February 11th, 2008

talking skull

Warning: Vistaprint/Passport to Fun

This isn't so much a true "beware" as it is a "be really really careful" type post. Hopefully this post is relevant--I'm pretty sure I'm not the only artist who has used Vistaprint before.

So around January of last year, I got some "free" business cards from Vistaprint.com, with a $5 shipping fee. I got the cards (which looked very nice) and everything was great until earlier this month, when I noticed a strange charge on my credit card. Upon further investigation, I found out that I had been signed up for a travel discount service, "Passport To Fun," during a Vistaprint customer satisfaction survey.

PTF had been charging me $14.95 for the past six months. Now while I do admit that I should've checked my credit statement more closely (I am usually away at college, with checking the statement the least of my worries), here are some things that I found clearly wrong with PTF:

1. They said that I had checked the box on the Vistaprint customer survey that stated that I wanted a $10 rebate on my order, as well as a free month's membership to PTF. I am pretty sure that I never checked this box. Thinking about this logically, it makes no sense for someone of my situation to bother with this. The 100 business cards I got were more than enough (and I knew it then); my purchase from vistaprint was supposed to be a one time thing, so why would I need a $10 rebate for $5 shipping? Also, I am a college student---there's usually no time for me to travel. If I ever do go traveling, it is with my family--and on my parent's credit card (my credit line is puny, it doesn't make sense to try to travel or pay bills with it).

2. They hadn't notified me that I was signed up for PTF. They said that I supposedly recieved an email (which probably ended up in my spam box, if it ever existed), but other than that I never got any membership card, statement, or any other physical proof that I was signed up for this membership.

3. The PTF customer service representative I spoke to on the phone was very rude, though I'm honestly not sure if that was on purpose or because of a lack of a grasp on the English language (PTF is an overseas company, apparently centered in India). It was also very VERY difficult to find out how to reach an actual person on their phone line.

What also really disturbs me (though I don't know the exact legality of this) is that Vistaprint just handed over my credit card info to PTF. I'm not the only one who's had problems with PTF/Vistaprint. PTF apparently is connected to several other different companies, e.g. Today's Escapes, that are connected to other online sites, including Bargain Network and Travelocity. Some people have been charged as much as $60 per month. Here is some more info and testamonials about this particular scam.


I called my credit card company up, and finally managed to obtain a four month refund from PTF with their help. So in other words, just be careful guys! I still think Vistaprint does good work, but I really disapprove of the way it allows scams such as PTF to be sneaked in (and I can't for the life of me, think of why a business would want to antagonize their customers this way).