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San Francisco Chronicle

Phone: (415) 777-7000

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Customer Complaints Summary

27 complaints closed with BBB in last 3 years | 10 closed in last 12 months
Complaint TypeTotal Closed Complaints
Advertising / Sales Issues9
Billing / Collection Issues5
Delivery Issues4
Problems with Product / Service9
Guarantee / Warranty Issues0
Total Closed Complaints27

Complaint Breakdown by Resolution

Complaint Resolution Log (27)
10/02/2015Billing / Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Complaint
being billed for services I did not request or renew.
I have been a long time subsriber to the Sunday only Chronilce. In the past i have always been sent a renewel notice and sent in a payment with that renewel if I wish to continue my subscrittion.In June I received a renewl notice and deceided not to renew.The notice said my subscribtion would end if I did noy respond by June 28th. yesterday I received a call telling me that my payment was late. Iexplained I did not renew and did not wish to renew. I was told that subscribtions auto renew unless called to cancel. I explained taht I never agreed to a auto renew and I have always received a renewal notice, just as I did time and made the deceision to renew or cancel. I have not received a paper in over a month so I assumed the subscribtion cancelled.

Desired Settlement
i do not owe the Chonicle any money. I did not renew my subsribtion, I was ever informed or aware that the subsribtion auto renewed.This is very deceptive of the Chronicle to pull this type of sham on customers.

Business Response
The following letter was sent to the complainant today.
September 29, 2015



Mr. ******* *****
**** **** Street, Apt **
*** ********** ** XXXXX-XXXX

Dear Mr. *****,

I apologize for the delayed response to your Better Business Bureau complaint.

I also apologize for any confusion over our renewal policies. All subscriptions automatically renew, as noted on all of our renewal statements. The renewal that you received stating that delivery would stop by June 28th was actually indicating that service would stop for non-payment if a payment wasn't received.

I have cleared the outstanding balance from your former subscription. I see that you have started a new Sunday Only Subscription that was scheduled to begin on September 6. Please let me know if you have had any missed deliveries since that date. I can add delivery instructions if that will assist the carrier in his delivery. Is the carrier able to get inside your apartment building or are the papers left outside? If the carrier is not able to have access to the building to deliver to your apartment door, I can request that the paper be labeled.

I'm sorry for the problems you have experienced. If you have any questions or I can provide assistance with any Chronicle related issues, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,



******** ********
Customer Service Manager
*********@sfchronicle.com
XXX-XXX-XXXX

Follow the Chronicle on Twitter: @sfchronicle, @sfgate
Follow Customer Service online: sfcsubserv.tumblr.com, @sfcsubserv
Manage your subscription online: https://myaccount.sfchronicle.com


Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she ACCEPTED the response from the business.)
I do disagree with the renewal process. On any renewal notice I've received never had the auto renewal statement. I only renewed as I was given a groupon for the chronicle. The groupon is for a specific time so I am concerned if it will auto renewal without my specific actions to cancel the subscription.

08/07/2015Problems with Product / Service | Read Complaint Details
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Complaint
The SF Chronicle employs fleets of employees to solicit subscriptions, misrepresenting the contract nature of what they're signing you up for.
I had a young man show up on my doorstep asking for the usual newspaper subscription signup to help him out in some program. I obliged (I won't ever again) with a one time donation, and was subsequently apparently signed up for an SF Chronicle subscription that lapsed in billing and now they're trying to run collections on me for.

This is nonsense and it is clear that the Chronicle knows that these signups are a misrepresentation and a scam. I've never received a paper at my door (nor did I want one).

I don't need credit report and collections problems because the Chronicle needs to run scams to sign people up. I'm sure they'll blame the guy on the street they're paying less than minimum wage, but they know exactly what is going on.

I want my billing to be cleared and no credit report problems.

Desired Settlement
I want the bill to be cleared and no impact to credit report. I didn't sign up for a subscription. I've never received a newspaper.

Business Response
Contact Name and Title: ******** ********, CS Mgr
Contact Phone: XXX-XXX-XXXX
Contact Email: *********@sfchronicle.com
The following letter was sent to the complainant today: August 5, 2015



Mr. ******* ******
*** ******* Avenue, *** !
******** ***** ** XXXXX-XXXX


Dear Mr. ******,

I received your Better Business Bureau Complaint #XXXXXXXX regarding the
San Francisco Chronicle subscription. I apologize for any inconvenience caused
by the automatic renewal of the subscription.

I have cleared the outstanding balance and assure you that no collection action will
be taken. The sales vendors who sell subscriptions on behalf of the San Francisco
are supposed to provide a receipt whenever they accept subscription payments. Those
receipts detail the terms and conditions of the subscriptions and are clearly stamped
that donations are not accepted. However, occasionally some of the representatives
don't follow the procedures. Our customer service has a standard process for dealing
with these types of complaints including filing a complaint against the vendor who sold
that offer. I reviewed your account record but don't see any notes regarding that so
I will do that now.

Thank you for taking the time to report this issue. If you have any questions or need
more information, please let me know.

Sincerely,


******** ********
Customer Service Manager
Circulation
*********@sfchronicle.com
XXX-XXX-XXXX

cc: Better Business Bureau



Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she ACCEPTED the response from the business.)


06/18/2015Advertising / Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Complaint
Fraudulent claim of sale
I have never at any time ordered the San Francisco Chronicle. I am receiving statements saying that I 'canceled' a subscription, and owe a balance for it. The fraudulent statement references an account number XXXXXXXX.

I received a phone call from a rep from SF Chronicle a few weeks ago. I told her that I never ordered the paper and that she had my name in error.

The statement I received falsely claims that SF Chronicle has attempted unsuccessfully to contact me, when in fact they did contact me and I explained that I never ordered the Chronicle.



Desired Settlement
No further bills, or threats of bills; No further contact by the business, and no future advertisements.

Business Response
The following response was sent to the complainant today:
From: ********, ********
Sent: Monday, June 15, XXXX X:XX PM
To: '************@gmail.com'
Subject: BBB complaint XXXXXXXX

Dear Ms. *******,

I apologize for this fraudulent order. I have cleared the balance and will notify all of our retention vendors to cease any activity on this account.

This order was started for delivery to *** **** ******* Lane, ***** *** ***** ** XXXXX back in 2014. We will take the appropriate action
with the sales vendor who submitted this order. I will also research to see who contacted you a few weeks back to find out why the balance
was not cleared at that time.

I'm sorry that this happened but I appreciate you bringing it to our attention. If you have any questions or need more information, please let
me know.

Sincerely,


******** ********
Customer Service Manager
*********@sfchronicle.com
XXX-XXX-XXXX


Follow the Chronicle on Twitter: @sfchronicle, @sfgate
Follow Customer Service online: sfcsubserv.tumblr.com, @sfcsubserv
Manage your subscription online: https://myaccount.sfchronicle.com



Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she ACCEPTED the response from the business.)
Thank you for resolving. You might want to be aware that a teenage boy at **** was soliciting donations involving deliveries of the SF Chronicle newspaper to his school. I recall making a donation for his effort, and suspect that this is how the donation turned into a falsely created order.

10/30/2014Billing / Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Complaint
SF chronicle has been charging my credit card every month since Feb 2013. These charges are unauthorized and continue in spite of complaining to them.
In 2012 Nov/Dec time had ordered 1 month of subscription as a kid showed up at my door selling subscription and this would help help him get scholorship. SF chronicle started charging my credit card every month after that. I called them back in March 2013 to complain about this and to cancel the subscription explicitly. About two months ago I started receiving the papers again but very intermittently. Sometimes it had my unit number and most of the times not. Upon checking my credit card I noticed that they never cancelled my subscription and have been charging my card all along. I raised a dispute with my credit card and requested them to cancel all these charges.
I called SF chronicle again about three weeks ago (around 9/1/14) to speak to their customer service. They told me the subscription is automatically cancelled because of the payment cancellation. But I'm still receiving their sporadic news delivery.
For last two weeks we have been receiving (collection?) calls late at night from SF chronicle after 8:30PM and there's no response
and today I received a bill for $296 in mail. This is extortion.

Desired Settlement
I'm not seeking any settlement at this point. I just need this nuisance to stop.

Final Consumer Response
I'm glad to report that this matter was resolved. SF Chronicle responded to my request for full refund.
Thanks,

09/17/2014Advertising / Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Complaint
SF Chronicle sends students to doors in name for college fund, and traps into recurring subscription without consent. And disagree to cancel.
A high school student came to my apt door and asked me to get a one-time 26 weeks subscription to the SF Chronicle ($25) because it goes towards his college fund. When he spoke he made it very clear its just one time. When I refused he was convincing, and even said he can send the paper to local school/library if I didnt want it. They discourage cash payments and want credit card. Lucky for my I did not provide and paid by cash. He said they would call to verify address and subscription. They did.When he gave me the reciept I noticed that it said that the subscription automatically renews unless I call specifically. In a few weeks I got 3 people calling to verify different stages, and each time I specifically asked for subscription to be cancelled after the 26 weeks. No one agreed and kept dodging. Today I got call from SF Chronicle to confirm. I made it very clear I dont want a recurring subscription but the lady said I'd have to call after 26 weeks and she cant make a note now or cancel.
I think its a scandal - who would remember for 26 weeks. Esp for a paper they dont even want and paid just to help a "poor student".
Had I given my credit card they would keep scamming me for the money.

(1) Using a student, for unlawful solicitation in communities where its not allowed, (2) teaching them to lie, and (3) then refusing to follow customers explicit request to cancel. I think they should be banned from doing any of the above.
A paper should be educational not a scam in the society or teaching young students in need how to scam people.

I would rather have them refund my subscription and I can contribute towards student fund myself.

Desired Settlement
I would rather have them refund my subscription and I can contribute towards student fund myself.

Final Consumer Response
Case is resolved.
The SF Chronicle has sent the refund, and agreed to cancel further subscription renewal.

Page 1 of 4
12/01/2015Problems with Product / Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Complaint
I subscribed to San Francisco Chronicle Sunday paper on August 1 using Groupon. So far I only have maybe not more than 5 prompt deliveries. Each time I call about missed delivery I am told by customer service that the paper would be redelivered but the paper was only redelivered once. I must have called no less than 10 times about missed paper and repeatedly I am told the issue will be elevated to Regional Manager but missed delivery continues to be an issue and nobody has ever called me back and nobody has responded to my letter wanting to know the reason for repeated missed deliveries. This happened again today. I called twice (9 a.m. and 10.20 a.m.) wanting to make sure the paper would be redelivered but again, no paper today. I am tired of having to call and complain every Sunday and Monday. I would like to know if The Chronicle has a solution.

Desired Settlement
I'd like to get my Sunday paper every Sunday!

Business Response
Contact Name and Title: ******** ********, CS Mgr
Contact Phone: XXX-XXX-XXXX
Contact Email: *********@sfchronicle.com
This email was sent to the complainant today: Hello Ms. ***********,

Your Better Business Bureau complaint was forwarded to me for resolution. Please accept my apology for the
unacceptable level of service!

**********, the Home Delivery Supervisor in charge of this area confirmed that he spoke to you and assured
you that this would be taken care of this Sunday. Someone from my office will check with you by email on
Sunday morning to confirm that the paper has been delivered. If you would prefer that they call you, please
let me know.

Because the level of service has been so poor, I have made sure that you have not been charged for any of the
15 deliveries so far. That means that your new expiration date is now 11/19/16.

I'm sorry that this problem was not resolved sooner and I appreciate you taking the time to report it. If you
have any questions or I can provide any additional assistance, please let me know.

Sincerely,


******** ********
Customer Service Manager
*********@sfchronicle.com
XXX-XXX-XXXX





10/15/2015Problems with Product / Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Complaint
I subscribe to the San Francisco Chronicle for Sunday delivery of their paper. It has not been delivered in over two months.
I subscribe to the San Francisco Chronicle for delivery of their Sunday newspaper. For the past 12 weeks, I have not been delivered a Sunday paper. After the second week, I emailed their Customer Service Dept, and each week I am promised the problem will be fixed, however it has not. I have been told the Delivery Supervisor would be notified and will call me to discuss the problem, but that too has never happened. In another email I have been told that the delivery problem has been escalated to the Regional Delivery Supervisor, ***********, but again, no paper. I am totally frustrated by the Chronicle's lack of customer service and professionalism.

Desired Settlement
I want my Sunday Newspaper delivered to me each and every Sunday - nothing else. I cannot believe this issue is that difficult to resolve.

Business Response
Contact Name and Title: J. ******** SFChronicle.c
Contact Phone: XXX-XXX-XXXX
Contact Email: ********@sfchronicle.com
The following letter was mailed via USPS today, with a copy emailed to *********@yahoo.com
September 29, 2015



Mr. ******* ********
******************************** XXXXX-XXXX

Dear Mr. ********,

Your complaint to the Better Business Bureau was forwarded to me for follow-up and resolution. Please accept my apologies for the unacceptable level of service you have experienced. I am also sending this information to the email address we have on file.

I have spoken with ****** ****, the East Bay Delivery Supervisor and he confirmed that he has already talked to the delivery service provider about your poor delivery. He has advised the delivery service provider that this problem needs to be resolved immediately. I have also alerted ****** ****, the Regional Manager in charge of San Francisco and the East Bay home delivery about this so that she can monitor the situation. Someone from my office will contact you on Sunday to confirm that the paper has been delivered.

Since your service has been so unsatisfactory, I have cleared all charges so far and will start your subscription over, PLUS add 4 weeks at no charge. I want to demonstrated that we can provide consistent delivery to you. I'm just sorry that you've had to spend so much of your time on this.

I do appreciate you bringing this to our attention and I apologize for the lack of response for so long. If you have any questions or need additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,



******** ********
Customer Service Manager
*********@sfchronicle.com
XXX-XXX-XXXX

Follow the Chronicle on Twitter: *********************
Follow Customer Service online: **********************************
Manage your subscription online: https://*************************

cc: BBB Complaint No XXXXXXXX



06/11/2015Billing / Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Complaint
Was misled about the nature of my subscriptions to SJMN and SF Chronicle by a "student" claiming that it was an autocancelling
trial.
In mid 2014 a salesman claiming to be a student came to my door offering newspaper subscriptions as part of a scholarship program. I didn't particularly want to receive newspapers but offered a donation instead. The salesman said that since he was also delivered the papers, he would ensure that I would never receive a newspaper, and that I would have a trial subscription that would automatically cancel. That way, he would receive his "points" and I wouldn't have to deal with a newspaper every week. Of course, all of this turned out to be completely false - I received newspapers for several months, and ignored phone calls/renewal letters assuming that my subscription was indeed a "trial" and would cancel automatically as the salesman said. I now have a letter from SF Chronicle claiming an outstanding balance.

Desired Settlement
I should not have an outstanding balance for a service that I didn't want, and was falsely sold to me as being a one-time donation to a student. These outstanding balances should be nullified and not sent into collections (as other complainants have detailed can happen). I do not want to receive any more bills or phone calls from SF Chronicle

Business Response
Contact Name and Title: ******** ******** CS Mgr
Contact Phone: XXX-XXX-XXXX
Contact Email: *********@sfchronicle.com
The following email was sent to the customer 5/25/15 and a letter with the same information will be sent by snail mail today:
From: ********, ********
Sent: Monday, May 25, XXXX XX:XX AM
To: ************@gmail.com
Subject: Response to BBB complaint XXXXXXXX re Erroneous Chronicle billing

Dear Mr. ******,

I apologize for the delayed response to your complaint and for any confusion over the subscription that started in your name. I have cleared the outstanding balance so that it is now $0.

I am following up with our sale vendor regarding this offer and the sales person who misrepresented the situation. Did that salesperson give you a receipt? That form that you are supposed to sign to confirm the order does contain information about the offers including the fact that we do not take donations as well as our contact information for any questions. I'm sorry about the misinformation you were given and assure you that the appropriate action will be taken with the sales person in question.

Please note this I can only handle the Chronicle situation. If you have not already contacted the San Jose Mercury News and are receiving bills or communications from them, if you contact them directly, I'm sure that they will take care of it.

I'm sorry that it took so long to resolve this. If you have any questions or need more information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

I will also be sending a hard copy of this communication in the mail.


******** ********
Customer Service Manager
*********@sfchronicle.com
XXX-XXX-XXXX

04/16/2014Advertising / Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Complaint
Unable to access service though I paid for it today.
I started an online subscription and paid for it today.

I am unable to access the subscription. I keep getting routed to the company's subscriber website, where it defaults to my old home delivery account which I cancelled last year.

I called customer service, and got disconnected. I called back and they said I had to wait three to five business days. That means, if true, that I am not able to access services for three to five business days that I already paid for.

The company's subscriber website seems to be full of technical glitches, their customer service reps do not seem to listen and keep asking for information which I already provided. It is extremely frustrating dealing with this company.

Desired Settlement
Refund or credit of days without service I already paid for.

Also, cleaning-up my account so that it actually works when I try to manage it online.

Final Consumer Response
I have not been contacted by the company.

01/19/2016Billing / Collection Issues
Page 1 of 2
04/07/2015Delivery Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Complaint
I subscribe and pay for Sunday and Monday home delivery of the newspaper. I never receive my paper.
I am on auto pay, so every month I pay for delivery of my paper. This Sunday 3/1 And today 3/2 I was not delivered a paper. Also last weekend 2/22 and 2/23 I also was never brought a paper.

Desired Settlement
All I want is for my paper to be delivered on Sunday and Monday and to receive money for all of the missed papers I have paid for then had to buy on my own.

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