Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Tribune's Annoying Marketing Ploy

I got a phone call Sunday afternoon from a marketing company representing the Chicago Tribune. The caller informed me that I will now receive the Wednesday and Friday newspapers free in addition to my usual Sunday edition. There's one problem--I don't want two more days of newspapers cluttering up our house. Heck, sometimes it takes me until Wednesday to finish working through the Sunday paper. I get most of my news online, and all that paper is just a waste. We used to get those days, but we canceled because we never opened them. Those newspapers went straight from their clear plastic bags into a blue recycling bag.

I politely told the marketer that I did not want the Wednesday and Friday newspapers. He replied, "You're already getting them. We signed you up for this free gift as a thank-you..." But I don't want them, I replied angrily. "You'll have to call 1-800-TRIBUNE to cancel it." Why can't you cancel it? "You'll have to call 1-800-TRIBUNE."

What kind of customer service is that? Why should I have to take the initiative to stop getting something I didn't ask for and don't want?

This isn't the first time the Tribune Company has used the unwanted free newspaper tactic. They gave us RedEye, a silly paper not even thick enough to use for bird cage liner (not that we have a bird anyway), for several weeks. That was a little different, though. It was a brand new paper, we only got it for a short time, and no intrusive telemarketer called to tell us all about our "free gift."

If it wasn't for the ads and coupons in the Sunday paper, I would cancel my entire subscription just to spite them. I suppose I should give the Tribune Co. a little credit, though. At least they are trying to increase ad revenue by giving away free papers, as opposed to the rival Sun-Times, which scandalously overstated its circulation instead.

Update 11/17/04: I e-mailed Tribune customer service, and they said that my account has no record of those days that the telemarketer said I was already signed up for.

Update 12/05/04: As I expected, I started getting the unwanted newspapers the week after I contacted customer service. I e-mailed them again, and they stopped delivering those days. I also had them remove me from their marketing lists.

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