Friday, October 12, 2012

Fired Up on a Friday

I think I mentioned a while back that the newspaper called me and offered me the Wednesday and Friday editions free for six months. I suppose this was some kind of ploy to get me accustomed to receiving the paper three days a week instead of just one (Sunday). So, for the past few weeks, I've been enjoying the paper on these extra two days. Wednesday's paper has the Publix ad and Friday's now has the Go Magazine so both extra days have a little something to offer me.

This past Wednesday when I walked out my front door I noticed that there was no newspaper. I figured the delivery was late (it seems to get later and later these days) and assumed it would be waiting for me when I got home that afternoon. Wednesday afternoon when I got home I guess all thoughts of newspaper had vanished from my mind and I didn't realize that I still had not received a newspaper. In fact, I didn't realize it until the next day when I got to work and saw the newspaper stand in front of work and that's when it hit me that I never got a paper on Wednesday.

Fast forward to today, Friday, the other day I'm supposed to receive a newspaper. When I walked out this morning, I once again didn't think about not having a newspaper. It was raining and I was in a hurry to just get in the car and get to work. When I approached the entrance to work and once again saw the newspaper stand that was when it hit me that for the second time in a row, I did not have a newspaper. So, I called the Huntsville Times circulation department (which happens to be stored in my phone for occasions like this) and waited until someone picked up.

As soon as I gave my information to the person on the phone, they told me my account had been cancelled. "By whom?" I asked. "For non-payment," was the reply. Then I inquired how in the world my account could be canceled for non-payment when I have a draft taken out of my checking account on a monthly basis. I was put on hold while the lady went to talk to her supervisor. When she came back on she said the supervisor had credited the last month and that the service would start back up on Sunday but they needed my bank account information. I asked why they needed the bank account information when they've had it for six years. How could it just magically disappear? I then asked to speak with the supervisor.

The supervisor told me the same thing - that they no longer had my account information and that the service would start back up on Sunday and they would need my information again. I asked if they could send someone out today to deliver a paper - the answer was no; there' no way we can send someone out today. She also tried to tell me it was my bank's fault that the draft did not go through. How can that be? The bank has nothing to do with a draft that the newspaper controls. I'm willing to bet that when the Times became ancient history and this new organization took things over my account, and probably several others, were lost in the shuffle. I also asked why a notice wasn't sent - I got no legitimate answer, just that I was given a grace period of a month. Oh, thanks for giving me a grace period for a cancellation that I didn't even know had occurred. Long story short, at this point I was so frustrated that I told them I did not want to renew, that they didn't care about their customers and that I could save myself a lot of heartache and hassle if I just go and buy a Sunday paper at the store - and with that, I hung up and I am not kidding when I tell you that my co-workers cheered and clapped. I guess I'm not the only one frustrated with the newspaper right now.

About 10 minutes later, the lady I talked to called back - from a Colorado phone number. I had just told my co-workers that there was no way the people I was talking to were in Alabama because they all sounded like Yankees. Clearly, all the local people in the circulation department were given the heave-ho on September 30. She admitted that the cancellation was there fault, that her manager was able to see some things that she wasn't able to see and that, miracle of miracles, they would be sending someone out to deliver a newspaper today. She then asked for my account information so she could reactivate the account, to which I replied, "I told you I don't want to renew my subscription." She said, "I thought that was because we couldn't deliver a newspaper today." I said, "No, it's because I'm just frustrated with you." She then said she would give me a month free and that would run out on November 14 and I would need to call them prior to November 14 and provide account information if I want to keep receiving the newspaper.

Truth be told, I probably will call back at some point in the next week or so to give them my account information because I'm lazy and I'd rather my Sunday coupons be delivered to my front yard rather than me having to remember to go somewhere and pick up a newspaper each week. Not to mention that Thanksgiving is fast approaching and I will want to see all the ads for the Black Friday sales. Needless to say, my Friday got off to a roaring start and my blood pressure was sky high by the time I got off the phone with the newspaper. Hopefully none of the rest of you have had to deal with a situation like this. If I were grading this new outfit that has taken over the Times and the two other papers in the state, I would give them a F at this point. I'll now be accepting bets as to how much longer they will be in business.


Erika said...

NOT a fun way to start off a Friday. Amazing how they immediately found all that info they said they couldn't after you told them to cancel.
Here's my piece of advice to all businesses - CUSTOMER SERVICE matters!
I am getting all fired up too, and it didn't even happen to me! haha

Jackie said...

That's ridiculous and I give them less than a year before things completely fall apart. I wish I could have been at your office when all of this was going on.

Melissa said...

yes, that is ridiculous - horrible customer service. The newspaper here is awful - i only get the Sunday paper for coupons...the paper is so politically slanted that I won't read their articles. In fact, I'd like to see if I could just subscribe to the coupons rather than immediately trashing their crummy paper. :)

Mary McLaughlin said...

Well, you know I am totally and completely biased against the newspaper. Things are falling apart faster than they imagined. Advertising is WAY down and subscriptions are being cancelled in huge numbers. I understand the urge to go digital, I really do, but they went about it all wrong.

And they asked Bud to come on as a freelancer to cover Hockey. So, he went to the game Saturday night, wrote and submitted the story. And it wasn't even in the paper. Seems the Sunday sports is put together before 2 on Saturday! Seriously!

I will get off my soap box now!

Alison said...

My mom is having a horrible time with her carrier and the Times just won't do anything about it. She's so frustrated and it takes a lot to get Mom's goat.