Monday, December 05, 2005

Disarray of Newspapers

The following is the copy of an email I sent to my friends at the Newspaper Agency Corporation. For those of you who do not know, the NAC is responsible for the "advertising, printing, circulation and business functions" in the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News newspapers. The quotes are attributed to the NAC website. For me, the NAC is responsible for lots of headaches. I hope you enjoy reading my rant as well as I enjoyed writing it.

Dear NAC,

I am appalled at the way you do business. A couple of years ago, I was given a subscription to the Salt Lake Tribune for Christmas by my girlfriend. As a college student studying journalism, it was a great gift. Sadly, things did not work out with my girlfriend, and we went our separate ways. Unfortunately for me, the newspaper subscription was put in my name when she "gave" me the Trib. I had never subscribed to a newspaper before that, and I never supposed that you would bill me for something I had been given. To my ex-girlfriend's credit, I don't think she had any idea you would do this, either. After all, what other business is allowed such a practice? Nearly a year later, a bill collector contacted me and sucked a chunk of money out of my bank account. I was more than displeased. My exchange with the bill collector ended with him saying that he was sorry about my girlfriend, but the newspaper was in my name. Fine. So I paid the bill and moved on--I thought. During my last semester of college I had a class that required that I read the paper every morning before attending. Reluctantly, I subscribed again. Both of the papers allowed by the course guidelines are yours, so there wasn't a way around it. So I subscribed and even enjoyed a good deal of the things I learned. I have met some of the writers for the Trib and DesNews. I have found most of them to be engaging and dedicated. I feel bad they have to work under your umbrella, though. This summer I cancelled my subscription and moved to a new city. I made the choice not to get the paper anymore. I was done with school and didn't need it. I paid my last bill, and washed my hands. Apparently, this wasn't enough for you. Tonight, I got a call from a young man asking me to extend my subscription. What subscription? I don't have a subscription! He informed me that I did, indeed, have a subscription, and he wanted to know if I would like to keep receiving the newspaper. I was partly amused, partly confused, and really angry. I cancelled that subscription months ago. Why was this young man calling me? When I explained my situation to him, he apologized and explained that he could not cancel my subscription. He was kind enough to give me the customer service's phone number, and I decided to give that route a try. When I called the first time, I heard the menu options and wasn't sure which one to choose. Instead of letting me hear the options again, the computer system waited for a selection to be made and hung up on me when I didn't choose anything. Growing more frustrated, I called back again and took my chances with one of the choices offered to me. After a short pause, that blasted computer voice let me know that I would need to call back during business hours (it didn't say when those hours are, but I digress). I certainly hope this email is responded to more quickly than the phone service could because if I call back in the morning, there are going to be some unhappy people after they hear what I have to say. NAC, your business practices disgust me. I am through with you. Stop wondering why your readership is shrinking. Everything I just wrote is good enough for me. I wonder how many of the other cancelled subscribers have had similar experiences. When will you learn? Good riddance.