Saturday, 30 August 2008

The Australian Financial Review Part 6

This is Part 6.

Part 5 is here. (Part 5A is here.) Part 4 is here.
Part 3 is here. Part 2 is here. Part 1 is here.
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!!!!! You bastards!!!

Just stop for a moment and listen. Do you hear that? Yes, that's right. That's the sound of my Australian Financial Review weekend edition not being delivered, once more.

I can hardly wait until Consumer Affairs catch up with this lot. But just to underline the situation, I sent this off:

Dear sir/madam,

Even though I expect to hear from Sonny on Monday regarding this matter, I thought that I would let you know that this morning, just like for the preceding seven weeks, I did not get the Saturday edition of the Financial Review delivered to me.

I look forward to hearing from him on Monday.

Yours sincerely,


I'm getting extremely sick of this. Just to ensure that I get a response, I also sent this to the Fin's help desk.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

The Australian Financial Review Part 5A

This is Part 5A

Part 5 is here.
Part 4 is here.
Part 3 is here.
Part 2 is here.
Part 1 is here.

While I'm not yet in a position to post a Part 6 yet, it is interesting to note that Fairfax Media, publishers of the Australian Financial Review, The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, has announced that it will cut 550 jobs.

First to get his marching orders was the editor of The Age, Andrew Jaspan.

Journalists have responded today by going on strike until Monday.

This blogger is, while disgusted, not going to let these issues at Fairfax sidetrack him from more important issues. Like the one about whether or not I actually get my copy of the Fin delivered on Saturday morning.

Monday, 25 August 2008

The Australian Financial Review Part 5

This is Part 5.

Part 4 is here.

Part 3 is here.
Part 2 is here.
Part 1 is here.

Goodness! I really don't know what it is that makes some companies move when you invoke the magic words that is the name of a complaints resolution scheme.

Banks move like greased lightning when you say "Banking Ombudsman".

Telcos will say "Yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir," when you say "Telecommunications Ombudsman".

And so too, in this instance, just by saying "Consumer Affairs", I've seen Fairfax go completely berzerk in responding to each and every single email I've sent since.

Take this: I only sent my last email off last night. This afternoon, I got this back:

Dear Dikkii,

Thank you for your e-mail.

I have just found your account, and we have been having trouble finding you because you have accidently [sic] been emailing the Sydney office.

Anyway - I have contacted your newsagent and spoken to them about the missing deliveries and hopefully this problem will be resolved.

I have also contacted the Melbourne office, and spoken to a fellow called Sonny. He will call you on Monday next week to ensure that you received your paper on Saturday.

The number for the Age is 03 9604 1468 should have any further queries.

Kind Regards,

Jenny Cuthbert
Customer Service Team, or contact us on 1800 252 525 or 13 66 66

Let's just put this in some perspective for a moment. Under "Contact Us" on the website for the Australian Financial Review, it clearly states the following:


AFR newspaper subscriptions

Telephone: 1800 646 990
International: +61 2 9282 3800

Which, if my eyesight is not failing me, is exactly where I sent my initial request.

Let's look at Jenny's response.

Fairfax owns three of Australia's biggest daily newspapers - the Fin, The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH). Whilst I'm aware that newspapers that are owned by the same owner like to remain independent from each other, it's clear from this email that the subscriber databases for the Fin, the Age and the SMH are separate operations.

This is a joke and I'm kinda glad that I'm not a shareholder. I may not be an efficiency expert, but even Blind Freddy will tell you that this is a costly exercise.

Secondly, if Fairfax haven't got the good grace to let their SMH staff know that they're also responding to queries about the Fin, then they have problems.

Lastly, as discussed ad nauseum, it's not my Age subscription that is the problem: It's my subscription to the Fin.

I wrote this in response:

Hi Jenny,

Thank you for your email. I am glad to hear that this is being rectified.

I wish to correct you on two things, however: I have NOT been "accidently [sic]... emailing the Sydney office". The Fin's website clearly states that issues relating to subscriptions and subscriber queries should be emailed to " ". If you want emails to go to the correct address, please amend your website.

Secondly, my subscription to The Age is perfectly alright. It is the Fin that I'm not getting.

I look forward to Sonny's call on Monday.

Yours sincerely,


Unfortunately, I then realised, after I had already sent my email to them that I'd cut and pasted the wrong email address into my email, so I had to add this correction:

Hi Jenny,

I'd like to correct my previous email.

At the website - , the email address given is , not the one I put down in my previous email. You and Alison emailed me from .

The email address that I quoted above ( ) is the one that my initial and second complaints were sent to.

Please ensure that Sonny leaves a message if he is unable to contact me on Monday. I can be hard to reach on every second Monday.

Yours sincerely,


Let's see if that's the end of this - I'm not rescinding my complaint to Consumer Affairs just yet.

The Australian Financial Review Part 4

This is Part 4.

Part 3 is here.
Part 2 is here.
Part 1 is here.

You'll recall that in our last exciting instalment, we made history. For the first time in the history of The Purple Headed Earls Complaints Blog, we escalated a complaint to Consumer Affairs.

Well, 24 hours is a long time, and I have now finally received a response to my complaint from Fairfax Media:

Dear Dikkii,

Thank you for your e-mail.

Unfortunately the account number that has been provided is for a Sydney Morning Herald account for another customer, not by the name of Dikkii.

I apologise for the nondelivery of the paper, If you could please provide your address details and any further information we will be able to access your account and look into and correct this problem, by crediting your account for missed deliveries and speaking with the newsagency in question. There appears to have been a lack of repsonse [sic] and communication which I again apologise for and hope that once the information is provided we will be better able to help in the matter.

Your subscription has been adjusted accordingly.

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you require further information or assistance.

Kind Regards,
Customer Service Team, or contact us on 1800 252 525 or 13 66 66

Another customer??? You must be kidding.

Utilising a skill I learnt somewhere when I was younger: I am holding in my left hand, while I type with my right, a copy of a confirmation and tax invoice letter that says, quite clearly that the number that I have quoted is mine.

And what is this "Your subscription has been adjusted accordingly" bullshit? They can't locate my account so how could they possibly have adjusted it?

I responded thus:

Dear Alison,

Thank you for your email. I appreciate your response on a Sunday and all, and only wish that you could have communicated this information to me earlier. If you had, we might have been in a position to fix this up before I sent my complaint to Consumer Affairs.

I have attached a scanned copy of a Confirmation and Tax Invoice letter dated 08/07/2008 which confirms my name, subscriber number, address and services provided (i.e. one annual subscription to the Fin, not the SMH).

Could you please confirm if you would prefer a different format to the .jpg file that I have sent?

Yours sincerely,


Not going to be rescinding my complaint to Consumer Affairs just yet. I simply don't know when I'm going to be getting a response to this email, if I ever do.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

The Australian Financial Review Part 3

This is part 3.

Part 2 is here.

Part 1 is here.

I thought after a second complaint I'd get a response to this one. No such luck. Instead, when I went to get my newpapers again this morning, there was no @#$%ing Fin again.

So I fired this one off to them:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I write with regards to the two complaints that I have lodged over the past two weeks. I wish to thank you for your scant disregard of them, and also for the cavalier non-concern you displayed in your responses which, when I last counted, added up to precisely zero.

I would like to advise that, in addition to not receiving a copy of the Australian Financial Review again this morning for the sixth week running, I will now be referring this matter to Consumer Affairs.

Thank you once again for your time. Which wasn't any at all.

Yours sincerely,


It's now time to wheel in the big guns.

Step forward, Consumer Affairs, Victoria. Another wounded citizen needs you!

Consumer Affairs have a form-based emailer where you can type your complaints in. I went in there and typed the following under "Please explain your complaint":

I took out a full year subscription to the newspaper on 31/6/2008 and was charged for this 2/7/2008. I received one on 5/7/2008 but have not received one since (12/7/2008, 19/7/2008, 26/7/2008, 2/7/2008, 9/7/2008, 16/7/2008, 23/7/2008). I have complained each time to the newsagent who advised me the third time this happened to complain to the Australian Financial Review (AFR) directly if it happened again. Each of their previous responses amounted to, "We'll tell our driver." I complained to the AFR after it happened a fourth time. I have not received a response. I complained to the AFR after it happened a fifth time - still no response. This morning, it was, once again, not delivered, making a total of six Saturdays where it hasn't been delivered and one where it has.

Followed by this under "How do you want your problem to be solved?":

I would very much like my newspapers delivered. For the weeks where they haven't been delivered, I would like the equivalent amount credited back to me.

I can't wait to see what happens next.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Reply for Harvey Norman coplaint for Kelly.

From: Argiropoulos, David [] Sent: Thursday, 21 August 2008 1:39 PMTo: Simpson, KellySubject: RE: reply to letter of complaint

Hi Kelly sorry for the delay. Just letting you know we have put a reversal of $75 against your finance to cover the delivery charge

David Argiropoulos
DOMAYNE - QV Melbourne
Furniture, Bedding & Homewares Shops 9-13 Upper Terrace QV Melbourne VIC 3000P - 03 8664 4358 F - 03 8664 4333

Monday, 18 August 2008

The Australian Financial Review Part 2

This is Part 2.

Part 1 is here.

I thought after my complaint last week, I would have had this problem sorted out with the Fin, but alas, no. Not only have I not received a response, but I bloody well didn't get one delivered AGAIN yesterday.

So of course, I had to send another one off:

Hi folks,

Last Saturday I sent you this complaint. I thought that I'd take a few moments to let you know how it's proceeding.

Normally, it would be you who'd let me know how a complaint such as this is proceeding, but this appears to be a special case. It's a special case because in the week that has gone by since I sent you my first email, it's curious to note the following:

A. I have not received a response from you confirming that you'll, at the very least, look into it; and

B. Yesterday, for the fifth (5th) Saturday in succession, I didn't receive my Saturday edition of The Fin.

So please consider my second complaint. The substance of this complaint is as follows:

1. I still, to date, have not received a response to my original complaint (below) which I emailed to you last Saturday, 9 August 2008.

2. I have a fully paid annual subscription to the Saturday edition of the Fin, which I took out just before the end of the financial year for which I have only received one (1) of the six (6) which I should have received under our agreement.

3. Yesterday, I did not, and I'll repeat that, I did not receive a copy of the aforementioned newspaper delivered to me for the fifth week in succession.

We have complained to the newsagent. They have, yet again, advised me that they will tell their driver. They have, however, once again suggested that I complain to you. I did this last week, and have not yet received a response.

So I wish to advise that I would like, at the very least, a response to this email by close of business Tuesday. I believe that two (2) working days is ample.

In addition, I would like you to confirm that it has been made crystal clear to my local newsagent that my Saturday Fin is to be delivered, every Saturday, as described in my Confirmation and Tax Invoice letter from you dated 8 July 2008.

Finally, I would like to discuss with someone there about either extending my current subscription by five (5) weeks at absolutely no (0) cost to me, or getting a credit or refund for these weeks.

If you have any queries at all about this, please read my initial email below, and then feel free to email me or call me on 04XX XXX XXX.

The ball is in your court, and has been for over a week.

Yours sincerely,


The clock is now ticking.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Posted for Cameron

Quick email to The Age online.

There is a small button that allows you to send new tips. So I did.

Tip Number 1: Find someone interesting to write Catherine Deveny’s column. Honestly it’s like watching re-runs of Burke’s Back Yard. BORING! Her opinions are about as relevant as a Hawiian tee shirt. Please, for the love of writers everywhere give someone else a go. Someone who is appealing, witty and purhaps semi attractive.


Cameron Davidson

Sunday, 10 August 2008

The Australian Financial Review

The Fin. They write great stuff about business. But if they can't sort out issues with their distribution network, then the message is clearly not sinking in.

Here's one I just fired off today:

Hi folks,

I have a complaint.

About a little over a month ago, I took out a new subscription to the weekend edition of the Australian Financial Review. It was a subscription for a year.

I got one delivered, and I thought "This is great. No longer do I have to traipse down to the local newsagent to get my Saturday newspapers."

But then, they stopped. No word from anywhere as to why.

The first weekend that this happened, I went to the local newsagent and informed them that I didn't get the Fin that morning. "Thank you for telling us," the girl behind the counter said, "I will inform our driver." I thought that would be the end of it.

Alas no. The following weekend, I received my copy of The Age, but no copy of the Fin was forthcoming. I set off to the newsagent again to inform them. "Thanks for that, and our apologies," said the girl behind the counter, "I will inform our driver."

And surely after two missed Saturdays, I thought that would be the end of that.

I was sadly mistaken. I went to retrieve my newspapers on the following Saturday morning to find that there were, yet again, only two rolled up packages waiting for me. Yes, you guessed it: Once again, only The Age had been delivered, and not the Fin. I had business elsewhere, that day, and so my wife went off to the newsagent to inform them about non-delivery. Once again, she was informed that they would inform their driver, and that would be the end of the issue.

And she was, just like me, misinformed. The next week, when I went down to complain, once again, the girl at the newsagent showed great initiative this time by not discussing the driver. Instead, she suggested that if it happened again, we should write to you.

So it was with great anger that I strode down my driveway in my pyjamas to get my newspaper, only to find that the Fin had, once again, not been delivered.

Folks, this is a disgrace. I want my weekend Fin delivered on Saturday mornings, and the newsagent is clearly not getting the message that I have a valid subscription. And I do not want to be having to go down to the newsagent every Saturday to retrieve a newspaper that should have been delivered that morning.

Please confirm that you will fix this immediately. If I do not get a Fin next week, I will not be visiting the newsagent to complain, I will be visiting you.

And I want this weekend's edition sent to me immediately. The weekend edition is quality reading that doesn't just contain news.

Yours sincerely,


All I want is the Fin delivered on a Saturday morning. Is this too much to ask?

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Harvey Norman complaint written for work collegue

To Whom It May Concern:

Go Harvey Norman Go! The light is green! Hello?? Harvey? Norman? Anyone? If anyone is listening or has the most basic of literary skills, this is the second time I have attempted to contact you in the faint glimmer of hope of a response. So, let me return to start of the situation and then move on to the comedy of errors and deplorable customer service thereafter.
My experience began on the 23rd of May at your Melbourne City outlet. Being armed with what I thought was the knowledge of you being a reputable organisation or franchise, whichever suits; I entered and ordered a couch/sofa/lounge, whatever suits, once again. Upon embarking on this epic, which it has now manifested itself into; I was assured by one of your representatives that the delivery timeframe would be 4-6 weeks. Understandable. Unfortunately, my item had not been delivered at the beginning of July so I decided to contact the store to get an update on the situation and a possible ETA. I was then advised that I would have to be contacted back. Understandable once again. This is the point where the real fun began.
Two days went by and we had not received a call. Great work. As you will have already guessed I was forced to call a second time. This particular instance I managed to speak to a person by the name of Paul who was my original sales person. After enquiring about the ETA of my item, Paul advised that there was a delay from the suppliers end and the delivery time would be another two weeks. Needless to say with the lack of communication and basic customer service at this point I was not a happy camper to say the least but I am a fair person and do understand that problems similar to this do occur from time to time.
However, after spending another four weeks sitting on a mattress in my lounge room where my non existent couch is supposed to reside and no correspondence between myself and your relevant department, my patience and understanding had fallen to a most inauspicious level. Therefore I again, AS THE CUSTOMER, was obliged to contact you find out what is or is not happening with the delivery. And here I was, thinking it was your job to do that. Silly me. This occurrence was on the 30th of July where I was lucky enough, or so I believed at the time, to speak with the sales manager by the name of Lee. May I just stop at this point and enquire what Lee is required to do as a sales manager? If he could have been more unhelpful and there was an event for this at the Beijing Olympics, he would be going home with the gold. If the sales manager is this incompetent and has such woeful customer service skills, it is not startling to discover that this is passed down through his department like an old footy jumper.
The next stage, when you could not even imagine it getting any worse, Paul managed to learn how to use the phone; 1 bonus point for him, and advised me that there was an “error”. The error I refer to was that somehow my couch had been sent to the Sydney warehouse and wouldn’t arrive here for yet another week. Bonus point deducted. And just when you thought I had finished, Paul advised he would contact me on the 5th of August to confirm the delivery date. Here’s a shock, HE DIDN”T!
If this entire debacle is not enough, the only compensation I have been offered is a $50 voucher. This is grossly inadequate and insults my intelligence. To add insult to injury, pardon the cliché, I decided to write a letter of complaint which no one has replied to of course, hence this displeasing jumble of words.
In conclusion, with all the “errors” and blatant lack of necessary customer service you require operating a business such as yours, the $50 voucher and non reply to my complaint is nothing short of a slap in the face. In direct accordance with this fiasco, I will not be doing business with your organisation ever again unless something is done by YOU, not me, as I have done everything else, to rectify this situation with the amount of compensation and customer service it truly deserves. Once again, if you did not get it the first time, which has become a pattern, a $50 voucher and no reply to a complaint, on top of everything else, is cringe worthy. It is quite distasteful, but in any sense, if this is not responded to, I WILL take this matter further.

Yours begrudgingly,

Kelly Simpson.