I’ve heard it said more than once that magazines are such a beast to deal with. They are the problem child of the library. It’s rather rare to find anyone who likes to keep up with all of the details and problems that goes into keeping up with their subscriptions. That’s one of the reasons Rivistas Subscription Services has a mission to be easy to work with and responsive when it comes to dealing with subscription problems.
I’ve been doing this for 24 years, and know that problems with subscriptions will occur. But if you’ve been dealing with magazines for a year, you’ve realized that too. Problems are inevitable when you’re dealing with so many variables such as multiple copies, irregular titles, mergers, special issues, renewals each year, changing staff members, etc. It’s how we handle the problems when they occur that sets us apart from our competition – or at least one of the ways.
First of all, we do all possible on the front end to alleviate the problem areas. Being proactive is our biggest course of action, but when they do happen, well, it’s time to step it up a notch and do the hard work that you want us to do. You should always consider your subscription agent as extension of your library staff, because that is exactly what we consider ourselves. But as the title of this post asks, when do you claim on the problems with your subscriptions?
My general rule, when it comes to claiming, has always been to go ahead and place a claim if you’re not sure whether or not you need to. If you are working with a subscription agency, call their customer service line or email them. If you’ve ordered directly from the publisher, call the publisher. Both should have the information needed to let you know if it’s too early, too late, unnecessary or just the right time to claim. Reasons for placing a claim vary, but you should certainly place claims when issues are missing, if they arrive damaged or if your service has not started within three months of your requested start date/or when you place your order. Change of address claims can be handled quickly and efficiently as well. Most publishers “pre-print” labels about 2 or 3 months early, so a change of address may take a few issues to be realized on the label you receive.
Most publishers have a strict 90 day policy when it comes to placing claims, so the sooner you recognized there is an inconsistency with your subscription the better off you are to go ahead and claim. This means if you miss an issue or receive a damage issue, make a claim on it as soon as you realize it. There are fewer and fewer extra copies being printed as well, so the quicker you claim, the more likely you are to receive the problem issues.
So many people feel like receiving duplicate issues is the same as receiving a free extra issue in the mail. A duplicate issue indicates the publisher has you listed in their system twice, so the overlap is causing duplicate issues, and is causing your expire date to shorten. Claim on the duplicate issues ASAP so you can receive all of the issues you have paid for, for the appropriate length of time.
As your subscription vendor, we’re here to help you with any irregularities you may experience. The magazines come from the publisher and not from us, so we do not know if you are having problems with a certain subscription, so always feel free to let us know what’s going on, and we’ll be there to help get things back on track!