I got a renewal notice for my subscription in the mail yesterday. For $344.76 I can renew my subscription that gets me three days of hardcopy delivery and full access to the electronic versions. Now I’ve never wanted the hardcopy and only took it because a year ago it was the only way to get access to the electronic versions. So I went online to have a look at the alternatives and, yes, now it is possible to subscribe to the electronic version without killing trees as you go – good move SMH.
But imagine my eyebrows raising when I see that the online price for a subscription is $300 for a year. What? That’s $44.76 less than my nice loyal-subscriber renewal price.
On I go and phone up SMH subscriber services. The first issue comes as soon as the phone answers: Am I calling about a hardcopy or an online subscription? Well, I don’t know, SMH, because a year ago you forced me to take the two together and, while there are now alternatives, that’s clearly what your subscription offers are trying to encourage. Force me to take both and then act like I have one or the other? Anyway, I choose to press ‘2’ because my finger happens to be nearer that key.
I’m quickly talking to a charming person who takes a look at my subscription and confirms that, yes, the best renewal price I can be offered is $344.76 because the $300 price is for new subscriptions. Now the website doesn’t say that at all: It implies that the normal subscription price is $25 per month (so $300 for the year) but new subscribers get the first month for $1.
So, I ask, is there any reason I can’t just let my existing subscription lapse and then sign up online to get the new deal? Apparently, the nice person confirms, there no reason not to do that.
So, dear SMH, all of those subscriber-benefit offers you keep sending me – discounted tickets and the like – appear to be being funded by you simply ripping off those who just renew their subscriptions without any further checking. What a fabulous way of eroding loyalty.
As I said a year ago: Someone at The Herald really needs to rethink this whole thing.