May 1, 2015

My epic, on-going battle with the local newspaper.

Oh, how I wish the title wasn't so accurate...but it is. *sigh*

I have been a faithful subscriber to our local newspaper for over ten-fifteen years.  And in all that time, I haven't had a problem.  Never.  Despite multiple moves.  Every time we've moved, we've had a seamless transition between houses.

Until this last move.  Which, after all this?  Quite honestly, I'm almost afraid to finally find a house to buy.  I wish I were kidding.

For well over a year now, my subscription keeps getting cut off every thirteen weeks, so about every three months.  I have opined on this very subject at least once before.

The last time my subscription was cancelled, I actually remembered to ask the person on the other end of the phone, after I had paid to have my subscription renewed AGAIN, what my next cut-off date was - so I could calendar it to ensure that I was all paid up before the subscription was revoked; because honestly?  By now, I had figured out these morons were NEVER going to send the bill to my house.

And, unfortunately, I was right.

The only thing different about this go around was that I actually received an automated phone call that my subscription was about to run out.  Apparently, the last time I called, I discovered they had the wrong phone number for me and had that rectified.  Finally they got something right!

So I called and patiently explained the situation AGAIN.  Instead of offering to take my payment over the phone, I was assured that I would receive a bill.  So I waited.  And waited.  And waited.  No bill ever showed up - of COURSE.  So I called them back today.  I explained the situation and told them that:

1) I wanted to pay my bill because, apparently, they were incapable of sending me a bill

2) I wanted to know when the next cut-off date was - so I could calender it; to remind myself when they fail to send me a bill again in about three months


3)  I wanted to have my online subscription fixed - that this had been broken since the FIRST time they'd cancelled my subscription OVER a year ago.  I also explained that I had called about this particular issue numerous times.  Only to be told...and I quote..."I can't help you with that, but I will have someone call you."

As you may have surmised; no one has ever called me.

The person on the other end of the line was one of the most "chill" people I've ever encountered.  But helpful.  To a degree.

He took my payment over the phone.  Assured me that I would receive a bill (yeah, like I'm buying that story at this point).  And informed me that he couldn't help me with the online subscription BUT had a phone number of someone who could help me.  I dutifully wrote down the number and repeated it back to him to ensure I had it right.  I did.

I called said number...and guess what?  I received an automated message telling me that this number was no longer in service and that I should call the number I had called to begin with!

When I say that my head nearly exploded, I am not even kidding.  At this point, I am BEYOND livid!  Seriously?!  This has been going on for OVER A YEAR!

So, I called the first number back and, amazingly, connected with the same customer service rep.  And do you know what his response was to me telling him that the number he gave me directed me back to him?!  His response was to sigh.  I kid you not.  He audibly sighed.

So I ask you - how am I supposed to deal with this kind of incompetence?  Even the customer service people know the company is completely screwed up.

*Insert audible sigh here*

After a few more minutes of conversation, he tells me that he will send a note to "that" department and have them call me.  I informed him that I have heard this song and dance before with no result.  He assures me that he will make sure "they" take care of it.  Yeah, right.

So here's my question.  By all accounts, newspapers are on the way out...why then, aren't they doing more to please the customers they DO have?!

My next step?  The editor.  And threatening to "out" their incompetence to the entire world wide web, if I have to.  Oh hell, maybe I'll even go to the head, head, HEAD honcho...Warren Buffett.  Because, honestly?  I'm tired of fighting this fight.


  1. How about a letter to the editor? People used to do those all the time in our little paper... which is pretty pointless nowadays, since it's only about three pages.

    I can certainly understand your frustration, unfortunately, since I've been a victim of incompetence on numerous occasions.

  2. I stopped subscribing to a paper when I moved to the Pacific Northwest and read the copy at the coffee shop of the local paper. It only takes about five minutes to read it all anyway. I get my real news online. :-)