Wednesday, June 08, 2011

I am in "customer care" hell. A few months ago, I canceled home delivery of the TU. I loved receiving a morning paper, and have always subscribed to at least one. But over the winter it was often late or not delivered at all, it is too expensive, it is available online, and the front page and many stories mostly wind up irritating me.

In late May I received a telephone call from a sales representative pitching Thursday/Sunday delivery for 10 weeks for 10 dollars, including a source card. I told the representative to call me back the following day after I had discussed it with Bob.

It wasn't the ten bucks. Unsubscribing was based on principle - so we both have to be on the same page. He was agreeable, since newspaper is handy for things like mulching the garden and putting under the cat box. Also he sort of missed the Sunday paper and Thursday Preview section and although he said he'd just go to Stewart's and get one, he never does. There is something about waking up and reading it with your morning coffee (tea in his case). When the rep called back, I confirmed that I would only be charged ten dollars, and he assured me that was the case, so I gave him my debit card number. I asked him what would happen after the ten weeks, and he said I could call to cancel, or the subscription would continue at the regular rate for Thursday/Sunday.

My 10 weeks is from May 26 to August 3. The paper has been coming without a problem, although no source card has arrived. I was charged the $10 on May 27. Today I was looking at my account and I see that I was charged $40 on June 4. I have every intention of canceling when the trial is done, because after not having the paper delivered, I have gotten used to not reading it, and I don't feel like paying the regular rate. My blood was boiling. So I called the number listed on the TU website and it is a voice mail account. Billing has to call back.

I called the credit union, and they told me the TU can reverse the charge, also that if I am not comfortable with my account number being in their system, I can cancel my card and get a new one (what a hassle). So I called the TU again, but this time I didn't bother with billing, I chose a different option that I knew would get results, waited the long hold time, and extracted a promise that my debit number has been deleted and an offer for the one dollar per week deal for either six months or a whole year, with a one time payment. I didn't take the deal, and don't plan to consider it until Billing makes good on my $40. Apparently the only way to address that is with the call back from them. In my mind, the cliche "fool me one, shame on you...fool me twice, shame on me" is running. Also live and learn. Stay tuned.

Later: I didn't hear back from Billing so this afternoon I emailed a woman who is up in the chain of command for subscriptions; received a fast, if terse response. She's trying to expedite my refund.

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