New York Times All-Access Digital Subscription Means ‘Except Your Android Smartphone’

Mark enjoys the New York Times, and is happy to support their superior acts of journalism in a modern way with a digital subscription. This subscription would allow him all-you-can-read access from computers, tablets, smartphones…you name it. He owns an iPad and an Android phone, and tried to set up Times apps on both devices. The Android version refused to work, even when he reinstalled the app. His emails about the problem were answered but evidently not read. He decided to cancel his subscription…which is when the final insult came about. They offered to extend his subscription for a dollar, but ended up shortening it instead.

He sent them this note:

I enjoy reading the NYT. Their publication provides some of the best insight and reporting, and I feel a bit better about feeling that my subscription supposedly reflects my support. However, all that seems to be undone by their customer service…

On April 30th I received an offer for 12 weeks of all access digital subscription for $5. I took up on this offer noticing it would give me unlimited NYT access for my iPad, Android smartphone, and the website. Unfortunately, I immediately noticed I had no problems accessing my subscription from the iPad app or the website, but I could not access my subscription from my Android phone despite following the steps on your site. I sent an email to explaining my problem and asking for a solution. I received a reply a couple days later telling me to reinstall the app on my phone and trying again. Unfortunately, that solution failed to solve the problem as well, and I sent another request for help, along with the steps I took so far. I then got another reply saying I was only a visitor, and not a subscriber, despite being a subscriber for at least a week. I then replied back asking them to check their records again, and to come up with another solution to resolve my Android app problem. I have not heard from them since.

About 3 weeks later (May 19th) I called the NYT subscription dept to cancel my order due to lack of customer service regarding my account. I was persuaded to not cancel my account, and instead given an offer to extend my subscription for $.99 for 4 weeks. I agreed to it under the condition that the NYT customer service would look into my original problem and contact me about a solution. I was told I would be in touch with their customer service in under a week. Once again, I have not heard from anyone associated with the NYT. Not only that, but my 12 week subscription was canceled without a refund (I had 8 weeks left!) and replaced with the 4 week subscription.

Because of the lack of customer service, and the lack of commitment to honor the agreements made to me, I’m looking to cancel my NYT all access digital subscription along with a full refund for both the 12 and 4 week subscriptions that I had signed up for.

He added in an additional note to Consumerist:

I understand I could go the the NYT website to access stories from my smartphone, but that would defeat the purpose of subscribing to an all access digital subscription, wouldn’t it?


Edit Your Comment

  1. MaximusMMIV says:

    The New York Times’ insane method of dividing up their digital subscriptions into expensive tiers is what stops me from subscribing. I love the publication, but their transition into the digital era has shown them to be extremely greedy. Their prices are too expensive to start with, and instead of providing digital access on all devices, you have to choose web+tablet or web+phone… or pay a TON for web+tablet+phone, which costs the same as both of the other plans combined. It’s like Netflix all over again.

    It’s nonsense, and it’s also why I’m a Washington Post reader now.

    • pamelad says:

      I used to love NYT and will miss them. My digital subscription was paid and confirmed via e-mail in May, yet for about a week I kept getting error messages that I only have 10 free articles per month (and it was down to one free article by the end of May). I had paid for three months.

      Keep the three month’s worth of my digital subscription money, NYT! You must be hungrier than me.

      I’m not willing to go through all the hoops your CS rep suggested to get rid of these error messages now that I’ve paid. I’ll find another news source. It doesn’t even have to be free.

      Bad customer service and charging for digital subscriptions customers do not receive is NOT good.

  2. Tartan69 says:

    There are so many other alternatives out there for news, it pains me to see the NYT behave in this way. It is anti-consumer, greedy, and just plain arrogant. That said, I assume they weighed the cost of providing better support and a cheaper product with the losses they expected to take from departing customers, and this is simply part of their strategy. Brand-affinity and refusal to change is a powerful thing, and they are taking advantage of it. Ultimately the market will respond.

  3. Pete the Geek says:

    Who would have thought that hiring someone to write your Android app when you go digital would also mean that you have to hire someone to address customer technical issues! It is sad to see so many businesses fail in making the transition to new technology due to their leadership failing to have even a rudimentary understanding the new technology and the implications for the organization. For starters, there are new leadership positions required to manage the technology and the (new) people who implement and maintain it.

  4. akirabass says:

    I’m pretty sure the NYT just doesn’t care about Android. I’ve been an addict to the Sunday puzzle for most of my life. I don’t get Sunday delivery, so I turned to the crossword app. The iOS version is a perfectly good crossword app. The Android version, on the other hand, is horrendous. When I first got it, it was only bad. I struggled with it until an update came and rendered it virtually unusable.

    Shape up, NYT. Don’t alienate people actually willing to pay for your content by dropping the ball on delivery.

    • drjayphd says:

      Maybe they just hate Android fanboys as much as any other well-adjusted person. Seriously, I was tempted to go run out and buy a couple crates of black turtlenecks and jeans after just one stroll through Gizmodo’s comments on anything WWDC-related today.

  5. dush says:

    Why would you pay for the news?

    • newsbunny says:

      Because when you’re unwilling to pay for good journalism, all you get are shitty press releases.