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My experiences with VistaPrint business cards / The value of screenshots

Writing about this seems to be sticked to my mental todo list. So I'm writing about it now to better concentrate on other stuff after. Let's see if that works. When I buy stuff I end up at quite often. With the order flyers for special offers from partners of Amazon are shipped. VistaPrint flyers were among these several times. A need for business cards first hit me on 25c3, when people I was talking with gave me their cards while I had to give "sorry, I don't have any" back. I guess about the third time it started annoying me. When I first came to the VistaPrint site the what-you-can-pay-with FAQ entry did not list any non- credit-card means to pay. As that is not acceptable to me I wrote a mail, got no answer, but PayPal magically appeared in the listing. So that's my first "contact" to the VistaPrint support. A VistaPrint order can be summarized like this (hint: look at line 4):

  • Browse through designs you like and decide for one of them
  • Interactively fill your card with data
  • Decide about extra costs for a non-white back of the card
  • Confirm that you're aware that you cannot change that design later (Do screenshots at that stage!)
  • Register a user account
  • Decide for more expensive paper or not (default, glossy, extra-weight)
  • Decide for non-turtle-speed delivery or not (cheapest can take 21 days)
  • Click through repeated special discount spam both inhouse as well as 3rd party
  • Pay
  • Save a web page as confirmation

The whole process was somewhere between okayish to annoying:

  • I either felt bad to spend more money than I wanted or to miss extra quality
  • The interactive did a few strange things, e.g. font sizes decrease when I put round parentheses in and increase back when they're gone
  • All the special offer crap made a really unprofessional impression to me
  • The website has visible bugs, e.g. The offered address stickers showed "Address line 1" because I left that empty

To visualize the latter: do I want address labels like this?

(Ignore that it's black and white only. The customer contract with VistaPrint does not allow me to put the original designs/images here.) When the order was done I had a look at the order's summary and the related preview images showing my future business cards. That's when I noticed that something was broken: the font size of my website and e-mail address had strongly decreased. This is before and after reduced to just the font size issue:



So I was worried that my internet contact info would actually look as small as that, so I contacted support through mail with two images attached elaborating on my worries. The screenshot came in quite handy here. The usual machine generated thanks-for-your-mail stuff came in, no real reply. If they had read that mail, they would have saved sending out broken cards the first time. A few days later I wrote another mail ~"hey guys, I think it's quite poor that you don't handle my case at all". No reply either. When the cards arrived the font was as small as I was afraid it would be. So I called support this time: ~"Great I get through to somebody, you've been ignoring my mails three times now". I described what I had done: that I had confirmed the sane version, not the broken one, that I made a screenshot, that it did not fake the screenshot and that it would be hard to do. The lady on the line tried to reproduce my problem and it turned out I was right: the system actually had a bug. Oh really. 9 million customers and noone ever hit that. (Sometimes they say 16 million, I guess both are fake.) She offered to come back to me the other day. It took her another day but what she had initiated by then was fixed cards with express delivery (7 days) all for free. I'm thankful to hear for that. I have no idea if these these bugs have been fixed: I asked but have not reaceived a reply yet.