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Problems with mymagazine.co.uk call centre and website re. subscription

Discussion in 'AP Magazine Feedback & Suggestions' started by Chester AP, Apr 30, 2020.

  1. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    This is the text of an email I have just sent to help@mymagazine.co.uk, in the naive hope that somebody may see it and read it. Has anybody else had problems like this? Or, to ask a different question, is the latest issue of AP worth its cover price and a risky trip to a newsagent in search of it?

    Amateur Photographer subscriber number 06525623

    I have waited until Thursday for an issue expected last Saturday (as per instruction from previous call), and called 0330 3334555 as usual.

    Since the call centre is closed (why don't you have the technology to allow working from home?), I tried the website.

    I opened an account, checked my details, and because there was no option for a replacement copy (why not?), I tried the option to extended the subscription for a week, but this does not work.

    What next?
  2. IvorETower

    IvorETower Little Buttercup

  3. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    Been there, done that...

    The problem is that the website needs maintenance. It appears to be designed to offer the latest six issues, from which you can select the one you are missing, and it will then be sent again by an automated process. But when I used the website today (April 30th 2020), I was offered six issue dates in October and November 2020. I assume that if working as designed, the list would be automatically maintained by a new issue being added each week and the oldest one being removed, so why does it list issues dated 6 months ahead?

    I then tried the second option f extending my subscription by a week (not something I would usually want to do because I always ask for a replacement issue when I call them by telephone), but this produced an error message.

    I remain unimpressed by a 'service' that is (to be polite) useless.
    In the memorable words of Lord Vetinari in one of Terry Pratchetts's books, somebody needs to 'aggressively prod buttock' on this one.
  4. IvorETower

    IvorETower Little Buttercup

    It's a bit off if the call centre number isn't being answered... hopefully you will get a response to your email
  5. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    Only this automated reply from help@subscribe.magazinesdirect.com.
    The phrase 'Remember you can visit our website and self-serve' only confirms my opinion about the management of the 'service': as I said above, I was not offered recent copies to select from, but issues dated six months ahead.

    I suspect that at present AP's best way to maintain its sales figures is by new subscription sales, so the reliable operation of the service regarding missing copies is important. How many new subscribers are likely to 'renew' later if they need a replacement for a missing copy, try to order one, and then find out how useless the service now is?

    Thank you for contacting us.

    Unfortunately due to the Coronavirus outbreak, this will affect our usual response time and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

    We do apologise for the delay but please be assured that we are answering each email as quickly as possible. We will revert to our usual response time as soon as possible.
    Remember you can visit our website and self-serve.

    We look forward to assisting you and thank you for your patience during this time.

    ** Please be aware email is not a secure environment. We take the security in protecting your privacy very seriously - please do not email or fax your credit card details **
  6. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    This email arrived today - the service continues to be useless.

    Subscription Customer Number : A-S06525623

    Thank you for contacting Magazines Direct.

    We have checked your record and can confirm all issues have been despatched. Unfortunately, once the magazines have entered the postal system we have very limited resources to track the delivery further.

    The email then continues to show my address in case it's incorrect, and advises me to contact my local Royal Mail sorting office. Conspicuously absent is any query to confirm which issue is wanted, and an offer to sent a replacement.
  7. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Some sorting offices are (or were) closed. My son had a parcel stuck in one, that was 2-3 weeks ago, and because it was closed there was no-one to ask. I don't know if he ever got whatever it was.
  8. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    The issue after the missing one arrived yesterday (due on Saturday and arrived on Tuesday), so the local sorting office is alive and working. I have also received other items in the post without any apparent delay or loss.

    My point continues to be that, whilst AP continues to advise readers to take out a subscription, at present the service for replacement of a lost issue is not working. Any new subscribers, inspired by the magazine's advice, are going to be disappointed if an issue goes missing and they get the non-existent level of service I have had.
  9. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    We are in a pandemic so normal service may not be possible. From my own experience some companies hide behind the current situation when it is convenient for them. They still are able to make sales and delivery quickly but if there is an issue they cannot possibly reply.
  10. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    'Hide' is a polite euphemism. I have just used the mymagazine.co.uk website again today (13th of May) and logged into my account to see if I can now request the missing issue. When I first did this on the 20th of April I was offered six issue dates in October and November 2020, and today the website will not even let me select this option and so will not display any list.

    If I was the editor of AP I would be embarrassed by this situation, since in the magazine he regularly (and sensibly) suggests a subscription to readers currently having problems buying copies in shops. The advertisements for the subscription service say 'never miss a copy', which us currently wrong because missing copies cannot be supplied. The website, if it worked, appears to be designed to automate this service.

    The web page is https://www.mymagazine.co.uk/DashboardRedesign.
    Note the last part of this address, which suggest to me it is 'work in progress'.

    Perhaps AP's new owners can impress me by demanding that mymagazine.co.uk get their website working efficiently, or have somebody to answer the telephone, in time for my next lost copy. It usually happens 2 or 3 times a year.
  11. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    I am still having issues with my digital subscription through Amazon. I had nothing for 3 weeks then 3 editions all at once and now nothing for 2 weeks.
  12. davidh

    davidh Well-Known Member

    I think we'll be migrated (and perhaps thats why we can't request back issues/extend subs) to the new publishers' platform (apparently https://shop.kelsey.co.uk/site/loginForm ) - p.20 on the 9th May issue (as this weeks' hasn't turned up for me yet!).
  13. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    The usual solution would be to close down the old system, migrate (and convert as required) the data to the new system, and then ensure that the new website is explained in every issue of AP for the next few weeks and that a message is displayed when anybody attempts to use the old site. The migration process itself should be done in one day, with a temporary message on both the new and old websites explaining what is going on. It appears that nothing like this has been done... a comparison to organising a social event at a brewery come to mind.
  14. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    I have had to renew my digital subscription which I get through Amazon because the supplier moved to Kelsey. I did not receive any notifications, I only found out because I was missing two editions. It does not seem to be available from shop Kelsey. Not exactly a smooth transition.
  15. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    This failed process has all the signs of a hurried 'last minute' IT implementation that somebody cocked up. I can recall complex system changes that were planned as 3 or 6 month projects, and then a senior manager without any IT experience decided he/she could impress the company directors by getting it installed a month early: the time 'saved' was usually what had been allocated to testing before going live. Thirty years ago the IT manager of a very large company told me that this kind of problem was very common because 'testing' was something that non-IT people never believed was needed, and the failure of various bank systems in recent years shows that this attitude still exists.

    If Kelsey wanted to lose AP subscribers, they are doing exactly what is required.
  16. davidh

    davidh Well-Known Member

    Next you'll be wanting the links that are in the magazine (sidebar and double page spread - both for magazinesdirect.com) for subscribing to actually work...

    Being fair to Kelsey, they've just bought a weekly publication where any mistakes in a normal monthly production would have a smaller impact (hiccup with subs for one issue? No problem, we can fix it within 3 weeks - for AP, thats at least another 3 or 4 issues later, all of which might also be affected). They've also got to maintain the printing links and distribution (still TI?) until they switch, and the relevant staff might not be available on side of the transition agreement due to the pandemic.
    Clearly the mymagazines staff aren't available by phone so even attempting to reach the right people is problematic.
  17. Papageno

    Papageno Member

    Hi Folks, Has anyone had their digital subscription restored? I took out a two year subscription in November 2018 and from what I can ascertain it hasn't been transferred. The new iPAd application for digital subscriptions is Pocketmags but it has no record of my email address. I now find that having been previously able to download issues 9 May and 16 May read permission has now been withdrawn so the last working copy I have of AP is now 2 May. I completely accept that we're in a difficulty situation with Covid-19 but surely a notice could have been posted on the AP and Kelsey websites? (Apologies if I've missed that though.) Hope everyone is staying safe.
  18. Nigel_Atherton

    Nigel_Atherton Group Editor

    Apologies to everyone who has been experiencing problems with their subscription. Our subscriptions team have been overwhelmed by emails from subscribers having problems getting their issues, not just on AP but across the company. Most of these are postal service issues caused, I assume, by staff shortages as postal workers go off sick or self isolate. Many of the readers who have contacted me personally have subsequently received their copies, late and not necessarily in the correct order.
    On top of all these problems that all publishers are having, last month Future Publishing bought AP's parent company TI Media, but sold AP on to Kelsey Media, while the subscriptions dept has moved from TI Media's contractor Magazines Direct to Kelsey's in-house subs team. That's four different companies, doing all of this during a pandemic while all of their offices closed, and staff either working from home or, in some cases, furloughed.
    I would like to assure everyone that we are doing our best to sort out these problems, and ask for your patience and understanding. If you are haven't already, please email the Kelsey Media subscriptions team at subs@kelsey.co.uk with your details but allow 5 days for a reply. They will do their best to rectify your problem. DO NOT email Magazines Direct or MyMagazines.co.uk who no longer have any involvement with AP.
    EightBitTony likes this.
  19. IvorETower

    IvorETower Little Buttercup

    Ah, does this explain why I have received an email from my bank informing me of a new subscription Direct Debit to Kelsey Media ? I was going to call the bank tomorrow to query it but now it looks like I don't need to !
    Nigel_Atherton likes this.
  20. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I think that is the confusing thing as I assumed the subscriptions were managed by the distributors. My bank notified me yesterday that a new direct debit had been taken out by Kelsey so I assume they are migrating accounts from Time Inc. without a need for new authorisations. Last week, I asked both Magazines Direct and Kelsey how direct debits were to be handled. Whether my inquiry and the new DDR are linked or just coincidence I don’t know.

    Issue w/e 23 May got to me very late, I had assumed it was lost.

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