More problems with Light Impressions

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by Mahler_one, Nov 1, 2010.

  1. Mahler_one

    Mahler_one Member

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    I'm not sure what is going on with the business model and practices at Light Impressions, but be careful. I am sorry to add my problems to those already posted here.

    I ordered some mounting materials including tape, some special cotton gloves, and mounting corners. I called to add items to my order, and was surprised to learn that every single item is back-ordered and will not be available for 6-8 weeks. Moreover, when the order was placed there was no indication that the items were indeed back-ordered, and I would not have known it I hadn't called. Now the really alarming and bothersome part: My credit card was charged when the order was placed! Thus, Light Impression has my money, but I will not have the items that I ordered for as long as two months.There is something wrong with the business practices at Light Impressions. Be careful, and consider ordering elsewhere. How unfortunate given the excellent service and practices that the business had some months back.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 1, 2010
  2. Renato Tonelli

    Renato Tonelli Subscriber

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    I still have two items on back-order from January! I'm looking for alternatives but the good thing about the Light Impressions of old is that they carried everything needed for archiving and displaying. Too bad...
     
  3. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    I still have some back-orders with them from June. NOT happy.
     
  4. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    add me as well. This back order "line" is getting old. I used their products for many many years, but now i am out of patience.
     
  5. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    There are several long threads about Light Impressions and their back-order policy.
    I was a customer years back, but no more, due to their more recent reputation.

    What's really amazing is that they are still in business.
     
  6. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    My experiences are like Ann's and Bdial's. I'm sure others have complained, but they are not listening. I haven't ordered from them in years.
    I order from Frame Destination, a supporter of APUG.
    I would go after my money through the credit card company, and cancel the order.
     
  7. Mahler_one

    Mahler_one Member

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    Thanks George...have cancelled the order with no adverse financial ramifications. Would advise others to do the same, for there is no telling when the ordered merchandise will-if ever-arrive.

    Light Impressions, as we knew it,might be gone...there ARE lots of other alternatives, but while LI was in business, they were fine to deal with. Great catalogs, and good service. Too bad...one must wonder what the real reasons for the current problems are.

    Frame Destinations and Lodima ( Michael and Paula )...fine folks to deal with-honest, quick shipping, etc. Also available for telephone advice which is often invaluable. Little reason to look elsewhere.
     
  8. Jim Fitzgerald

    Jim Fitzgerald Member

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    I use FDI all of the time. Today it is all about customer service, actually it has always been about CS. If they do not see this then it is their problem to either correct or go out of business. Get your money back. They are financing their poor business practice with your money. That is just my opinion.

    Jim
     
  9. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    I used to buy all of my supplies for Light Impressions. High quality, excellent packing, good sales. But in recent years they have declined. I heard the ownership changed.

    I recently took the bait for 10% off and free shipping. I think it was about 1 month ago and have received nothing yet. Also, the free shipping apparently did not apply to any of the "oversized" items I bought like print storage boxes. I won't cancel the order, mostly due to laziness and morbid curiosity as to when the items will arrive. I am still waiting on an item from Gnass which I paid for at least 3 years ago.

    Trying to find an alternative, I just placed an order with Frame Destinations, a sponsor here. I was a little reluctant because it was a big order (~110 complete frames), I had never used them before, and they did not have the exact materials that I used to buy at LI. Eventually, I emailed them, talked on the phone, viewed some sample material over the course of just one week. I finally placed my order. He told me it would take a few weeks because of the size of the order and shipping by freight. The order came precisely on time. I thought the shipping costs were reasonable. The order was over 400 pounds and came on a pallet. The packing was outstanding. Maybe I need more excitement if I am enthusiastic about packing, but the packing was excellent. No dinged corners on the mat board. No scratched acrylic. No burs or grit on the aluminum frames. The corners of the frames fit well. Each frame comes assembled with the two sheets of matboard, foam backer board, and acrylic. (Because of the pre-assembly, I had to change my usual workflow but it works out better.) I really like the acrylic because the protective sheet peels off easily and intact.

    I am not yet sold on the Alphamat 4-ply board as a replacement for the Exeter Conservation board at LI. I am only about 1/5 done framing so far so I am still sorting it out. The board is very good but requires much more frequent blade changes on the mat cutter. I should be doing that anyway, I suppose. That is my only complaint.

    So two enthusiastic thumbs up for Frame Destinations as a replacement for Light Impressions. I will use them again.
     
  10. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I think it's illegal

    I've used Light Impressions in the past and they've been pretty good. But I think it's illegal to charge your card before the items ship. I would complain to Light Impressions.
     
  11. fdi

    fdi Advertiser

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    Thanks for the kind words about my company. I am glad that we have been able to help you. Jerold, I will certainly be printing your post out and sharing it with my shipping crew.

    I am not a lawyer, but it is my understanding that according to the Federal Trade Commission you are supposed to ship items within 30 days after payment is received.

    I know many companies charge your card when you place an order on their website and it is legal to do so assuming you will be shipping promptly. It was actually a hassle for me not to do that with my company. Our website just does an authorization and we actually submit the charge when we ship. Sometime we will charge early for various reasons such as a deposit for material being ordered.

    I do everything I can to avoid being out of stock but sometimes it does happen. If one of my suppliers has issue maintaining inventory then I will either switch to a different supplier increase my stock level. The longest I have ever had an item go out of stock was a couple months and that was because our suppliers had no product in the US and it was being manufactured overseas. It can take up to 3 months to import product but usually our suppliers already had an order in the queue before running out of stock domestically.

    Cheers,
    Mark
     
  12. fdi

    fdi Advertiser

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    Jerold, about the mat, we will offering 4-ply Bainbridge Alpharag mat board in a number of colors very soon. We are in the process of uploading data and testing the website so it should be live in a week or two.

    Cheers,
    Mark

     
  13. frotog

    frotog Member

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    I got the sense the ship was sinking a year ago when I attempted to order two grand worth of binders. Needless to say said binders were not available. Nonetheless, the sales person attempted to take my order info and c.c. #. I declined. Finally gave up on them after checking availability over the course of the following six months. It's a shame since L.I., while priced a bit higher than their competitors, had a few unique items unavailable anywhere else. I now do all my shopping with archival methods which works great if you're on the east coast (low cost, fast shippping).
     
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  15. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I have never used Light Impressions, but over the time I have been in APUG I have never seen a kind word said about them. If you are a member of APUG you should know to never waste you time or money on Light Impressions.

    If they have not shipped after 30 days, contact the credit card company by mail and cancel the charge. If enough people do that then Light Impressions will either get the message, which I doubt, or they will accelerate going out of business.

    Steve
     
  16. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I buy stuff from Freestyle and they are a class act where they only charge your card when they ship your back ordered items.
     
  17. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Subscriber

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    I used to buy from them a few years ago, but it was still an East Coast operation and was never an issue. Once the company changed hands and moved to the West Coast, it changed. The new owner took a good company and ruined it's reputation with terrible service and no inclination to improve it.
     
  18. Jim Fitzgerald

    Jim Fitzgerald Member

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    Got an order in from FDI and all I can say is keep up the good work. Great products and service.

    Jim
     
  19. Michael A. Smith

    Michael A. Smith Subscriber

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    Someone called us to place an order yesterday. They needed 20 16x20 mat boards. Light Impressions told them they could not guarantee that they could fill the order by January. That company is history. We could fill the order the same day, if it came in early enough in the day.

    I am sure Frame Destinations provides excellent service, but Lodima is also a sponsor of APUg and I ask you folks to take a look at our web site www.lodimaarchivalmaterials for your mat board needs. We have no minimum orders and our prices for most items are significantly lower than elsewhere. Since we are photographers ourselves we can make recommendations regarding sizes, print positioning, and anything else you need advice on.

    Although it is not on our web site, we can also supply Nielsen metal section frames--any style, any size, any color. No minimums. We can also supply acrylic glazing, although often it is cost effective for you to get that locally.

    We get more customers through photo.net than through APUG, which is a mystery to me, as I have not been to photo.net in over 10 years--long before we existed as lodimaarchivalmaterials.

    We're also Lodima Press--producing the finest reproduced photography books published today. No one else publishes books in 600-line screen quadtone. www.lodimapress.com

    We're dedicated to excellence in everything we do. At least take a look at our very easy to navigate web site. Thanks.

    Michael A. Smith
     
  20. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    http://www.lodimaarchivalmaterials.com

    I checked the site again, this is the address, just added the .com.

    What is the shipping like for full sheets of 32x40 white to the West Coast, single or multiple sheets? I like what I see.

    Curt


    I received your email today and I am looking forward to the next Brett Weston book.
     
  21. Michael A. Smith

    Michael A. Smith Subscriber

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    Shipping costs depends on the weight. How many sheets would you want? It makes no sense to get one sheet as shipping would be prohibitive on a per unit basis. Best would be to get as many sheets as possible--an entire box would be ideal--that way the shipping would be minimal per board.

    But we can cut boards down for you for very little additional. I checked our prices and I see that for 4 16x20s, for example, the additional charge on a per 32x40 sheet is only 62 cents. I can't believe that figure myself. That means for our labor in cutting 4 16x20s from a 32 x 40 board we only make 62 cents more than if we just shipped the board uncut. Can you cut it for less than 62 cents?

    And shipping 32 x 40 is expensive. Probably very expensive. It would be an oversize package. It would go on a "dimensional weight" calculation where the minimum weight is high (41 pounds), even if you got only one board. So, unless you are mounting prints on the entire 32x40 sheet, my suggestion is to let us cut it for you.

    We are going to be doing a major board cutting on Tuesday, so if you could place an order by Monday that would be very helpful to us and would insure prompt delivery.

    We have just purchased a guillotine. But we do not have it yet and are building an addition to a building to house it. Because we have some large orders, on Tuesday we are driving to a friends location where he has a guillotine. We do this rarely. Usually we cut boards one at a time. Painful to us. Something that should take 10 minutes can take us a couple of hours. But we have kept our prices as if we already had the guillotine. So, if you want to purchase our board and can place your order by Monday, that would be most helpful. We'll cut the board on Tuesday and ship it on Wednesday. Thanks.

    And we can cut overmats for you, too, on our computerized overmat cutter. And still get your order out on Wednesday.

    And we can include your Brett Weston book in the shipment, saving you the shipping cost for that.

    Michael A. Smith
     
  22. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    I like to use the Westminster Rag board in bright white that LI carried. I haven't found anything else that's the exact same color (I'm very picky and a former microscopist / trace evidence examiner). Does anyone else carry the same board?
     
  23. Michael A. Smith

    Michael A. Smith Subscriber

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    Send us a small sample (2" square would do it) and we will compare the color to our "Pure White," which used to be called "Bright White."

    P.O. Box 367, Revere, PA 18953

    Michael A. Smith
     
  24. fdi

    fdi Advertiser

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    The closest Bainbridge AlphaRag mat board to the Westmister Rag "Bright White" is AlphaRag "White". The Bainbridge Alpharag also offers better protection than the Westminster since it has the Zeolyte Artcare protection. Table below shows the Bainbridge part numbers.

    8-Ply Alpharag White - 8660
    4-Ply Alpharag White - 8634
    2-Ply Alpharag White - 8632

    We carry Alpharag White in 8,4 and 2 ply in window cut, blank, and full sheet. It is not on our website yet but hopefully will be soon.

    If you would like a sample of this color and the Pure White which is a little brighter and the Pearl White which is less bright just provide me your address in a PM.

    Cheers,
    Mark
     
  25. ROL

    ROL Member

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    Given your stated exactness you'd probably see a difference, but the difference as I perceive it is so small as to be otherwise unnoticeable and I can use both Westminster (given to me) and white Rising Museum Board (resources) interchangeably, although I prefer to use the Rising as I believe it to be better board. This is particularly true for "matting" board in which there is very little reveal when floated in a window mat. Legion Paper, the distributor/supplier of Rising products, made a significant investment a few years ago in acquiring the faltering Rising Mill, and deserve the business.

    Regarding LI, I too, have experienced the same problems obtaining the rare order during the past 2 years as others. While LI's customer service has never been that great, I believe they are not stocking many (or any) items and are ordering from suppliers on an "as needed" basis - when they have sufficient orders. Not a good way to do business, but perhaps necessary given the current economy. While not as convenient, my (rational) advice is to find other suppliers, and not to order from LI unless not time critical.
     
  26. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    Bethe - I make a trip once in a while to the DC area and buy Bainbridge 4-Ply Alpharag White - 8634 (mentioned earlier) in 32x40, 25 sheets, last time for about $200. That's only $2 for a 16x20. I used to use Westminster exclusively also.

    I don't know if it's worth it to you, but it might be worth the trip. They are just off the beltway on the Fairfax side. You need to call ahead. Also, they will mail you a nice color sample box if you want. They have a number of whites.

    http://www.conservationresources.com/