;Now he's been doing a great job as The Morning Call's Watchdog, investigating scams and unethical business practices. But can he investigate unethical business practices at his own paper?
A friend of mine claims the paper has "stooped to new lows" in its billing practices. Here's his story.
I received my new statement the other day and it seemed normal until I looked closer. My previous statement was for the period from Feb 24th thru May 17th. My new statement was for the period from May 9th thru July 17th. The start date for the new billing period was 8 days earlier than the end of the previous period. The price went from $60.60 to $59.90. A decrease in price of $.70 made no sense and upon further review, realized that the subscription went from a 12 week period down to 10 weeks. This amounted to a 18.9% increase. The subscriptions used to be for either 13, 26, or 52 weeks. I am not sure when it went from 13 weeks to 12 weeks but believe it was back in 2010. So within the period of two years the price has gone up 30%. When I called the Morning Call about the earlier start date, I was told that there was a price increase and the Customer Service Rep immediately said that he would correct the date. Whoever heard of a price increase during a fixed subscription period? It seems that the MC made a conscious decision to slip in the price increase to existing subscriptions and back off if anyone called them on it. I wonder how long the MC can stay in business when you see this type of behavior. I also wonder how many unsuspecting subscribers are out there. It is easy to miss the reduction in length of the subscription or the increase in price to a previous one. Most people just look at the amount of the bill and really don’t look at the details. Since the amount of the bill really hasn’t changed much, it is easy to miss what had happened. I don’t have a problem with anyone raising their prices, but when it is buried in the details such as this, I find it very disgusting. If you do a story on this, please do not use my name.Whether it's tax grab for the NIZ or a rate hike for a daily newspaper, people like to be (1) told what is going on; and (2) asked if it's OK.
I'll forward this complaint to Paul. Don't know if he can ethically investigate the ethics of his own newspaper, but if it is some honest mix-up, he can probably tell us.
Updated 9:00 AM: The author of this email is unable to identify himself, but how about you? If you are a Morning Call subscriber and have had an experience like the one mentioned, Paul Muschick has told me he'll look into it. you can contact him at PMuschick@mcall.com.