Australian Newsagency Blog

A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

Real newspaper home delivery challenges

Mark Fletcher
July 10th, 2018 · 12 Comments

Not satisfied with getting the daily newspaper delivered to their property for a few cents each day, some customers demand a lever of service for which they do not pay.

Here are several examples of customer service requests I have seen customers make in the last few weeks of home delivery newsagents (not my businesses as as I am retail only):

  1. Hi can you please make sure the newspaper is thrown to land within two metres of the front door? When you throw it on the driveway I have to walk too far across and I am usually in my underwear.
  2. I am happy for the weekday papers to be put on the driveway but for the weekend papers can you throw them over the side fence so I can get them out the back door. Thank you.
  3. Please place the newspaper on the front door mat. I refuse to pay if you do not do this.
  4. When it raise can you please put the paper in the waterproof box I have next to the letter box. It opens with a latch. Please open this put the paper in and close it and double check it is closed. I know you put the paper in plastic. I prefer it in the waterproof box on the wet days.
  5. I am very pleased with the paper delivery service. I would appreciate it however if the weekend papers could be thrown on the concrete drive or before it.
  6. I think the girl who used to deliver er our paper did a better job that the boy we have now.
  7. I keep the plastic you put the newspaper in. l can you come and collect and re use it. If you give me a discount that would be good.
  8. I was away from the shack last weekend and only found out now you missed the Saturday paper. Please credit me for it. Today’s paper came on time.
  9. I am away next week can you deliver my paper to [xxx] at [xxx] it is only four streets away. I told her she could have my paper while I am on holidays. Thank you.

Newspaper home delivery is a thankless task in many areas. Newspaper publishers and many home delivery customers do not realise what the service providers have to put up with.

The list above, from multiple home delivery businesses reflects first world problems.


Category: newspaper home delivery

12 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Gerard Munday // Jul 10, 2018 at 7:19 AM

    Mark, as a retailer, I’m sure you get many requests everyday that are beyond the normal call of a retailer. Home delivery requests are all apart of being a distributor. You manage each request on its merits. The real issue here is most customers don’t know what they are paying for. The industry needs to develop a standard that is common across all distributors. Unfortunate standards are blowing in the wind with many distributors making it up as they go. Publishers have contracts with industry standards in them …. their commitment to maintain them is where their challenge is.


  • 2 Graeme Day // Jul 10, 2018 at 8:47 AM

    Spot on Gerard.


  • 3 James // Jul 10, 2018 at 9:54 AM

    Unfortunately the only time publishers went to the open market to get a commercial costing for delivering newspapers to their contracted standards, they were so gobsmacked by the true cost, that they abandoned the idea completely. This was the very idea that they had been marketing to newsagents for 5 years as the future and the saviour of the distribution industry.

    They then returned to the 100 year old model where they completely understand that newsagents essentially deliver newspapers at their own cost. Prior to 2006 newsagents had the supplementary benefit of exclusive rights to newspaper retail sales. Since 2006 publishers have been living off the good grace and commercial blindness of newsagents.


  • 4 Kevin // Jul 10, 2018 at 3:39 PM

    We never hear from 99.9% of our home delivery customers which is probably a clear signal that we’re meeting the expectations of most customers. Sure, we have heard a full lexicon of crazy requests from the other .1% – all we can do is stay calm and remain amused.


  • 5 Lance // Jul 10, 2018 at 7:13 PM

    “”I keep the plastic you put the newspaper in. l can you come and collect and re use it. If you give me a discount that would be good.””

    Ohhh…OK, you can’t give me a discount, fair enuff.
    If I wrap the paper up again after I’ve read it could you just give me a credit then ?
    That would be OK wouldn’t it 😉


  • 6 Jason // Jul 11, 2018 at 12:46 PM

    “The list above, from multiple home delivery businesses reflects first world problems.”

    The first world is the world we live in, so of course they are.

    Number 9 is a customer trying to continue their delivery while they’re away. Maybe a week isn’t worth it, but it’s that or they put a stop on it and there goes the money.


  • 7 PAT. E // Jul 11, 2018 at 3:15 PM

    jason ?


  • 8 Jenny // Jul 11, 2018 at 8:54 PM

    Today we had a customer drop 2 packets of muffins into our store with a thank you note to delivery driver in one town for a smooth delivery to her new address, so nice for the guys delivering papers on these freezing mornings.
    Yesterday we get a letter from another customer with a photo of letterboxes and instructions on which letterbox paper should be placed in front of.
    Best complaint ever was one rainy Saturday when the papers were late, this particular lady phoned the shop several times, the last time complaining that her housekeeper has to keep going outside to see if paper has arrived. Poor darling 🙂


  • 9 Alan L // Jul 12, 2018 at 3:29 PM

    I abandoned my home delivery when I tired of fishing my paper out of trees, next door, puddles….all the plastic wrapper was a pain too. The old banger the delivery man drove is a noisy clapped out car and is a disgrace. No wonder it’s not marked with the name of the business. Hope that disappears too.

    Sad for the Age because by and large we have stopped reading the print version; we’ll buy it on Saturday occasionally. Never from a newsagency, usually the 7/11.

    I went to my local feral sort-newsagency last week (it used to be a newsagent but is now a migrant run lotto agency with some magazines and the odd paper, shop could do with a good clean) and she sourly admitted to having never heard of the Economist nor the Saturday Paper. That was $15 she didn’t get as well.

    My local sub-regional mall lost is newsagency 12 months ago. The two newsagents nearest to me have gone; further along, the newsgent moved from a large ex-grocery store to a tiny former bread shop, and is owned by people who hardly speak English; Next suburb along, a large double-fronted newsagent has disappeared and replaced by a rather smart Asian cafe…

    In better off areas, CBD, Brighton and Malvern come to mind, the newsagents continue as before, well stocked, servers generally civil and knowledgeable.

    Bland would be rather nice; methinks your industry is going the way of fruiterers and butchers. Shame.


  • 10 Colin // Jul 14, 2018 at 10:20 AM

    Happened to be in an area I don’t normally visit and came across (like Alan L) a shockingly dirty newsagency……. these people are toxic.


  • 11 Anna Humber // Jul 22, 2018 at 1:17 PM

    I live in Inner West Sydney and we can’t get a reliable home delivery newspaper service. When it’s not delivered there is no replacement supplied. The owner always aggressively claims this never happens and then he claims that if he had to replace it he would go broke – he should just make up his mind! Either way, we are left without a paper we have paid for. Talk about a lack of service and an inability to generate goodwill.


  • 12 Fabian // Dec 31, 2018 at 1:47 PM

    I live in southern Sydney. My local news agent closed mid year and henceforth my newspaper is delivered by a distributor. I have found them to be unreliable at times, most commonly with late deliveries and damaged newspapers. Most recently, they have been delivering well after 7am. I have in three instances received newspapers that were not wrapped at all and dumped. One of them was destroyed by rain. There were also heavily damaged papers that were simply scrunched up. Two weeks ago, my newspaper ended up in a neighbours property. The distributor called up, left a message on voicemail to go to my neighbours house to pick up the paper. They didn’t say which neighbour though.

    I have made complaints to News Corp and the distributor will only comply for a while before reverting to their old ways. In recent days, I only got a paper delivered after calling up News Corp telling them that I had yet to receive the paper. It feels like in my neighbourhood that you will only get the paper delivered if you call up customer service e.g. News Corp or Fairfax.

    The unreliable distributors are letting the others down but also hastening the appeal of newspapers and home delivery.


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