What does free mean to Vista Print?

The Friday Rant:

What does the word FREE mean to you?

UnknownIf you see a sign that says “free pizza” you would expect to get a free pizza similarly if you saw a sign that said free x when you buy x, that is pretty clear but Vista Print seem to think that free means you have to pay?

Let me enlighten you.

I recently placed an order for some business cards through Vista Print. I’ve used Vista Print for short runs of cards before and usually everything works out fine. I place my order and the cards arrive.
However, on this occasion it was not so straightforward. I placed my order and a couple of days later I received an email to tell me that my order had been cancelled due to some sort of printing or graphic issue and that the money that I had paid had been credited to me and “please could I call them”.

So lets just take a minute. The order has been cancelled and I have been credited. This transaction is complete, you would think.

I called Vista Print as requested and spoke to a lady who needed to speak to the “design” department. When she came back she said something along the lines of “we have fixed the issue and we are going to print these for free. (note that this is a new transaction) It won’t cost you anything for this order, we are printing them for free including postage” “wow” I thought that is really nice, something went wrong, they informed me, gave me a credit and did the job for free, I was impressed, for a little while.

Anyway the cards arrived and they were as I had designed them “cool” I thought. A few hours later I received an email from Vista Printer with an invoice attached for the amount of the cards. “Hmm” I thought, “something isn’t right”. I jumped on my laptop and using not so instant chat, I ventured to find out why I was being charged when I was told that this was free.

After lots of messages back and forth it transpired that the “free” works like this.

vistaprint logo

If an order is cancelled Vista Print place a credit on your account. When or if the order is placed they use the credit that they have given you, so NOT free. Actually I don’t know how legal this is? They gave me a credit for the full amount of my order, then told me that the new order was “free” but then charged me?

I was little fed up and really wanted to get this resolved and ended up getting another credit to my account for the full amount. Now I wasn’t able to get the money given back to my credit card company but at least i have something. Am I happy? do I sound happy?

Now, Vista Print may come back with “this was an error” but reading through the chat transcript this appears to be normal practice for Vista Print.

So that we are all clear on the word “FREE”, Free means free from payment, not free and we’re going to take money from you. To be honest had Vista Print not tried to be clever about this I wouldn’t have minded. They could have said “hey look, we cancelled your order but now we’re going to process it and we’re going to charge you again as we gave you a credit for the cancelled order” that would have worked a treat and i wouldn’t have minded but to make out that something is free from payment and then charge for it is a little cheap by anyones standards. 

Rant over.

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Friday, 19 July 2019
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