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 Hulk said...

This is outstanding Dikkii. I like your level of conviction. It is obviously clear that they are looking for any excuse as to why it has not been delivered. Let see what consumer affairs does. This could get really exciting!!!!

Dikkii said...

Thanks Hulk. I want my paper, dognabbit!