Wednesday, January 13, 2016

MyPublisher: The decline of a once-great photo-book service

Every day without fail lately I get a promotional email from MyPublisher, the maker of custom photo books.
What I don’t get are the two books I ordered before Christmas and have yet to arrive.
I placed my order with MyPublisher on Dec. 20, chose expedited production and delivery and was promised to have my photo books before Christmas.
This was the sixth holiday season that I had ordered photo books as holiday gifts from MyPublisher. I had never had a problem with the company until this year.
On Dec. 23, I received an email from the MyPublisher customer service team informing me that my photo-book order would not arrive in time for Christmas. To make up for missing the delivery date, MyPublisher said it would reimburse 50% of the cost of the order.
Well, now it is Jan. 13 and my order still hasn’t arrived. In email correspondence with the customer service team, they report that my books are being assembled. But they provide no information on when they are expected to ship.
MyPublisher said it had “an unexpectedly high volume of orders, which delayed production time.”

Update (Jan. 20, 2016): My two books finally arrived on Jan. 20, exactly one month after I placed my order.

MyPublisher has been in business since 1994. In April 2013, MyPublisher was purchased by Shutterfly for an undisclosed sum.
I can only assume that problems at MyPublisher are related to business decisions by its new owner.
Last July, Shutterfly closed the manufacturing operations at Elmsford, N.Y., which it had acquired in the MyPublisher acquisition. During the third quarter, it moved that manufacturing work to three other plants, located in Fort Mill, S.C.; Shakopee, Minn., and Tempe, Ariz.
I’m not the only person affected by missed deliveries or quality issues with MyPublisher lately.
What follows are some recent complaints posted on Yelp:
“Use any other photo book company! These negative reviews are no joke … I am LIVID over my recent experience.
Still waiting on my order, which, despite being submitted weeks ago with plenty of time for delivery by Christmas, has not even been sent to the printing stage yet!
Customer service reps cannot tell me where my order is. Cannot give me even an ESTIMATION of how much longer it will take. And are, in general, apathetic and entirely (useless).”
– Diana P. of San Diego, Dec. 28, 2015.

“Horrible company. Plan on waiting forever on the phone ... plan on waiting forever for a response to your emails ... plan on the order status never being updated ... They have the option to chat, but it never works because apparently they can’t keep up with all the complaints. When you finally get a response … their replies are snarky and unapologetic. Can’t rate the product because it never got delivered.”
– Terry C. of Grayslake, Ill.; Dec. 29, 2015.

“I have been a loyal MyPublisher customer for a number of years, previously with good experiences. I have made large (100 page) books each year and have bought 5 copies. This year, however, my experience has been nothing short of horrible. I uploaded a large book Dec 15, which should have been in plenty of time for Christmas. I called daily for 6 straight days prior to Christmas, and their customer support was absolutely terrible. All they could tell me was that it was ‘in production.’ They had no idea when it would ship. They not only missed Christmas, they won’t even make New Year’s … I don’t know what has happened to what once was a good company, but I will certainly look for a new publisher, and will definitely check online reviews before deciding. User BEWARE.”
– Bill F. of Pittsburgh, Pa.; Dec. 29, 2015.

“How they have fallen. Two years ago they were bought out by Shutterfly. That year I nervously placed my order as I had for the past ten years and everything was as it had been. Around the middle of December about four to five days from ordering a sizeable box from FedEx arrived and it contained a dozen books. Huzzah!
Last year I thought it over carefully and placed my order. Again, a sizeable box four days after ordering. Huzzah! My Publisher was still great!
This year the chickens came home to roost.
Everything has been moved to North Carolina and books, shipping and customer service have plummeted.
Two weeks after ordering I’d received one box with four of my twelve books. Seven had been destroyed in transit. One was ‘still coming.’ I called them, four days before Christmas and was told they were reprinting the seven. The last one arrived and it was someone else’s book entirely.
The 28th I called and was told that they never received word from FedEx about the destroyed books and that they had no record of me calling them.
I’m in the midst of trying desperately to get back any money I can and cancel the order, but they insist that I get back the four I gave out as Christmas gifts before they can do any refund.
Go anywhere else I beg of you. Learn from my mistake, they have lost a customer who has ordered hundreds of books from them over twelve years and I’ll never be back. You shouldn’t even start.”
– J.M. of Cranford, N.J.; Jan. 3, 2016.
There also is a bunch of complaints on Twitter. Check them out here.

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