Customers contact Team 10 over additional charges, subscription increases by U-T San Diego

Man charged for an 'insert' in newspaper

SAN DIEGO - Upset customers contacted the Team 10 Troubleshooter about what they call unfair price increases by the San Diego's largest newspaper.

Some customers said they were charged more than they signed up for by the U-T San Diego newspaper when they didn't read the fine print.

Lakeside resident Bruce Pless said he signed up for a subscription to newspaper for the sports page and columns. He said he was happy with the paper until he looked at his bank statement.

"The Union-Tribune had taken out the monthly subscription fee early," said Pless.

He said the early charge caused his bank account to be overdrawn. Pless called the U-T and said they blamed it on an insert.

"I said, 'Insert … I didn't ask for an insert.' She said you got it automatically unless you opted out," said Pless.

He said the insert cost three times the amount of the regular newspaper.

Pless said the U-T sent him an email and letter about the insert and opting out that he must have missed.

"It's the principle of the thing. I think a lot of people wouldn't even look and they are getting charged three days worth of service for an insert that they probably never saw and never wanted," said Pless.

Team 10 has received several complaints about the price for their subscription going up.

One customer sent Team 10 an email showing he signed up for four weeks of the paper for $20.20. He then got an email that the price was going up to $32.15, and the email also mentioned bonus and premium day editions and gave the subscriber the option of opting out by contacting the paper.

The U-T gave Pless a refund for the insert but he still canceled his subscription. He said just wants others to know about the insert issue.

"I would think the Union-Tribune needs to change its policy on selling stuff to people whether they want it or not," said Pless.

Team 10 contacted U-T San Diego and gave them Pless's informaiton. The U-T offered Pless three months free and he agreed to re-subscribe.

U-T San Diego issued this statement to Team 10:

"U-T San Diego delivers high quality and insightful journalism to its subscribers 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and we place great emphasis on satisfying our most important asset, our subscribers. We continuously look for ways to add additional value to the U-T subscription. Several days each year, we provide enhanced coverage with premium sections, such as Memorial Day's 44-page Military, Defense and Honor Your Hero supplement. Subscribers always have the option of declining to receive any premium day edition; the feedback we have received suggests that subscribers very much enjoy and appreciate the additional content and value.

We are also happy to report that we have had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Pless and that he has reconsidered his decision to stop his subscription. We are pleased to have won him back as a customer."
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