Last week I wrote about how I ordered my family  vacation shirts through Merch By Amazon. I was excited to receive them and when they finally arrived yesterday (8 days from order date to receipt), I was disappointed to say the least.

I ordered seven front and back print shirts. The total was $119.98. That’s pretty expensive for someone who makes t-shirts for a living, but I wanted to see what the quality would be like.

The first thing I noticed was the overwhelming vinegar smell coming from the shirts. I know the Merch shirts are printed using direct to garment technology (DTG) which can sometimes have a faint odor from the pre-treatment process. This odor was anything but minimal. You can smell the shirts from 5 feet away. This usually means the ink was not fully cured in the drying process.

I also noticed that although I ordered seven “Anvil” shirts, I received 3 different brands of shirts. Three said Woot in them, one was American Apparel, and 3 were Anvil. All seven were “lemon” colored, but there were two distinct shades. The material and feel of the shirts also varied by brand.

The worst part, however, was that my shirts (all seven of them) did not have any back printing whatsoever.

merch shirts.jpg

Owning a custom t-shirt business is difficult. Mostly because it’s hard to train employees to pick and produce shirts accurately. You have to get the shirt style right, then the size and color. Then, you have to produce the correct artwork. Not a piece of cake. It seems Amazon is still experiencing some growing pains in this area.

The following are actual quotes from a forum I belong to  made up of Merch sellers.

-just got a sample shirt yesterday, I am NOT impressed with the quality at all. may have to rethink using AZ for this platform. I know, I know, they’re new, they’re growing but I’ve had people buy some shirts from me through Merch and now I’m feeling like my rep has taken a hit.

-Had another hiccup with a merch shirt. I am doing designs for a local gaming tournament. Each listing has their logo on the front and the specified gamer tag on the back. Once, a person got lingerie, another ordered two of the exact same shirts, one shirt he received was a design he didn’t order, and today, one received a shirt that has the front and back designs reversed…Kind of frustrating…

– After only 3 weeks, I’ve tiered to 500 and a few of my designs have taken off.

Some listings are now getting reviews. All 1 & 2 stars for quality. All say they love the designs but the quality of the printing, especially on the darker shirts, are bad.

-I’ve had several friends and family order shirts and they have all said that after washing the lettering or graphics are peeling off. Anyone else have this problem. What can we do? Its a bit disappointing if the quality is bad.

-I bought a couple of T shirts from my account everything fine but when I washed them ( cool water and very delicate dry) one of them ( only one!) was totally ruined, the print came off … Really worried about future quality problems.

-I had a shirt that was killing it and was doing about 20 a day Then someone came in and gave it a one star because of bad printing and the catch is its my only review. Looks like the gravy train is over. Thanks Amazon, you gotta get your sh*t together.

The smell on the shirts does worry me about the print quality. If they aren’t cured correctly, there is a good chance the print will wash off once they go through the washing machine. I did let Amazon know about the problem and they refunded the entire amount of the purchase. The rep had no way of expediting replacements which is problematic for Merch sellers.

I’ll keep a tab on comments from other sellers and do another test purchase in a couple of months and report back. Hopefully we’ll see some progress in shipping time, print quality and order accuracy.

I guess I’ll go make my vacation shirts now….