Customer Service – The Newsweek Way

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Editor’s Note:  I am publishing this same post to all my blogs this week as I feel that it is that important on just how stupid a company can possibly be.  Enjoy my frustration:

 

Imagine the following scenario:

 

Mom:  “Here son, have some more broccoli”

Son:  “But mom, I don’t like it.”

Mom:  “I will give you even more tomorrow because I know you enjoy it so much.”

Son: “I don’t want any more.”

Mom:  “But you really want more.”

 

This is exactly the type of scenario that has been created over the last couple of weeks with me against Newsweek.  Ever since the start of the new digital issue, I have been very disappointed with the new format.  Here’s why:

 

There are 8 different platforms to access Newsweek from.  Since I don’t own a Kindle, Nook, iPhone, or Windows 8 computer, I am left with 2 ways to access the magazine.  The first way is to use the web browser and view the magazine online.  Well, I tried that on the first issue and could not get past the first page ad.  To add insult to injury, the small print could not be changed to a larger font.  I tried Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox with the same results.  I just couldn’t get past the first screen.  Given that screen took about 3 minutes to load, I wasn’t going to try to load a different issue to see if it would get any better.  Sadly, this approach made my broadband connection look like an old 56k modem connection.  And, no other webpages load perfectly so apparently it is something wrong with the Newsweek site.

The other way to get the magazine is to use the Zinio Reader, which I have used in the past.  I don’t like this approach because every time I use the program, it wants to download ALL my magazines even though I don’t want to.  The size of the magazines are not of small size either as some of them could take up to 100mb per issue.  Certainly no compression here and nor economical either.  Of course, I decided that this was not the way to go either so I decided to cancel my remaining subscription of 3 months and wanted a different print issue as said on their website.

So I decided to use their email system to request a cancellation.  A week went by and I heard nothing at all from them.  I then sent out a second request asking again of my alternatives.  After a week, I finally got the following response exactly as shown below:

 

Dear Mr. Brown,

 

 

 

Thank you for your email. We have received an overwhelmingly positive response to the new all-digital Newsweek.

 

 

 

We’re sincerely sorry for the wait time, and to make up for any delay in service, we have added two months of free access to your subscription.

 

 

 

In the meanwhile, please try the following help links, which have resolved most of the issues for other subscribers.

 

 

 

Login problems:

 

 

 

Can’t login to Newsweek:

 

http://www.thedailybeast.com/apps-and-mobile-faq.html#login

 

Don’t know my password (or requested new password and didn’t get one):

 

http://www.thedailybeast.com/apps-and-mobile-faq.html#update

 

Not sure where to read Newsweek? Click for help with your device:

 

iPad

 

http://www.thedailybeast.com/apps-and-mobile-faq.html#ipad

 

Kindle Fire, Fire HD 7″, Fire HD 8.9″

 

http://www.thdailybeast.com/apps-and-mobile-faq.html#kindlefire

 

Other Kindle

 

http://www.thedailybeast.com/apps-and-mobilefaq.html#kindle

 

PC or Mac Computers & Laptops

 

http://www.thedailybeast.com/apps-and-mobile-faq.html#desktop

 

Nook

 

http://www.thedailybeast.com/apps-and-mobile-faq.html#nook

 

Android Tablets & Phones

 

http://www.thedailybeast.com/apps-and-mobile-faq.html#android

 

 

 

If you do not want to receive the digital edition, please call us at 1-800-631-1040 to cancel for a refund.

 

 

 

Yours truly,

 

Newsweek Customer Service

 

 

All of the blank spacing above is their doing, not mine.  Not only did they not answer me, but also they were giddy over how well they were doing and even extended my subscription by 2 months!  How is that for not helping the customer properly?  It should be apparent that whoever sent this letter not only didn’t read my letter, but also used a cut-and-paste answer approach to my problem.  This is NOT how you do it people!!

You actually read the person’s letter and respond accordingly, not just send out any old canned response just to get rid of the customer.   To make matters worse, they want me to CALL and cancel my subscription instead.  Anybody who has ever called one of these numbers know that the people who answer the phones are from India and have no real comprehension of the English language whatsoever.  I refuse to talk to people who are clueless with what I say given that they are already clueless with what I have written.

Now I have sent out a THIRD request to cancel the subscription and want an email sent back with my alternatives listed.  I did that back on Monday, 4 days ago, and have yet to hear back from anybody, not even an acknowledgement that the company received my letter.

Of course, I am writing all this to let everyone know just how stupid a company like Newsweek actually is and how disrespectable they are to their subscribers.  I will NEVER renew my subscription with them EVER!!  They are just one example of a poor business model.  I really wonder if they are really overwhelmed with positive responses or just ashamed to respond to the hundreds of people like me angry at their lousy service model.  Web-based magazines will never cut it with me – give me old-fashioned paper anytime.

Shame on Newsweek for their lousy customer service. Let’s all cancel everything from Newsweek and never look back.  They deserve to fail once and for all.

 

 

G4 Cancels 2 Long Time Programs (and Itself?)

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It’s official.  G4 has cancelled two of its iconic shows “Attack of the Show” (AOTS) and “X Play”.  All indications now point that the network itself will soon be history as well.

“X Play” lasted about 10 years and AOTS lasted about 7 years, but actually existed since 1998.

I didn’t watch “”X Play” that much so my focus of this post will be on AOTS instead.  For those who remember way back when, AOTS started out as “The Screen Savers” on the then TechTV cable channel.  The hosts of the show were Leo Laporte and Patrick Norton.  It was a tech show helping viewers with computer and technology related questions.  This show along with “Call For Help” was the go-to places for any tech questions at all.  In fact, I used to recommend both of these shows to people when they wanted to get great free tech help.  Many people thanked me for this over the years.  However, in 2005, all that changed when TechTV was merged with competitor channel G4.  The new channel called G4TechTV was too much of a mouthful and soon shortened to G4.  Along with this change came the format of the show itself.  No longer a computer show, it was basically anything except computer related.  New hosts, Kevin Pereira and Olivia Munn, were added and the old ones were given the boot.  While new interesting segments like celebrity interviews, DVD reviews, comic book reviews, and numerous other things were added; it was never quite the same.  Sometimes, the show seemed to push the envelope of good taste and sometimes just crossed the line.

Many times I use to just fast-forward through this show on my VCR and not even care about it at all.  Occasionally, I would watch if there was something interesting, but most times there wasn’t anything interesting.

In the middle of 2011, Olivia Munn quit the show and after a couple of months was replaced by an equally spunky Candace Bailey.  Last summer, Kevin Pereira left the show and was never replaced by a permanent host, which may have been done purposely as if the network knew eventually the show would end, much sooner than later.

Fast forward to the finale, which aired Wednesday night 1/23/2012, was your standard clip show and wave goodbye and intros of everyone behind the scenes.  What made this different was that the show was presented by musician/comedy genius “Weird Al” Yankovic.  Since I am a huge fan of Al, this was a real treat.  However the REAL treat came at the end, when (*SPOILER ALERT*) original hosts Leo and Patrick appeared at what was a coffee shop and Leo wakes up from a bad dream of what the show had become.  This was the same approach Bob Newhart had when the “Newhart” show ended a few years ago.  The 2 of them then strap on jetpacks and launch themselves into the old TechTV studios, while the old “Screen Savers” theme was playing in the background.  Then the show scrolls a final goodbye message and then fades into the history books.

It was nice to see that both of the old hosts were still looking pretty good despite being about 7 years older.  Could this be a sign of things to come?  One can only hope as G4 rides into the history books.

Both finales will air on G4 several times over the next week, beyond that is unknown.  I will not give either show a review grade, as it would not be fair given the longevity of both shows and the variety of changes each faced over the years.

American Idol Day 1 Should Be the Last

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Just as expected the season premiere of American Idol sucked.  Unfortunately, this episode was all about the divas and less about those trying out for the show.  What made this show worse were the profiles of those people who were rejected by the judges.  Why waste time on these people when they don’t make it anyway?  I guess they have to fill 2 hours somehow.

This is the whole problem with the show:  Why can’t we have just one hour shows and use the other hour for some other show?  It’s apparent that FOX expected the downward plunge of the ratings and down by almost 20% they declined.  Maybe this is a sign that this may be the last season of the show and won’t live to see unlucky season 13.

Sad that this show has become the “Battle of Fake Boob Divas”.  I really thought that this show was much much than that.  I will unfortunately continue to watch to see if things get better, but my hopes aren’t very high given the preview for episode #2.  I will write more on this as the episodes continue on.  Right now, there were no stand out performers that should or could make it to the finals.

My score:  5.

Summary:

This show is now for die-hard fans only.  It won’t make anybody who never watched before tune in now.  This is just more of the same as previous years, but with more fighting.

 

TWC & SiriusXM Kicks Off Stations

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Almost as soon as I wrote my last post and Time Warner Cable has dropped yet another channel.  CurrentTV, which just hours before sold to Al-Jazeera, the big oil company which has links to terrorist activities.  Anybody who doesn’t believe there is a connection between the removal of this channel and the selling of it is just an idiot.

Yet, this now makes 2 channels gone and NO price reduction from TWC.  How many more channels are going to disappear just because the channel doesn’t fit TWC’s political agenda?  It’s apparent that TWC only cares about profit and cares nothing at all about content.

On another front, SiriusXM has removed Fox Talk News from their satellite radio lineup.  Apparently, the satellite service has the same sort of agenda as TWC.  Since both Fox News and CurrentTV could be considered extremes of the media spectrum, it is no surprise that both of these channels have disappeared from the respective sources.  If I were a subscriber to SiriusXM, I would be extremely angry of the removal of Fox News because I watch their news and stock channels on a regular basis.

Both TWC and SiriusXM need to be big boys and return their channels to their respective sources, otherwise their subscribers may start disappearing when they are charged the same price for fewer choices.  It’s sad that these companies think they can restrict our 1st Amendment rights.  Let’s hope these companies wise up very soon.

Where We Are Now..It is 2013 Right?

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When I started this blog 7 months ago, I had no idea what it was going to be or what I would discuss.  Ironically 2 topics came up to me more often than not.  They were the lousy service provided by Time Warner Cable and the mass shooting violence that has happened around the country.

Unfortunately, there is no solution to either problem.  In fact, both problems seem to have escalated since the first of the year.  More murders have happened around the country and TWC has eliminated the Ovation Channel without lowering their cost by even one penny.

Here is what I would like to see for 2013:

Gun Violence:

  • Congress needs to toughen gun laws.  Forget the mental illness crap, one recent murder in Maine involved a guy drunk and killing 2 people who were his renters.
  • NRA needs to stop making foolish comments like they did after the Newtown incident.  Only banning automatic and semi-automatic weapons are the solution, no matter what the NRA says.
  • Stop blaming video games, movies, and music for the violence.  They are minimal parts of the big problem.
  • And finally, tighten gun registration and background checks.  This is a strong deterrent and must be enforced.

TWC:

  • Scrap the current navigator interface.  It looks bad and locks up all the time.
  • Fire the programmers.  These people are idiots and don’t get how to fix the errors in their navigator system.
  • Update the guide to show correct programming at all times.  Sadly, I many times have recorded shows that don’t exist because the programming guide was very wrong.  Unfortunately, TWC doesn’t get the idea that the guide needs to be current to work properly with the DVRs.
  • Lower the price of product or increase features.  Yes, you get more bang for the buck with satellite, but TWC could implement the same features if they really applied themselves and not even charge more.  Maybe they just don’t understand that concept.

I don’t expect either of these issues to be resolved in the near future as there are nobody who is interested in fixing the problems no matter how many people die or how many angry TWC customers there are.  I will continue to update on these topics when necessary.

Hopefully, next week I can discuss a more enjoyable topic like television or the next political nightmare.  But until then…stay tuned.