The Denver Post Really Doesn’t Want To Entice Long-Term Subscribers

The amount of money newspapers and magazines charge to advertisers is closely tied to their reader base. That’s why print media will often give discounts to people willing to subscribe for longer periods of time. But not the Denver Post, which wants you to pay significantly more per week if you go with the lengthier subscription.

Consumerist reader Daniel scanned this renewal card he received from the paper.

It offers 8 weeks of the Denver Post for $40.95. For a little more than $5/week, that might be appealing.

But for four times that amount — $163.80 — you can get 13 weeks of the same paper. That’s $12.60 a week, which we’re pretty sure is not a good deal for anyone.

This is likely a misprint, but it’s one thing to have a misprint on an ad or marketing materials, and a completely different thing for that misprint to be on the official renewal invoice the paper sends out to existing customers.

Much like this Cold Stone Creamery charging a 25% sales tax, we’re curious to know how widespread the Post’s apparent goof is, and how many people signed up for the 13-week subscription without doing the math.

UPDATE: The Denver Post confirms to Consumerist that it is indeed a printing error —

The renewal offer should have read $40.95 for 13 weeks, and $163.80 for 52 weeks. Based on what we see here, this is an isolated problem effecting only a handful of accounts. A unique scenario which included a specific past special offer, along with what appears to have been a previous monthly pay option triggered the statement with the misprint. Our accounting system apparently was not able to handle the technical specifications of that combination, so we are instructing the vendor who produces our statements to manually inspect those specific offers before they are sent out.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Conformist138 says:

    Willing to bet the real price is supposed to be $63.80. It should be an easy fix if someone has bothered to contact them about it.

    • Conformist138 says:

      Whoops, forgot to read last line. Okay, yeah, it’ll be cleared up in the next round of inserts.

      • Lyn Torden says:

        So help us get everyone into the proper frame of mine and always refer to the corporations as being unwilling to listen to individual people, or consumer groups. Yeah, there are some exceptions.

        I try to contact many businesses all the time, both ones I do business with, and many I do not (yet) do business with. With few exceptions, it’s virtually impossible to communicate. They just don’t want your input or feedback in reality (even when they pose that position).

        For instance, I’d like to talk to the CEO of Newegg and ask them when they are going to get their act together on dealing with computer returns. But he really doesn’t want to talk about that.

        • chefboyardee says:

          With the right attitude and the right chain of contact, you can talk to just about any CEO you want.

          I recently had an issue with 1800PetMeds not properly invoicing me (they weren’t putting the pet’s name on the invoice), which led to my pet insurance not accepting my claims.

          A few emails later, and I’m having a 1-on-1 conversation with the CEO that led to an apology, and (no exaggeration) in 2 hours, they put the pets’ name on the order receipt on the website, so I didn’t have to rely on their customer service people anymore.

          So, yes, the CEO of Newegg might want to talk to you about it – have you tried? Really tried? And nicely?

  2. frank64 says:

    It could be the 8 weeks is a teaser rate.

  3. spartan says:

    Anyone who signed up without doing the math deserves to pay the idiot surcharge.

    • qwickone says:

      I feel like math is not even required. It should be immediately obvious enough that you should know something looks wrong. But I agree with the sentiment; a fool and his money….

  4. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    Actually both lines are typos.

    The regular new subscription price for the Denver Post is $48.75 for 13 weeks.

    So the price on the first line, considering a renewal discount, is for 13 weeks.
    The second line is for 52 weeks ($40.95 * 4).

  5. Auron says:

    wow those are high prices. I have to wonder what their daily copies sell for. The paper I deliver for offers 13 weeks of daily/Sunday home delivery for $42.25 ($3.25/week), which is $.75 less than buying the paper yourself ($.50 Mon-Sat/$1 Sunday). Though in order to boost ad revenue by higher subscription rates, they offered a very inexpensive option: Wed-Thurs-Sun for $1/year for 1 or 2 years,

  6. BradC says:

    Maybe they’re just passing on the increasing costs of running a newspaper….

  7. Hotscot says:

    Our local Dem candidate is running a campaign based on improving education.
    The expensive looking postcard that was sent out in our neighborhood talks about “highly educated empolyees”

  8. loggg says:

    High prices were one reason we quit the Dallas Morning News.

    The other reason was the automatic renewal. The paper would not offer any subscription that didn’t include an automatic renewal, at full price of course. Tried to sell us on the idea that it was for our convenience. When that didn’t work, they gave the excuse that everyone was doing it, that automatic renewal was standard practice.

  9. Snaptastic says:

    The Denver Post baited me in Walgreens one day by offering me a handful of gift cards and the promise of many, many coupons. I bought their “coupon” subscription that would get me 3 newspapers per week–all supposedly packed with coupons.

    As it turns out, I ended up with a daily subscription–with coupons only on Sunday. I caught a rep pitching the same schtick at the same Walgreens and asked what was up. As it turns out, they likely ran out of coupons (I live in Colorado Springs) and opted to just send daily newspapers instead.

    I cancelled the daily papers–and the rep I talked to had no idea what the “coupon subscription” even was. Go fig.

  10. gman863 says:

    I wonder if the Denver Post also pulls the same screw job tactics as The Houston Chronicle (Hearst Newspapers):

    * No matter how far you renew and pay in advance for, in the event of a rate incresae your subscription is shortened to reflect the higher rates.

    * A subscription to the Chronicle is like herpes. At the end of your paid subscription, they keep delivering the paper and billing you for it unless you call up and cancel. I found this out when I was taking care of my dad for a few months when he had a serious illness. The papers kept piling up on my driveway and – when I finally discovered what was going on – the Chronicle told be I couldn’t resubscribe unless I paid for the weeks of delivery past the expiration of my subscription.

    Looks like Patty Hearst has put her bank robbery training to use in jacking Chronicle subscribers.

  11. strells says:

    Hmm…what is this “newspaper” you speak of?

  12. Robo says:

    This was not a simple mistake by the newspaper. The publishing industry – newspapers especially – are in a major period of contraction and are flailing in the market to stay alive. There will be 50% – 70% fewer newspapers in the next 10 years – and the ones that are dying will not go without a fight. This is just emblematic of the current state of their market.

    I wrote a blog regarding similar types of bad business practices by magazine publishers. You can read it here if interested at Service 360 Partners.
    These tricks by publishers are a desperate grasp for cash as they try to make the transition to the new digital world.

  13. jesusofcool says:

    As someone who has to work with these direct mail vendors quite frequently, I can tell you that half the time it’s the vendor’s fault. It’s amazing, you’d think that because they’re a dying industry they’d be desperate to please but the majority of them are terrible in terms of accuracy. They generally assume that the client’s goal is to send the most pieces possible to the most number of eyeballs and will completely disregard instructions.

  14. kobresia says:

    The Denver Post, making a typo? I’m shocked!

    Though the other remaining papers in the area, such as the Daily Camera, are substantially worse when it comes to proofreading.

  15. DataShade says:

    “Effecting?” Not … “affecting?” I don’t mean to go all Grammar Nazi on some poor guy, but – aren’t you from a newspaper? Isn’t your job … words?