Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bee outsources its "We want you back!" program for former subscribers... outside company soliciting people who cancel

A reader who canceled his Sacramento Bee subscription earlier this month emailed me to say he has been called by an outside company trying to convince him to re-subscribe.

"I received a call from a very polite but somewhat deaf woman trying to get me to re-subscribe to the Bee. She works for an outside company. She asked why I had stopped... She was a bit dismissive of my “opinion” and tried to tell me what a great deal they were offering me..."

The goal of the calls is to entice former subscribers to consider taking the paper on weekends, or partially subscribing for a low rate.

I understand other people who have dropped their subscription have also been getting calls.

The reader added he is on the do-not-call registry and isn't happy the Bee has passed his personal information on to an unknown company without his permission.

Seems like a breach of trust on the Bee's part, if not an ethical violation.

What do you think -- is it ethical for the Bee to pass private subscriber information to a third party?


Anonymous said...

90 percent of companies doing customer service in America have been doing this for many years.
There are so many legitimately horrible things that McClathcy papers are doing that you could be writing about, other than piddly nitpicky things like this.

Anonymous said...

I believe it was Chuck the Schmuck that coined the "piddly nitpcky things", phrase when referring to the massive amounts of money going to cronies in the so called stimulus bill. Frankly, considering how wrong he was, I am a bit surprised you used it.

Depending on how long ago you canceled and whether or not this, "outside" company is acting as an agent of the paper is the difference between unethical and illegal. Unethical without a doubt, however, unless it is illegal you have no recourse as the paper has no incentive to operate in an ethical manner as it has made quite clear for a very long time.

It is an act of desperation by a dying company that has nothing left to lose. It doesn't matter to them if lost subscribers are harassed. What matters is keeping it on the low, so not call into question their claims of more subscribers than evah, in the history of the world. That would kind of fly in the face of reality.

Anonymous said...

I believe it to be unethical and ILLEGAL! I made the complaint. A bit of information you need to know. I am on a no-call list. No solicitation.

I was called by the Bee itself after cancelling and tod them I didn't make the decision to cancel 60 years of continuous subscription!

Anonymous said...

A bit of information you need to know. I am on a no-call list. No solicitation.

Oh I understand and am in agreement, however there are loopholes in the "no call" list that unethical businesses can use to circumvent the law without being held accountable. One way or another, thanks from all of us (almost) for filing the complaint.

Anonymous said...

"Seems like a breach of trust on the Bee's part, if not an ethical violation."

Total oxymoron, MNI-DNC and the above quote. They area all bias with zero credibility.

I would expect no less from this bottom feeder, dying company or not

Anonymous said...

Speaking only about this situation no laws were broken whatsover. The do-not-call registry clearly states that a company that you already do business with, or have done business with during the past 365 days, may call you regardless if you are on the DNC list or not. If you prefer not to get calls from them you need to advise that company to put them on their internal do-not-call list.

The law is very simple and easy to understand.

As far as ethics go, that's a matter of opinion only. Every major corportation, regardless of industry, will call customers with hopes of winning them back. To state this this is a McClatchy thing is incorrect.

Anonymous said...

last time i checked a business can call you up to 18 months after you have done business with them even if you are on the Democrat National Committee (I mean Do Not Call) List.

Unknown said...

There is nothing unethical with the calling campaign the Bee is doing. Many companies outsource what you are calling "private data" to regain former customers.

They also are allowed to call anyone that has had a former business relationship up to 18 months after they have been gone.

This is not an act of desperation, it is a routine part of business that has been going on for years.

Anonymous said...

Routine and annoying!

Anonymous said...

And this is news....they have been doing this for years.

Anonymous said...

Oh man do I hope they call me to find out why we dropped our subscription.

"Because you fired me" is going to be my response.

Anonymous said...

By using outside sales the Sac Bee can deny any wrong doing if those outside companies get too much heat for calling those on DNC lists they just disappear to come back with a different name.

The way the Bee/outside sales company gets around the "Do not call List" is to make a call asking "How is service ?" or "What can we do to improve ?", etc. Anything but a direct solicitation or sales pitch which would be illegal. Once they have you talking they ask you if you would like to come back.