View Full Version : The Pastel Joke, er uh, Journal
11-22-2005, 11:51 AM
I never knew that subscribing to a magazine could be frought with so much trouble.
That is, until I subscribed to The Pastel Journal. :mad:
The Pastel Journal, which appears to be a nice magazine complete with interesting articles, talented artists and slick, full color illustrations, is just a sham when it comes to their subscription services.
Here is my story: I subscribe to the magazine back on September 7th of this year, and receive an email confirmation of my subscription.
November 8th, I receive a SECOND invoice (never received the first, mind you) informing me to pay right away. I call the 1-800 number and pay over the phone using my credit card.
Then yesterday, the 21st, I receive my FIRST invoice along with an old October issue that came out back in September. :confused:
So, I call subscription services today to straighten out the mess, and I am told that even though they have received my payment, I will NOT be receiving the December issue, and that I will instead have to purchase it off the newstand.
Who is asleep at the wheel over there? Who is in charge over there? The same people who ran Enron? How do they stay in business?
Anyone else have trouble with these bozos?
Not surprisingly, I ended up cancelling my subscription.
11-22-2005, 12:54 PM
What the heck? Why won't they send December's issue? This doesn't make one ounce of sense. I am with you in this being just silly and totally unacceptable.
I like the magazine but haven't had a problem with them. Not saying that I haven't had other mishaps like this happen with other companies, tho'.
Sometimes I think it's who you have on the receiving end that moment in time. They had a bad day, they could care less about their job, they hate their boss, etc., which is still no excuse for poor customer relations. If I can't understand someone and they surely don't understand me and my issues, I end the call and I call later again as I have no patience for someone not quite giving me options that they surely should be giving me. I most always get a new person who is a completely different personality than the last and who is a better service/customer handler. It's worked for me quite a few times in the past and many times I also hear from this new customer service person that they can't imagine why that previous person told me this or that, and they ask who the person was. Try calling them again if you really do want the magazine. You might get someone else who is more helpful. It's not in their best interest to anger/mistreat/dismiss a potential long term customer.
11-22-2005, 02:15 PM
I'm having problems as well. More along the lines of poor communication. I subscribed to the journal in May (6 copies for 12 months). Copies have turned up - albeit late (some of the dates in adverts in the back are a joke!) but I've also received a reminder that my subscription is about to expire and I need to renew.
Same thing happened with the Artist Magazine
I've queried and it looks like they recommend renewing early. This is the reply I got
Your subscription will expire with the April 2006 issue. We have just mailed the December 2005 issue. That means that there are only two issues remaining in your subscription: February 2006 and April 2006. Our issues are labeled for delivery in advance. Therefore, we suggest that you renew at least two issues before your expiration date in order to avoid disruption in your delivery. If you renew now with a credit card, your card will be charged as soon as we receive the order. Your renewal will be added to your account to extend your current subscription.
I've created a reminder to myself to renew both Journals a little later than suggested...............;)
11-22-2005, 02:22 PM
Ann, I'm so sorry this happened to you! :( I'm sure you know that the editors and staff of the magazine aren't running the subscription services but that doesn't change your situation. I write for them and I've only heard a few complaints such as yours, so I hope there's some remedy. It really is a wonderful resource for pastelists and it would be a shame for you not to receive it because of someone working in subscriptions... I hope things work out for you! If I can find an extra copy of the December issue I'll be happy to send it on to you myself... Let me look around for it and I'll PM you if I have one.
11-22-2005, 02:50 PM
Cindy, Katherine, Deborah,
Thank you for your response and support.
I did speak with another customer service rep who I had no luck with either. If I state my case, they seem to give me some "rehearsed" answer that fails to answer my question or complaint. I did however, eventually request a supervisor who appeared to agree that I had a right to be upset (part of her job description I'm sure). The sad fact is that is that there really is no customer service much anymore. Service reps are low paid and have no real incentive to make the situation right and for whatever reason, the process for which the subscription services at The Pastel Journal is supposed to follow is simply breaking down. Or at least, it is breaking down for a certain number of subscribers. I've subscribed to all sorts of magazines before, as has my husband. I have never experienced these sorts of problems before.
Katherine, you say the same thing has happened with The Artist's Magazine. Hmmm. Interesting. They are also published by F&W Publications (the same as Pastel Journal).
Deborah, thanks for your offer of sending the December magazine. If you don't have an extra copy, I could always pick up one at the newstand. At least I know I can get an issue there! :rolleyes:
11-22-2005, 02:55 PM
Knock wood, I haven't had any problems with mine. But my daughter got me mine for Christmas, last year. She is renewing it for me this year. I will ask her if it was a hassle.
I really like the magazine. It is very informative.
11-22-2005, 03:31 PM
I was distressed to read of your difficulties in subscribing to The Pastel Journal. Although we editors, as Peggy and Deborah pointed out, have nothing to do with the subscription department, we take the matter very seriously. We will endeavor to find out what went wrong and why.
In the meantime, I would love to send you any copies of the magazine you're missing. If you will give Patricia Craft at Patricia.Craft@FWPubs.com your street address, she will send copies tomorrow.
Thank you for expressing your understandable anger and thus giving us an opportunity to address the situation.
The Pastel Journal
11-22-2005, 03:45 PM
I have not had a problem with the subscription, other than not knowing exactly which issue it would start with and buying the same one on the stand. It is such a good publication though, I would forgive them some flaws. I have trouble with other publications in the past, and it seems like they need your name in the subs. list pretty far before shipping an issue- I subscribe to other art magazines (most seem to be run by the same folks and have a lot of duplication, i.e. gift lists for example- but the Pastel Journal is by far my favorite- the one I really look forward to! I would really give them another chance, I think it is worth it- but do understand how annoying it can be when there is a problem.
11-22-2005, 04:34 PM
Thank you for your assistance with this. I did send an email to Patricia Craft.
I did cancel my subscription over the phone during my first phone call with a customer service representative. When he informed me that I would have to buy my own copy of the December issue from a news stand, I became upset at that point and out of total frustration, cancelled my account. (I was told that I would not receive the December issue based upon the fact that I didn't pay for the subscription until November 8th, which is when I received my 2nd invoice BEFORE receiving my 1st invoice. I paid right away when got the invoice on Nov. 8th. I guess I missed the mass mailing of the December issue and as far as this guy was concerned, that was my problem). All of this was before I talked to a supervisor to get this situation straightened out. But because my cancellation had gone through already by that point, there was nothing that the supervisor could do but suggest that I try to begin another subscription if that was what I chose to do.
I agree with purples that The Pastel Journal is a great publication, but having said that, it doesn't do the customer any good if they don't receive the product they paid for. A company needs to understand that a great product is one part of the equation, but good service is equally important.
11-22-2005, 07:37 PM
Uhh - for anyone wondering why Maureen mentioned my name, I gave her a heads up on this problem this morning. I met her and we talked at length at the IAPS convention so I felt comfortable sending her the message. I also told her that I've had good service from them because when I sent a change of address to them this fall I got the very next issue sent to the new address without delay. That impressed me!
I would hate to see this publication fail due to a bad circulation department. This just might be the nudge that they need to change some policies in that department.
11-22-2005, 11:17 PM
Why couldn't they send the December issue, they sell past issues. Whenever I've had a problem with a missing magazine/issue, it's always sent immediately. It sounds like the Customer Service company needs a serious clearing out.
11-23-2005, 01:11 AM
I don't know about F+W, the new owner of Pastel Journal, but in the past I have noticed that magazines sometimes employ a subscription service, apart from their own staff and I've had big problems with that arrangement. I don't remember the magazine, maybe it was International artists mag, maybe not. but I waited for Months before I got my first issue. and all the calling I did didn't help one bit. I would call Pastel Journal directly and have a talk with their circulation or editorial dept.,
11-29-2005, 01:34 AM
I've received another reminder from the Pastel Journal to pay my subscription. Nowhere on it does it state 1) when the subscription started 2) when the subscription finishes 3) last date for getting the subscription renewed On the contrary, this letter - which seems to have come to me via Deutsche Post - states that I need to respond by 12 July 2005. Yes, you read that correctly - July 2005. Now even if this letter has been delayed in the post due to its circuitous route to me why on earth would I need to renew a subscription for a journal when the original subscription only started in May 2005. I think some of these journals need to bring themselves into the 21st century. In the UK I can do most of my interactions with government online from pay my parking fines to ordering a new birth certificate and viewing relevant planning applications. Can I suggest to the Editors and Owners of the Pastel Journal that they seriously consider whether or not they should be doing business with their colleagues in the subscription department as they are seriously annoying more than one customer. I absolutely agree with Ann, in any product offering, the subscription service is part and parcel of the total package from the consumer's perspective. Other journals I subscribe to - in fact other journals I subscribe to send me an e-mail when the new edition is produced highlighting what is in this month's issue. In this day and age I expect to be able to generate a subscription on line and renew on-line. I think a delay of about a fortnight between subscription and delivery starting is acceptable - and all renewals should be based on this sort of timeline as well. And in future I would expect that this sort of timeline will rapidly reduce as our expectations change in line with other people we do online business with. Being a small operation is no excuse for not being a business-like operation - especially when you're dealing with people who can be one person businesses themselves. And, while I'm at it, I do rate the journal very highly and am very happy to be getting it - I'd have to be considering the annoyance being created by their subscription dept. BTW - I haven't renewed my subscription yet! (NB If this post looks like it does in the preview the giant paragraph post software upgrade wasn't my idea!)
11-29-2005, 10:06 AM
I did get the strange billings too but they seemed to have stopped. When I called the customer service folks I was told it must have been "lost" in the postal system since July. And I bought that of course.
Until now :eek:
I also ended up with 3 of the same issue but had to buy another from the newsstand.
I have a feeling they will get their issues worked out eventually :D
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