There's always one!!

Stationery Direct

Staff member
Seriously, I wonder why I bother some times!

A customer places an order for some business cards (has used us before), on delivery he phones up moaning about how small the font is etc, blaming us. I take a look at the artwork HE uploaded and HIS designer has used a 4pt/5pt font or something, I explain that this conversation needs to be between him and his designer as we didn't create this artwork.

He calms down and then as a gesture of goodwill...and because at the end of the day I want our customers to be happy and return, I offer to re-draw the artwork for him FREE OF CHARGE!!

As you will all know the free of charge jobs are the ones where the customer then takes the piss, multiple amends, can you reduce the font size by 0.00001pts, can you move that letter over by 1 pixel!! Anyway, after a round of probably 7 amends and therefore 7 emailed proofs he is happy, hooray!!! He signs off the final proof and it goes on press, in the meantime he leaves a 5 star review for us, which always makes me happy when I have gone the extra mile.

The cards are delivered and he is fuming, when we re-designed the cards we put a watermark of his logo in the background on the 1 side, this was on all proofs viewed including the final proof signed off. He is then amazed that this is printed on his business cards and demands that we re-print them free of charge etc etc....

Anyway, so after making literally next to nothing on the print, spending what must have been over an hour amending his artwork, corresponding via email etc, my reward for this? A 1 star review!!

I literally shouldn't have bothered.


Staff member
Yeh I get you. I know what you mean and agree.

Probably why we insist that if artwork is sent in incorrectly that they resupply it and we'll print it again. Sometimes for free as a show of good faith. But we are reluctant to do anything for free.

For instance, I ripped a PDF this morning to send to a client who supplied everything. And I spotted a grammar error on the back page, and I sent an email saying what it was and directly underneath said "We have not proofread the entire document."

I'm finding more and more these days you have to be crystal clear about what happens.

As it's only a few business cards - would you remove the watermark and reprint FOC?

Stationery Direct

Staff member
As it's only a few business cards - would you remove the watermark and reprint FOC?
Why should we when we have already spent considerable time creating his artwork for free? Which may I add I didn't even need to offer to do in the first place and which was signed off by the customer.

We're not a charity and have to draw the line somewhere, some customers it doesn't matter what you do they are never happy.

Just disappointed this is the result of helping someone out.


Staff member
Yeah - you're right. We had someone refusing to pay €25 - so we didn't produce the work. They tried to go over the heads of everyone but was told the same thing, pay or you don't get it.

Simple as. You did everything right.

For me, the whole point with a proofing setup is that the onus is on the customer to spot anything they're not keen on. Particularly if they supplied the artwork.

Whenever I have any design input or make any minor adjustments I usually make it explicit in the covering email that I've made a change; "Please be aware that I've moved X to the centre so that it'll look more balanced when printed, is this OK?" etc...

It kills me to admit this, but I get so jaded by customers who have proofed everything coming back at us when they're dissatisfied with their own creative direction that I don't bother trying to help them anymore. It makes it clearer that the problem came from their:

A) Being too stubborn to accept help
B) Being too lazy to proof read something
C) Both

My blood's up now, I need to go outside and shout at the motorway.


New Member
Just to chime in, as a general thought... It seems that these things (terms and conditions - boundaries) need to be made explicitly clear in the first conversation.

Do you have an official 'terms and conditions' document that you can send to clients at the same time you send the proof for approval? (I was going to suggest sending before any work takes place, but that would be too clumsey, and you want the business).

The world of online reviews is a blessing and a curse.

Perhaps you can come up with a complaints policy or 'procedure' in order to deal with publically disgruntled customers?


- send Ts & Cs with proof and they need to 'agree' in the email (I'd build in an hourly rate for rework and reprint etc)

- refer to Ts & Cs if they complain (as long as it's not a printing error) and offer to remedy the action as a 'priority' at the given rate

- check back / follow up verbally once the job has been delivered