May 19, 2010
LLB Poll: The Ellis Statement on Unsolicited Shipments from TR Legal
Rob Myers, Associate Director for Collection Management, Acquisitions and Planning, Case Western, CRIV vice-chair and incoming chair of the Committee took a jab at TR Legal's continuing practice of sending unsolicited shipments without consent and received a ham-fisted blow to the solar plexus by TR Legal's offical spokesperson for corporate policy, Anne Ellis, Senior Director of Librarian (Marketing) Relations.
Quoting from Myers' extremely polite communication to Ellis:
As you know, Principle 3: Fair Dealing of the AALL Guide to Fair Business Practices for Legal Publishers discourages this practice. Specifically, section 3.1 of the Guide states "Publishers should obtain the customer's consent prior to making a shipment or initiating a transaction, unless such shipment is part of a standing order or subscription to which the customer has previously consented." As neither the KeyRules or Transfer Pricing Strategies are part of a pre-existing standing order or subscription, CRIV would ask that West/TR cease the practice. It is burdensome to both law librarians, West, and the Postal Service to boomerang unwanted material in this fashion. I have the utmost respect and appreciation for West's products and customer service. Please understand that the practice of shipping unsolicited material only serves to hurt the goodwill West has built over the decades with the law library community. Anything that you can do to have this practice ceased is greatly appreciated.
I would like to thank Rob Myers for allowing me to speak to an issue raised by customers who have voiced concerns about receiving a publication without their prior consent. To be clear, companion products contain content that supplements our customers’ subscriptions and are deemed important to the collection. These are viewed favorably by most subscribers; very few of these products are returned to us.
Prior to sending a companion product, we notify subscribers by letter asking that they let us know if they don’t want the particular title. And we’re always trying to improve how we work with customers. The letter now includes a stamped and addressed return postcard where customers can indicate with a checkmark if they do not want to receive the publication, and simply drop the card in the mail.
We understand that our customers’ time is valuable, and our goal is to provide only the products our customers want and need. If you received a companion product recently without first getting proper notification, please accept our sincere apology.
Thanks for nothing Anne. Thanks for trying Rob!
So we thought it was worth a reality check for the folks in the land of 10,000 invoices by way of the below utterly unscientific LLB poll. Please take a moment to participate.
Note Well. My hunch is TR Legal's own account reps would disagree with statement #1 because they do not receive commissions on sales of unsolicited shipments of new titles and would agree with statement #2 for ordering new titles the way every other publisher on the planet does so they can be credited with the sale. My second hunch is customer service reps would breath a collective sigh of relief if TR Legal's current practice was eliminated. I, for one, want my rep to earn a commission when I buy, rare that it is, a new title from TR Legal. With contracting sales territories and increasing sales targets, I don't want him "disappeared" by losing his job and customer service reps can spend their time more productively by not having to address WTF questions for not mailing in a "stamped and addressed return postcard." [JH]
Seriously, what is this? Columbia House Legal Book Club?
Posted by: cereselle | May 19, 2010 7:32:06 AM
I'm puzzled by Ms Ellis' remark that: "Prior to sending a companion product, we notify subscribers by letter asking that they let us know if they don’t want the particular title."
I don't believe I have ever received such a letter.
Posted by: Anna Cole | May 19, 2010 7:18:00 AM
(1) That second question/statement/whatever is one of the most poorly-written collection of words ever.
(2) I have never ever received a piece of mail of any sort that would qualify as a "letter asking that they let us know if they don’t want the particular title... The letter now includes a stamped and addressed return postcard where customers can indicate with a checkmark if they do not want to receive the publication, and simply drop the card in the mail. "
Posted by: ea | May 19, 2010 6:19:04 AM