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Archive for Tuesday, April 3, 2012

An explanation to readers about recent home delivery issues

April 3, 2012, 5:52 p.m. Updated April 4, 2012, 1:39 p.m.

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The Journal-World would like to apologize for the late and missed papers some subscribers have experienced this week. A number of issues have led to this persistent problem and we are working to resolve them.

To compensate subscribers in the affected delivery areas in Lawrence, the Journal-World will be extending their subscription by one week.

We continue to receive questions from readers about this week’s problems. We address those questions here.

Why were the papers missed or late?

Most problems were related to Sunday’s newspaper. The newsroom had a later deadline to allow for our comprehensive coverage of the Kansas University-Ohio State NCAA semifinal game. Also, there was a large number of insert advertising on Sunday, a week before Easter, and one of the busiest days of the year in terms of increased advertising. In addition, we had a large number of new newspaper carriers starting that day with larger routes with which they were not familiar. Add all of those together, and the result was some subscribers receiving late newspapers, and some papers that weren’t delivered at all.

Why wasn’t my call answered when I reported my paper missing?

Our Circulation Department customer service phone system was overloaded and unanswered calls didn’t go to voice mail, so the call continued to ring until the caller hung up. This issue is not yet resolved, but is being addressed.

Other than calling the main 843-1000 number, how else can I contact customer service to report a problem?

Service issues can also be reported via email at subs@ljworld.com.

Why isn’t my paper being delivered to my porch?

Starting on April 1, which was last Sunday, the Journal-World began offering porch delivery as an add-on subscriber option for a monthly $5 service fee. This fee goes directly to your carrier. Standard delivery subscribers receive driveway delivery service. Subscribers received several notifications in the weeks prior to this new policy. If you wish to register for guaranteed porch delivery, call customer service at 843-1000 or send an email to subs@ljworld.com.

Why did you switch to driveway delivery?

We were one of the few morning newspapers offering porch delivery, which we instituted in 1997 when the Journal-World became a morning paper. We continued that service until April 1, making the change to reduce costs and streamline delivery for our carriers, by reducing their stops and allowing them to complete routes in a timely manner. The $5 monthly fee for premium porch delivery is paid to the carrier as compensation for the additional time it takes to provide the service. Meanwhile, we will continue to review each hardship case on an individual basis. Please contact us at 843-1000 or at subs@ljworld.com.

Why were people not notified of this change?

Customers affected by the policy change should have received notification in the form of a Post-it note on the front page of papers March 25, 28 and April 1.

My paper is being placed somewhere else other than my driveway. What should I do?

We are coaching our independent contractor carriers about where to place newspapers. If you continue to have a concern, contact customer service at 843-1000 or at subs@ljworld.com.

Comments

observant 2 years ago

Every house in my complex had a Sunday paper thrown, guess what most of these were still in driveway this AM. Walk dog same time every AM, about 5:30 AM. Already know who subscribes and who doesn't. Most of non-subscribers papers still in drive this AM. Another great marketing idea.

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scopi_guy 2 years ago

OK, I thought I was lucky. With all the issues last week, I got a paper on time all last week. A couple of times it was in the sidewalk, but it was there. No paper yesterday. Called, got through, and when we came back from church, it was on the front step. No paper again today. Tried calling several times. Got the dreaded recording. So left an email. Guess will see if it's there when I get home from work...and if I have a paper tomorrow.

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pagan_idolator 2 years ago

I never did get a Wednesday paper despite emailing the company. At least my Thurs. paper was here this morning when I woke up. Score!

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love2bike 2 years ago

I am a weekend subscriber but the newspaper has been delivered each day this week. How about LJWorld put it on the porch and not deliver the newspapers I didn't pay for?

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camper 2 years ago

I give the paper credit for apologizing. LJWorld really is a good paper. Mistakes happen sometimes.

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cummingshawk 2 years ago

No Sunday paper, at least a Monday paper in driveway due to my 'new carrier' not being informed I had paid for premium porch service. Is this one of the affected areas?

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budwhysir 2 years ago

No, this means that it will take one week for the carrier to get the message that you no longer are paying for your subscription and they will no longer get paid for delivering to you. So it means that if you paid through the end of April, they will deliver the paper to the end of the first week in May. Currently it only takes a day or two for this information to reach the carrier.

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cummingshawk 2 years ago

To compensate subscribers in the affected delivery areas in Lawrence, the Journal-World will be extending their subscription by one week. Does this mean my monthly payment's due date will be moved a week later?

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budwhysir 2 years ago

Dennis: I am glad to see you here, explaining some of the issues that many people come here to complain about. I am curious to know with all the changes if the LJW still has the same contracts for the independent carriers. I know many people are trying to figure out if the carriers will get the $5.00 porch fee. However, I am more interested in knowing if the carrier is still charged a fee for complaints, missed papers, etc. I would like to know what types of fees are charged to the carrier and how much the fee will be for a carrier who gets a complaint of missing a porch for a customer that has paid for porch service. Will there be a fee for every complaint? How will you handle a customer who paid $5.00 but complains daily about the paper not being in the right spot. Just curious

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irvan moore 2 years ago

i think dennis must have gone home for the day, i don't blame him, he took our crap all day and didn't respond in a mean spirited way. thank you for not hiding

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netnetnet 2 years ago

My house sits on a corner lot. The front of my house (address) faces one street - while the driveway is on the other street. Unlike most houses - my driveway is actually the farthest spot, on my lot, from my front door. So, technically you are not even delivering to my address - but, throwing the paper at the side of my house on the wrong street.

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LadyJ 2 years ago

" Customers also have the option of an Auto Withdrawal program (Smart-Pay) as well. " You mean (Dumb Pay) since you never see a bill and have no way of knowing about increases and added fees such as the "green service" fee. I will be taken my subscription off of auto withdrawal starting next month when I call to "Opt out", providing I don't cancel it all together. I feel the way the green fee was handled was extremely underhanded. We expected better treatment than that from a newspaper I have been getting for 35+ years. Heck, I can get it for free by taking it out of the recycling from work before I drop it off

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magenta71 2 years ago

A letter put out with every newspaper to inform the customers of the change appears to be a phantom letter, and the post-it notes were on the papers Sunday March 25 and Wednesday March 28. I am sure most people did not pay attention to the post-it notes due to the fact that they are normally coupons or advertisements that just get in the way if they are even on the paper. The post-it notes were an insufficient way of informing customers of such an important change; 1-because it didn't give all the information that it should, 2-it didn't guarantee the customer would be take note of it in order to be aware of the change and 3-because those post-it notes don't make it onto every paper. There were carriers that quit because of the change to routes and delivery procedures but more importantly carriers quit due a decrease in pay per paper, which was a fairly substantial cut for some. Especially with the rise in gas prices and car repairs and the price of bags that carriers are required to put the paper in. As someone commented earlier there was there was a cut in pay for carriers; a 3 cent per paper decrease for Monday thru Saturday papers, but Sunday papers were decreased by 9 cents per paper.
A newspaper carriers job is not as easy as most people think. It is 7 days a week, 365 days a year plus Thanksgiving, rain, snow, sleet, tornado or whatever the weather brings. And there are no sick days. It is hard on your vehicle and your body and can be very frustrating at times.
There are some of us carriers that have taken the same amount of pride in the work we do/did in delivering the LJW (USA Today, Topeka Capitol Journal, Ottawa Hearald) as we would if it were our own business, i.e. making sure delivery was to customers complete satisfaction regardless of tip or acknowledgement.
I will stop here as this could actually go on and on and on.....

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cheeseburger 2 years ago

I have been (with good reason) highly critical of Dennis Anderson. That said, I do appreciate him finally getting on here and addressing particular concerns personally. As I see it, the problems are twofold:

  • poor planning initially
  • damage control lag time

While the eventual apology is somewhat appreciated, it would have been better to plan more wisely initially. When that failed, the damage control / apologies / explanations should have begun much sooner. Anyone worth their salt in management would know that.

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brutus 2 years ago

What a bunch of crap! My paper has been later than usual for weeks. It was always on the porch early and now it is in the driveway late. I don't care about the porch because the Star is always in the driveway and much earlier than the JW. Now I read the Star in the morning because now the JW is not always at my house before I go to work.

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melott 2 years ago

So, if I cancel my subscription will I get a refund?

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Ken Miller 2 years ago

Dennis, I appreciate your efforts today accepting responsibility for the problems of the past week. That said, I am trying to understand why the LJW has decided to try and pump revenues/reduce costs with the porch delivery and the reconfigured carrier routes at this time. Why now? I know the easy answer is that these steps are undertaken to immediately increase revenue. But the newspaper industry's circulation and revenue problems are well-documented; the print media's public image has never been worse... it appears you are just making subscribers - long timers and short timers - mad enough to finally pull the plug on their subscriptions. It's like you are trying to put out the newsprint fire by pouring gasoline on it....

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g_rock 2 years ago

So who is the rocket scientist that decided to change up routes on a big insert day in the first place, despite the late KU game edition? Bad planning. I would think you would have wanted to adjust that to prevent this. To foresee issues is good business.

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irvan moore 2 years ago

i found it interesting that there were larger than usual stacks of papers at the grocery stores, gas stations, etc. so the non subscribers would be able to purchase them. be honest, you screwed the subscribers for the extra bucks.

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fanofKU 2 years ago

I called for porch delivery this morning and bless the poor lady answering the phone, she had no responses to my questions. She immediately asked how I planned to pay for the service and I said add it to my bill. She said they didn't do that and that I had to pay by credit card or come in and pay for it. WHAT??? So will the JW send separate bills for the paper AND the service? She finally asked and was told that the service would be added to the bill. Then she told me it would be $16 something for the service for 3 months, because it is $5 per month. I told her I would pay ONLY $5 for one month because I'm just going to be trying it out. I can't imagine this is going to work out for the JW or its customers.

I've lived in Lawrence 20+ years and have ALWAYS had porch delivery so in my mind this isn't a NEW service. What a debacle this is!!!

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love2bike 2 years ago

For what it is worth, Dolph's newspaper was in his driveway Monday morning. Apparently he doesn't want to pay the $5 every month either.

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jwbird 2 years ago

I have nothing against my carrier, but this $5.00 is going to hurt. I plan to cancel my service. I never received front porch delivery anyway and this is just a 5.00 reminder I need to read more on-line. Adios LJWorld

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years ago

It is 9:00 am on Wednesday and no paper yere yet (or yesterday or the day before)

Good thing these people at the JW are not running a railroad or we would have freight trains in the middle of the streets.

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4chewnut 2 years ago

Another reminder: Watch out for the hidden $1.50 fee for green service. Again, when I called to say what is this, I was told that it was my access to better online content. No one asked if I wanted it or told me I had been paying for it. They just added it to the bill. Crooks!

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Deb Stavin 2 years ago

I think the J-W is counting on losing print subscribers. As soon as enough people cancel their delivery subscriptions and a tipping point is reached, the J-W will begin charging for online access.

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Sharon Nottingham 2 years ago

I would like to know where we were notified "several" times about the additional porch fee option. In frustration over not receiving my paper I am reading it online and just noticed this. Where were we notified in the print edition several times? How about ljw charge non-subscribers for online access a $5 a month fee if they need more revenue instead of asking current subscribers to pony up so others can get local news for free?

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observant 2 years ago

Hey, Dennis, in playing your blame game, you missed out naming Obama or the high oil prices. Or maybe the Democratic controlled Senate.

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budwhysir 2 years ago

as noted in previous attempts to get the word out. Eventualy you will be able to pay 20.00 a month and get your carrier to read the paper to you. They will get to know what you like and dislike and they will make sure you do not have to do anything but pay money and complain about the service you receive for an option that you have in todays world. The fee for paying a fee that is a service fee is compounded daily with your interest in complaining about the complaint fee that has been established by the service people working on increasing revenue for the complaint department on a weekly basis. If you compound your service fee with a complaint fee you will get something equal to a fee that is more or equal to the fee you would save if you did not ask for the paper or the service involved with buying the paper. After you subtract all the fees, multiply the services, and extend out the complaints you are left with no real reason to complain about purchasing an extra service for a product you dont want. If you purchase the product based off of service then you are interested in service not product. If you purchase based on the benefit of the product, then you are not interested in the service. If you combine the two then you want a service oriented product, this is much more expensive than a product oriented service because services are involved with getting the product to you. If the service supplies the product than the product is cheap, if the product supplies the service then the service is cheap. When football is played on a basketball court, someone always gets hurt

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Jean Robart 2 years ago

When and where were the subscriber notified that the LJW would be charging a fee to have delivery in a reachable place? The first I heard of it was when the paper was delivered late on Sunday morning. And i though they had left two papers, there was so much junk.

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1963mom 2 years ago

You are probably getting bad service because most of their carriers were laid off or the quit because of the new demands and less pay. There are not enough carriers to cover the city and people that don't know the routes are now throwing them. The carriers pay was cut by at least 3 cents per paper and their work load was doubled in many cases. 3 cents doesn't sound like much? Well, considering they were only getting 11 cents a paper prior to that. it is quite a cut.... almost 30%;cut. Lawrence is the first town i have lived in that porched papers without extra pay or some kind of outstanding circumstance. Elderly customers or someone with a disablity which prevented them from getting out to their driveway to retrieve the paper.were some of the circumstances considered. I am now reading the paper online. I miss the "delivered papers" but I do not want to reward a company that obviously takes advantage of it's customers and it's carriers. A carrier's job is not as easy as many people think. Its 7 days a week with no perks. They do get tips (from maybe about 20% of their customers) but most try to give you the best service possible tip or not. I just wanted to put a good word in for the carriers. No I am not a carrier here but have been in other towns. Wouldn't carry for this company. Just one other thing.. the carriers are penalized if they do miss your paper. They are charged 3.00 for every miss they have whatever the circumstance. Thanks for letting me vent.

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connjac 2 years ago

Sunday; No paper until 10:30. Monday no paper at all, when I finaly got thru on the phone you said you were out of papers. How could that happen? I asked about my USA Today, you said it would be right out. It wasn't. Tuesday, LJW arrived on time, Wow. No USA Today. I called you said it would be right out, it wasn't. USA Today called to apologize for the bad service.

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Christine Pennewell Davis 2 years ago

Tons of inserts? I bought the paper sunday thought I got a copy that had been stripped of its inserts but went back and all of them had none and no comics either so what is your explination for that?

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FalseHopeNoChange 2 years ago

5 bucks for paper on the lani. What would it "cost" to get my paper set on the table in the breakfast nook next to my coffee cup?

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Richard Ballard 2 years ago

They are improving service steadily though.

4-1-12 = Under the truck, where I couldn't reach it without crawling under after it. 4-2-12 = In the flower bed, with only two emerging flowers broken off at the ground. 4-3-12 = In the street with no damage to anything!!

Most Excellent improvement so far!!

rc

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Keith Richards 2 years ago

I don't subscribe to the paper, but I find this hilarious. The JW is taking cues from Knology on poor customer service and even worse pricing strategies.

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years ago

Starting on April 1, the Journal-World revealed to it's customers that their service is not worth one whit. I have lived in this house since 1972 and have had porch delivery service every since. I used to tip the carrier when they came to collect. Then the Journal-World started to deliver papers with people in cars and sending a monthly bill with a space for a carrier tip and some other donation scam. Now they have concoctrd this theory that what was previously a hallmark of their service is a salable "product" and will hold up their subscribers for $5.00 to continue this service. They will not get it from me, no carrier tip, no donation and no porch fee. And if my paper is wet, damaged, or desappeared, I will be on the phone to let you know about it. Is this little bit of parsemoniousness really worth it, Dolph? Do you really have one whit of respect for your customers?

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hiphopsux 2 years ago

This new $5 "porch fee" is ridiculous. I just paid my newspaper bill, included a tip, and for that I now get to pull my paper out from under my truck everyday. SCREW YOU LJW. In a time where your medium is failing nationwide, you see it fit to decrease your customer service? I'm done with you, when my subscription is up you can say goodbye to my money.

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