CHOICE membership

Subscriptions - newspapers

I wonder, is listing a “CONTACT US” tab on a website to which
A. The company in question asks customers to email via the website but never replies;
B. The company in question never replies to emails sent directly from the customer (i.e. not via the website); and
C. The company in question 7 out of 8 times does not reply, when the customer calls

an example of false or misleading advertising?

I ask because I subscribe to a newspaper (poorly) managed by

austcommunitymedia.com.au

and am debited directly monthly, which I agreed to. When I signed up I asked for regular tax invoices to be sent to me and was told to call back after the first direct debit goes through.

I did call back and at that time was told that for each tax invoice (issued monthly) I must contact the company every month and ask for an invoice. They will not send out an invoice automatically monthly if asked in advance.

So in January, April and July I emailed a few times. No response from the company until I called a few times. In January and April I finally received invoices for the months I requested. In July I sought by email invoices for June and July. Having got no reply, in August I chased it up by phone. I am still waiting for the invoices…

Today I called and left a message that I am terminating my subscription given the inconvenience of having to waste time to email and call to chase up invoices. Surprise, surprise, the word “termination” must have stirred staff from their slumbar as I was called back very soon thereafter.

They noted my request to cancel.
They did not appologise for the inconvenience I suffered.
They denied me any compensation for the inconvenience of having to chase up invoices many times.
When I asked if I can elevate my complaint to the “complaints dept” or “head of customer service” or similar, I was told “we don’t have such departments or roles in the company”.

Of course they don’t. If my experience is shared by many, such a job would drive anyone mad.

5 Likes

Any reason that the monthly direct debit appearing on your bank statement is not enough for tax purposes?

1 Like

The debit lists part of the newspaper’s name and no details as to what the debit is for.

1 Like

Isn’t the listing of the newspaper’s name sufficient basis for a tax claim?

1 Like

It depends what the purpose is for: Business Activity Statements or for Annual Tax Returns. Both have slightly different requirements.

I am not sure if one can solely use a bank statement for all tax purposes. Typically it can’t for BAS as one needs a tax invoice with meets ATO requirements. Claiming a deduction against income tax in an tax return or minimum requirements for completing/lodging BAS is something that one should seek tax advice on.

Have you asked if they can prepare an annual/quarterly tax invoice statement for you? This may mean one contact each quarter/year to make the request for information to satisfy your taxation needs.

Frequency of the request (quarterly/annual) would be based on your tax reporting needs and also after specific tax advice has been received.

2 Likes

ACL grants a consumer specific rights when it comes to receipts:

"Ask for a receipt

Businesses must always give you a receipt (or similar proof of purchase) for anything over $75. If they don’t, ask for one. You also have the right to request a receipt for anything under $75 and the receipt must be given within seven days of asking. (my bolding)

The receipt must include the:

  • supplier’s name and ABN or ACN
  • date of supply
  • product or service, and
  • price."

Make a formal complaint as they are in breach.

6 Likes

I hear you.

In the beginning I asked for an invoice for the month that my pmt related to as my subscription is month to month. I could not ask at the start for say 12 monthly invoices because I was not subscribing for more than a month. The paper, with which I was and remain, unfamiliar with, only offered month by month or annual subscriptions.

4 months into the subscription with no joy on many phone calls earlier, I asked for an invoice for 4 months, ideally a listing on one page. Instead I was sent 4 sheets being one invoice per month.

That was ok.
What was and remains not OK is that I have to hound these folk down to get such paperwork.

In agreement with an earlier comment, for BAS and MYOB I need a proper invoice with the GST listed and ABN mentioned etc.

2 Likes

I just saw your posting. Well said! All the details you mention, in my case where each invoice is <$75 - but over the many months well exceeds that - must be made available on request. My issue is that I need to request, request and request before I get any documentation from the company and that is just very poor form on their part.

1 Like

Ask for the annual month tax invoice statement at the end of the financial year (to include all statements in the year just passed). If you cancel you subscription part way though the year, ask the annual tax invoice statement which will cover those months of the year when a subscription has been taken out.

A business won’t issue a tax invoice statement before a payment is made (in advance say for in the first month of a financial year for subscriptions for the remaining 11 months). They will only issue them after payments have been made and should be able to do so after the tax reporting period has been completed (which in Australia is July to June).

Likewise for quarterly tax invoice statements, ask for a tax invoice statement for the preceding 3 months these in October, January, April and July to tie in with the BAS reporting periods.

1 Like

Good points, thanks.

1 Like