Nov 13 I subscribed to and paid for the Gazette - daily newspaper delivery. Delivery did not start when anticipated, and it was after Thanksgiving before I finally received a newspaper. I called several times, was given a different story each time. Once I was told they don't deliver to my address, that I'd have to go pick the paper up at some drop off location. Then I was told that yes, they do deliver to my address.
On about Nov 29 I finally received a paper - but no other deliveries. I called in many times and each time was told that my account would be credited. There were several calls back and forth, my calling them and them calling me back to straighten out the issue.
On or about Dec 4 I asked if it would be easier to fix my account to Sunday and Holiday delivery instead of daily delivery for the remainder of my credits. They agreed to do that for me.
I still missed the Sunday and holiday deliveries, and tried to call in and even left messages, but no return calls and the line was always busy - I spent a lot of time on hold before being cut off with a message indicating that I would be called back.
After a few more days I finally got through to someone and requested that my subscription not be continued, but on Dec 29 my bank informed me that the Gazette had removed money from my account to cover the subscription.
Today (1/22/2016) I got a notice of overdraft from my bank in the mail. It's barely been 3 weeks and the Gazette again pulled money out of my bank account.
I called today to make sure my account gets canceled this time and to request a refund. I was told they have a no refund policy (I did not see that anywhere on their site when I signed up, and there is no place on the site to cancel, either.) They said the soonest they could cancel my subscription is Monday the 25th - and no sooner. I called back later and was told my subscription had not yet been canceled and had to be transferred to another customer service Rep - however, I was placed on hold for several minutes and no one else picked up. (This has happened to me several times today - I called them numerous times and all I got was put on hold.)
To sum it all up, I'm being charged almost $8 every 20 days for a monthly subscription to a paper whose delivery has been sporadic, at best, and they are refusing to cancel my subscription or offer a refund of the money they took out of my account without my authorization. They get around this by saying I'm on auto renewal, yet I did not request auto renewal, I signed up for only one month on a trial basis. After my month I didn't like the service and wanted to cancel.
I want my newspaper subscription canceled and $15.52 for two unauthorized transactions refunded to me. They also need to do the following:
1. Greatly improve their Customer Service - no keeping people on hold indefinitely (do they need to install a better phone operating system?), stop "passing the buck" from person to person with the customer, and if the customer asks to speak with a Supervisor, transfer them - and let them know who their supervisor is.
2. Improve on people skills and employ CSR professionalism. Say "please" and "thank you" and use a friendly tone of voice; do what you can to keep your customers without being snide and rude about it. Be problem solvers instead of problem creators.
3. On the website, add an area in the account center for customers to cancel their subscriptions.
4. Send an email or US mail to customers at least 14 days in advance of their next automatic payment, and give them the option of opting out of that and/or canceling their subscription.
5. Notify customers both on the website and in a welcome letter of any no-refund and/or other billing related policies. In the areas where people subscribe via the website, put said policy or policies in plain sight where the potential customer can see it BEFORE making the decision to subscribe or renew.
If the customer is subscribing by phone or by a sales person at their door, then the sales representative must advise the potential customer of any no-refund policies BEFORE the potential customer subscribes, giving them the chance to decide whether they want to take that risk first.
If it were not for the Gazette customers - subscribers and others who conduct business with the Gazette - the Gazette would not be in business. We are your source of income, and we deserve to be treated with some amount of decency and respect for it. We are customers, not peons. We do not HAVE to subscribe to the newspaper, despite that the Gazette does not like to cancel subscriptions and has some of the worst customer service I've ever had the misfortune of having to deal with. I am truly sorry that I subscribed to their newspaper and will never make that mistake again.
Sandra ** ******
This subscriber went to The Gazette's online site and entered a start request for 11/22 and chose the option to pay by the auto pay program.
She called the call center on 12/3 and explained her delivery had not started. Since the delivery address is in a limited delivery area, her subscription was changed to a digital subscription until it could be determined if her address was within the delivery area.
We received notice from the independent contractor that her address could be included in the delivery area. On 12/15 the subscription was changed back to a print subscription plus digital from digital only..
The subscription remained active therefore there were 2 auto pay payments credited to her account on 12/28 and 1/18/16. Both payments were for $7.76. The expiration date was 1/31/16. At no time was it requested to stop the subscription.
Upon receipt of this BBB complaint the account was stopped on the expiration date of 1/31/16. The account will have a zero balance.
The Gazette has a no refund policy. All policies are placed on page A1 of the newspaper, online in our customer service area and on any and all sales receipts that new customers sign and receive after subscribing from any of our sales teams.