Poor Quality Print: Legal advice/ Help required!


New Member
Hi all,

I'm a freelance illustrator/graphic/web designer and would be grateful if anyone could give me some advice with a problem.

I recently did some work for a vocational dance college, basically t-shirt designs which I also had printed. at the last minute they asked me for some more and to produce a programme for their summer showcase., again this would be to design and have them printed. As the company I used to print the shirts is also a print shop I asked them if they could do this to and they agreed.

I've picked up the shirts and the first batch of programmes, the shirts are fine but the quality of the programmes is shocking. Basically the programme is 2 A3 sheets folded to make an 8 sided A4 programme. outer cover in colour and the inner 6 pages in B&W.

this is the first time I've had quality issues with any printer, I haven't paid for these yet does anyone know where I stand legally? the quality is shockingly poor not up to any kind of professional standard.

I have since had to use another printer to do the programmes properly.
If you are not happy with the quality of something then don't pay. As long as you let them know you think the quality is below what you expected in a timely fashion (not that it should matter but it helps to put your point across if you flag the issues up straight away) and take the time to explain exactly what is wrong I believe you are well within your rights. Tell them you are not going to settle the bill for the programmes and let them have the stock back.
When I'd been through the whole of the first batch and identified that it was substandard throughout I called and told them to stop the print as they where not wanted. Initially the response was "right ok" and little else I was later contacted my who I presume to be the owner/manger demanding to know what was to be done about payment. I told him I would call and deal with the matter on Monday, this was Saturday afternon.
No time was of the essence, they're needed for 12 tomorrow (monday 18th) having seen the standard of the initial batch and knowing that they needed to be done I went to another printer.
Quote the Sale of Goods Act (if you have to). T&Cs will be relevant - but do not rewrite legislation.

Show evidence of the sub-standard work and return it. Explain that you will not be paying for it.

What sum is involved?
I would think that generally you should try to resolve the issue with the printer. Usually the printer will be keen to keep the custom and so will reprint the job, therefore saving you the extra cost and stress involved in going somewhere else. And then you have an angry first printer demanding payment.

If you bought a car from a dealer and it didn't work properly, you wouldn't go somewhere else and buy another car. You'd get the dealer to fix it.

I realise that the job is now already done. However, I reckon this would normally be the first port of call.

Just my 5p worth. :icon_smile:

The key for me would be how the finished job differs from the agreed specification (you did agree a specification, didn't you?)
The key for me would be how the finished job differs from the agreed specification (you did agree a specification, didn't you?)

Yes, that's also a good point. Some examples could be that a printer may print a job digitally rather than litho, or on an uncoated rather than coated stock, and the quality and specification could be completely different.
Hi all,

Sorry for the delayed reply, So.

Minuteman - £300

Gprovan - Normally this is what I would do too, but as I said time was of the essence and having seen what had been produced I doubted the ability of this printer and of his equipment ( the second printer I used saw his work and said he though that it was poor and that his hardware needed an engineer).

I don’t think your car analogy is relevant really, If I went to a restaurant and was disgusted with what the waiter brought I could sent it back to the kitchen but I would be well within my rights to decline it refuse payment and go elsewhere.

Dave-L - Yes specification was agreed but it’s way beyond that.

Every front cover is badly streaked with areas where the ink has lifter from the paper and the dirty marks where it was been deposited further on some feature a large greasy thumbprint in the top right corner theres a stain on every page which appears to be water damage to the paper. the bleed and crop marks have been ignored and the original artwork has been cropped into by 6mm and an unspecified 5mm white border has been added around the whole image .

Internally the printing is mottled and blotchy very thin in areas, although the inner pages are B&W the variation is all over the place so that double page spreads feature one side that is B&W and the other tinted blue and I mean really blue as if a cyan filter has been applied at 100% luminosity the page alignment is 5mm out in every copy. Again the bleed and crop marks were ignored and the original image cropped into up to a 1cm in places so that half the footer has been removed, I could go on even the actual construction is poor.

Its worth noting that these where BOUGHT on the door not simply handed out so the standard was nowhere near good enough, this is an expensive school and the only northern feeder school to the royal ballet. If I were able to hand you a copy you’d see my point had I been unable to source some one else I would have wavered my fee the standard is that poor. In all honesty I feel the water damage stain alone would merit refusal.

The second printer did a beautiful job, in less time, on his own (the other place has 5 staff members) used much better quality paper for the same money.
Sounds like it turned out really bad, although, maybe you should have first given them the chance to rectify the situation.

I would send them a sample of the good quality print that you received elsewhere as an example as to what you expected, that should do the trick. Again, keep a sample of the good and bad job should they decide to chase you for the money as you will then have something to back you up in court.
Agreed Boss Hog,

I will keep copies of both, that alone will stand in my favour.

Normally I would give them a second chance but the quality I felt was that poor and time so short I made what I feel was the correct choice I need to preserve the standard of my work and protect the image of my client. Times are hard and good clients hard to come by I will go the extra mile for mine shame this printer wont.

Thanks to those who took the time to offer advice.

The matter is settled initially he threatened court action but after I pointed out the level of the problem and showed him the difference between the two final products he has relented and will not be charging.

Thanks again

Poor Quality print: Legal help/ Advice

google search print or design Ombudsman

tell them your problem and guaranteed your problem would be resolved- companies hate to hear from the ombudsman

So pleased that things are sorted. What a nightmare for you. Surprised legal action was mentioned by supplier. Good news - back to work as normal!

Mogambo: Not aware of an ombudsman for print. Trading standards would be appropriate.