The New York Times has not yet abandoned print editions in favor of going digital. But to residents of the New York City borough of Queens, it might seem like the newspaper doesn't want to take on new print subscribers.
MediaDailyNews has learned that the Times' computer system is rejecting requests for home delivery from some addresses with hyphens -- which are common in much of Queens.
Instead, some customer service representatives tell prospective subscribers who live in Queens that home delivery is unavailable in their neighborhoods. When consumers try to use the Times' online interface to arrange for delivery to a Queens address online, the computer system sometimes rejects the address and directs consumers to customer service.
A customer service rep informed a MediaDailyNews reporter (and Times subscriber) that the company recently began using a new computer system that doesn't accept hyphens. The customer service department can manually revise hyphenated addresses, but not all reps do so.
The result is that even people who live within walking distance of the Times' printing plant in College Point, Queens are being told they can't get home delivery.
Some would-be subscribers in New York City have even been told that the only way they can get home delivery is via snail mail. If subscribers press the matter, they can sometimes reach a representative who is able to fix the problem.
A Times spokesperson says the company is trying to "improve the process" for subscribers. "Our agents have been trained to handle this issue, although some may need an update," the spokesperson says. The company declined to provide further details, including how long the system had been rejecting hyphenated addresses.