It is very unusual for cards to arrive with the pictures smudged unless they are postcards. When a postcard leaves the printer (the actual machine) it is already dried and the ink is set. However, the Post Office uses a system that runs the mail through large scanners and sorting belts that can cause damage to unprotected mail due to heat and friction. Since the ink that we use is a polymer based ink, this heat and friction results in the ink becoming tacky and then smear.
Unfortunately, this issue is not exclusive to SendOutCards. This is something we have made an effort to discuss with the Post Office. They have informed us that postcards are considered "unprotected mail" and that cards that are unprotected are prone to damage. At this time they are unable to guarantee anything will be changed during the sending process once the postcard leaves our facility.
On our end, we have been making efforts to make our postcards more durable during the mailing process to help decrease these incidents. These efforts include adding a gloss finish to your postcard, which has been shown to help protect the cards. As well as a smaller size to make sure that they go through the machines easier and with less damage. We will continue to look at different options that will help in sending these cards and to remain in the same condition that they leave our office.