If you're a loyal Statesman Journal subscriber like I am -- I've subscribed since 1977 -- here's some disturbing news for you: us existing subscribers are being charged double what new subscribers are paying.
Back in March I got upset about receiving a notice that my Monday-Sunday (7 day) home delivery subscription was being increased from $36 to $41 per month.
As I said in "Salem Statesman Journal seems to be scamming subscribers," what concerned me even more than the rate increase was the $22/month new Monday-Sunday subscribers were paying after an introductory offer of $11/month for three months (now six months, as shown above).
I've been a Statesman Journal subscriber for 40 freaking years, and my loyalty to the newspaper is "rewarded" by charging me double what a new subscriber is paying?!
I couldn't believe this was true, or if it was true, that it was ethical, so I filed a consumer complaint with the Oregon Department of Justice.
After an exchange of correspondence with a Gannett/USA Today executive who got my complaint, Barbara Smith (VP Customer Service), it turns out that the Statesman Journal regular rate for Monday-Sunday new subscribers is indeed $22/month, even though the posted Monday-Sunday rate on the second page of the print newspaper is $46/month.
(I'm not sure why I'm paying $41/month. Maybe my "reward" for being a 40 year subscriber is paying $19 a month more than a new subscriber rather than $24 a month more.)
Here's the last correspondence I got from Smith where she responds to questions I asked her. In her letter she confirms that $22/month is the regular Monday-Sunday rate for new subscribers, while $46/month is the regular rate for existing subscribers.
Download Barbara Smith letter 6-2-17
This is like a bar charging its regular customers double what somebody who walks in off the street and orders a drink for the first time pays.
My experience is that businesses usually reward customer loyalty with discounts. But the Statesman Journal, and the Gannett Corporation which owns the newspaper, has decided to screw over long-time subscribers by giving new subscribers a much lower regular subscription rate.
At first I couldn't believe that the Statesman Journal had two regular Monday-Sunday home delivery subscription rates: one for current subscribers ($46/month) and one for new subscribers ($22/month).
But after Gannett executive Barbara Smith confirmed this was the case, my next thought was, "Hey, how can us loyal long-time subscribers get that $22/month rate?" I figured I knew the answer. So today I sent this message to the email address shown on the "subscription" section of the Statesman Journal web site.
So it sure seems like any Statesman Journal Monday-Sunday home delivery subscriber who currently is paying the $46/month regular rate could get the $22/month rate if they cancel their subscription for 30 days, then re-subscribe as a new customer.
Since they'd be paying $24/month less, that's a $288 annual savings. Pretty good deal. All you have to do is cancel your subscription for 30 days and either not read the Statesman Journal for a month, or buy papers on the street.
Look, I realize that newspapers are in deep financial trouble. Gannett's newspaper earnings are dropping, as reported in "Gannett earnings forecast a bleak 2017 for newspaper companies." I want the Statesman Journal to survive.
But it's damn irritating to learn that us long-time subscribers are being screwed over on our subscription rates.
If the Statesman Journal can make money on the $22/month Monday-Sunday subscription being offered to new customers, the paper should give this rate to its current subscribers also. Making us pay double the regular rate that new subscribers are paying is an insult to our loyalty.
Which, I've got to say, is wearing thin for this 40-year subscriber.