Snapfish Offers Special Deal: Get No Photobooks For The Price Of One

Karina writes that she found a fantastic promotion from Snapfish: order one photo book, get two free. A great deal if you want to try putting your photos in printed book form. Snapfish can’t quite get it together to actually print and send Karina’s books, though. They keep canceling her order without issuing a refund, and no one seems to know why.

I did a search on your website, and I must say that I was a bit shocked that consumerist hasn’t featured other stories about how poor a job snapfish does. So, here’s my (ongoing) saga.

These guys just can’t seem to get it right…

I ordered photobooks during an awesome promotion they were running, Buy 1 photobook, get 2 free! What a deal!!!!….or so I thought.

On the night of November 8th, I spent over 3 hours creating three different photobooks. The offer was expiring that night, so I had to get the books built and then ordered before midnight. I pored over 3 years worth of photos, not an easy feat, picking out only the best shots and then painstakingly organizing them into the books. I felt such a relief when I finalized the order at 11:47pm. It was done and I was happy to sit back and wait for my photobooks.

About a week later, I checked my account to see if the books had shipped yet. As I had spent so much time designing the photobooks, I was very sad to discover that the order had been cancelled by snapfish, without an email notification, no less. I thought there must be some mistake, so I emailed customer service only to find out that the order had experienced a technical error that could not be resolved. With the order cancelled, snapfish customer service told me that I could put in a new order and they would manually apply the coupon so that I could get my 2 free photobooks. I was a little skeptical, but I went for it, anyway.

I reordered the books on November 22nd and emailed Snapfish who promptly issued a credit for the 2 free photobooks. I thought I was out of the woods and that my books would be in production and on the way to me in no time….boy, was I wrong!

Well, now it’s been a month since I placed the first order and I still don’t have my photobooks, but snapfish has my money….

I did recieve the credit for the 2 free photobooks, but when I look at my order history, the order status states “cancelled”. I just checked my credit card bill and they haven’t refunded the full purchase. So, basically, I don’t have any photobooks in production, but I do have over $60 in limbo.

I clicked on the help button on their website and of course it fails to load. I’ve emailed multiple times only to receive an email stating that “Your issue has been escalated to me. I will send you an email when I have the issue resolved”, whatever that means. Right now, I’ve been on hold with Snapfish customer service for over 20 minutes listening to some horrible jazz music interspersed with ads for HP products.

In the meantime, I’m worrying that these photobooks won’t arrive in time for the holidays and that I’ll never see my $60.

C’mon, guys, printing photobooks shouldn’t be this difficult!


Edit Your Comment

  1. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    This really sucks, and seems to be becoming more problematic with online retailers. I know two or three people whose Amazon orders are in a state of limbo just like this.

    – – –

    Also, Karina? An ellipsis is three periods, not four. The overuse of the ellipsis is something that triggers the “Heil Grammatik!” reaction in me. ._. (Also, I know very little German)

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      … and if you use improper German here, you will get a severe tounge lashing!

      (Mmm, tounge lashing…)

    • TheRedSeven says:

      Did you know that, properly used, the ellipsis may actually appear to have 4 periods in some cases?

      Ellipses are intended to be used in quotations where some of the text is omitted for the sake of clarity or space. Three periods are used for this purpose, unless the edit comes at the end of a sentence, when four periods are used (3 for the ellipsis, plus 1 for the full stop).

      So your first paragraph could be shortened as either:

      “This really sucks…. I know two or three people whose Amazon orders are in a state of limbo just like this.”

      “This really sucks, and seems to be becoming more problematic with online retailers. I know… people whose Amazon orders are in a state of limbo just like this.”

      In the former example, there are four periods to signify the ellipsis and the full stop.


      However, I agree with you regarding the overuse of the ellipsis in current internet vernacular. There’s usually no reason for it.

    • Dover says:

      And, technically speaking, there is a character for it. Select the following to observe: … …

  2. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    I make my own photobooks at home.

  3. qbubbles says:

    This doesnt help now, but in the future, I’ve always found Blurb to be superior when it comes to photobook printing. Fantastic paper, great interface, quick shipping. Never had any issues.

    • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

      And I’ve had good luck with Shutterfly – my MIL loves all of the photo gifts we’ve sent her way from them. My office is now using Shutterfly to make a Christmas gift this year for our boss.

      • Julia789 says:

        I use Shutterfly for making photobooks and calendars. They come out great. Also, they have free unlimited online storage for your photos. I have been very happy with them.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Yes! Blurb is fantastic.

    • Etoiles says:

      We’ve had fantastic experiences with Picaboo… did our guest book and wedding albums through them. (I like the buy one, get one free sales.) I’m doing a work project Picaboo album now, too.

  4. APriusAndAGrill says:

    Having used to have worked for a similar printing company, this would regularly occur when customers would put in too many photos, or scan them in at some crazy resolution.

    That software is good, but the more photos you ask it to process, the greater the chance of failure. Crazy people would spend hours, cropping, adjusting, moving, thinking that it would make the book better. Years of experience taught me that a great book can be made in 20 minutes or so…… and the people that look at it would never ever know the difference.

    • JoeDawson says:

      so in a round-about way… BLAME THE OP??

      • APriusAndAGrill says:

        I actually would say blame the software company for either not:
        – not restricting the amount of photos used
        – not informing the customer of dangers of using many photos
        – not investing in 2 gb of ram…. its actually available now, yeah 2 gb i know.

    • FrugalFreak says:

      I just always incoporate 2 or 3 photos into one jpeg.

    • kimmie says:

      Snapfish’s online UI makes it fairly idiot proof to mess up resolutions, etc.

  5. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    sounds like they have 3000 helpdesk tickets open and are in desparate need of ITIL.

  6. Halliday says:

    I have had similar experiences with snapfish too. Orders would sometimes just disappear. For a while that was nice because they would give me nice fat print credit. The last time it happened 3 months ago they bumped up my delivery to overnight. Not bad and it was delivered overnight but I really didn’t need the rush service.
    If you are wondering why I stuck with snapfish through these problems, something like 5 or 8 years ago they had some amazing deal on 1000 4×6 print credits. My wife are just managing to get near the end of those credits :)

  7. outoftheblew says:

    I ordered photo books from them earlier this year and had no problems. In fact, right after I placed the order, I discovered that I used a wrong file for one of the photos (it had been modified, but I hadn’t put the newer version into the photobook). Per instructions on their website, I was able to cancel and reorder, and they let me re-use the coupon I’d used to place the first order. I fully understand the OP’s frustration, but I guess I’m not in line with the “I have a problem that they’re still working on fixing, so this is a horrible company” mentality.

  8. KJR52 says:

    My cousin printed some of her wedding photos through Snapfish. The quality was pretty poor. The paper was so thin, you could see through it! If you held a photo in any sort of reasonably well-lit area, you could tell what the photo was from the back.

    There are tons of options when it comes to printing photos, books, calendars, etc.

    I’ve had fantastic experiences with Mpix and Zazzle for prints and other items. I’ve also used iPhoto with Apple’s printing for greeting cards. I’ve not made books through any of the services, but wouldn’t hesistate to try.

    Will never give Snapfish a dime.

  9. JM says:

    I have always had great experiences with Snapfish until this year. I don’t know if I was just lucky or if they are now different, but I am still waiting for holiday photo cards that I ordered a month ago. If there is a good way to get ahold of customer service, I haven’t found it.

    • Sara says:

      JM…I would be happy to help you out. I am embarassed that you haven’t received your order yet. Please send me an email. My direct email address is Give me the order number and the details and I will make it right.

  10. eofk says:

    I ordered photobooks from Snapfish using the same promotion and had no problems whatsoever. I didn’t wait until the last minute, though. Seems like people have more trouble with online orders shortly before it expires.

  11. hills says:

    Bummer – I hope Snapfish fixes this for the OP. If not, I’ve always had good luck with Shutterfly and their photo books are often on sale (though I’ve never seen buy 1 get 2 free). My xmas cards printed & shipped within 24 hours of ordering last week via Shutterfly – great! Why else do I not like Snapfish? They’re the only photo service I know that makes people you send your photos too be members to see them – my MIL won’t make the switch and I have to login with an outdated email address and password every time she sends photos – very annoying.

  12. Sara says:

    Hi, My name is Sara and i work for the customer support department at Snapfish corporate headquarters. I would really like to be able to help rectify this situation. Please send me an email at so that I can find out what happened to these books and definitely get your money back to you.

    I am really sorry for this experience. It is definitely not what I want our valuable members to go through.

    Thank you,

    Sara Hawley
    Snapfish Customer Support

  13. Big Jim says:

    Sorry to hear that. As a semi-professional photographer, I’ve used a bunch of photo print fulfillers in the past, and the entire experience has been hit or miss. I’ve had good success with photo book builder using iPhoto, it’s Mac only though. If don’t have a Mac, try Blurb or Kinzin.

  14. sonnetfm says:

    I had the same thought of “what a deal!” with Snapfish that turned out to be…not such a good deal.
    I got an email from them saying I could get 365 prints FREE if I spent $10.
    First of all, there was nothing on their site for $10, the cheapest I could find was $15 + $5 shipping.
    I spent about 3 hours trying to pick out the 365 prints I wanted (I’ve got a new baby, so we have a lot of pictures).
    When I went through the ordering process, I selected to just pick up the prints at Walgreens, because it would be faster. Nope, that’s not an option. I have to have them shipped to me, which is $20.
    So for their “deal” of spending ~just $10!!~ I wound up spending $40. I went through with it in the end, because the $15 item was something I wanted anyway, and $20 for 365 photos isn’t so bad, but I was still pissed.
    Oh also, when you sign up with them, they give you 20 free prints… they just counted my 20 free prints in with my 365 free prints.
    I really don’t plan on ever using Snapfish again.

  15. kimmie says:

    FWIW, Snapfish is great ordinarily, but seems to never be prepared for the holidays. Last Christmas, they had a nice list of the cutoff dates for holiday delivery on their website. I of course, waited to the last minute to compile everything, and chose overnight shipping. I never got an update on the printing of my calendars and I emailed customer service. They claimed they never published that date, and it needed to be in a week earlier. Except I had saved a screen cap so I could reference the dates. They changed them out from under me. I was livid because I paid a large amount for the overnight shipping that just became moot and couldn’t get a refund. Not to mention, I was now showing up giftless for a number of people. They finally sent me my calendars at 50% off but it didn’t make up for the fact that I had nothing to wrap for my grandparents for Christmas.