We bought our first home in May of 2011, and moved to Bowling Green, KY to this newly purchased home in June/July of 2011. When we moved, we had already been receiving papers from the Bowling Green Daily News, we assumed it was a subscription from a previous owner and ignored it. We were greeted one day, by a city welcome committee that had seen the closing of our home listed in the aforementioned paper, and we thought it was a fabulous gesture.Newspapers stopped coming for a short time, then in August of 2011 I was approached in a local store.
I was asked if I was a subscriber to the local paper, and I told them no. We were a young newlywed couple, fresh out of the military and we didn't think we were interested. He insisted that I register for two months subscription of the paper to see if we would like it, and in exchange we would receive a gift card. He advised that we were only obligated to the first two months, and if we chose not to continue services after that time, it was okay. [continued below]....
..... I agreed, signed up and moved on.
Fast forward two months. We received a small postcard that gave notice our subscription was expiring. To continue services, we must provide additional payment information, etc. My husband were not interested, so we ignored the subscription notice, provided no updated payment authorization, and moved on. From that point on, papers would sometimes show up at our home sporadically, (Monday's paper might come on Friday, or so on and so forth). We thought it was their way of getting rid of extra papers, and giving old subscribers a "teaser".
Now it gets good! Five full months later, we get another of these sporadic papers, but this time it was rolled up with a white envelope and shoved into our mailbox. So, I opened it. Inside, was a hand written note, on a blank home-office style envelope. It stated: " Your account has been submitted to carrier collect. Past due 5 months. Please make personal check out to Tessie Payne by 01-06-2011" We thought it was a scam! We nearly called the police. First of all, we thought that when our subscription was "expired" it actually meant expired. Second, Why would any company continue to rack up a bill up to 5 months and beyond without receiving a renewed subscription or even payment at all? Why not stop billing at 2 months, like cable- or cell phones- or electric, and just shut the service off? And, how long were they going to keep billing for if we didn't catch on? For as long as they felt like it? Also, Why would a legitimate professional establishment not send a billing statement on a regular basis- on company letterhead- advising of services received, dates received, and amount due, and when payment due date is? Lastly, why would they want a personal check written and shoved into a blank envelope to one of their carriers, who may or may not give a receipt or even send the payment to the company? How would we prove we paid Bowling Green Daily News, if we write a personal check to some lady named Tessie Payne?
When we caught on, we called the Bowling Green Daily news. My husband and I were passed around. I complained to billing, I was advised to complain to marketing. Every time I asked them to stop sending papers- and the papers still came. My husband went into their location in person, the front desk all agreed with him, that this was bad billing, bad collections, and that if we didn't renew they should have stopped billing. They said they would make a call to a gentleman, who would have a talk with the delivery driver and they would get back to us. Nothing.
When we didn't hear back, my husband called again and was forwarded to the voicemail of a gentleman named Mike. Mike didn't call back. Still the papers kept coming. We called again, requested to stop the delivery, and they forwarded us to Mike again. This time we talk to him.
Mike says we signed a subscription. We told him then they should have billed us- you told us it would expire and we were under the impression that it would, therefore, expire. Mike argues that we should have called. We told him that we did as soon as we caught the problem. Mikes asks us, well did you get the papers? We didn't lie- yes we got papers, we thought it was a teaser- or left overs- heck, now that we know, we've called to cancel and you still haven't cancelled. Mike says well if you got the papers, then you have to pay for the service! WOAH! Hold on, he really makes us a sweet deal-- for our trouble... He waives the bill for the first week of January 2012. BUT if we don't pay the 5 months "past due" he will submit us to a collection agency.
We argued it, that if they knew they had bad billing/ cancellation methods, and acknowledged the collection of the debt was unprofessional, and they are sorry for all the phone calls and the visit we have had to make there to sort it out... Why are they unwilling to meet us anywhere close to middle ground?
We told him that we would not have good reviews for this company in the future, and he didn't care at all. Since this, we have talked to other military families we know that have moved to Bowling Green from out of town, and they have had similar issues with this company. One husband and wife told us they were billed well past 6 months before they got a note- in the same unprofessional manner. He said they got the same treatment, paid the company, but will never have good reviews either.