Terrific Magazine...Appalling Customer Service

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strugglinauthor's review of The Economist


“Terrific Magazine...Appalling Customer Service”

Written on: 17/03/2015 by strugglinauthor (12 reviews written)

It seems incongruous giving The Economist 1 star as it's an excellent magazine. I have no problem with the researchers, contributors etc. This review relates to my experience of trying to set up a subscription.

The subscription was a Christmas present for my father who has been reading The Economist for many years. I placed an order online with a credit card and received an email confirmation that the 1 year subscription was in place. So I sat back and relaxed.

The fun started when the magazines didn't show up.

To cut a long story short, the customer services team eventually told me that my subscription had been cancelled via a request to their telephone team. So I asked them to check their call logs and tell me who called and why they cancelled. The response was that they couldn't tell me any details of the call - only that it was made and my order was cancelled. Now, either The Economist told me a bare-face lie, which I offer as a possibility - nothing more, or they have a serious problem with their ordering system. Presumably if an order is cancelled, one which was made with a credit card, then the only person with the authority to do so is the person who placed the order - in this case me. But I didn't. So the only other conclusion I can draw is that anyone can call them up and cancel whatever they like. After all, nothing is logged.

I can cope with companies tripping up. It happens from time to time and it's no big deal - as long as it's put right. The really bizarre thing with The Economist was that it was quite clear a mistake had been made - I don't really care by whom - and that there was a customer who wanted his Economist delivered. But at no point was there any offer of help, any suggestion such as, "We're sorry about this. Call this number now and let us put things right."

It took, on average, 3 days for the customer services team to respond to each of my mails and so the whole affair was long and drawn out. It culminated with me saying that I was very confused and asking what they were going to do about it. Their final word? "Here's a link to our website where you can place an order."


However, at the bottom of each customer services e/mail were the heart warming words: "Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused in this matter."

It's the sincerity that brought a lump to my throat.

I dislike whinging and most of my reviews are about great companies who have impressed me. Sorry Economist, but you were dreadful on this occasion. So my advice is buy the magazine if it's on your newsagent's shelf; you won't regret it. But if you're tempted by a subscription...

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