Shutterfly extending photo deletion date following customer complaints

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NBC10 Consumer Investigator Leslie Gaydos

A Boston TV station acted quickly when a viewer complained that Shutterfly‘s new photo deletion policy for customers who no longer place orders resulted in her photos being unintentionally deleted. As a result, the leading photo personalization products company has extended its deadline for deleting customer photos from inactive accounts from March 29 to May 30, 2023.

According to the report,  distraught consumer Jodi Hahn of West Bridgewater had contacted NBC10 Boston Responds investigator Leslie Gaydos for help.

“It was the first way I learned to deal with these digital images,” said Hahn, who said she had used Shutterfly for 20 years. “First digital camera, first disc, I used Shutterfly from the first day.”

She said she had been putting together a photo project earlier this month when she realized her pictures were gone.

“I ended up getting through to a live chat rep and that rep told me that the photos were deleted,” said Hahn. “I was on the phone, I was hysterical, I was crying. I talked to six or seven different people over four hours, was transferred, told different things.”

Policy change

Shutterfly changed its photo storage policy in January that used to provide unlimited photo storage only to active customers who make a purchase at least once every 18 months. The company emailed customers warning them that their photos would be deleted on March 29, but Hahn claimed she never got the email because the message went to a rarely used old account.

After numerous communique between Gaydos and Shutterfly execs, the report said, the company issued this statement updating the policy:

In January 2023, we updated our photo storage policy to continue providing unlimited storage to active customers who make a purchase every 18 months. As part of this policy update, any photos stored in a customer’s inactive account would be removed from our servers. We sent several email notifications regarding this policy update to ensure that all our customers were informed of the changes. 

However, we understand that a small number of our customers may not have received these emails because they had outdated account information on file or were not checking the email accounts on file.

To ensure that all customers have plenty of time to access their photos and either make a purchase to keep their account active or download them to a personal device, we have extended the deadline to May 30, 2023. As always, we encourage all customers to review their account information and update it as necessary to ensure that they receive important updates in the future.

Shutterfly advised NBC10 some photos may not be visible immediately when people visit their accounts because it takes time for their system to restore images for all customers.