Day 4: The F**k up

Man, I made a HUUGE mistake!

A couple of weeks ago, I tried to reduce t-shirt printing costs from $25 to $19 by switching from TeeHatch (the t-shirt printer in Vancouver) to Printify (the more professional website).

I added Printify to my store, and then removed the popular TeeHatch t-shirt from my storefront. I thought that this would be enough. This was on Friday evening.

Around 7 people bought t-shirts over the weekend.

Then, on Sunday, while I was doing the books, I realized that I was being charged DOUBLE! For every one t-shirt a customer ordered, I would be charged for TWO! One from TeeHatch, the other from Printify.

I also realized that Printify was charging me in USD, even though the printer I had selected was based in Ontario (another Canadian print-on-demand store). So they weren’t charging me $19 CAD, but rather, were charging me $19 USD ($26 CAD).

Now don’t get me wrong, Printify has a far superior integration system than TeeHatch does. When Printify ships an order, they also update your back end and email the customer (amazing). And they had put up warnings saying that their prices were in USD.

TeeHatch however has a primitive system in comparison. You basically add them as an admin on your store. When someone orders a shirt, TeeHatch get an email. Then they manually type in the customer’s details.

Since it was the weekend and the orders had neither been printed nor shipped, I thought I would be able to just call them on Monday and ask Eddison at TeeHatch to cancel the t-shirt orders (Printify’s orders had already been printed/submitted by that point).

I was wrong.

Apparently, when a t-shirt has been ordered (but hasn’t even been paid for yet!) on TeeHatch, the order has been written into stone. Nay, into steel, such that it cannot be changed, removed, modified, or anything of the sort.

So, I ended up having to pay doubly for all of the t-shirts. At least Eddison, from TeeHatch, was willing to reroute all of the t-shirts to my house, but even this was a considerable “exception.”

Now, there were 9 extra t-shirts printed (which costs $225). 2 of them went to the customer ($50). The other 7 were sent to me. Since then, I’ve managed to sell 3 of them. So I’m still down $100. But hopefully I’ll sell those t-shirts too.

I understand where I made the mistake now – I should have removed the t-shirt from TeeHatch’s website, so that even if they got an email for an order, they would not have printed it. However, I have reason to doubt that even this would have been sufficient.

Before, when I was using TeeHatch, I only printed Chee’s design on a white t-shirt. When I switched to Printify, I was able to print t-shirts in Purple and Navy as well. Since Printify fits like a glove, they updated my store with the corresponding t-shirts. And over the weekend, some people bought purple and navy t-shirts.

I never put in the template for purple and navy t-shirts onto TeeHatch’s website. At all. They only had the template for white t-shirts (which I put up). They should not have printed the purple and navy t-shirts as a result. And yet, they went ahead and printed them anyways, costing me $100.

This was wrong. When I called Eddison and asked him why he printed them when the template was not on his site, he said that it was because he has many people ordering t-shirts from him, and that his customers don’t have a lot of time. Thus, his customers only put on a white template, but they send him emails asking for purple. He assumes that they want purple, and so he prints them too.

I didn’t think that this was right because this assumption costed people money! I could’ve understood when Eddison printed my white Chee t-shirts, but not when he printed my Purple and Navy Chee t-shirts. The coloured t-shirts weren’t even on TeeHatch’s website!

I told Eddison this, and he said that “when there’s a discrepancy between what the customer wants and the website, the customer is responsible for it.” But this is baloney because there was no discrepancy between the website and my desires. I had not put up purple t-shirts onto TeeHatch. There was no purple t-shirt to order on the store. A computer would not have printed a purple t-shirt. So the discrepancy was between Eddison’s mind and the emails coming in. I think it was wrong for him to have printed shirts for which there was no template on TeeHatch’s website.

So. To conclude.

It seems like it’s impossible to integrate TeeHatch with Shopify. You can’t rely on TeeHatch to clarify what your intentions are when there’s a discrepancy. And I would’ve really liked it if Eddison had offered to help rectify this situation on his end – how did the setup of the store lead me to believe that he wouldn’t have printed the shirt? What warnings can he give to future Shopify owners saying that it’ll lead to bad things? For example, he could, on the website, write that if you want your t-shirt in multiple colours, you don’t have to type in every single one – just send him an email and he’ll set it up for you.

As for me, I’m going to try and switch to a new t-shirt provider because there wasn’t the two-way communication I had expected from TeeHatch. There were also unclear expectations for what should have happened and the proper way of implementing orders. Lastly, there was a very crude system of integration between TeeHatch and Shopify.

I hope that TeeHatch fixes these things soon because they print some really high quality t-shirts, they are Canadian, and I want to support BC printers.

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