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Does Anybody Want My Money?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by mglhoops, Sep 30, 2008.

  1. mglhoops

    mglhoops New Member

    Yes, I am whining a bit here, but I wonder if this isn't one of those "butterfly flapping wings in India starting a tornado in Iowa" things...

    History: we chose to stop getting the local paper in favor of the big city paper. Reasoning is for another thread. So we called said big city paper and signed up to get daily plus Sunday. We really wanted Sunday--there's nothing like coffee and the Sunday paper--but were offered weekdays free as a bonus. Nice!

    Three days later we stopped getting the big city paper. Vanished. After three phone calls we were told that the offer wasn't valid in our area so they canceled our sub. Nobody bothered to tell us, mind you, but we had been canceled.

    I gave Big City a chance and they failed.

    Fast forward to this morning, when we called to extend with the local outfit. Our sub hadn't run out and we hadn't yet canceled. After 15 minutes with a foreign voice the "customer service rep" was unable to even locate our name or address. In her eyes, we didn't exist.

    Four times we asked to be transferred to someone who might be able to help us and she refused. Click. I am done.

    Twice I tried to GIVE MY MONEY to two different newspapers and they found no way to take it.

    My frustration is little picture. Big picture, I wonder how often and in how many variations this occurs.

    And I wonder how many people do exactly what I did next--grab my coffee, walk up the stairs to my office, and read what I wanted online.
  2. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Walk into the local outfit, ask for the circulation manager, explain your problem and tell him that while one day you might take the paper, right now there's no way.
  3. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    This is not uncommon and internet and ad sales and everything else aside, one of the worst problems in this business is crappy customer service and it's just getting worse.
  4. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    We subscribed to Big City Paper once after hearing the glowing praises about how it would be delivered every morning.

    I repeatedly asked the sales associate if that did not mean it would be delivered in the mail and not on my doorstep. We live well outside of the Big City Paper city but it has a statewide coverage area. She assured me it would be on my doorstep bright and early.

    A week later it started arriving ... a day later, in the mail

    I called and was told the delivery people don't deliver on doorsteps because of where we live. I replied that BCP Sales Associate assured me repeatedly that it would be, and Sales Associate No. 2 said she couldn't help.

    So I wrote a letter saying BCP had let me down, I had been a reader for 20-plus years and their level of customer service for obtaining subscriptions was deceptive if not bordering on fraud.

    Then it went to the Publisher, the second-in-command, the Circulation Manager, the Advertising Manager and the Executive Editor. Within days I had three telephone calls of apology, the offer of the Sunday paper (we declined) and a full refund.
  5. mdpoppy

    mdpoppy Member

    I canceled my subscription a year ago and have still been getting the paper delivered for some reason.
  6. silentbob

    silentbob Member

    Agree across the board.
    Among the biggest problems in our failing industry are:

    A) It takes readers a minor miracle to get the right person on the phone. I'm never in the office, but about once a month there's a message on my voice mail from a frustrated reader saying, "For some reason I keep getting transfered to this extension. I'm trying to get an ad in the paper. Can you please call me back."

    B) Circulation.
    Probably the department that deals with the public the most. And that is definitely not a good thing.
  7. mglhoops

    mglhoops New Member

    But here's the thing, slappy...I don't care enough to do that. (Not a slap at you, a slap at them.)

    You see, I have a choice. Whether or not I get any satisfaction is irrelevant. Long ago they could get away with crappy customer service because folks like me had no choice. Now, I do. It is far easier to walk to my laptop than to the paper.

    And here's where they are killing themselves: it's an easy decision to forget it because the paper is a horrible product. It isn't worth the effort. Funny, I'm not even going to their website for news and info.

    I know there's 2,382 threads about where I'm headed here, but they need to look in the mirror at the problem.

    I still laugh that I tried to subscribe to two newspapers and neither one made it easy for me.
  8. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    My parents used to subscribe to Big Metro for years. About 10 years ago, it stopped showing up regularly. They'd get it here and there, but they had a 7-day a week subscription. Eventually, they canceled.

    The occasionally received cold calls after that with different deals to subscribe again. They signed up again three times and each time told the people they were talking to (with subsequent calls to circulation) that they had been screwed before because it wasn't getting delivered.

    After the third time it stopped getting delivered, they gave up. And they're not the only ones.

    Makes you wonder if Big Metro was employing a whole fleet of Mitch Hedbergs. "I used to have a paper route as a kid. I had to deliver papers to 200 houses. Or two dumpsters."
  9. MacDaddy

    MacDaddy Active Member

    It's even worse in Seattle, where the Times handles circulation for both it and the P-I. Not only do you get the usual crappy service, but you often don't get the paper you signed up for. And, oddly enough, it seems people get the Times instead of the P-I a lot more than the other way around.
  10. partain

    partain Member

    I gave up on my local daily because of delivery issues. Killed me to do it. I'm one of those guys who goes looking for the local daily when I travel instead of reading USA Today. Doesn't matter how big or small (and I travel to small towns a lot). I always enjoy looking at local papers--even bad ones.

    But my local delivery guy couldn't understand why I needed my paper by 6 a.m. during the week and 7 a.m. on the weekends. He thought as long as it was delivered by 9 a.m. it should be good. Hate to tell him, but by then I've moved on to the rest of my day. I wanted to wake up and read a newspaper, but he couldn't make it happen. When I canceled, the circulation folks tried to get me to stay on and promised the paper would be there by 6 a.m. everyday. But I'd complained a half dozen times in the past three years, so I didn't figure anything was going to change.
  11. luckyducky

    luckyducky Guest

    Sounds about right. After the Times' redesign, my parents tried to cancel their subscription and get the P-I instead. They had to call three times, eventually getting a high-up circulation supervisor to get the order right. Of course, my mother being my mother (and a former communications nerd), she wrote a letter to the publisher whining about a) the service and b) the redesign since she couldn't read the fonts well anymore (thus the change to the PI).

    I'll say I was surprised -- when I quit my newspaper job and canceled my (auto-paycheck-payment) subscription, I got a refund check for something like $2.32. I know a few of my former coworkers who didn't have subscriptions because the carriers never delivered the paper successfully.
  12. bydesign77

    bydesign77 Active Member

    But to answer his first question... Yes, I want your money. PM me for details!
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