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Sunday
Jun272010

Subscription silliness

A couple invoices came in the mail that have me questioning two longtime subscriptions to print publications I've read and valued for years.

Newsweek

Newsweek sent me a notice to renew the subscription I've maintained annually since the mid-1980s. Unless you've been in a cave recently, you know that Newsweek is up for sale. Its owners, The Washington Post Co., bluntly said in announcing the sale, "We do not see a path to continuing profitability under our management." Not a good circulation builder.

If Washington Post sees no future for the company, why would I want to renew for one year let alone three, as the invoice suggests to save money? It's sad because I think the magazine provides context to the craziness of our 24-7 news cycle. But I'm not stupid. Sadly, a 35-year relationship is about to come to an end barring some kind of last-minute rescue.

The Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal sent me a invoice to renew my print/online subscription for $479.96, a savings off the full price of $759.20. Yep, that's no typo. That's serious change.

Here's what drives me crazy: I just got a WSJ subscription offer at work offering a $9.99 per month "professional courtesy rate" for print and online. 

This latest $480 offer to renew my home subscription is part of a song and dance WSJ and I have had the last few years: I refuse to pay exhorbitant renewal fees so end up waiting for the inevitable "introductory" or "professional" offer, which I find to be a great value. Then, after a year, they send me renewal offers that are 60, 100, 200% higher than the introductory price (this latest one is the most egregious yet). So every year, when I refuse to pay what I consider an outrageous renewal, they cut me off (and only then a few months after my subscription has run out). At which point, I either re-subscribe using whatever work or home address I'm not currently using (so I can qualify for their introductory rate) or cash in frequent flier miles for an annual subscription.

It's crazy. If WSJ would just give me one fair deal year after year that's higher than their rock-bottom intro offer, I would be fine. I'd be willing to pay more than that if I felt like they didn't take me for a fool. But even when I call into customer service to reason with them, they insist on sticking to hard and fast rules that don't make sense. Playing this silly game every year does nothing to build goodwill with a subscriber who first signed on nearly 20 years ago. At my age, I'm starting to lose the energy for the fight.

Reader Comments (1)

I agree! A big joke! I'm a former subscriber than had kids and cancelled my subscription. I received a "Professional discount" in the mail and decided to resubscribe.. misplaced it on my desk... called up and they said they can't give me the discount unless I have the paper. You would think they have a history of what they sent me in today's high tech world. They wanted me to pay over $4000 for the print edition alone. Good paper, but they need to get things straight..

August 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDennis Miller

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