Here is magazine returns packaging advice I published here in July 2012 in a post called How to avoid being fined by Network Services. I wrote the post after hearing from several newsagents about claims against them by Network Services about magazines not being returned to the Network warehouse.
This advice remains best-practice advice today:
How to avoid being fined by Network Services
Magazine distributor Network Services operates as victim, prosecutor, judge and jury in the handling of disputes arising from magazine returns. While they will say that statement is unfair, it is how it is. It is how newsagents who have experienced a dispute often feel.
While I have seen Network act fairly in some situations, I have also seen them act unfairly in others. The frustration felt toward their handling of disputes is magnified since they relate to products over which newsagents have very little control thanks to the push model of magazine distribution in Australia.
Here are my suggestions for newsagents to be better able to deal with a magazine returns credit dispute:
- Make sure that you understand and carefully follow the current Network process for packaging and shipping returns and returns forms. Do not ask another newsagent what the current process is, ask only Network. Get it in writing.
- Keep a copy of all forms, emails and other documents relating to returns in a separate date-sequenced file for Network.
- Create a log of returns shipping activity noting the date you sent returns, the courier used, number of packages and the name or the person who completed the returns at your end.
- Photograph each Network returns package – clearly showing the label.
- Get a receipt from the courier you use to deliver your returns to Network.
- If you deliver the returns yourself, take a photo of your packages before you leave the distribution depot.
- Make notes about any phone call relating to returns. Include the full name of the person you spoke with plus the date and time.
The better you are able to prove what you did and when in the event of a dispute the faster the dispute will be resolved.
The process outlined above will also show some newsagents mistakes which led to credits being denied.
I urge newsagents to print this advice and train their employees to follow it for Gotch and Network returns.