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

A Sydney Morning Herald home delivery customer speaks out

Here is a note I received yesterday from a long term Sydney Morning Herald home delivery customer.

I found your details and wondered whether you could assist, or at least provide comments.  I don’t know how to write a blog on your website.

This was my Facebook rant last night and gives you all the details of this appalling lack of service since the  newsagency informed Mum they could no longer deliver her daily paper …

I am so angry, and before I begin my long rant, (apologies), I would really welcome any like experiences or feedback

Mum has subscribed to the SMH daily for 30 years.  Earlier this year her local newsagent advised that home deliveries had been outsourced.  Since then, Mum has never received a paper to her door (she lives in a Villa complex of 10).  She is 85 and has had a stroke (sorry Mum for the disclosure 😘).  She can’t walk down the driveway which in Winter is icy.  The papers are sometimes wrapped, unwrapped (and wet), shoved on the letterboxes or in bushes, and last week found right across the road.  We have heard all excuses “the truck is too big” (joke) “the driveway too narrow” (joke) … the drivers’ “aren’t insured” (wrong).  They are entering common property, as confirmed by Strata.  Mum is not getting the service she pays for.  We have battled for 8 months to get answers, and a resolution, and today I wrote to The Editor and cc’d one of the numerous people we have spoken to.  No, I have not heard from Lisa Davies the Editor, but I had a call straight away from the Team Leader who said they cannot “control or make” drivers deliver to the door.  What exactly then is “home delivery”?  How is this different from Coles Online or Amazon?  These drivers from National Delivery Service (NDS) are just lazy bastards … and no, you can’t speak to NDS.  I even registered with them pretending I was interested in being a delivery driver!  Yep, no response.

How sad that in her later years she can’t start the day with her paper as has been her routine for years and years.

Mum & I will somehow continue the battle … Just call us “Erin” … Erin Brokovich.  😡

Mark, I would welcome your feedback.

This plea for help is indicative of how broken newspaper home delivery has become. In an effort to drive down costs newspaper publishers pay less and less for what is a premium service, and customers suffer.

Note – I removed identifying details of the customer and the newsagent.

Newspaper distribution

Join the discussion

  1. Peter

    I feel for an 85 yr old not able to access a home delivered newspaper. Particularly at this time of isolation. There are 2 points that need to be made though and they are no fault of the author.

    1/“Mum is not getting the service she pays for” . The service shouldn’t really exist anymore. It has been break even or loss making for most newsagents for a long time. Publishers that take delivery in house will find this out quick enough.

    2/ “What exactly then is “home delivery”? How is this different from Coles Online or Amazon?” Extremely different. There is only a tiny margin on what is a low price point item. Also, online retailers can charge a much higher once off delivery fee. Imagine if I told you in order to deliver one paper to you I was going to charge you $10. You’d cancel your home delivery pretty quickly. But that would be closer to the true cost needed.

    The hard work and sacrifice of many newsagents has masked this problem for a long time. Now that circulation has collapsed, OH & S compliance has increased and wages and vehicle costs are constant there is no future in home delivery of newspapers


  2. Peter

    I might add, the only way this situation will ever get better, is if we suddenly notice a rash of complaints from 25 yr olds who are having issues with getting their paper delivered.


  3. home delivery is broken

    to the OP, For 30c a day, the operator is up at 3am wrapping your papers and driving to your property to throw the paper.

    They’re not lazy, they’re underpaid. Try offering $10/day instead for delivery and see service level rise.


  4. Julie R

    I pay for home delivery of SMH. We live near a popular park in the Inner West which has a cafe about 100 metres from our house. My Herald is delivered nowadays in the gutter, next door’s gutter or, if I am lucky, on the pavement. I want it on my property.


  5. paul jack

    i used to deliver the papers in the eastern suburbs right up to when nds took over i would always make sure the paper at least got over the fence but these people throw it anywhere when nds took over they contacted all the newsagents informing them that they would consider hiring the current delivery man or woman but guess what NO i am australian born anglo and this ruled me out straight away and yes try and contact nds it is impossible


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