Apr 2, 2008

Failing grades

Five of the nine newspapers that make up Singleton's Southern California chain have "F" ratings from the Better Business Bureau.

All of the complaints seem to center on the introductory trial subscriptions aimed at hooking new customers. Some people complained their trial subscription started after the date it was supposed to end, while others complained they couldn't stop delivery "despite repeated attempts by phone and mail." Sometimes the company fixed the problem and apologized, and other times the complaint was ignored.

(I remember one misguided effort a few years back to get reporters at the SGVN papers to hand out free two-week subscription cards. Needless to say, the initiative failed.)

So, which LANG papers got an "F"?

The Long Beach Press-Telegram, Los Angeles Daily News, Pasadena Star-News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune and Whittier Daily News all received the bureau's lowest rating.

The Daily Breeze of Torrance and the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin earned "C" ratings, the Redlands Daily Facts has a "B", and the San Bernardino Sun got a "BBB", the highest rating of the bunch.

By comparison, the Los Angeles Times earned a "BBB".

For a full explanation of what the grades mean, go here.

I'm not sure how important bureau ratings are, although I'd guess businesses with good grades tout them and those with poor grades discount them. As for LANG, if I remember correctly, subscription services were contracted out a few years back and then brought back in house. So it's possible some of the complaints are old. Also, some of the contact names in the bureau files are out of date.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"...couldn't stop delivery "despite repeated attempts by phone and mail."

Customer service was told not to enter customer stops until after March 31 -..the objective was to make the Publisher's Statement for period ending March 31 look better.