What I Learned from the Cricut Circle

Hey all! This is an article I wrote about my experience being in the Cricut Circle a while ago. . .  I thought it was important so I am re-posting it (Nov 14th, 2011). Enjoy!
Since I wrote it months ago, long before the boycott, so I am going to add my new thoughts and notes in ORANGE.
Hi all,
I am very frustrated with ProvoCraft, the makers of Cricut right now. I have been a Cricut Circle member for 6 months (since the beginning) and as of tomorrow, my membership will end. Basically, there have been many issues with the Circle so I decided I wouldn’t be renewing because it costs a lot of money for basically nothing (I have posted info about the Circle below). Anyway, what is frustrating is, I paid for a whole quarter and was kicked out of the club 3 days early!!
As you all know, I have a deep LOVE for my Cricut machine (still LOVE my Expression, just hate the company). I think it is a fantastic machine and I have spent thousands of dollars between my Cricut machines, accessories, and cartridges. I talk about my Cricut on my blog quite a bit and even started a new blog dedicated solely to the Cricut machine. But their bad company practices are forcing me to have to make a change.
Not only did I get kicked out 3 days early, when I posted it in the Cricut messageboard and started explaining my feelings about PC’s poor customer service and poor business practices an Administrator sent me the following message:
I am not sure what your intentions are with your negative posts.  The boards are available for fun and creativity.  We don’t force members to come here.  Your posts of recent are negative.  I am moderating you for 24 hrs.  You are welcome to email me if you would like to talk about this.”
I found this incredibly rude and because of all the issues with the Circle, getting cut off 3 days before my time was up, AND this rude note I received from an administrator, I have decided that, at least for the time being, I will no longer be talking about the Cricut or anything else ProvoCraft related on this blog or any other blog I decide to be a part of.  I am still using my machines, but I now tell EVERYBODY about this company’s poor practices!!
If I so choose to use my Cricut on projects, I will be mentioning everything I used EXCEPT the Cricut stuff.  When I have calmed down from being quite upset with their actions, I may start using the Cricut again, but as mad as I am right now, I am considering selling off all my Cricut stuff and finding an alternative machine. I am even considering going back into my Blog archives and deleting every reference to Cricut. . . yep, I am that mad right now!!  And they continued to do bad things so now I am part of the 2,000 member strong boycott group.
I haven’t made any final decisions about my Cricut stuff except for this: I will NEVER, I mean NEVER purchase another item from ProvoCraft until their customer service and business practices improve drastically, and I encourage you to do the same. This is a really hard decision for me to make because I like my machines and I like getting new cartridges, but I refuse to give a bad company so much of my money. That just supports their bad behavior. They won’t change their bad behavior if we keep shoveling out the money so I am going to use my purchasing power.
Anyway, so let’s talk about the Cricut Circle!
I think the Circle is a waste of money and is basically a glorified monthly magazine (that is generally LATE each month, it advertises ALL ProvoCraft products and has ads for other companies in it) and a glorified blog (the blog is nice, but not worth the money of membership, and it too advertises all other PC products trying to get us to buy buy buy!) and lots of disappointments:
  • cruddy cartridges that are “exclusive to members”
  • members waiting months to receive their cartridges each quarter
  • a couple of extra cartridges in the rewards section even though we were promised awesome rewards items for Circle members
  • crops that are also available to everyone else even though we were promised Circle only crops
  • not getting any say on the cruddy cartridges even though when we signed up we were told we WOULD have a say on the future Circle cartridges
  • a cricut logo cartridge coming out as the 3rd quarter cartridge, with now outdated logos AND outdated Cricut machines since they changed the logo and the E2 is coming out
  • a design team that was picked from people who had never even OWNED a Cricut machine
  • We were told that we would be the people to shape the future of PC because we would be the first people involved in focus groups, but I have not ONCE ever been invited to any focus group
  • being given certain dates for when news would be given to Circle members (regarding said crops or future events) and then the information wasn’t given out until weeks or months later.
  • We were promised special perks and discounts as Circle members at Cricut.com. . . well we got double rewards points for our purchases (which doesn’t mean a heck of a lot when there is nothing in the rewards section worth spending those points on because you already own all of the old cartridges, and their shipping for rewards is OUTRAGEOUS) The members who signed up for the second year, a full six months AFTER writing this, now receive 10% off at Cricut.com la-dee-frickin-da, Cricut.com items are still overpriced even at 10% off!!
  • The only said special perk they have offered was a couple of weeks ago, which was that Circle members could purchase 4 of the newly announced Cricut cartridges for $60 EACH!!! WHAT?! I don’t pay $60 for a cartridge! They can be purchased in online stores for as low as $17 sometimes!! It was a complete JOKE!! Nice try PC, but FAIL! Lately I have seen cartridges on sale for as low as 12!!
  • We were also promised to get special perks from special “member companies” (these member companies are the companies that advertise in the Circle magazine I mentioned above somewhere). I have yet to see a single perk from a “member company”.
  • One of the design team members was actually RUDE to some of the members on the MB. She even said something to the extent of “All you paid for as a member was the Circle cartridge, everything else is just gravy”.
The only really good thing about the Circle is they give away a lot of prizes (and all of PC’s giveaways is what I think really keeps most of the customers from complaining!!), but the catch is you have to participate in their blog challenges and constantly watch the blog so that you can leave a comment with they have a new giveaway. Sometimes the giveaways are only over a weekend or a couple of days, so if you don’t check in, you don’t even have a chance at the giveaways.

Everything I wrote is as true now as it was when I originally wrote it!! 

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