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The cost of magazine returns

Mark Fletcher
November 28th, 2008 · 23 Comments

I spoke with three newsagents yesterday about how much they spend per bundle to freight returns back to the magazine distributors. One pays $1.30 per bundle, another $3.00 and another $8.00. This is for product off of which the newsagent made no money.

UPDATE (1/12): I have now been told of newsagents paying as much as $15 per bundle and as little as $1.20.  While distance plays a role, in some cases it does not.  I would have thought that at the very least getting consistency on returns prices was a worthwhile project for associations.

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Category: magazine distribution

23 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Helen // Nov 28, 2008 at 12:12 PM

    Just a thought,dont know if it would be any cheaper but a group rate might be able to be achieved from the weekly couriers that tatts dispensed with recently ,they used to deliver workboxes to alot of newsagents in vic anyway so they know most of the stores,could be a nice win/win

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  • 2 Derek // Nov 28, 2008 at 5:51 PM

    Helen

    Of course its a good idea, would this be a key responsibility of an Association to look into?

    Down in the Illawarra we are charged $2 a box (Up to the size of a Pump box), their is no official deal.

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  • 3 SHAUN s // Nov 28, 2008 at 6:11 PM

    9.00 up here in north queensland plus the fuel tax

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  • 4 Wen // Nov 28, 2008 at 6:20 PM

    An ‘Association’ might take on that kind of negotiation as a responsibility, however, I have another suggestion for making a deal with carrier. Contact all of your fellow newsagents in the local area (say within 20km) and see if you can’t all work together as a group to get the best deal. See if you can figure out what the best deal is (sharing that information alone gives each of you the power to negotiate). Contact the supplier and see if you can’t negotiate with them on behalf of all the newsagents in your ‘group’.
    Too many newsagents see their local newsagents as competitors. We are all a part of a network and we have the power to pull together.
    OK, stepping off soapbox now and getting head out of the clouds. 😀

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  • 5 Wen // Nov 28, 2008 at 6:24 PM

    I should mention we pay $55 per month for all returns to be collected and returned to distributors, regardless of number of boxes, etc. It is not part of a group negotiation.

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  • 6 Derek // Nov 28, 2008 at 6:36 PM

    Wen, that sounds reasonable especially if you are sending a lot of boxes.

    The contractor who delivers our mags is the person who takes the returns back to the distributors, this “deal” is very economical.

    Shaun S- I feel for you!!

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  • 7 Brad // Nov 28, 2008 at 6:53 PM

    Like some others that we know we take the returns with us as it is on our way to GNS. This is not always possible for most newsagents but if others in our area needed it I would gladly load a few more boxes as I am going there anyway.
    Still doesn’t sort out the problem of getting stock that we need to process and return when it is not required to begin with.

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  • 8 Helen // Nov 28, 2008 at 9:48 PM

    We are in country Vic, and we pay $3.00 per box. The deal is with the contractor who delivers our mags. Works well, however like many for you, I do object to paying for returns when magazines are over supplied.
    This deal was insitigated by the smart contractor who delivers.

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  • 9 SHANE // Nov 29, 2008 at 1:14 PM

    WHAT MAKES ME ANGRY IS PAYING FREIGHT ON ABOUT 1/2 OF MY RETURNS BECAUSE OF THE GROSS OVER SUPPY, YOU KNOW BEFORE THEY ARRIVE THAT YOU HAVE THIS FREIGHT COST AS YOUR HISTORY WILL TELL YOU YOU HAVE NO HOPE IN HELL OF SELLING THE QUANTITY SUPPLIED, BE NICE IF WE COULD BILL THE SUPPLIES FOR OUR COST ASSOCIATED WITH DELIBRATE OVER SUPPLY.

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  • 10 Bill // Dec 1, 2008 at 10:17 AM

    If you can’t fix the problem of oversupply then what about working with them on returning the front cover of any mag that goes back.
    I hear that our local Coles store rips the front page only for a return and dumps the mag in the big recycle bin.

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  • 11 Dianne // Dec 1, 2008 at 1:39 PM

    I agree, it is ridiculous that we have to pay to send back magazines which are over and above what we would sell, even after advising them of our particular situation since the opening of a new shopping centre just a throw across the river from us. Also, on the subject of magazine returns, the circular from Network Services dated 10 November, 2008. Have you read it? In the case of a credit query, Network Services are putting the onus on us the newsagent to prove to them that our returns have been received by them – “Where a dispute arises you will be requred to show proff of delivery of the physical returns. The proof will need to show that the returns were in fact delivered to, received by, and signed by a representative of one of out State Warehouses. A pick up slip from the contractor that picks your returns up does not constitute proof of delivery.”
    Our magazines are collected by a transport contractor, who collects from a number of newsagents in our area. He then schrink wraps all the return boxes, regardless of whether they are Network or Gotch etc and they are collected and taken to the depot in Brisbane (which is the receiving centre for Network) by another driver of the same company. Nowhere at any time are these returns signed for. When we spoke to the transport company and asked the question, we received no answer. Technically, one department of the transport company should sign that the receiving department had in fact received the returns from the contractor who works for the same company. But having said that, the number of boxes for each newsagent should be recorded. Otherwise, Network could say that they did not receive certain returns and we woiuld have nothing to substantiate the fact that we had sent them.

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  • 12 Brett // Dec 1, 2008 at 1:58 PM

    I physically take my returns to Folimont. They insist that I fill out a slip to state how many boxes I am leaving. However they DO NOT and CAN NOT give me a copy of that slip.

    Unacceptable.

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  • 13 Shaun s // Dec 1, 2008 at 2:49 PM

    network just informed me as i am missing all of last months supplementry returns that i should send my supplementry returns seperate to my normal returns .yeah sure i just love the fact that i am one big open pit of money and i like to throw it around ,they have no idea how much it cost to send back ,$9.00 a box i pay and then they tell me that they want it in seperate boxes .

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  • 14 Derek // Dec 1, 2008 at 7:57 PM

    Shaun S, I believe you have a case to elevate this problem to your State Manager at the very least it was the most practical way to do what you did. By the way do you use Netonline for your supplementries? Personally since I have been using that system I have my anxiety levels reduced.

    As we can see their are some real concerns with the whole returns process that could not be sorted out, Dianne’s post shows how many holes there are in the recent returns procedures.

    I can understand where NS & GG are coming from, they have identified a cost saving area in their returns process however as usual the honest in this case Newsagents are now paying for the wrongs of others, hence their new compliance returns system.

    At the very least Network should adopt GG system of Barcoding returns. From a Newsagents point of view it is uneconomic to send by registered post.

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  • 15 SHAUN s // Dec 2, 2008 at 7:58 AM

    Derek ,i have been trying to contact network for weeks now i can’t see why they just can’t put you through to who ever you need to talk to even when you know the persons name .With regards to netonline yes i just started doing my supps on there it is ok doing it that way but it is a lot faster if you could just scan them like GG

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  • 16 Derek // Dec 2, 2008 at 11:07 AM

    Shaun s

    Maybe you can try this email address help@netonline.com.au Of course I would explain precisely the issue and hopefully it will be passed on to the person you want to have it.

    I usually ask for a reply and it good for record purposes whilst you hopefully can continue to email each other until your issue is addressed.

    Good luck.

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  • 17 Shaun s // Dec 2, 2008 at 12:39 PM

    Derek ,i have been down the path of emails but i like to talk to a person when i have a problem ,every other company in the world has some type of contact point unlike network services which i am sure is a call centre for various companys as every time i call them i get different answers for the same questions ,never get the same person twice and basically just have no clue when it come to magazines .I can’t see what the problem is with having a contact phone numbers it makes life so much easier than waiting 3 days for each reply .

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  • 18 Derek // Dec 2, 2008 at 7:03 PM

    Hey Shaun s…When I think of Telstra i go internally beserk.

    Seriously I understand what you are saying, They used to have contacts for an escalating issue like your, I hope someone can point you in the direction from here. Good Luck!

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  • 19 Shaun s // Dec 2, 2008 at 7:08 PM

    I actually received an email today stating that my supp returns have been forwarded on to someone else so here goes the email chain .I must say i was happy with the fast reply it was only 24 hours instead of the 3 day turnaround .

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  • 20 Chris // Dec 2, 2008 at 8:53 PM

    Shaun s
    even if you believe that emails are time consuming and wasteful, the advantage over the spoken word on the telephone is that you have a dedicated copy of your interaction with network.
    Emails are invaluable.

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  • 21 Chris // Dec 2, 2008 at 8:55 PM

    Brett,
    the guys at followmont are pretty helpful. I have a pro-forma of the date and number of boxes delivered to their site for each company. They oversight the physical placement of each box and then sign my pro-forma to confirm what I have delivered. A few other agents do it and it works well.
    the alternative is too scary to contemplate

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  • 22 Brett // Dec 2, 2008 at 10:05 PM

    Chris,

    I too have a slip. I doubt however that Network would accept it.

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  • 23 SHAUN s // Dec 3, 2008 at 6:14 AM

    Nelson , yes i have been trying to contact daniel tisi for a few weeks ,i know that if i email he will reply but yeah it has to make you laugh when you call up the 1300 number and no one seems to have a clue who he is .There reply to me one day when i asked for a number was that we can’t do tat as they will get to many calls ,well all they have to do is realise why they get so many calls and fix the problems

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