Q on Newspaper Subscriptions

Just a quick question. In your experience, when you pay your local newspaper for X number of months, do they still keep delivering the paper after your prepaid months are up, thus allowing you to build up an account balance? Is this “normal” business practice?

The concept is referred to as ‘grace issues’. They’re a means by which you can continue to receive the pub after expire…thereby giving you an opportunity to see the light and renew your subscription.

Yes, if you renew those issues will be charged to your account. You received them…you’ll be charged for them.

On the flip side if you don’t renew your subscription the pub almost always has to eat that cost and write off those issues to the fortunes of war (publishing) and you’re not on the hook for it.

That doesn’t mean they might not send you something making it apparent that YOU owe THEM…but that doesn’t mean you do.

Also, the number of grace issues can vary greatly, especially for a daily newspaper that’s attempting to make rate base (and therefore keep advertising coming in).

  • Jonathan ‘Publishing God’ Chance

Really! Who do I contact to get this in writing?

In writing?

I’m assuming you’ve got a subscription that lapsed and you’re still receiving issues, right? Call them and inform them you won’t be renewing under any circumstance. They should stop sending issues right away and not bill you again. You can always ask for a written reply stating you’re not on the hook for the cost but that would be unusual.

Your assumption is correct, Jonathan. I didn’t want to bore anyone with the story, but here it is:

I received a postcard from an individual stating I owed him $X for the KC Star. Not knowing who the hell this individual was, I called the Star’s Billing Dept and asked what it was about. They told me that they didn’t handle accounts that had gone beyond what was prepaid & the individual is the carrier for my area. I specifically asked them why I had been receiving the paper after my alloted subscription time & their reply was that unless I call or send a letter, they do not cancel subscriptions. My response was, “I wasn’t aware of this. In that case, I am formally cancelling my subscription.” They told me that they’d contact the carrier and I’d receive a final bill from him. Now, I am willing to pay for the papers that I received just to be fair. But I dislike the fact that I got wrangled into it. After my conversation with the Billing Dept, I received no more newspapers.

Two weeks after my call to the Star, their Sales Dept called to get me to renew my subscription. Just for fun, I asked the salesman what my account balance was. He said it was zero. I told him about the bullshit I had already gone through, and he said that, “They (billing) must have taken care of it, but he’s not sure since he didn’t have access to my account history.” Anyway, he tried to give his pitch on renewing… "To get the news on Olympic events, the election, the Chiefs (as if I give a rat’s ass). I just laughed and said, “That’s why gawd made the internet.” I also told him that the Star’s business practices have soured me on ever getting another subscription. He hung up.

For three weeks now, I’ve been waiting on a final bill. I look outside this morning, and what do I see? That’s right-- a fucking newspaper on my driveway! :mad:

So that’s why I started this thread. I’m pissed off. I suppose I should have put it in the Pit, but my intent was to ask if this was a common practice, not to gripe about it. I do feel a bit better now, though.

Glad to help.

Let me state this clearly: You are absolutely not on the hook for any issues received past your original subscription. Feel free to pay for them (I support my brethren) but don’t feel you must.

Fight the power.

Thanks, Jonathan. :slight_smile: