Thursday, 29 March 2012

My 2 Cents

This is a post regarding the recent (well, technically not so recent) Papertrey Ink customer service drama. I've kept quiet till now because initially, I thought people were just being immature and I didn't want to be involved, but over the past few months, even I've been bugged with all the things that have happened. Donna's recent post on her blog (go have a read, I actually think it's quite well written) brought my writing muse out today. I just wanted to add in my 2 cents that I didn't really bother to post on the forums.
Many of you will know that just about every card I make involves a PTI product. I'm close to being 100% PTI when it comes to stamping. Largely because PTI is what got me started stamping in the first place, and I have yet to find another company that really suits my style.
When I first started 1.5yrs ago, I quickly fell in love with PTI products. I still do as a matter of fact. They are high quality and versatile. I joined the forum, and was rather impressed at the community we had there. People helped each other out and the Design Team personally answered questions. You don't see such a place online very often these days.
But then it all started to turn to custard with anniversary sets not getting sent out, Karen having trouble with her defective item returns. Then everything followed from there onwards. Now we have a new website, which is a hundred times more difficult to navigate than the old one, let alone launched before it was even ready (what happened to pre-launch testings that we were told about?). Customer service emails getting wiped out on purpose so that they can catch up and re-triage as you are told when to email? People not getting their refunds (oh I've got one to share on this one)? The forum's been turned into a complaints box/CS emergency desk. How is it that you get a faster response and action on the forum? How will you make it up to people who never joined the forum? People have been banned on the forum. People I think that did not deserve the IP ban. The whole madness would have been much better with acceptance, apologies and getting the job done.

I'm leaving out a lot of the details, because there is enough out there, and Donna's post highlights many of them already.
I have to say one of the things that really annoys me is the fact that the design team is now on the customer service case. Don't get me wrong, but I love the DT. They are great bunch of ladies with lots of inspiration. But they are the DT. They should never be more or less. If PTI has CS issues, then they should be hiring more people fit for the job. Why is it that the DT is relaying information from the forum in the first place. Why are people getting answers on the forum and not over CS emails that is dedicated for the job? I can only speculate that the DT was brought back in to add a bit more positive vibe to the forum (when they all suddenly show up on the forum, it's kind of obvious something happened behind the scenes). In truth, I just find it all very superficial. And btw, don't you also think that having the DT on the forums answering CS questions has turned the forum into another CS desk? What's with that?

I will share my one experience with PTI customer service. I'm not exactly a short-fused person, and I wasn't too bothered what happened. I was just happy to get my replacement die and thought it went ok. But looking back now, it was really, crappy service too.

I had a defective die last year. I first emailed CS on 25th Aug with photo evidence, and got a reply the next day. Now, the info had to be relayed to Julie because I am an international. I heard nothing back. I emailed again on 3rd Sept and I got a reply on the 7th Sept that they'll give Julie another nudge to see if there's an update. I still had no information on what I should do with this defective die. Reply from Julie finally on the 8th Sept to send the die back (why can't this have been done on day 1???). Now this happened just after Karen had her trouble with the "First Class Mail" return of her defective item so I was adequately informed just a normal envelope would do. But nothing again till 28th Sept when I sent another email to CS. I also asked about the $2 refund they said I'll get for the shipping of the defective die. Reply next day from Julie she was planning on sorting out faulty goods that day and that if my die had arrived by then, then she'll send a new one that day. Replacement arrived 11 Oct.

That took 6 weeks to get sorted. Given I had photo evidence, can't they have sent a new one straight off when I sent the initial email? Why take over 4 weeks to even think about doing something about it?

What happened to my $2 refund you ask? I never got it. I just checked now, and I have no record of any refund being received from PTI. Will I call PTI CS for it now? I don't think so. They can keep my measly $2. It's not worth my time and energy to send them another dozen emails to have it sorted. I'll have better luck finding a $2 coin on the ground somewhere.

And one other thing. I totally don't understand how the company in the current state, can continue with monthly releases, Make It Mondays and Blog Hops as if everything is going perfectly well. Yes I admit to participating in Blog Hops and MIMs, but really, it gives me more pageviews and comments than anything else I've done so far. Once I get home and try other challenges, things will change.

So now what? Why the change in my tone all of a sudden? Wasn't I the happy forum member who didn't give a damn about the drama that was going on? No, not really. I just stayed out of the complaints box for my own sake. I had enough of it just flicking through the thread headings. Mid-last year, I still had a lot of hope in PTI and kept quite positive. I thought there was room to turn back and make things right. But all that has happened since is that they've dug a deeper hole than they started with. Yes, some things are starting to get fixed. But the damage has been done. I don't think PTI will ever recover completely. It takes quite a lot (A LOT) to get me to write something like this. In fact, it is near impossible. I've been disappointed far too many times. Mostly indirectly, but imagine what it'd be like those who never got their anniversary sets, never got the refund, got banned from forum and never had their questions answered promptly.

Will I still use their products? Oh heck yes. When you started stamping because of PTI, you don't have a lot of else to convert to. Will I buy from them still? To be honest, I have my credits to use, and there are still some sets that I'm keen to get. But I have to say I have become more and more put off. I may put in one more order with my credits and then who knows what will happen. I'll reassess the situation later, but I doubt I'll be putting in another big order like I have in the past. I have yet to find another clear stamp company that has the styles I want. I've looked at just about all the well-known ones and they don't draw me much at all. But anyway, I've got enough to play with for the time being.

This has turned into a bit of a novel. But just to reiterate that it's just my 2 cents and my experiences over the past year. It's not an award winning novel, but I believe that people need to hear various opinions and make up their own minds. I post this out of frustration of being disappointed from time and time again by a company that I once loved so much.

Nichole Heady always puts "our valued customers" at the heading of her notices. I really think it is time they get their act together if they truly value us. It should have happened long ago, but now is better than never. Learn from mistakes, make amends and then move forward. It's not going to work doing it back to front.

Thought I'd add some links to other blogs who share their views.

Donna C


Barb said...

I agree 100%! I have spent a small fortune...nevermind small, it's a fortune...with PTI since 2009 and once my credits are used up, once I find a replacement for my cardstock, I will no longer support them. There are other amazing companies out there who provide timely replies (and it's just a one-woman show!), great customer service (imagine that!?), fair shipping for International customer (something PTI can't grasp - $26 shipping when all I want is a few dies is criminal!) and still great products. I'll be giving my money to those companies from now on. Companies like Verve, MFT, Skipping Stones Design, Clear & Simple Stamps, Hero Arts, The Alley Way name a few. I can't stand the attitude they have of doing everything to promote their product, but then doing nothing to support it. Give me a break PTI! My money has more value than they deserve. It feels good to get that off my chest! Thanks for reading. Hugs from Canada

Lou Spiden said...


Carmen said...

Your post is very well written! I have never had a CS issue with PTI, but I got really worried every time I ordered, because I knew I was taking my chances.

I became vocal when I saw the injustices to other people and I was banned from the forum a few days ago... I don't think I deserved it, but I can't even defend myself.

I love their products and was really hoping that they would get their act together.

If you don't mind, I would like to link your post on my blog. Let me know if you don't want me to do it.

Kathy Allen said...

Well said! that is how many customers are feeling now. I haven't ordered since Sept. and I just can't see giving them any more of my hard earned cash..Thanks again!

Joyce across the Pond said...

That was a totally great post...and although I have had no issues with them I felt so bad about all that was happening.
I am in the U.K. and hated their international shipping policy...the first set I sent for cost $24 - shipping was $28 - from then on I had a shipping buddy and if it wasn't for her kindness I would not have as many PTI stamps. Yes, the stamps are great and the DT are wonderful and yes, I loved Nicole's designs but sorry, when all the rest is going on I can only go there with a heavy heart. I really don't see how they can continue. Thanks for posting this. I hope many read it.

jackie.stampster said...

thanks for writing such a well thought out post. I know the kind of person you must be. I'm also a person who doesn't say much, but I observe the actions of others. I have had a few things happen with PTI that I didn't think was handled correctly, but just shrugged it off. Then i saw what has happened to other PTI customers and said, ENOUGH. No more PTI shopping for me - at least for now. Check out Ellen Hutson's store. she is online and has a nice selection and fabulous service.

Luv2talk said...

I haven't had any CS issues myself, but I am appalled at what I've read on the forum. PTI turned me into a stamper. I love their stuff. LOVE their stuff.

But, as much as I love their stamps and their card stock, I don't think my heart is in it anymore.

It was frustrating enough just reading about OTHER people's problems. I can only imagine if "I" had an issue and had to jump through all those hoops.

No thanks.

Karen said...

So well written Euna!

Mad for Paper said...

Very well written.
Thank you

Lee said...

I also started stamping because of PTI's great designs. I have been a customer for 3 years and also spent a fortune. I have one unresolved CS issue (missing stamp) from 2 years ago but I didn't pursue it...too much hassle. But at the moment I am still waiting for my Feb release order which was sent to Australia (I am in South Africa). Nichole has been in contact with me but I am still waiting for a response from Dave or Julie with regards to USPS. This situation has me so frustrated and I just don't see myself placing another order. This whole fiasco could happen again and the international shipping fees are so expensive. If these international parcels are insured, surely they could just send me a replacement and claim from USPS.

Winnie said...

Euna: Very well written post. I feel heartsick that they can't get the customer service down. I have been stamping with them from Day 1 and LOVE their style and paper. I have been fortunate and never had an order problem, but sure hope that others who have get resolution. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I myself have kept out of the PTI debate but after recent personal experience I am upset to the point that I cannot even go on the PTI blog at the moment. I live in the uk and my parents were on vacation for 3 weeks in Orlando. To escape the enormous (and they really are big!) postage fees and also immigration taxes I asked for the $170 order to be posted to them on holiday.

The order failed at the check out page and it so happens that this was the day before PTI wiped all their customer service emails. I was desperate to get the order sorted and had a two week window by then to sort it. I have a PayPal account so offered for the, to invoice me and pay that way but customer services were no help whatsoever just kept saying the problem was at checkout well hello I knew that already!

I am currently recovering from one spinal operation and awaiting another so my card making takes my mind of things but this has been the last straw. I just cannot bring myself to reorder again and have to pay taxes and postage that I wouldn't have had to had they got their business in order.

I like you take a rocket to post something like this but I really cannot believe the way they are treating their customers. They have grown too big too quickly without the right framework in place. Do they not realise once you have lost a customer it takes a lot for them to come back. I won't for sure even though I think their products are amazing