Thursday, June 18, 2009

Never Pay Full Price for a Newspaper Subscription

So my AJC newspaper subscription was up for renewal this week. I didn't always have home delivery. Here in the Atlanta area, you can get a bundle of two newspapers for $2.50 at a supermarket or gas station each Sunday. This is a good deal because I was spending $2.50, but saving around $100 a week by using the coupons. I did this for a while, but then last year decided to sign up for a double home delivery for around $150 (works out to $2.88). It's been SO worth it! I can wake up on a Sunday morning, retrieve my paper from the driveway, clip and file my coupons and don't have to worry about wasting gas to drive to the store to muddle through the paper looking for coupons.

But this week it was up for renewal. I received two identical invoices offering me 26 weeks for $79.49 each. Um... since I want a full year and not 26 weeks, that works out to $158.98 per paper x 2 = $317.96. What? They want me to pay $317.96 for something that I paid $150 for last year? (oh, and they'd give me a free $10 Target gift card if I sign up for their EZ Pay option). I don't think so! So I call up and explain that if I was to buy the double bundle at my local gas station, I would only be paying $130 over the course of a year and that I'm certainly not going to pay an extra $187.96 for the conveniene of getting it delivered to my driveway. The operator told me that last year I got a promotional rate. So I told her that I wanted another promotional rate. "um... let me see what we have..." says the operator. "oh yes, I can see that we have a promotional rate here for $83.63 for each paper." It really was that easy! So my rate did go up slightly, and yes, I'm paying 71c more each Sunday for the convenience of getting it in my driveway, but it pays for itself because I get to hang out with the kids on a Sunday morning and get my coupons clipped in 15 minutes rather than schlepping around for the paper early in the morning.
Bottom line: Never pay full price. It's as simple as asking for the promo rate - they always have one!
Update - After reading this post, a friend of mine just tried to call and get the $83.63 rate and the rep. wouldn't give it to her saying that they weren't aware of the offer and that she needed a promo code. Being that I didn't need a promo code and that the newspaper simply offered me the deal, I called to investigate. It turns out that different customers are given different rates. I explained to the customer service rep that, although I appreciate being given the rate, it is rather ludicrous that my friend can't get the same deal. To cut a long story short, it did take several minutes and a chat with a supervisor, but she was able to get the same rate. If anyone has knowledge on whether AJC customer service reps. work on commission or how their promotions work, please let me know!


  1. I'm a 15 year subscriber. I got a renewal notice for a 1 year subscription (7 days a week) for a "Special" rate of $190.79. I called and told them I didn't pay anywhere near that rate last year. Got the whole "promotional rate" not available story, etc. I was told that the $190 rate was "the best" they had right now. Told them the paper had shrunk - fewer pages, and smaller pages, and I wasn't going to pay that much. I was then offered a new special rate of $178.86. I told them that was still too much (and after finding this post, I realize it was REALLY way too much). Going to call back and ask for a supervisor and see if I can do any better.

  2. I'm a long time subscriber. They always send renewal notices that are priced quite high. I call before my subscription is due to end and tell them I want to cancel my subscription because of the expensive renewal rate. Since I am actually willing to cancel, they will usually eventually come down to a price I am willing to pay. (I tell them the price would need to be close to what I've paid in the past for me to continue.) It's still a little higher every year, though. This year I am paying $114 for Thurs - Sun one year delivery, much cheaper than picking it up myself at the store.


What are your thoughts? Your comments are welcome!