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)