Bonsai Focus "Reminder"

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I'm just curious what other people are getting... but I got a "overdue" notice from Bonsai Focus, as if I was in arrears for next year. I mean we only just got the last issue for this year. And now I get a letter saying I was "invoiced" for $59.95 on 10/27/09, that it was due on 11/26/09, and that I am now "over due". Is this just a "European" thing? To make a subscriber feel like they are "late" with a payment to get them to resubscribe...

This is NOT a Bonsai Focus bashing thread...we love that magazine, and in fact have had the subscription for next year purchased as a Christmas present by another member of our family already.

But any "invoice" which says... "Please remit your payment for the invoices overdue by first post." Makes me raise eyebrows and wonder what is going on with that.

Did anyone else get this?


Thanks,

Victrinia
 

Shima

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"Is this just a "European" thing?"
Whatever could you mean? Write it off as a glitch, they are way above this kind of activity.
 

RyanFrye

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I'm just curious what other people are getting... but I got a "overdue" notice from Bonsai Focus, as if I was in arrears for next year. I mean we only just got the last issue for this year. And now I get a letter saying I was "invoiced" for $59.95 on 10/27/09, that it was due on 11/26/09, and that I am now "over due". Is this just a "European" thing? To make a subscriber feel like they are "late" with a payment to get them to resubscribe...

This is NOT a Bonsai Focus bashing thread...we love that magazine, and in fact have had the subscription for next year purchased as a Christmas present by another member of our family already.

But any "invoice" which says... "Please remit your payment for the invoices overdue by first post." Makes me raise eyebrows and wonder what is going on with that.

Did anyone else get this?


Thanks,

Victrinia
I got the same thing....it is an odd way to tell your customers that your subscription is almost up. Most other magazines I've had have a reminder that sounds like it was written by a cheerleader... something like "you don't know what you'll be missing! Renew now so you're not left out!" or silly little antics like that. But, BF's subscription reminder sounds like it was written by a debt collection agency! LOL
 
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Tachigi

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They been doing this for as long as I was a subscriber. I believe its their attempt to create a sense of urgency with regards to your subscription. This I find particularly humorous for a magazine that comes out only six times a year and more times than not is delivered outside the issue date range.

A couple of years ago I finally had enough of these tactics and with the decreased quality since the merger decided to let it go.
 

Walter Pall

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I assume that this is insofar a European thing as according to law in most European countries if you have a subscription of this magazine you have to cancel the subscription within a certain time frame, usually three months before expiration. So you had to cancel it before the end of September. If you did not cancel it you are obliged to pay for the next subscription period. Therefore it is indeed a letter from a debt collector. I wonder whether this can be applied to America and I believe it is just an oversight.
 
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Thank you Walter... I knew it had to be something that was just a cultural divide... because it felt so odd.

Here where they are handled so differently, it is strange to get something like that. Especially when I just have family members give the subscription to Eric as a gift. I'll just have to send them a note that we did resubscribe, but through a different person. Which I am sure they have run across in the past.

I appreciate your input....

Kindest regards,

Victrinia
 

Bunsen

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I recived the notice even though I had renewed for next year. This is a rather stupid way to do business especially for a magazine I never received on time. A couple of time I had to call their US representative to complaint that I had not received the issue. I cane close to not renewing this year and will likely not renew again next year.
 

Walter Pall

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Hi Walter,

Thanks very much for bringing this to my attention. It is particularly difficult to explain subscribers that we are an INTERNATIONAL magazine represented in over 48 countries around the world, each with their own habits of payment, invoicing and addressing and all of that in 6 different languages. An operational challenge each issue.

First of all every subscriber receives a "renewal invoice" at the end of their subscription. On EACH invoice we write:
This invoice is for your new (US)Bonsai Focus subscription.
In case you prefer not to renew your subscription, there is no obligation
to pay this invoice. We would however appreciate it if you make a note on
this invoice and send it to: Bonsai Focus, 1640 Irvin St., Vienna,
VA 22182, USA Tel: (+1) 703 738 9965 or send an e-mail to:
admin@bonsaifocus.com
So there is NO obligation what so ever to renew. We merely ask to confirm cancellation to avoid sending reminders which costs a lot of money to ship worldwide. This we do only to avoid costs that make a subscription more expensive.

Secondly, if a subscriber does not respond within 6 weeks after we have send the original "renewal invoice" we send a reminder telling them the invoice is still outstanding (overdue)and we have had no response what so ever.
We do this because it is our past experience that about 47% of the subscribers do not pay in time before we send of the next issue. Consequence would be they are not registered as subscriber anymore and will not receive the next magazine.
What happens next is that we receive lots of phone calls, letters and angry e-mails that they didn't receive the first issue of their subscription, although they were either late paying themselves, or even didn't pay at all.
We are expected to resend this first issue after payment is received. The costs for sending magazines in bulk, against sending a single magazine are 10 times as much. So because the customer does not pay in time costs of resending will increase enormously, which has its effect on the subscription price again. And who is complaining then???

So this is not a European 'thing', but merely a compromise of worldwide cultural differences. Some people have difficulty understanding this.

Look at it from another perspective and realize that you receive 6 times 100 pages - that is 600 pages total - of high quality information on bonsai each year for only $ 59.95 including shipping costs.
What BOOK can compete with that???????????

Would you be so kind to post this on the forum? I have to produce another issue and don't have time to do this.

Thanks very much for your support.

Best regards,

René Rooswinkel
Publisher
Bonsai Focus
A Bonsai Europe Publication
www.bonsaifocus.com
 
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So this is not a European 'thing', but merely a compromise of worldwide cultural differences. Some people have difficulty understanding this.

It only becomes difficult to understand when it's not explained in the least. ;)

However... since it is now explained, while I would advise them to change the tone of their language I certainly do not fail to understand their position. As a note, I never received a first invoice with any poliet language about please renewing to avoid any delay of future publications, only this past due invoice.

As I said in the start, we love the magazine, I have no question about that. Thank Rene for taking the time to write.

Victrinia
 

mcpesq817

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It only becomes difficult to understand when it's not explained in the least. ;)

However... since it is now explained, while I would advise them to change the tone of their language I certainly do not fail to understand their position. As a note, I never received a first invoice with any poliet language about please renewing to avoid any delay of future publications, only this past due invoice.

As I said in the start, we love the magazine, I have no question about that. Thank Rene for taking the time to write.

Victrinia
Thanks for posting this Walter.

I would second Victrinia's advice that they consider changing their tone - I'm not one to usually get offended, but their reply didn't seem to be particularly customer friendly. I'm sure that there are operational challenges to running an international business, but the key to any successful business is to know your particular customers. The saying we have that "the customer is always right" applies whether your customer is domestic or international.
 

RyanFrye

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'tone of language'

Welcome to globalization. This is NORMAL in the world out there.
Whatever Walter...I've heard this speech from you before. It's only an excuse to be inconsiderate of others.
 

Smoke

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'tone of language'

Welcome to globalization. This is NORMAL in the world out there.


Sorry Walter, this does not have to be the tone.

I like this tone in the last line of your posted message from Rene....

Would you be so kind to post this on the forum? I have to produce another issue and don't have time to do this.
A call to his mother would have taken more time. It is all in where ones priorities are at any given time. I think in this thread threen people considered their option of "not" renewing. On a small forum and such a small cross section of the magazine reading population this is pretty huge. Maybe by next year Rene will have a lot of time on his hands. He can spend it figureing out how to get back his readers. Magazines are a dieing breed, no use pissing off those that continue to subscribe.

Perception is all there is... Tom Peters.

Merry Christmas, al
 
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rockm

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It most certainly and obviously is NOT normal HERE where their American customers are living.

Sending an "overdue" notice is NOT a very nice way to inform someone their subscription is running out. And No, we're not just being lily-livered Americans. Here, in the US, "overdue" notices are basically a warning that either legal action is imminent or that collection agencies will soon be calling. Such notices are abrupt messages that something bad is coming. Given the desolate financial straits a lot of Americans are in nowadays, such notices can, indeed, be rather alarming.

That may not be the case in Europe, but it's IS the case HERE. Like it or not, Bonsai Focus can't assume the tactics that work in Europe, Australia, the US and Latin America are interchangeable. And really, saying we basically "should get used to it" is really bad customer service and enough to make me, at least, think twice about subscribing.
 
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'tone of language'

Welcome to globalization. This is NORMAL in the world out there.
I find it hard to believe that America is the last bastion of courteous business practices... In fact, I know we have companies who blow it too... they just don't tend to last long. I think it must be the advantage of having such a large, open, and diverse market... we have choices. Those who do not recognize the value of their customers fail in the long run. This of course isn't so much the case with bonsai publications though... I subscribe to every available one I know of... ABS, International Bonsai, Bonsai Focus, and Golden Statements. But that's still only a small handful of english bonsai publications available. (People - if I m missing any good ones, tell me!)

I produce a small newsletter each month... and let me tell you, as a one woman operation it's a lot of work in and amongst everything else. But I work hard to make sure it's nice, and has something interesting for people. It never ceases to surprise me how much positive response that little newsletter gets... people are still hungry for bonsai information however they can get it. Americans are very happy to pick up their toys and leave the sandbox if they aren't getting satisfaction from whatever they are engaged in... so don't tempt me to give up my life as I know it and dare to start an ezine. lol

Kindest regards,

Victrinia
 
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rockm

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We do have extremely worthy alternatives here in the U.S.:

ABS Journal is a treasure, so is Bill Valavanis' International Bonsai. Both are extremely worthy of your subscription money --and they have customer relations that, in my experience, are more than helpful.

And yeah, Vic, start an ezine...
 

Rick Moquin

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after reading the remaining posts after Tom's post, it is exactly because of their attitude that I did not renew my subscription.

I also never received a first notice. I was running both subscriptions at the same time BT and BE when they merged. When BT started it's slide I didn't renew and switched over to BE, mind you I forgot to mention this to the missus and hence way I was dble subscribed during the merge. They were good about duplicates though and extended my BF to total the amount of mags that I would have normally received. However, it screwed up when my subscription was suppose to be renewed (their clerical error) making an incomplete set and would not mail back issues that I had missed to no fault of my own.

Wrt to attitude. Folks can call it what ever they want. If the world is in the mess we are in is because folks have allowed themselves to be stepped on and are too afraid because of "political correctness" to prevent being infringed upon and telling folks they will not bend to their BS.

A classic example:

I was admiring Scots Pine today for our Christmas Tree (no not a holiday tree, I do not know what a holiday tree is). I could see the seller in the trailer and waved to him a couple of times to find out what they were worth, he never acknowledge nor came out although he did see me. It was a cool day today, a little windy but not overly cold. Needless to say no sale took place. As I was leaving I gave him some attitude (the bird) you just lost a sale son. I do not condone such actions but man did it feel good :):):)

I am terribly sorry, there is such a thing as customer service and courtesy. Show neither and my wallet is as tight as a bear trap.
 
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