheim address as their address because that's what is still everywhere on the Web for them, and I wanted to make sure people knew this was the same company.