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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Why I am Boycotting my Newspaper Service

 Disclaimer: This post contains personal opinions based on my own experiences, poor customer service interactions and is fueled with lots of frustration.  If you work for AZ Republic, feel free to leave your phone number and I'll give you a call...when you're having dinner.

I am sure there is some big taboo associated with forgoing the infamous Sunday coupon inserts, but I canceled my subscription and I'm happy I did!

Before I was paying just $4 a month for the Sunday paper to be delivered to my door - inserts and all.  I could have definitely lived with that.  In fact, I wanted to live with that.  The problem:  the AZ Republic thought they'd needed to make more money off of me.

Here's how it played out:  My subscription came to an end on a Holiday weekend.  Knowing that we wouldn't be getting any inserts that weekend and seeing the dreary selection in the following weekend's paper, I decided I'd hold off renewing.

Papers kept coming.  Every Sunday for 3 weeks in a row.  I left a message at AZ Republic but they didn't want to come pick their papers back up.  They said to toss them in the recycle bin.  I thought it must have been an error, an oversight.  Little did I know they had this planned.  *insert evil laugh here*

All was forgotten until the calls started coming conveniently when I was trying to enjoy dinner with my family. About 6 calls, once a week, (seriously!) all going about the same way:

AZ Rep.:  I'm calling to tell you that you are $26.xx past due and we're sending you to collections unless you pay now or renew. 
Me:  I don't owe you any money.  I never authorized a renewal and I never told you to send those extra papers.  Do you want them back?
AZ Rep:  No, we just send those for a grace period.  
Me:  What am I supposed to be paying $26 for?
AZ Rep:  For a renewal.
Me:  But I didn't renew yet.
AZ Rep:  That's why we sent you the papers.
Me:  You're crazy if you think that's how I'm going to do business. Take my name off the "Sucker" list, please.

Hmph!  (In case you missed that, I was supposed to pay $26 for 3 weeks of papers plus renewing a subscription that I never asked for!!)

Each time they called - all 6+ of them- I politely told them they were bonkers and, again, they could pick up those papers at any time.  They apologized, said it was "taken care of" and the papers ceased to arrive on my porch.

Fast forward several weeks and my Hubs answered the same threatening call:  "Blah, blah, blah, collections, blah, blah."  NOTE:  He's not very good at keeping his cool so he wasn't as nice about telling them they were nuts.  After replaying the story with them, the Arizona Republic actually asks:  "Well, we're running a special right now.  Will you renew and let us redeem ourselves?"   

Are. you kidding. me???

The funny, or not-so-funny, part is that the exact SAME thing happened to my girlfriend and about 12 moms on a forum.  What is going on, AZ republic?!  Shady much?

So, this evening while we're eating dinner another call comes in....

Let me preface this part by saying that I have been sick, had laryngitis, thyroid issues, taking care of a  tot who just had her tonsils out and-all-I-wanted-was-to-have-some-flippin-spaghetti-with-my-family.

AZ Rep.:  I'm calling to tell you that you are $26.xx past due...
Me:  ( in my loudest-laryngitis voice)  ...Don't you DARE call me falsely accusing me of being past due on something I NEVER ordered or authorized! 
AZ Rep:  Well, I was just calling to tell you that I can give you a great deal at 40% off.
Me:  Give me one reason why I should sign up to do business with someone who is clearly out to screw me....  I don't EVER want to receive another call, letter, newspaper, nothing from your company again. If you would like to take me to court over $26, feel free.   Are you going to see to it that this is resolved or should I speak to a manager right now?
AZ Rep: Ummm, I'll take you off the list and transfer you to customer service.  Click.

He hung up on me!  I'm fully convinced the "I'll transfer you" line is so they don't get in trouble for just hanging up on someone.  Friends, I yelled with my squeaky little voice.  I'd probably want to hang up on me too, but that's what he signed up for.

I'm fuming mad, and I'm going to make many calls to the AZ Republic until I am certain I'll never receive a threat from them again.  Awful.  AZ Republic, I am more than disappointed in the way you choose to do business.  I'm 100% OK never purchasing one of your papers again.

The moral of this story rant, my fellow Arizonans, beware of the AZ Republic and watch your subscriptions closely! And, if they start calling you around dinner time with bogus claims and charges, don't give in -- we don't want them thinking they can get away with this anymore!!

*Steps down from soapbox*

You're probably wondering, then, after that long rant what I am going to do about getting my coupons.  Well, I have a plan.  It's been set in motion and it's working beautifully for me.  I'll share with you the details tomorrow, m'kay? ;)

If the AZ Republic has tried something similiar on you, let me know....I'm planning on letting them know we're ALL not going to put up with their pathetic business practices!!


  1. The same thing has happened to me! I am interested in what you are doing because I HATE the AZ republic!


  2. In addition to calling them, you should write a letter to document what has happened. You should also mention how many readers you have that will now be even more leary of their so-called deals.

  3. Lauren, Are you serious!? What is wrong with them!? I'm going to try writing and calling -- I'll let you know what I find out. I'm not paying it just to get them off my back...they'll just have to put up with my mouth if they want to continue harassing me.

    Good advice, Denise. I'm definitely writing them too! I'm hoping more people come forward here too, so they can see we're on to them!

  4. Oh my goodness, this is SO ironic that I would read your post!! I too, hate the AZ republic...but I have no other choice up here in Prescott Valley when it comes to sunday papers (really, that's the only paper I care about)

    Let me tell you what happened to us.
    2 years ago I received a sales call from the Az rep. about a special they were offering, I was totally NOT interested as I told the guy on the phone all I wanted was the sunday paper. Well, he gave me an amazing deal for a year subscription to the az rep JUST for the sunday papers. (can't remember how much I paid, bit I know it was cheap) Well, all is going well until months down the road I get another call stating that "since I'm such a valued customer" they wanted to offer me the other 6 days of the paper for 3 months, for free! I told the first guy no way, in my mind, which I expressed to the first guy who mentioned this, it is just a waste of perfectly good paper since it will just be tossed in the garbage.
    The second sales man would not take no for an answer...so there it was! I was now the proud new sucker on their sucker list. fast forward 3 months, now they were sendin me bills for this "free" paper. I kep throwing the renewal bills away because as I told them on the phone, I did not want this extra 6 days a week. Come to find out, they quit delivering all my papers completely.
    After calling this stupid newspaper company about this issue, they inform me that since I had never renewed my 6 days and they could not get ahold of me (gotta love caller ID) they cancelled my entire subcription...INCLUDING the rest of the year I had previously paid for. After fighting and figthing with the morons that work in that office, I still never got my money back OR finishing out the rest of my subscription. UGH!

    NOW~ rewind 2 days ago....my sweet hubby was walking in to safeway and was stopped by yet another Az Rep salesman who was parked out front. While he was remembering that there was a reason why I didn't like subscriptions with this company, he was also remembering that HE is the one who is sent every sunday to fetch me a sunday paper. When the man was flashing $10 safeway giftcard to him for a $13 monthly subscription, he caved in! Bless his sweet heart when he came home so proud of himself because he just scored me $10 in free grocery money! Here we go for round TWO!!

  5. Yup! This same thing happened to me with the Az Republic. When I told them I didn't renew or ask for the papers they sent me, their excuse was it was an "automatic subscription" and I had to actually CANCEL if I did not want to continue receiving the paper. BULLS&*T!!! If I don't pay for it, don't send it!

  6. Same thing happened to me. I did eventually renew only because I wanted to start getting coupons again....there has been no mention of the "balance due" from that period when they refused to stop bringing me the paper.


    since signing up again in the beginning of February my paper has showed up twice without prompting. On all the other Wednesdays and Sundays I have to call and let them know my paper is not here...again. All the while they are calling at least once a day to see if I would like to add Friday and Saturday to my subscription with no charge for a year. You can't get my paper here 2 times a week and now you want to make me call you an extra two days a week to remind you?? No thanks. Besides once the year is up I am sure we would run into the same "you us the renewal" scam again. This past Sunday (which was my birthday and my inlaws had the kids so I was going to get to sleep in!!!) They called at 8:30 to see if my paper had showed up. I rolled out of bed and guess what? No paper. They have been very good about crediting my account and bring replacement papers on Sundays so I haven't given up yet.

    And it appears it may have worked. There was a paper on the driveway this morning. We will see what happens on Sunday.

  7. I had major issues with the AZ Republic in the past as well. Their customer service department is HORRIFIC. Keep fighting!

  8. I also just cancelled my subscription that they automatically renewed without my permission. I have had so many problems with them! Paper after paper that was not delivered. I got so tired of calling to tell them my paper wasn't here. I would then be told it would be delivered later that day and then it STILL wouldn't show up so I would have to call again the next day and they said they would "credit my account". After 3 or 4 times of not getting my Sunday paper, I called and was told my carrier's manager would call me within 24 hours. Yep, never did call me. And as for the "credits" I was supposed to get. When I called this past weekend to cancel my subscription I was told there was only one credit and that I owed them $4.50 for the papers that came after my subscription ended! Needless to say, I cancelled their automatic renewal and am very interested to find out how you will be getting coupons still!

  9. Oh no!!! I JUST signed up for the Weds/Sun $4.33 a month automatic payment thing last week! I was so tired of missing inserts in the papers we were buying at the store or having to go to multiple stores just to find a paper that had all the inserts. Hmmph.
    I hope it all works out for you. They owe you and it seems, many more people an apology.

  10. Tracey, that's funny about the Safeway gift card b/c I totally signed up last year for the same thing. :) Good luck w/ the new subscription!!

  11. I can't believe how many people they have done this to! I'm writing a letter and calling. I told Hubs that I'll go down there (where ever "there" is) and wait to speak to someone if I have to. I told them on the phone that it's not about the $26, b/c it's not like that's going to "break" me but it's the principle that they keep pulling this.

    Angel, you may be fine if you're doing an automatic payment as long as you keep an eye on what they're taking out. One reader wrote me and said they raised her rates and charged her more for 4 months before she noticed. Good luck, girl!! :)