Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Bookmark Saga

Things are looking up! The day after I filed a complaint about The Print Place with the BBB in Arlington, TX, I received a phone call from their customer service manager, Nic.

What it came down to was this:
  1. He was very sorry for what happened
  2. The person who had taken the order, pretended to be a "Director" and generally messed me over had been fired
  3. I wasn't the only person to complain about said former employee
  4. I was right—their online template HAD BEEN screwed up, and they were in the process of fixing it
  5. They would refund my money if I wanted
Nic and I had a conversation about things, very amicably. I agreed to try their service by resending the graphics to him once more, and I ordered the bookmarks. They are refunding the amount of money I paid to them that is not applied to the order. The bookmarks should arrive by March 1, and when they do, I'll let everyone here know about their quality.

I'm really glad I'm not going to have to fill out the fraud report form that my credit card company sent to me, because it's a pain in the tuchas.

Tony Burton
Check out Blinded By Darkness and A Wicked Good Play

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Bookmark refund? NOT!!

Well, The Print Place has yet to refund any money to me. I called the representative, Corey McGrath, last week, one week after faxing them the refund request form he sent to me.

I asked him about the status of the refund, since I checked my credit card account daily and had seen no refunds. (It's pretty interesting that they can CHARGE my card within minutes, but somehow it's a lot more difficult to give me BACK the money they took from me.) He sounded surprised that the refund had not yet been issued, and asked for a callback number so he could call me back that day (Thursday) with an answer.

It's Tuesday, and still no refund has hit my credit card, and I have yet to hear from Mr. McGrath. I went to the BBB website for their city (Arlington, TX) and found that they already had a complaint file established.

Wow, WHAT a SURPRISE! (Do you hear the sarcasm in that??)

Anyway, I filed a complaint with the BBB Online, and later today I'll be calling my credit card company to get THOSE wheels in motion. I have also emailed Mr. McGrath about his failure to honor his word.

We'll see what happens. Over $120 is at stake, as well as this company's veracity and reputation.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Conferences, book sales and bookmarks

As some of you may have read earlier, I was scheduled to be a part of the Murder In the Magic City and Murder On the Menu events in Alabama this past weekend. Well, I drove over late Friday night and checked into the Drury Inn (great place for the price, by the way--they had a real breakfast, and it was free!) On Saturday, I was part of the first panel of the day with Denise Swanson, JoAnna Carl, Patricia Sprinkle and Heather Webber. (Four lovely ladies and me... am I lucky or what??)

Directly after that, the intriguing and prolific author, Thomas H. Cook, stood up and spoke to the group. The rest of the day included three more panels and book signing sessions, and the talented Laura Lippman addressed the group in the afternoon. I got to meet some wonderful folks, many of whom were authors. I also managed to sell quite a few books, and signed most of those, so it was a great day all around. Margaret Fenton, the president of the Southern Sisters chapter of the Sisters In Crime, organized the event and did a bang-up job on it.

The next day all the authors travelled in a caravan to a little town with fewer than 6,000 souls, Wetumpka, Alabama to attend Murder On the Menu. Delicious food, delightful readers and mystery fans, and great conversation. There, too, we sold and signed books. I got to meet a couple more authors who were NOT at the previous day's festivities, including meeting an old friend with whom I had corresponded for over a year, John M. Floyd (a contributor to By the Chimney With Care and Seven By Seven.)

If you would like to see a few photographs from these events, take a look at my ezine website, Crime and Suspense. There's a link there to a page with photos and a few comments about what went on there.

And about the bookmarks... I have yet to hear anything from The Print Place about my refund. I reiterate my previous statement: BEWARE this company!!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Bookmarks... get yer bookmarks here! NO! DON'T!!!

For those of you who are authors or publishers, I wanted to share the recent fiasco I went through with The Print Place.

First of all, their website looks professional and friendly. I uploaded the graphics for the front and back of my bookmark, and checked them against the immediate proof template they show (via PDF or JPG). Although I had sized my graphic according to their specifications, it did not meet the bleed lines on the ends of the template, and there was a big warning underneath that said that such a situation could cause white space to appear around the edge of the bookmark. Since I didn't want that, I rejected the proof graphic and did not send the job to print. But there was no place to change the parameters of the bookmark without starting a new job.

So, I went and created new graphics for the front and back and set up a new bookmark job. With the new, larger dimensions that were larger than specified by the company, the bleed and trim lines were exactly aligned with the graphics as required.

However, the next day I received an email that said the graphics I submitted were too big, and would result in my bookmark text being cropped!

I decided to cancel the job, and discovered to my surprise and anger that BOTH jobs had already been charged against my credit card, for 1000 copies of each bookmark, without the proof being accepted, without the job being sent to press and without my consent.

I called the company, and they said that their "policy" is to charge for the print job immediately, even when it has not been approved or sent to print, because they "have to send the graphic through a piece of software that cost them $250,000." This was from a person who later claimed to be a director within the company, although his email sig line says "Sales Associate."

After some discussion, this person agreed to process the graphic files personally if I would send them to him. I sent them, and did not hear anything back. I followed up with a second email four days later, and still didn't hear anything. Finally today I called, and he said the files were awaiting my approval. I asked why I had not been notified, and he said my email must be bouncing his messages. I told him I had received other emails from the company, both automated and personal. He then sent a test email and it went through within seconds. Hmmmmmmm!

Finally, after much discussion where he tried to tell me that charging before the proof was accepted was the standard policy for ALL online printing companies (which I knew to be false, as I have worked with other online printing companies, notably Vista Print and Printing For Less), he agreed to refund the entire amounts to me, including a "non-refundable production fee" of $15 per job--to handle the overhead of their receiving the files, I guess. I just faxed them the refund forms, so we'll see if I actually get the entire amounts refunded. I'll keep the readers of this blog updated.

I am on a panel at a conference this weekend, and will be signing books at two events. I now will have NO bookmarks for either event.

This long narrative was simply to justify what I'm about to say next: As you love your sanity, don't use this company!

(One frustrated and very angry author and publisher)