I Like The Times, But Not Enough To Pay Double The Subscription Fee

Newspaper workers like to think their news gathering skills keep readers interested in their product, but no matter how well they do their jobs, crummy billing and delivery execution drive readers away from the struggling industry.

Gary had a go-round with the New York Times customer service department, which he says refused to offer an adequate refund after it more than double-charged him the promised rate.

He writes:

We appreciate reading the Sunday NY Times and have been enjoying sequential runs of this newspaper at 50% off for over a year. At current subscription rates, this amounts to $3.75 per issue for delivery in the state of Michigan. Unfortunately, I let our subscription offer run out over one Sunday – the one Sunday in July that I submitted a vacation request for to not have the issue delivered (July 4). Luckily I remembered to call them the next day to accept another “half-price” offer for 6 months.

As such, my records show that I owe the NY Times $11.25 for July delivery. However, you can imagine how I reacted when my credit card was charged twice on July 27 for the month of July — $ 22.50 and $33.75 for a total of $56.25. Fortunately, I called them right after I noticed this charge posted to my credit card and informed them of their error. The customer service rep said that they could not do anything for me, so I canceled my NY Time services, seeing as a big problem was about to brew. She did indicate that I was scheduled for an $18.75 refund, but could not explain to me why!

I took delivery for one more week, so I should owe the NY Times $15.00 for delivery for the period July 1 on until I canceled service. Later in August, I called a rep named H who went over my bill in detail to me. She explained how the charges should work, and admitted that I was overcharged. Yet, suddenly, she simply said, “everything is correct,” and wouldn’t do anything for me. When she experienced this sudden twist of reality, I insisted that she turn this matter over to me to an advisor. She attempted to do that, but her advisor was so busy, that the advisor simply said to me that they would issue an immediate credit of $24.99 to me, and then they would review this matter more thoroughly and get back to me.

That sounded real good! As I waited over 3 weeks for my refund, I began to realize that this was not going to happen! However, in the meantime, I did receive the $18.75 refund, but never received the $24.99 refund or a full explanation. I spoke to several other rep(s) at the NY Times during the month of September who reassured me that my $24.99 refund was in the system, and that I should be receiving it shortly. [N, 9/27, for example!]

Finally, one last attempt was made! I was connected to a supervisor named M at extension XXXX on October 8. She assured me that I would be receiving my refund, and that she would call me back to notify me of such by the end of the next week!

Guess what? M, the supervisor, never called me, and repeated calls to this extension were never returned.

If you’ve canceled a magazine or newspaper subscription, did poor customer service play a role in your move?