I really did my best to keep this situation low key and hoped it might either go away or work itself out. Unfortunately, that was simply wishful thinking. QP Distribution, owned by David Schaefer, and staffed by Patty Wimmer is a small book warehousing / storage company I used to store most of my offset printed books from 2003. It was mostly a good relationship until two years ago when I started noticing some irregularities in what Patty was telling me regarding their handling and shipping fee changes. They started nit-picking and making subtle policy changes that I perceived as trying to squeeze more money out of their existing customers. This was happening just as print-on-demand was rising. I surmised that Lightning Source and CreateSpace was putting a squeeze on anyone in the off-set printing business which includes book warehousing and book storage businesses.
In Spring 2010 was my first real conflict with QP Distribution specifically with Patty Wimmer when I was penalized with a higher storage fee when 2 weeks earlier I asked about how I could lower it. She only followed up after my reminder. By then, I got charged another month’s fee. She pushed it off on the owner, David Schaefer, and how she cannot change the storage fee after it has been charged despite the fact it was HER mistake. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It worked out after I paid for the privilege of lowering my inventory. * sarcasm* I threatened to report them to the BBB and report them publicly for their poor customer service.
In Spring 2011, QP Distribution decides they want to teach me a lesson by imposing a $6.50 late fee on my account despite my 8 years of great payment history. Apparently, my account was so “problematic” (despite the fact that I generally pay in full every 60 days or so) that they could charge me an unannounced late fee but NOT even once email me or call me to see what happened with my account. Also, keep in mind, there is no mention of late fees anywhere in the agreement, invoices, or statements. It was something Patty and David dreamed up apparently. But Patty first says David wants to do to this to my account but she later confesses and tells me she agreed with it also.
I finally decided I had enough of their foolishness. I am tired of Patty sounding like the powerless housewife when she is supposed to be the Office Manager. And portraying David as this unbending dictator. (He might be but I have not dealt with him enough to make an opinion. I only know what Patty tells me. One thing seems certain, she seems fearful of David. I wonder how he will react when he realizes all the discussion that is happening without him around.) Anyhow, I also discovered there is a hidden profit center to their service. They charge a handling fee per book and per case but they don’t tell anyone about the hugely marked up UPS shipping fee. I only found out because I asked very pointedly if what they charge us is what they pay. The answer was and is still “no”. Their UPS shipping fees are just as high if I walked in to a UPS store paying full retail price. Not good for any publisher that wants to stay in business for long.
QP Distribution doesn’t like it if you give them your account number for shipping. If you do, they will make sure you pay anyway with a “third-party shipping fee”. They also have a “recycling fee” which is actually a disposal fee to dump any inventory you might not want. I call it a dumpster fee and they are trying to charge $7.95 plus 12 cents per pound. The problem I have with this is 2-fold. It works out to be this outrageous fee for throwing your inventory into the dump AND my agreement actually says $7.50 plus 5 cents per pound, not the 12 cents per pound they are trying to push. And you know what they will do if you don’t pay their disposal fee? They will continue to charge you storage fees.
And if you decide to show up at their doorstep to pick up your inventory? You will get charged a handling fee. If you tell them to just dump it and don’t pay their inflated dumpster fee, they won’t and they will simply reinstate the storage fee. Doesn’t that just sound like a business relationship you want to get into?
The trick for these types of businesses is it costs ZERO to get your book inventory inside their doors. But they will use every trick fee they can impose to get them out. Whether it is 1 book, 1 case, or a pallet, you will absolutely pay.
In any case, I finally had to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau of Kansas. I am not going to have them hold me hostage with their tricks. Stay away from book warehousing and storage services. Go print on demand to avoid book warehousing and storage altogether. Or if you must have storage, go rent from your local storage facility. But definitely stay away from QP Distribution and its ilk.
And to show how outdated they are, go look at their pathetic placeholder website. It is the same pathetic placeholder website they have had for years. Can you imagine being a reputable business an NOT having a website? Well, go look at QPDistribution.com.
I have escalated this matter by filing a written complaint with the BBB against QP Distribution.