Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Shutterfly Makes a Poor Decision

Well, you all, I've got some disappointing news. And because in my recent Shutterfly Holiday Promotion post I raved and gushed about how much I love Shutterfly and what a devoted Shutterfly customer I have been (I've used them for many gift items and photo books in addition to holiday cards over the past several years), I can't in good conscience keep it from you. You deserve to know that Shutterfly isn't as great a company as I thought it was. Yes, they gave me 50 free cards, and 75 more to give away to others. But then they refused to help me with a frustrating mix-up with my card order, one that resulted in me paying the shipping charge for my cards even though I was supposed to get free shipping. And it's true, shipping was only $7.99 or so. But that's hardly the point.

In Shutterfly's original offer to bloggers, sent to me on October 15th, certain instructions were confusingly worded. At the very end of the e-mail detailing the free card offer and the promo codes for obtaining the cards, there was a line that said:

"Please allow 48-72 hours for the free shipping credit to be applied to your account."

I published my Shutterfly Holiday Promotion post on October 17th.

I ordered my free cards on October 21st. When I did so, I was charged shipping at checkout. At the time, I assumed I'd misunderstood, and that the original offer was for merchandise only, not shipping--so I used my Visa to charge the shipping and tax ($8.56 total).

Almost immediately after I placed my order, I received another e-mail from Shutterfly, which provided a free shipping promo code to use for my free card order. Except I'd already made my order. And paid the shipping. And I'd certainly waited the "48-72 hours"....after what? The message didn't say. After my blog post? After some unknown event? I don't know, but since I had waited several days to do anything, I should have received free shipping WHEN I ORDERED MY CARDS.

I was not concerned, because of COURSE I assumed that Shutterfly, being a huge, well-known corporation to whom $7.99 or $8.56 or whatever would surely be peanuts--less than peanuts, actually, more like peanut shell scraps--would apologize for the confusion and refund the shipping charge to my Visa card. You know, since I endorsed their company 100% in my blog post, and since they had told me I would get free shipping, and since their instructions were confusing, and since I'd waited 48-72 hours to do anything.

I sent a polite, cheerful e-mail to the original blog outreach contact person explaining the situation and requesting help in fixing the problem. And last night I received a reply from Shutterfly Blog Outreach (no longer the specific person, Stuart Leung, from whom all previous correspondence had originated, and to whom I'd appealed for assistance), which said:

"Hi, Shannon. Our apologies, but we're unable to credit back the shipping on your order."

Whaaaaa....?

Seriously, Shutterfly? You're "unable." Really?

Shutterfly is unable to refund a $7.99 shipping charge to my credit card. Really. Hmmmm. Let's think on that a moment. Why would they be "unable"? Has their entire computer system just exploded, eliminating all financial transaction abilities? Did Shutterfly go bankrupt and shut down between October 21st and yesterday? Does no one there have any fingers anymore, so no one can type into their computer system a command to refund my shipping? Do they not have my credit card info? Has our national currency system died out?

Sorry, I don't mean to be sarcastic. Well, actually I do, because that reply was about the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. I guess Shutterfly feels that, since I didn't pay for those cards with my own money (I "just" provided them with glowing publicity), they don't need to do the right thing by me.

Don't ask me why Shutterfly cares about some tiny sum like $7.99. It makes no sense whatsoever. But this is what I now say about Shutterfly: Be warned if you use them; they are not in the business of treating customers well. If I were you, I'd go over to Snapfish from now on.

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