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BBB Accredited Business since 12/01/1967

Bay Area Newsgroup (Headquarters)

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Phone: (925) 933-2020Fax: (925) 952-26364000 Executive Pkwy Ste 200, San RamonCA 94583-4313View Additional Web Addresses

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Description

This company offers newspapers, advertising and online service.

BBB Accreditation

A BBB Accredited Business since 12/01/1967

BBB has determined that Bay Area Newsgroup meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. BBB Accredited Businesses pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.

BBB accreditation does not mean that the business' products or services have been evaluated or endorsed by BBB, or that BBB has made a determination as to the business' product quality or competency in performing services.

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Reason for Rating

BBB rating is based on 16 factors. Get the details about the factors considered.

Factors that raised Bay Area Newsgroup's rating include:

  • Length of time business has been operating.
  • Complaint volume filed with BBB for business of this size.
  • Response to 154 complaint(s) filed against business.
  • Resolution of complaint(s) filed against business.
  • BBB has sufficient background information on this business.

Customer Complaints SummaryRead complaint details

154 complaints closed with BBB in last 3 years | 39 closed in last 12 months
Complaint TypeTotal Closed Complaints
Advertising / Sales Issues34
Billing / Collection Issues72
Delivery Issues18
Other1
Problems with Product / Service29
Guarantee / Warranty Issues0
Total Closed Complaints 154

Additional Complaint Information

Bay Area Newsgroup came to BBB's attention in December 1967. A review of this company's complaints was done on October 16, 2013. Consumer complaints state consumers have difficulties canceling a subscription and obtaining a refund. Complaints state consumers do not realize their subscription was going to be automatically renewed, attempt to cancel but are still charged, or find that they've been sent to collections for nonpayment of their canceled subscription.
Consumers also claim difficulties obtaining their refund. Some consumers state they signed up with the company after a young person came to their door, claiming they needed the assistance so they can attend college, then had problems canceling their subscription.

In response to our concerns and the above complaint information, the company sent us the following:

"In all cases it is disclosed that the subscription will continue unless I notify the Bay Area News Group, otherwise I will be billed for future subscription payments at regular rates...

This is the method used by virtually every newspaper in the county and certainly almost ever other service provider. Yes, there are some customers that forget their original agreement, and are surprised when we ask them to pay for the services already delivered.

In this case we always offer a full refund, not because we are legally obligated but because we know how it is much better to give them the benefit of the doubt in these circumstances. We remove any subscriber from our follow up collection process if they request it, based on misunderstanding their original agreement, and we never send a subscriber to any agency that would communicate negative information to any credit bureau.

There are times when we have experienced delays in some of our refunds. However I would submit that this is no more frequent than at any other organization servicing 2.7 million readers per week.

Yes, we do employ several outside subscription sales firms who supply their services to various newspapers in the Bay Area, including our competitors. A number of these are students earning money to attend area colleges by selling subscriptions. There have been some occasions when these young people have exaggerated specifics of what school they attend, and specific scholarship programs as being sponsored by The Bay Area Newsgroup,

When alerted we communicate every instance of these mistakes made by the students back to the sales companies, and charge them a financial penalty in each case."

The company has also committed to reviewing, and possibly changing, their sign up form to ensure that consumers are aware their subscriptions will automatically renew. The BBB encourage consumers to closely read sign up sheets and contracts and ask questions regarding sign up terms and refund policies prior to agreeing to purchase services.

Additional Information

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BBB file opened: 12/01/1967Business started: 01/01/1901
Type of Entity

Corporation

Incorporated: June 1999, DE

Contact Information
Principal: Mr. Bart Beaulieu (Sales Director)Mr. Eric Swartzwelder (Retention Manager)
Number of Employees

1300

Business Category

Newspapers

Service Area

This business service area covers worldwide.

Alternate Business Names
Contra Costa Times, The Mercury News, East Bay Community Newspapers
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