Monday, November 14, 2011

CafePress Fail - lesson learned!

Howdy all - as I said when I introduced the 2012 Calendar a few posts ago, I've produced calendars online several years running, and always with good results. Unfortunately, in my haste to get a calendar available for sale online this fall, I trusted that CafePress would meet or exceed the print quality I've always gotten from other printers (shutterfly.com, and I believe snapfish.com) which has always been excellent.  I'm sorry to say that I've found that assumption to be false.  I received my first copy of my calendar today, and found it to be a mixed bag of prints some of which look quite good, while others look atrocious bad!  The bad ones include combinations of things like, oversaturation (looks nothing like the image I uploaded, and I know the colorspace was correct), flakes of ink missing from the page(!), visible halftoning with big dots, and many shots include vertical banding to one degree or another (not sure if this is some sort of moire pattern from the halftoning (halftoning?!) or just bad printing).

Lesson learned - always get a sample before offering a product to the public!
For now I'm removing the CafePress version from the market, and I'll be looking into other printers (and likely handling orders myself rather than through a web based service).

For those of you who are planning on ordering calendars, don't worry, I'm still pursuing it.  I'll post here when I get more info!

Luckily (heh, kinda, I guess), only two of you have ordered calendars so far, so this hasn't affected too many customers. 

For the two of you who already purchased, what I'd recommend is checking out your calendar when it arrives - since these are printed on demand, one at a time, there's a chance that yours turned out better (maybe I got the new guy), if it's fine, awesome, congrats; If you can identify problems with the printing, you should return it using CafePress' 100% Money Back Gaurentee. Their policy states, "Please note: Shipping charges are only refundable if your return is a result of an error made by CafePress.com.", and I'd say there are any number of "errors made by CafePress.com" in my copy, so if you decide to return the calendar due to these problems, you should get you shipping cost returned as well.  Let me know how that goes for you and I'll make it right (as well as discounts on new calendar purchaces for you two when the the new version is finalized - get in touch with me for details).

Gah!

Update - CafePress has issued a refund, and after I pressed the issue, has refunded my shipping costs as well, so if you're displeased with your copy, CafePress should make it right (with a little pressure).

Update 2 - I've been contacted by CafePress who are going to try to resolve my issues - proactive damage control!  Between their attempt to improve and their low-risk return policy - I'd say give 'em a try if you're interested, just get a sample sent to you first.

Egret Alighting ~ Santa Cruz, California


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