Friday, February 14, 2014

New York Times Sucks

Much to my amazement today I discovered that I have an online subscription to the Digital New York Times.  I called the credit card company to find out why.  Turns out I have been billed for this for about 8 months now.  I do recall receiving an offer for 12 weeks for 99 cents. I tried the service and found it not worth the $15 a month fee so I did not sign up for it.  Well they signed me up anyway.
I called to cancel the service.  They did everything in their power to waste my time on the phone, putting me on hold a number of times for prolonged periods.  In the end they cancelled the service after they tried to get me to sign up for the same 99 cent special. What kind of a cheap shot is that.

Sunset Magazine Customer Care Woes

For two years now I have had great difficulty paying my Sunset Magazine subscription charges.
This year I received a bill from Sunset. I use an electronic bill payment service.  The bill was promptly paid electronically with an ACH transaction by the bill pay service.  For those of you unfamiliar with this type of transaction, it is a checkless transaction where the money is electronically debited from your account and credited to the recipient's account.    I thought I was done with the matter for another year.
About two weeks later I received yet another bill. Upon research, I confirmed that I had, in fact, paid the bill earlier.  I call the customer care number and tried to resolve the matter.  They confirmed, a full two weeks after the electronic transfer that they had not received payment.  Upon further examination, for some reason I do not understand quite yet, they had billed me with a different account number than the account number I had with them during the previous year.  Therefore, I had paid to an account different than the account they had billed me for.  I pointed this out to them.  Upon completion of their research they assured me that I had not paid the bill.  I assured them that I had paid the bill.
They wanted to know the check number for the payment.  I explained to them that there was no check number, since it was an ACH electronic transaction.  They said that they could not help me and that I would have to pay the bill again. Poppycock!
Using their website I sent them an email with all the details and I also got a "proof of payment" from the bill pay service demonstrating that I had, in fact, paid the bill.  In response I got an email that they would get back to me within two business days.   At the end of the second business day I received an email that they had reviewed the matter and that I still owed the money and that if I had any questions I should contact their customer care unit at the telephone number given.
I called the customer care unit and learned that no one at that unit has the ability to see any of the email correspondence. They wanted me to start all over again as if there were no history to the problem.
After much shuffling around from one person to another and repeating the story over and over again, I was told that there just was no record of a payment and that I would just have to pay the bill.  If I wanted to get a refund for the other payment I would have to bring that up with my bill pay company.  This was getting preposterous!
After spending more than three hours going around in circles I resigned myself to the fact that I would just not be getting this subscription any longer.
The very next day I received an email from them saying that they have now received the payment I made and that I am paid in full.  What I find so surprising is that they claim that the payment was received a full two weeks after it was sent electronically!
Something is wrong at Sunset.
Have you had trouble with paying for your subscriptions? Please let me know. I'd like to hear about it.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Rite Aid Ain't doing it Right

I must confess that I have a passion for pistachio ice cream.  The only place around here where I can get my fix is at the local Rite-Aid store.  I usually try to buy it when it is on sale (usually, 2 for $6.00).  Then, sometimes, they have manufacturer's coupons right on the package (35 cents). Through time I have noticed that the ice cream with the manufacturer's coupons were manufactured earlier and it is the way the manufacturer can get rid of their older stock. I have also noticed that both the date of manufacture and the expiration date are on the bottom of the package.  One final observation is that the ice cream with the manufacturer's coupon on it does not taste as good as the ice cream that is fresher (what a surprise!).  In fact, the older ice cream has frozen crystals of ice within the ice cream, making it unsmooth.  Not very tasty.

So, this evening I went down to the store to get my fix.  No sale, no coupons.  I picked up the first package and turned it over: manufactured almost 5 years ago, freshness expiration about 3 years ago. Give me a break. I went looking for other expiration dates. They were all over the place. Many expired.  I even found one that was manufactured within the last 30 days! (this is the one I bought).

I have mentioned to the staff a few times, my findings that the expiration dates have passed on some of the ice cream.  Once, I actually saw them removing the ice cream.  Were they moving it to the rear so that after I left some other uninformed sucker got stuck with it.  I really can't imagine that they removed the ice cream from the freezer and put it into the garbage can, or on the shelf for the next deliveryman to return the ice cream to the manufacturer.

This evening I got a novel answer when I informed the staff that the ice cream freshness date was expired by a few years.  "Oh, the delivery people who bring the ice cream are supposed to check the dates and remove the stale product."   "Sure!" I said.

Look at CVS. They just announced last week that they will no longer be selling cigarettes in their stores and take a major hit on their bottom line for that decision.  The reason they state it that selling cigarettes is inconsistent with the health care objectives that they want to project to the public.  And what image does Rite Aid want to project onto the public with their de facto policy on stale food removal? And then again, if they do it with the food, what are they doing with the pharmaceuticals that they sell?  They have "sell by" dates on them too.  Exactly what is their policy?

Shame on you, Rite Aid.