Let's talk about Print On Demand services. What a great idea they are!
Over the last few years I've given a few of these companies a try, but never really had much luck with them in terms of sales - it always seemed hard to get my products noticed amongst all the noise on these sites, so eventually I'd give up on them.
Recently, after designing some rather fun 'Bum' designs that I wanted to see on various products, I thought I'd give one particular POD site - Society6 another try, after all, a few of the awesome artists that I follow seem to be on it, and it is known as the daddy of POD.
I went ahead and put my designs up on their site, despite finding the user interface a bit lacking and kinda tricky to figure out at first, but eventually had my 'Bum' designs up in my Society6 shop and did a little promoting.
The designs proved to be popular (yay!) and I started making sales. Eventually I decided to buy a t-shirt of one of my designs for myself (nothing like a good bit of self promotion!) and it's a good job I did, because what arrived in the mail was a bit shocking...
The morning my shirt arrived I opened it with much excitement, I love seeing my art on products! But what was this mess I was looking at?! I had ordered an orange t-shirt (ignoring the fact the size of it, apparently a large, could fit an entire circus in it) the shirt itself was terrible.. there were red ink marks located all around the shirt in weird places, and the print looked terrible around the design area. I couldn't believe the state of what they had sent me.
Surely they'd do a quality check before packing and posting their products?!
After spending a fair amount of time trying to figure out how to contact them, I eventually found all the online forms to request a refund, which I did immediately. I found it odd that there seemed to be no real request for reasoning. but anyway, the refund came through really quickly. I then sent them a message about how disgusted I was with the product quality.
I received a reply from a member of staff that I won't name, but the response pretty much ignored my questions about whether the products got quality checked before posting, and was told it was a "mistake by their printer".
Ok, well that's fair enough, but the attitude of the S6 employee was uncaring about the fact I was upset at what I'd received and didn't seem to give a crap about my customers - I explained it was unacceptable for my customers to receive products this bad. Luckily the shirts sold so far had been black shirts so any printing issues like mine wouldn't be shown on their shirts, but that's not the point!
I was then asked to "give them another shot" and offered a new product, but not for free, oh no... I was instructed to use the refund to buy again. Er... I don't think so!
Again I explained that it wasn't on, but was fobbed off. I sent a bad feedback rating, to which I received another uncaring response, and was told that "our company culture is super laid back and we treat our customers like friends instead of faceless individuals" - ok, that's fine, but when a customer is clearly upset by your company, you don't just say "oh hey duuuude, yeah my bad." I don't care how laid back or groovy your company is, I expect good quality and for you to take responsibility for your mistakes - especially for the prices you charge and the cut the artist gets. It's the worst customer service I've ever had in this respect.
This is why I will never use Society6 again.
In the mean time, I'm looking in to other ways to get these designs to you guys, and I apologise for not being able to provide these products to you at this time.
Hopefully I'll find another way to do this soon.
I'd also urge any fellow artists to buy one of your own products to make sure your customers aren't getting the crap I ended up with.