Email list hosting service & mailing list manager

Re: Cellular & molecular life sciences (Steve Black) ERCELAA@ctrvax.Vanderbilt.Edu 11 May 1999 20:38 UTC

Date: Tue, 11 May 1999 13:15:52 -0400
From: Steve Black <blacks@ROSNET.STROSE.EDU>
Subject: Re: Cellular & molecular life sciences add'l vol (John Lucas)

John Lucas wrote about an additional volume of a journal being published in
the current calendar year:

> It seems that because of
> "an increasing number of high quality manuscripts. We feel that
> our readership should benefit from these articles and have decided
> to publish an additional volume of CMLS in 1999.

I became incensed enough about a similar situation with a different
publisher last year to make an aggressive complaint.  The basis of my
complaint was the original subscription terms, which stated that one was
subscribing to a calendar year's worth of issues.  The subscription was for
the calendar year, *not* for a certain number of pages or articles.

If you want to do more than grumble, the first step is to carefully review
the terms of the subscription.  If you feel there is a discrepancy between
the subscription terms and their current billing, complain.  If you don't
get a response, then write to United States Bureau of Consumer Protection,
and complain that the publisher is not living up to the terms of your

If you do complain, I recommend:

1.  Make absolutely certain you have the facts right.
2.  Review your complaint with your director, so she/he knows what's up.
3.  Be polite, stick to the facts, and keep the grounds of your complaint
4.  Once you start, pursue the complaint to the end.

My view is that a subscription is a contract that can't be changed without
the informed consent of both parties.  However, as far as I know, my view
has not made it through a court (can anyone correct me on that?).  In this
case the publisher is saying a volume consists of whatever they feel like
making a volume.  I find that unacceptable, but reasonable minds could

FWIW, my complaint was eventually resolved pretty much to my satisfaction,
but it took a great deal of persistence, and an unwillingess to be bluffed
into backing off.  Believe me, they won't reply right off by saying "Gee,
you're so right, please excuse us!"

My library doesn't subscribe to this journal, but I'll keep an eye on our
titles from that publisher.  My feeling is that if we just pay bills like
these while muttering under our breaths, it's the equivalent of saying
"Thank you sir, may I have another" (picture the scene from Animal House).
Formally complaining is a major hassle, but there's no reason why we should
put up with unfair business practices.

Steve Black
Reference, Instruction, and Serials Librarian
Neil Hellman Library
The College of Saint Rose
392 Western Ave.
Albany, NY 12203
(518) 458-5494