Payment due

Remember how I was trying to quit having a newspaper delivered to my door in favour of getting my daily news on-line? Remember how I let my subscription lapse but I was still finding a paper on my porch every morning?

Well, three weeks later I finally got a call from an actual representative of said newspaper, informing me that my subscription had lapsed. I politely informed him back that I no longer wished to take delivery of the paper, which was why I had let the subscription lapse.

“Oh,” he answered. “Would you like to just get the Friday or Sunday papers?”

No, that is not what “no longer wishing to take delivery of the paper” means. It actually means “no longer wishing to take delivery of the paper”. Any day’s paper. Period.

He understood then, and asked me why. I told him why. Then he told me that my balance was seventeen dollars something, and that was now due.

My what? Why would I have a balance? My subscription ran out, I did not renew it. Simple as that. If the paper was continuing to arrive at my door every day, that had nothing to do with me. In fact, when I checked on-line, my status was listed as “grace period”, which, I think meant that they would still be bringing me a paper for a while in hopes that I was just a little late with my payment or that I would rethink my cancellation and then pay up for the year. There wasn’t even an option on the web page for cancellation, just various time periods (three months, six months, a year) and days of delivery (every day, weekends only, Fridays only, Sundays only). If that quit option had been there, I would have used it, as I have been managing my newspaper account on-line for years now and much prefer doing it that way rather than phoning.

So I told him that as far as I was concerned, my subscription had ended on August 4th and that I was not paying for any newspapers after that date.

“But they were delivered,” he whined. Yes, whined. Maybe he didn’t mean to, but that’s what it sounded like.

“True. But I didn’t ASK for them. My subscription had ended. I didn’t want any more papers after it ended, so if they were delivered, that is not my problem,” I replied, more firmly now.

There was a small silence. Then he gave in. He would waive that seventeen dollars something “just this once, for you”. Damn straight you will, I was thinking! But I said, “Thank you very much.”

So is this how they do it? I’ve never cancelled a newspaper before, so I’m wondering about that now. Is this normal procedure? You don’t pay, they keep delivering, they eventually call you, then if you confirm that you are quitting, they try to charge you for newspapers that you didn’t ask for? If that’s true, then I also wonder how many people actually pay up? Quite the sneaky operation, if that’s how it really works!

Regardless, I didn’t pay, and so far so good with getting my news on-line. I’m still relatively well-informed, my recycling box is filling up at a much slower rate, and DD is happy that fewer trees are being consumed at our house.

Plus, I feel quite virtuous, but mostly because I won a fight about money I didn’t think I had to pay!

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10 responses to “Payment due

  1. I had a similar situation, but I hadn’t ever even subscribed to their paper so I was really at a loss as to why they thought I would pay. Then they wouldn’t stop delivering it, even after we called repeatedly. Finally I had to call and say that I was going to report them to the police for unlawful littering if they didn’t immediately stop delivering the paper to my house. Remarkably, they never threw another paper in my driveway.

    • Kimberly – That is truly insane! You had never subscribed, yet they expected you to pay! Wow! But again, it must work often enough that they do things like that.

  2. Oh, and I forgot to mention that (with at least one newspaper in particular) they try to make the carrier pay for any overdue payments that the customer does not pay. Then the carrier is suddenly responsible for getting the money refunded by asking the customer for the payment. Sneaky doesn’t even begin to describe some of their tactics.
    Mostly they cannot understand that you might not want their product.

    • VioletSky – I would certainly hate to think that my former carrier (who I have never even SEEN) would be liable for the money they wanted me to pay them. I sure hope that’s not the case with this newspaper!

  3. That’s ridiculous… How glad I am that I don’t get a paper. What a crock.

  4. Arg! They do this with “Food and Wine” magazine too! It’s awful! They keep sending them to you whether you asked for it or not and of course send you an ‘overdue invoice’.

    If I haven’t renewed my subscription, it means I’m not interested! Crooked bums!

    • Pauline – I subscribe to the European edition of “Marie Claire”, and when my subscription runs out, they immediately stop sending me magazines. It’s quite a logical system: no money, no product. (Of course, this also happens when my payment is late, so then I have to restart the subscription, which is a longer process, but oh well!)

  5. With certain newspapers, the best way to get a deal on a subscription is to cancel it, then wait for them to call and beg you to reconsider, offering you deep discounts for a time period of weeks to months. Writing as one whose pay has been dramatically reduced by having fewer papers to deliver, I have seen this happen many times. A ‘stop delivery’ notice comes through on an address with a ‘not interested’ or ‘no time to read’ reason, only to see a ‘new start’ for the same address/name days later with a ‘promo code’. Suddenly they are interested when they are getting 7 days delivery if they resubscribe for Saturday (or something). Newspapers are obsessed with their circulation (subscribed) numbers for advertisers. You will see that number somewhere on the top of the front page.

    • VioletSky – Well, everybody, even a newspaper, has to make a buck, I certainly have no problem with that. I just think what they tried to do with me is underhanded, and the strategy you’re describing just seems ludicrous. Who sets these policies anyway? Some publisher’s four-year-old?