Monday, August 11, 2008

Stupid frustrations over The Economist

A couple of weeks back I subscribed to a 12-week trial of the Economist. So far it has been nothing but trouble. Originally I planned to subscribe for the option that I get twelve issues for 24 euros and an other 12 for 36 and a USB stick for free. Then a popup came up advertising the 12-week trial, so I ended up with the trial subscription.

I contacted them to check if I still get the free USB stick (I am kind of an impulse buyer, but I also hate when I am cheated out of a better offer). Apart from the fact that they first dressed me down for not providing a "customer reference number" that one gets after the first issue is delivered (~21 days after he has subscribed) and wanting to check my location to confirm my identity. At this point I'd like to add that the Economist sends you an automated reply for every e-mail you send them that they will answer in two business days, which is getting annoying, and moreover frustrating, as they literally wait two days to reply every time. So after waiting another two days, they issued me a reference number and said that they are sorry but can't answer me.

This turned out to be the least of my problems, as my copies are not arriving. On their website they count down my remaining issues, but I'm not receiving any. So far I have managed to extend my subscription with one week, for not having received my copy, but I'm still waiting for the two days to pass so they do something about me not receiving this weeks' issue neither (and as I have just hinted at this, in total I will have to wait an extra two days on them). I'm not confident that I would receive the next issue as well.

An other issue I raised with them is that the student rates they offer are far better than this trial offer, and me already knowing that I like the articles in the Economist, so I wanted to just switch to a student subscription by cancelling my not-yet-started trial in September and paying the student rate (with three weeks for a subscription to register in their system, this would have been an easy change; but after waiting a couple of two-days it turns out their staff is not so helpful in cases of these kind of manoeuvres).

Judging by the length of this post, I'm sure you can guess that I'm totally fed up with them. If I don't receive my copy this week, I'll just cancel the whole thing and apply for a refund of as much as is salvageable from my initial subscription fees (given their full refund policy, and their 48-hour reply cycle I am not sure its worth my money to ask for a full refund arguing that I haven't received any benefits from this subscription...).

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