In March of this year I gave a magazine subscription as a birthday present. I did it online with the publisher, Archant Life Magazines, who print and circulate a range of glossy ‘lifestyle’ magazines across the UK. This one is a monthly about Devon and is called ‘Devon Life’. The issues have repeatedly arrived late, or not at all, the latter event prompting an extension of the subscription. There have been several ‘phone conversations with subscription staff and, earlier in the year they applied a “Track and Trace” label to our copies which briefly seemed to correct the situation. Needless to say the October issue, which was released on 26th September, hasn’t arrived. My wife ‘phoned Archant and was given the clear impression that they thought she was making a fuss about nothing: “We allow 10 days for delivery, but if it isn’t there by 4 October, call back”. It wasn’t, so I did. Finally I got to the truth: it is because we are not in Devon. Apparently the magazines are shipped by a carrier, TNT, who will not ship until they have at least 25 items for the same distribution hub. However long it takes. I railed against this, particularly since there is nothing in the subscription process that warns you of these facts. Although the subscriptions are quoted as including P&P (postage and packing) there isn’t a way of “out of area” subscribers to pay extra for postal delivery. So we are left with two options: cancel and get a refund or wait indefinitely for a magazine that is out of date if and when it arrives. “We don’t want to lose a valued customer” seems pretty hollow to us, so I wrote to the MD and got a reasonably quick and positive (if badly written) reply. Our subscription is being extended for 12 months in compensation.
Update 26 October
Archant promised a direct mailing of the missing issue by first class post. It arrived 5 days later, having been posted second class. The original traceable copy, supposedly with TNT, has still not arrived. The MD of Archant admitted they were having a meeting with TNT as we weren’t the only people to complain. My wife wrote to him on the 17th to ask about progress, and express her worry that this would happen all over again with the November issue, but he hasn’t bothered to reply. Great Service, Archant.