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Old 11-20-2019, 07:13 PM
 
Location: New York Area
17,609 posts, read 6,878,892 times
Reputation: 13580

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One of the newspapers I subscribe, The Times (won't be more specific) has a service that produces, in real-feel, newspapers going back to before the Civil War. The way it works is each page is replicated exactly as it was printed. Let's say you pull up the November 12, 1923 and see an article which interests you, "Incensed People Join in Demonstrations Hostile to Von Kahr" underneath the banner "Hitler Forces Rallying Near Munich...". So you click on the article, which is supposed to open a separate PDF of that article, the first and continued page. Instead, starting about a week or two ago, clicking the article would bounce you right back to the full page, so to read it you would have to manually magnify the page. And then manually navigate to the "continued" page.

After calling "800 number" I got one helpful person who we'll call "Jay." We figured out that all issues prior to December 31, 1922 worked fine; after January 1, 1923 the glitch occurred and he replicated the problem on his end. I put all this is writing, with links (I won't send because that would identify the newspaper). During my many calls and emails, the problem was variously blamed on a) cookies and cache (I tried the site on a computer that had never gone on the newspaper site); b) my browser (I tried the site on all three major browsers); and finally "metering", a nice way of saying overuse of the account, i.e. more than 100 article downloads a month (this is far above my use of the account).

In short, I could see I was getting nowhere. Yesterday, I called the headquarters number, and randomly picked an extension which to leave a message. The person called me back and said his department "couldn't help me." I demanded a supervisor and got a highly placed manager. The problem was fixed within about four hours.

Then I received a response from "customer service" which said "Hi Jim,

I completely understand your frustration with this. I am still waiting to hear back from the TimesMachine team on what exactly the issue is.

Again, I'm sorry we have yet to fully resolve this issue for you." And this after the problem was fixed. I responded to that message:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Email to "Customer Service"
The problem was fixed with the help of a Jihan P., copied on this email, of senior management. I reached her by dialing a wrong number, xxx-xxx-2020 and then asking for a senior manager. Do you think that should have been necessary? I don't. And to keep my account, as well as help the New York Times with an operational problem, I feel that I should get a statement credit. Perhaps the lack of certain key words in this message will take this message out of robotic response.

If you think I'm frustrated I am. And scorching angry. The Times makes it impossible to get a problem rectified. You have blamed the problems on:

1) Cookies and cache;
2) Abuse of the account, called "metering"; and then when the problem replicated internally
3) The matter was not referred to the "team that manages the TimesMachine website" for days (as reported to me by 1-800-xxx-4367.

Please satisfy a long-term, 32 year customer (and 52 years of you count my years living with my parents.

jbgusa (xxx) xxx-4033
And periodicals and other customer-service heavy organizations wonder why they are losing business?
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Old 11-21-2019, 12:07 AM
 
4,857 posts, read 2,966,799 times
Reputation: 4395
I have a feeling you're here advertising for the Times. This sounds like a good feature that has a glitch.
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Old 11-21-2019, 03:46 AM
 
Location: New York Area
17,609 posts, read 6,878,892 times
Reputation: 13580
Quote:
Originally Posted by mhays25 View Post
I have a feeling you're here advertising for the Times. This sounds like a good feature that has a glitch.
Hardly an advertisement. It's a great feature but the Times has no easily used method of reporting or describing the error. Accusing a customer of a "metering violation" is hardly a way to engender customer loyalty.
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Old 11-21-2019, 04:37 AM
 
Location: NC
6,913 posts, read 8,518,111 times
Reputation: 14565
You are saying it’s a nightmare when they fixed the problem and are giving you a service worth 100’s of dollars for pennies? Next time go to their offices, find the paper copy, and read it. Or find a library that has it on microfiche. You don’t realize how good you have it.
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Old 11-21-2019, 09:19 AM
 
Location: New York Area
17,609 posts, read 6,878,892 times
Reputation: 13580
Quote:
Originally Posted by luv4horses View Post
You are saying it’s a nightmare when they fixed the problem and are giving you a service worth 100’s of dollars for pennies? Next time go to their offices, find the paper copy, and read it. Or find a library that has it on microfiche. You don’t realize how good you have it.
I pay over $900 per annum for the subscription. Most of the value for that is archives access. The paper copies of 1930's-era newspapers probably don't exist any more. As for microfilm, actually, one of my high school teacher organized the index to them in the pre-Internet era.

The service is a good one, and I pay good money to have it working. The newspaper is shooting itself in the foot by making it nearly impossible to report a problem. Especially when the so-called "customer service" blames the problem on overuse or what they euphemise as a "metering" issue.
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Old 11-21-2019, 02:34 PM
 
Location: Eastern Tennessee
2,680 posts, read 1,982,433 times
Reputation: 7166
I think your fuse is too short. You had a problem -- it was corrected. They are providing a service you value.
Maybe it's 'time' to get get over it.
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Old 11-21-2019, 09:06 PM
 
Location: New York Area
17,609 posts, read 6,878,892 times
Reputation: 13580
Quote:
Originally Posted by grampaTom View Post
I think your fuse is too short. You had a problem -- it was corrected. They are providing a service you value.
Maybe it's 'time' to get get over it.
I sent a one-line note asking for a service credit and was cheerfully given a $72 credit. They apparently didn't think it was so minor and were presumably happy to have a bug uncovered.
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Old 11-21-2019, 11:15 PM
 
Location: Washington Park, Denver
7,515 posts, read 6,983,383 times
Reputation: 8236
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbgusa View Post
I sent a one-line note asking for a service credit and was cheerfully given a $72 credit. They apparently didn't think it was so minor and were presumably happy to have a bug uncovered.
Wow. Sounds like a real nightmare!!!
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Old 11-22-2019, 05:33 AM
 
Location: New York Area
17,609 posts, read 6,878,892 times
Reputation: 13580
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkyDog77 View Post
Wow. Sounds like a real nightmare!!!
If you suddenly find you've wasted $900 and customer service is run by "bots" it is. More serious than the effect of Facebook bots on a Presidential election.
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Old 11-22-2019, 08:41 AM
 
2,945 posts, read 1,920,169 times
Reputation: 6641
I hate when I have problems with the newspaper. I’d get right on the party line and give them a piece of my mind!
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