Wednesday, July 9, 2008

ArtsCow photo processing

I thought I'd share a quick opinion about ArtsCow photo processing.

As you might have heard, they are running a promotion to get 400 free prints when you sign up right now. It breaks down into 200 4x6s and 200 5x7s, redeemable in groups of 50 each per month (50 4x6s and 50 5x7s the first month, second month, third month and fourth month). You only pay shipping, which averages out to $0.10/print when you order 50 4x6s and 50 5x7s in the same order. (They are shipped from Hong Kong, which explains some of the awkward English on the website.)

For $0.10 a print, especially for 5x7s, I figured I'd give it a try. What did I have to lose? I like to have my portfolio prints done in 5x7s, and that's dirt cheap for a 5x7.

I read a review (sorry, I can't remember where now) that said it was decent processing but she wouldn't use it for anything but pictures to send to the grandparents. She specifically stated that she wouldn't use it for "good" pictures (like my portfolio prints). Implied in this review was that the processing was only average.

I have to disagree. Read on for my review ...

I ordered my prints on 6/30 and received them on 7/8. Taking into account the postal holiday on the 4th, I was surprised to get them so soon. After all, as I mentioned earlier, these are coming from Hong Kong, not simply from another state.

Then I was pleasantly surprised with the print quality.
  • They print on Fuji Crystal Archive paper, which is my personal preference. It's one of the best.
  • The color and lighting was fantastic on all but two of the pictures, which were a tad dark.
  • My portfolio pictures turned out as professional-looking as my favorite online processor, Clark. (And in case you didn't know how good a job they do, I have been extremely impressed with them, too. The same people that do Snapfish handle Clark's processing, but it's a lot less expensive. If you want a referral for some free prints, leave me a comment with your e-mail and I'd be happy to send you one.)

For $0.10 a print (for the free ones), I consider this a can't-miss deal, especially if you have a backlog of photos to be printed. At regular prices, I probably wouldn't develop my 4x6 prints with them, simply because I can get prints for $0.06-0.08 each once or twice a year from Clark (including shipping). However, the price of 5x7s ($0.12) and 8x10s ($0.49) is still a great deal, in my opinion, even adding in shipping prices.

If you haven't taken advantage of the offer yet but would like to, I'd appreciate it if you would sign up through this link since I would get credit for referring you. (That's not why I wrote the post, though. I want to pass along what I consider to be a great deal.)

4 comments:

Lyn said...

Thanks for sharing this info. Do you know if Clark still has mailers like they used to years ago?

Sophia said...

Yes, they do still have the mailers. You can request them from their site, and they come with every order. I think you also have the option of printing a shipping label directly from the site for the first batch, if you don't want to wait for them to mail you some.

ihateartscow said...

What sort of operation takes great measures to ensure their identities remain a secret? ArtsCow.com closed my account because I addressed the CEO by his real name in their forums. That is right, "Berry" is a made up name, but beware, address him by his real name and your account will be closed. Of course, my account will be reopened if "You need to promise no arguments again on our forum, and don't post our communications or other company details to third parties."

This dispute began when I complained about their affiliate program. They offer 200 free prints if you refer someone and they make a purchase. I made 13 successful referrals, then attempted to collect my 2,600 free prints. Well, they have an unpublished policy which states only 50 free prints per size per month can be redeemed. I will have to wait 26 months to get all of my free prints. Their ad says if you refer 100 people you get 20,000 prints, but the ad fails to mention that you must wait nearly 17 years to collect these prints.

I should have heeded the earlier warning signs. "Berry" informed me that only exact shipping costs are charged, however the shipping costs are clearly printed on the packaging from the postal service. This was Berry's first lie to me, most of their profit surely comes from shipping.

Are you interested in the real names of the people behind this unscrupulous business? Look at their latest annual return here:
http://stashbox.org/186130/artscow.pdf
This identifies the owners as:
CHAI PO YING: Secretary, 4,000,000 shares
FU LIANG: 3,500,000 shares
LAM YUEN HING: Director, 2,000,000 shares
WONG CHUN KAI: 1,000,000 Shares

Be aware that this company uses many deceptive business practices and lies to their customers. I do not recommend using them. If I referred you in the past, I am sorry. I have informed the Hong Kong police of the deceptive practices used by LAM YUEN HING et al. and I have requested the open a fraud investigation. If you are also a victim of LAM YUEN HING's deception, I urge you to file a report as well:
1) Fax: 2200 4305
2) Email: pprb@police.gov.hk
3) Web Site: http://www.info.gov.hk/police

Additionally, you can file a report with the consumer council:
http://www.consumer.org.hk/website/ws_en/complaints_and_advices/how_to_complain/howtocomplain.html

Finally, you can report the deceptive activity to Hong Kong Ethics Development Centre in the following ways.

call them at 25 266 366 (24-hour)

write to them:
Hong Kong Ethics Development Centre
Hong Kong GPO
Box No.: 1000
Hong Kong

Reports should be called in or sent by mail, but email for more information: hkedc@crd.icac.org.hk

Sophia said...

I'm sorry you had such a bad experience with them.

I was never under the impression that I would get more than 50 prints/month, so I would have assumed the extra prints would be the same.

Again, I'm sorry your experience was so awful, but my review stands. I'm very pleased with their processing and prices, at least on their promotions.

 
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