Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Countywide Universal Amalgamated Journal Sentinel Tribune Post Dispatch News-Free Press Sun Chronicle Daily Planet Democrat Observer, discontinued.

You remember that I never wanted the paper. And it turned out not to be the one MB wanted, either. It was a lousy source of news, and not that great on coupons, either. I hated to throw it in the dumpster, so I was spending over an hour each week (closer to two hours) shredding and composting it. I didn't care about getting my money back; I just wanted them to stop sending it. I almost would have paid them not to deliver the paper. But I'd had so much trouble starting a subscription, I dreaded canceling it.

Did you ever have AOL? At one time, (in the early '90s) they had the best rates in town. As more people went online, new ISPs entered the market, and competition brought the price down. AOL responded by doubling their base price and offering unlimited access. (Strange as it may sound now, Internet service used to be billed like cell phone service: you paid a monthly fee and got a limited number of minutes. Any use over that time cost you extra.) The problem was that you couldn't get through. You'd get a busy signal every time. Eventually, other providers began offering unlimited service at lower prices, and you could actually connect. Rather than improve their service, AOL tried to keep people from canceling. If you called to cancel, first they would try to talk you out of it. If that didn't work, they would try to sell you on another plan. One plan they tried to sell me was called "Bring Your Own Access". If I paid the same price they were charging for Internet, but bought my Internet service from another provider, they would allow me to access their content through my other provider. I could even keep my email address. All this for the same price I was already paying them for Internet, but they wouldn't have to provide it! If you didn't fall for that, they'd start bargaining. A common ploy was to offer one month of free service. Then you'd have to call them up and try canceling again, and listen to the same song and dance again, or they'd continue billing you. And you couldn't get the free service twice. Even if you got them to agree to cancel your service, they would "accidentally" lose the cancellation order and keep billing you. It took most customers three calls to AOL to get their service cancelled. I had to tell my credit card company to stop paying them.

I feared I'd face similar obstacles canceling the paper. And it was MB's paper, so I didn't want to cancel it without talking to her. Then one day she said, (God bless her!) "Why don't we just cancel the paper?" And she made the call. Like I said, I don't deserve her.

The next day, no paper. About a week later, we received a check in the mail, refunding the portion of the introductory subscription we hadn't used. The Countywide Universal Amalgamated Journal Sentinel Tribune Post Dispatch News-Free Press Sun Chronicle Daily Planet Democrat Observer does a lousy job of reporting the news. Their salesmen lie. They are slow to start a subscription, and seem to have a hard time delivering the paper to the right address or even the right town. But if you ever want to cancel a newspaper subscription, I recommend this one.

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Blogger Arby said...

Classic! But I thought you were going away this weekend. Why are you blogging?

June 19, 2010 at 12:53 PM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

I wrote this post Saturday morning before we left. Then I decided to peek at my email this morning before MB woke up. OK, I admit it, I also peeked at it once last evening, but couldn't think of a suitable reply. I'm addicted to the Internet. But like my morning coffee, it's an addiction I can live with.

MB is up now. She's going down to breakfast and then to the pool. I think it's time for another cup of coffee, and then maybe some more stapling.

June 20, 2010 at 8:47 AM  

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