This post is not photography related, feel free to skip it.
One would expect good service and support from an establishment like the New York Times, at least I did. What a disappointment. Allow me to bore you with details how the New York Times turns customer service upside down in a horrendous way.
I have been subscribing to the digital version of the paper for many years and last January I added a subscription to the crosswords to pass time. It cost a small amount, $19.97 and allowed me to work on the daily puzzles as well as the archives if I wanted. I enjoyed working on them not only to pass time but also learn new usage of words.
Around June 2019, I noticed that what I did on my phone on that day’s puzzle did not move to my laptop or desktop. I searched for some answers but no luck. So, on July 27, 2019, I sent a detailed e-mail with a couple of screen-captures to illustrate the problem. Not receiving a response, I resent the message on August 8 and I am still waiting. Check the dates pointed by the arrows.
I was getting frustrated and on September 9, 2019, I sent an e-mail inquiring how to cancel the crossword subscription. All the emails I sent were received because I got almost an instant reply that they got my message. Five days later, on September 14, 2019, I received a reply asking for my account number or the e-mail associated with it. Within 15 minutes I sent a reply.
By this time, no answer or a very delayed answer had become the norm. And, on September 16, 2019, I called and after a long hold (to terribly annoying repetitious music) I spoke with someone and explained the situation. He told me that he did not see any crossword subscription associated with my account and assured me that I had the crossword in my subscription anyway. I asked him for what I paid $19.97 and the reply was he did not know but was sure I would not be charged again and would continue having the full crossword access. I asked to receive an e-mail confirming that and Sam R. followed through and sent the e-mail. While on the phone, I asked him why I was forced to subscribe if it were included and he said the policies might have changed allowing me to access the daily crosswords. I expressed my disappointment that nobody bothered to let me know and offered at least part of my payment back to me. He apologized and we hung up.
Well, five days after that and full seven days after my e-mail, I got an e-mail from a Michelle C. informing me that she could offer me their best rate of $14.95 for the following 52 weeks and if she did not hear from me, she would cancel my account on 9/28/19. Now, this is the exact opposite of what Sam R. told me and I was not sure what account Michelle C. was going to close. So, yesterday, I decided to call and talk to someone, so I did.
Another long wait, I was 7th in line. Every minute or so, the robot-voice would come back and tell me my current status and ask me if I wanted to text instead. Every time, I had to say “No” and the robot would not stop asking me until I said “No.” This lasted probably about 40 minutes and finally, I spoke with a woman who listened to my confusion and offered to connect me to subscription services.
More wait, more annoying music, eventually I spoke with a man. I told him that I got totally contradictory information from the NY Times support staff. He assured me that my digital subscription did not include the daily crosswords although Sam R. told me that in writing. I asked this man to stop the auto-renewal of my subscription and that I would use it until it expired. He assured me that I would have access to the daily crosswords until January 26, 2020, and he would stop the auto-renewal. I specifically told him that I wanted the remaining time of my subscription but, with all due respect, I did not trust what he told me and requested an e-mail confirmation. He promised that it would soon arrive and we hung up.
Well! Today, I could not access the crossword and decided to call once more. By this time, I had spent about two hours on the phone learning to tolerate the annoying repetition of the music. One more time, I was on hold at the New York Times “support” queue, the music was the same! Eventually, after about 30 minutes someone picked up the phone. I asked to speak with a supervisor to explain the inconsistent and incorrect information I had been given. OK, hold the line and listen to music, … Another 30 minutes or so, the connection was lost! I dialed again, more wait, 20-30 more minutes and a woman picked up. She listened to the story and promised to connect me to a supervisor. To her credit, every 3-4 minutes she would come back on the line to tell me that she was still waiting for an available supervisor. I thanked her for at least trying.
After a few tries like that, she informed me that a supervisor was available. I explained to her the incorrect information I was given and that my subscription was canceled although I was assured that I would have access to the puzzles until 2020. She simply told me that yes, she saw that in the support-trail but that information was incorrect as if I would believe anyone at NY Times support any longer. She told me “when you canceled your subscription …” and I tried to correct her that I DID NOT cancel my subscription but stopped auto-renewal. She kept repeating that when I canceled my subscription … And, I lost it and told her that she was putting words in my mouth and that nobody was trying to help to remedy the situation by reinstating my remaining time. She said that she was helping by telling me the information given to me was wrong and that she would refund $7 and change.
I hung up!
This is customer service at its worse. The service (I hate to use the word for these people) people give inaccurate information, the customer spends an inordinate amount of time and effort trying to understand what is going on. And, they throw a few-dollar refund and shoo the customer away. Absolutely horrendous and almost inhuman treatment of the customer with no replies to support inquiries, very delayed replies to questions, then providing the wrong information. And, when we make a decision based on that they almost laugh at us.
I have one thing to say: Shame on you New York Times. Trust is not limited to the front page, how you treat your readers and the quality of information you provide is very much part of that trust, the most fundamental thing you are selling.
Note: Some consolation that I am not alone, I saw this review page with over 280 negative reviews and only 9 (nine) positive reviews.