In 1998, the company I managed became the first sign and graphics firm to be listed on a new internet search engine called Yahoo! I was immediately impressed by the fact that, with no real effort at all, we were suddenly getting customized stickers labels orders from New York or Miami or Los Angeles, where we’d previous not sold personalized sticker labels or banners or sign before, and without a sales rep in those markets.
By 2000, I knew that this ability to market products was going somewhere and fast! At that time, we printed a lot of corrugated plastic political signs – before the bottom dropped out of that market – and 2000 was a banner year for us. I went to my boss at the end of the season and attempted to convince him to take our earnings and market the products we sold every day and build a mega-website. He felt we needed to combine two operations we had into one facility, so spent the year’s profits on a down payment on a new, much larger facility. I parted ways with that company in 2003. They are no longer in business.
Buying Custom Stickers Online in the Wild, Wild West of the Internet – Potential Problems in Purchasing When You Can’t See Whom You’re Buying From
Along with the convenience of purchasing online from stores who had an online presence in the early 2000’s came the hucksters and rip-off artists. Any guy in Nigeria who could write passable English and knew how to build a website could “sell” customized labels online, get your credit card number, charge it, and disappear, only to resurface as another company 3 days later and repeat the process. Fortunately, consumer watchdog sites like the Better Business Bureau also caught on early that this was a scammer’s paradise, and good printing companies were able to parlay their credentials even more quickly online than they had before the web.
It seems ludicrous now, 13 years after I started using email, that I was just a little swayed by the very first “Nigerian” scam letter telling me there was millions of dollars in a Swiss bank account with my name on it. Fortunately for me, and most others, our skepticism of something that sounded “too good to be true” won the battle over our greed and desire for easy money, and we kept the few coins we had in our pockets. But “Nigerian” scammers weren’t as big a problem as hiring an online label printer who provided shoddy service or product.
How You Can Now Purchase Personalized Sticker Labels with 99.99% Assurance that You’ll Get Exactly the Printed Graphics You Ordered – On Time – Every Time!
While Google is the policeman of the online shopping world – for better or for worse – you really can’t ask them for help personally. They’ve become like the mega-corporations you call to complain about your banking service, and if you actually locate a real live person, they have no authority, no life, and no interest in your problem. Many people who’ve shopped online have had major headaches that could have been avoided by following a couple simple procedures in order to research the company they were about to get their sticker printing done by.
I mentioned the Better Business Bureau, also known as the BBB, earlier in relation to buying online, or really anything online for that matter. I have followed my own advice over the past couple of years and saved myself lots of money. Last year I forgot to follow my online “pre-flight checklist” for an offline credit card processing company whose rep came to my office, and ended up getting burned for over $1200 from this firm, whose ethics are based more on what they can get out of you than what they can do for you in terms of service.
So, here’s my advice, both online and offline for purchasing – or golf clubs or cars or anything:
First, log onto www.bbb.org and plug in the name and ZIP code of your prospective printing company, then follow the simple instructions until you reach the information page about them. If they have anything lower than an A+ (an A or A- can be earned in a dispute with the IRS or a tax lien, legitimate or not, or having been in business less than 5 years), look at the reasons given for that lower-than-A+ score.
And because the BBB is not infallible when it comes to rating companies, or credit card processing businesses that tell you one thing, then do something completely different, but because you signed a contract thinking you were getting something that would work for you, and then found out later that you missed the small print, or what they promised wasn’t actually in the contract as they’d caused you to believe it would be, the BBB won’t show that kind of dispute because it was “in contract.” That’s why I recommend this second step.
Google the company you want to deal with, and then perused the first couple of pages that come up (usually 10 listings on the left side of each page). If the personalized sticker labels printer shows up on any site like www.RipoffReport.com or www.ComplaintsBoard.com or www.Complaintwire.org, it’ll behoove you to investigate on each and every site that comes up as to why your potential label sticker printing firm is appearing on this site(s). Sometimes the complaints are spurious, and if there’s just one, it may or may not be enough to cause me not to buy from that company, but I would personally probably steer clear, just in case there’s fire under the smoke.
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Have you tried buying customized sticker labels online? How did it go? Share your experience in the comment form below.