Wednesday, March 08, 2006

DC Comics Is Still a Jerk

Note: I’m leaving this article here for historical reasons, but I am no longer angry with DC, for reasons that are explained here.

I’ve vented before about my problems with DC’s subscription service. Here’s what’s happened since then.

1. My copy of issue #14 was late. I waited a while to see if it was just stuck in the mail, but then issue #15 arrived. That was all the evidence I needed; #14 wasn’t coming.

2. I called DC's 1-800 subscription number to see what we could do about the problem. I didn't want a replacement copy for #14, because a) I didn't want to wait two months for it to show up, and b) I didn't think they'd ever send me one anyway. I wanted either my subscription extended another month in exchange, or my subscription canceled altogether. In any case, I didn't get through, because the number rang once and went to a message saying "Your call could not be completed as dialed." Tried it again; same result. I presume it’s because the 1-800 number isn’t valid (any more) in Canada. If so: obnoxious.

3. DC's subscription service is secretly a company called Cambey West. I checked their website for their phone number and called them up (long distance, not toll-free, on my dime). Asked the receptionist for whoever deals with DC Comics stuff. Got put through to voicemail. Left a message saying I wanted someone to call me back.

4. Nobody called me back.

5. I e-mailed the address on the DC subscription FAQ page, saying I wanted to talk to someone about how to handle this missing-issue issue.

6. Got a response, from 'Michele', telling me that I should be receiving my copy of #14 in the next couple of weeks.

7. I sent an e-mail back to Michele insisting that, no, it really was late, and I wanted someone to phone me about it.

8. Another response from Michele, explaining how... wait, I'll just include the body of the e-mail here. It's too perfect:

It has always been our policy to schedule the in-home date for subscriptions for approximately 2 weeks after the newsstand date. There are still two major advantages to subscribing, 1) you realize a very substantial savings off the newsstand price and 2) you know there is always a copy with your name on it; no more running to the comic book store before they sell out.

For fastest service, you can call 1-800-887-6789, Monday through Friday, 9am - 5pm EST/EDT and our operators will be happy to assist you.

9. I sent an e-mail back to Michele explaining why nothing in her response corresponded to reality in any way (only I was polite about it), and asked again if someone could please call me on the phone.

10. No response.

11. Tried to call one last time. This time the message said that the 1-800 number is not in service. (Probably still just the Canada thing.)

12. I sent an e-mail back to the same address (I presume it went to Michele) asking that my subscription be canceled and that they send me a refund for those issues I haven't received yet.

13. No response so far. My suspicion is that they’re ignoring me and that my subscription (such as it is) won’t be canceled, but we’ll see.

14. Took Michael’s advice and sent a letter to Paul Levitz (President and Publisher of DC Comics, as well as one of the men who made the Legion what it is) explaining my complaints. I only put the letter in the mail a couple of days ago, so obviously there’s been no response yet, but I’m hopeful.

This subscription arglebargle puts me in a situation I don’t want to be in. I don’t want to be mad at DC Comics; I like DC. Have for decades. What’s not to like? On the other hand, I can’t possibly support this kind of customer service.

(And, yes, that is the correct term. I was a customer, and I got serviced but good.)

It’d be easy to blame all this on Cambey West. DC good! Cambey West bad! But no. DC chose Cambey West as their representatives, therefore DC is responsible for what Cambey West does. Besides, I’ve been browsing around different message boards and stuff, and based on what I’ve read I don’t think my experience is all that rare. I think things have been going on this way for a long time and DC hasn’t done anything about it.

Here’s what I think is most likely to happen: nothing. My subscription will not be canceled, I will receive seven or eight of the nine remaining comics on my subscription, I will not get a refund, I will not get a response from Paul Levitz. If that’s what happens, I don’t plan on writing an article about it here; I’ve already written two more articles on the subject than I ever wanted to.

No, if I write about this again it’ll be because there’s good news. If I get a refund or an apology or anything like that, I’ll be thrilled to mention it on this site. Nothing would please me more than to be able to write nice things about my dealings with DC. Let’s see if it happens.

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