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How do I avoid discrepancies between my printer and my mail house's quantities?

Currently I buy materials from my printer and supply them to a lettershop that is chosen by my Marketing Department. On several occasions, I have requested a certain quantity to be printed. All of the signed packing slips match the quantity that I requested. However, the lettershop says that they are short materials. My first reaction was to blame the printer. However, this particular lettershop has seemed to have had problems with shortage of materials from several of my printers over the past couple of weeks. When I check with the printers, their press sheet counts and bindery counts seem to match up with the requested print quantity. In fact, it appears that they send us more than we have asked for. It seems to be a matter of “he said, she said.” What should I do? Do you know of other ways to rectify this situation? Thanks.


Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon problem. Mail houses will often say that even though they sign printers’ delivery tickets, they have no way of ensuring that the quantities they receive are correct. And actually, the printing industry’s traditional "Terms and Conditions for Sale" document states that a supplier can't be responsible for verifying another supplier's quantities. Who knows if your printer or the mail house is to blame? It's really difficult to ascertain.

Let me offer two suggestions:

  1. I think the best solution is to use the same company to print and mail your jobs. Then one company is accountable and this problem almost always goes away.

  2. Or you could ask your mail house to weigh the shipments received as a way to verify quantities (without the hardship of opening each box and counting each piece). This is what the big direct mail lettershop suppliers do. See if your mail house is open to and capable of doing this.

I'm not confident that you can get to the bottom of these past mishaps. However, do try one of the above solutions -- because in the end, you're the one that's responsible for ensuring that the job is done right.

Answered By Suzanne Morgan, founder, Print Buyers

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