I have tried to change my newspaper subscription with the "Hawkes Bay Today", our local rag now owned by NZME.

What a performance. I rang at 9am this morning and after going through all the numbers I got the Subscription (New & Change subscription) Department only to be told by a young lady the lines were busy but I was to tell her what I wanted and I would get a call back to to sort it out. I wanted to cancel my Mon-Fri papers and just retain my subs for the Saturday paper and the Sunday Herald.

Come 4pm and no callback I rang again and got the same young lady who could understand I wasn't to happy so said she could help me.

Unfortunately, she informed me I couldn't get both papers on the same subscription as they were 2 separate publications and I would have to cancel the old subs and open 2 new accounts, one for each paper. I asked if both were owned by NZME. "Yes, but that doesn't make any difference" she said.

I told her that 2 years ago, while I was in Australia at daughters place I sent them an email asking to temporarily cancel the service. They replied that they didn't take cancellations by email and I would have to ring them. (and wait an hour on a international call before someone would talk to me in all probability) I said that they billed me online and I paid my account online, so why couldn't they do other things online. So when I got home I cancelled completely cause I was so pissed off.

Then, after 2 years,we just started it up again when we accepted an offer a couple of months ago after getting sales calls about once every fortnight. The Fourth Estate is necessary. Keep the newspapers going I thought. Thats important I thought. Keep people in jobs I thought.

Then I had to deal with NZME. What an effing shambles!

Ken