Republishing an article from last year, just in case you are about to make a mistake and buy something from Artscow.com in the month of December.
I wanted to share a recent (and ongoing) very bad experience I have had with the online photo company, Artscow.com. I registered with Artscow a few months ago, after seeing some deals that were posted on one of my favorite deal tracking Web sites. The prices looked very competitive, and they were constantly running specials for different types of photo items. I was very intrigued, and pushed my wife (the creative one) to order something fun. Well, unfortunately, she finally took me up on the offer.
We always order calendars for Christmas to give to our parents. We usually wait until the last minute, but admittedly, this year was a little crazier than normal. My wife sat down on December 16th and spent ALL DAY creating a calendar online at Artscow.com. And I do mean all day. You see, when my wife starts something, it gets finished, and gets finished to her satisfaction. (And she has very high standards.) She finished the calendar, went to finalize shipping, and received a surprise — or shock, depending on how you look at it. The calendars she’d ordered were a fair price, but the shipping and handling is some of the most ridiculous I have ever seen. At this point, I jumped into action and tried to find a coupon that would make the cost palatable. While my wife takes the crown for creativity, I snag it for coupons. I found one that gave us somewhat of a break on the shipping.
We ordered the calendars on the 16th and received an order confirmation with a note stating they would arrive in 6-12 business days. We rolled the dice and decided they would be gifted at News Years this year; however, as I sit typing this on January 11th, we have no calendars. That’s right — 18 business days, and no delivery. It gets better. Artscow.com is in Hong Kong – or at least their printing and customer service is. Talk about the proverbial slow boat from China. In hindsight, we really should have caught all of this. It isn’t often we get caught by surprise, but we figured it was reasonable to expect a company that plays in the same space as Kodak Gallery, Shutterfly, etc. to maintain competitive shipping prices.
Here are some of the things I encountered:
Support Hours – Hope you stay up late, because they keep Hong Kong hours.
Support Staff – As you might imagine, they are pretty worthless. They check the same info that’s available to you, and offer no real assistance — unless you count tallying up business days, something I’m quite capable of doing.
Broken English – It’s cool if English isn’t your first language. I just ask that you get someone to provide some editing for the countries you decide to service. If I want to sell something in Thailand, I would engage someone who speaks Thai to provide editing services. Just sayin’.
From the Artscow FAQ:
11. Can I track and trace my order?
There is no tracking available for the USPS shipping but if you are in rush and treat it’s very important to receive it then we suggest you can choose your shipping method by using Fedex. You may track it using the links provided in your order detail. It may take up to 24 hours for your tracking information to be posted on the FedEx website.
Shipping Times – Should have read the FAQ. Slamming head into wall…
2. Do we shipping to other countries?
Yes, we do shipping to worldwide. Shipment normally take 6-12 working days for arrival.
*Delivery dates are not guaranteed and may include extra transit time because of unforeseen delays. Late deliveries are always a possibility, however, we will try our best to ensure all deliveries arrive on time.
I guess I should have been suspect about delivery when the shipping confirmation included the following language:
The shipping times are estimated and are not guaranteed. Shipping times take about 8-12 business days. (During holiday periods, 3-4 extra business days may be required.) Please be more patient on shipment arrival. Thanks for your order.
Note: it says 8-12 in the confirmation. Just sayin’.
Shipping Fees – This takes the cake. Check out their very confusing shipping manifesto. Talk about high prices for shipping… I hate getting ripped off for shipping; it puts me in a bad mood.
In closing, beware of Artscow.com. They have bad service, bad policies, and they don’t care if you get your item(s). Oh, I almost forgot the best part of my wife’s status inquiry. My wife told the customer service agent she would be seeking a refund if the calendars weren’t received early next week (that would be mid-January). The agent told her Artscow.com’s obligation was to provide the merchandise that was ordered. Therefore, if the calendars weren’t received, they would re-print. So basically, we’d be looking at a February delivery date.