I was bemused by the letter from Marc Litchman about his tribulations with the LAT Customer Service.
I, too, am finally free from the stress of home delivery. After a two-month period of phone calls and letters, I finally gave them the "three strikes and you're out" ultimatum. Even after "That's two," absolutely nothing was done to correct the situation. Of course, when I called to cancel, I had the generous offer to correct my problem.
Here is my serial letter to the Times, complete with photographs. My problem was frequently getting a wet paper because it was thrown where it gets a daily sprinkle. The bags are not strong enough to avoid abrasion and leaking. I included photographs of the problems and a photograph showing where to put the paper to not get wet (next to the street curb). Each time I wrote, I "forwarded" the previous letter so there was increasing evidence that anyone of authority at the LAT could use to take action. Sadly, they probably were too busy looking for another job to care.
Other than the computerized "We received your email" and a note from a "MyAccount" staffer that I couldn't unsubscribe with my letter, I have received no communication from anyone about this matter.
I have little hope that the LAT will return to its previous stature. However, if there is an indication of that intent, that includes better customer service, I will re-subscribe.
Mr. May's emails to the Times are after the jump. There were too many photos to re-post, but I think you will get the, uh, picture. Click to keep reading:
From: Bob May
Sent: Friday, October 20, 2006 11:41 AM
To: Los Angeles Times
Subject: Countdown to Subscription Cancellation
I have called innumerable times about my paper being wet from irrigation.
I sent a fax to Customer Service in Wisconsin (10/18, 10:00 AM) showing where the paper needs to be delivered to avoid getting wet. I got a call from (Dorothy?), the part-time route manager. Yesterday, the day after I talked with her, the paper was correctly placed. Today, the paper was on the sidewalk, in the wrong place. I am enclosing the letter I faxed to Customer Service.
You have two more chances of getting it right. You fail those and I cancel the paper. I will also write a letter to the editor why I am canceling.
Hopefully, a picture or two are worth a thousand words.
Since our last conversation, the paper has been put everywhere except where I requested. This morning, it was again in the wet grass. Fortunately, the bag remained water tight.
Picture number one shows how much of the sidewalk is wet from the sprinkler system, which is an all-year situation.
The paper this morning was in the front right corner of the left yard. You can see how wet it was.
Picture number two shows the front curb area, which is always dry unless it rains.
I once again request that the paper be placed BY THE CURB.
If the carrier wants, I will get up to meet him to point to the curb.
Please pass this email on to the appropriate management and then the route manager.
From: Bob May
Sent: Saturday, November 18, 2006 10:04 AM
To: 'Los Angeles Times'
Subject: November 18 Update: Countdown to Subscription Cancellation
After I sent the email below on October 20, I enjoyed having a dry paper for three weeks. I'm including it again to refresh your memory.
Now the carrier is once again throwing the paper where it will get wet.
Included are photographs from today. This is now the general area where the paper has been thrown this week.
The first picture shows how far the paper is from the curb. The second picture shows the spot where the paper lay. I moved the paper just to the left to expose the dampness underneath.
Please string up the route manager and the carrier by their thumbs until they BOTH promise to deliver my paper next to the curb.
Also, I did not get an acknowledgement the last time. I will appreciate getting an email acknowledgement from someone who has the authority to correct this situation.
From: Bob May
Sent: Wednesday, November 22, 2006 11:05 AM
To: 'Los Angeles Times'
Subject: RE: Countdown to Subscription Cancellation
OK, this is "2".
I sent you a note on November 2nd, thanking you for delivering the paper where I requested, BY THE CURB. See the photographs from my original email below.
I'm including pictures from the last four days, including this morning. It is as though you never got any of my emails. This obviously indicates a lack of ongoing communication with the route manager and my paper carrier. It's possible that I have a new carrier and the route manager forgot to say anything. That is not my problem.
I get lawn irrigation every day. The pedestrian sidewalk parallel to the street is always wet. The sidewalk from the house to the curb is always wet, EXCEPT BY THE CURB, which is where I repeatedly have been asking you to deliver the paper. Note that the sidewalk is only damp in these pictures. When the paper is delivered, the sidewalk is wet.
Starting Monday, November 27th, the next time I get discouraged with the haphazard way my paper is being delivered, I will cancel my subscription and send this entire letter to your new Publisher and Editor.
From: Bob May
Sent: Tuesday, November 28, 2006 8:40 AM
To: 'Los Angeles Times'; email@example.com
Subject: To Both "Editor" and "MyAccount"
I am canceling my subscription but please read my letter. I hope that you can learn from this, to avoid cancellations by others who have the same problem.
I want the Editor and hopefully the Publisher to know why I am canceling my subscription.
I am canceling because I have been unsuccessful, over a period of several months, at getting my carrier to deliver my paper where it will not get wet from the sprinkler system. Lord knows, I have tried, as you will see if you read this history of my efforts.
The problem is actually two problems:
1. I am not able to communicate with the carrier directly. I couldn't even talk to the route manager; at one time I did get a call from a "temp." Outside of the one call, no one in the LAT hierarchy has ever called me.
2. The bags, even the double-layer bags are not waterproof. This should be in my "customer notes" in your data base. Even when they land on the grass. As you see from the pictures, the paper usually is thrown onto the sidewalk, which abrades the bag and causes it to leak.
If you are sincerely interested in correcting this problem, please start from the bottom and read up.
Please cancel my subscription immediately and refund whatever balance I have in my account.