Sometimes it seems like people don’t even try when it comes to customer service. I recently wrote about how I’m weary of paid monthly subscriptions for things that I can get for free. For that reason, I stick to the free versions of Pandora and Spotify and had to bid adieu to Tidal once my free trial was over, among other things.
Once I got over my snobbery of reading only bound books, I allowed myself to enter the world of ereaders and audiobooks. $100+ and a Groupon later, my barely used Nook sits in a drawer, while my iPod continues to get plenty of usage. I’d say the breakup is 65% music, 30% audiobooks, and 4% podcasts on Soundcloud and YouTube and 1% the other downloaded apps.
A few months ago I was wooed by a Facebook ad for Playster. It promised more bang for my buck than Audible. It took me weeks to even check out the site, even while I contemplated switching to this new service that promised for the same monthly price of one credit (one book) at Audible, I would have unlimited access to the same titles. I wanted to email a fellow book nerd to ask if she’d heard of, or tried Playster. She’s the one who convinced me to take the leap into audiobook world. I agonized and felt disloyal. Should I make the switch? I’ve been a silver member with Audible for a few years now. It’s even on my list of dream companies to work for. I came close once, but it was a contract position of only three months and no possibility of extension. The recruiter advised against it. I was willing to go against her professional advice, then I remembered, I have a mortgage—I mean school loans.
Early November I made the plunge. I activated my free trial for a premium membership, which also gave me access to ebooks, music, and movies. I selected Jenifer Lewis’ memoir in audiobook format. I listened to The Mother of Black Hollywood for two weeks of my 30-day free trial. Then one day it was no longer available. It just disappeared. I tried a title search, author search. Nothing. Finally, I contacted customer service via the chat function. Rosie me told the site was “applying some technical changes to Playster” and would be available in 2-3 hours. The next day it still hadn’t reappeared, so I contacted customer service again. Ashlee informed me that “Unfortunately, we are updating the collection at this time so a few titles have been made temporarily unavailable.” I was told a new deal was being finalized within the next week, and once complete my title and others would return, along with the debut of others. I was ok with that. I wasn’t ok with not being credited for the time lost.
Still smarting from not getting my free trial extended, I moved on to Anothony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential. Just as I was getting into his discovery and love of new and different foods, the narrative stopped. I thought my iPod or Bose sound dock had malfunctioned. A message on iPod told me I had reached the end of the audiobook’s trial. It continued to state “Each time you pass a certain threshold of a new book, the publisher bills us for that book. In order to continue…. blah, blah, blah. I’m sure that was probably mentioned somewhere in the fine print when I signed up, but who the hell reads fine print? Unlimited should mean unlimited!
I was very disappointed with this so-called unlimited free trial. The title selections across all the media were disappointing. No offense to and kudos to the authors, musicians, and other artists whose content was available on this platform, but I thought there would be more recognizable and bestselling books, movie, music, and audiobooks available. They claimed to be on par with Audible.
Even with four days left, I cancelled the free trial. Had there been better selections, I probably could’ve wreaked havoc on that site, and succeeded in reaching my Goodreads goal. After I cancelled online, an offer 90-day, 99-cent unlimited access to music, movies, books, and games popped onscreen. Those options had a check beside them, but audiobooks had an X. I did not accept their offer. The one reason I wanted Playster is the one option not offered. Good thing I never cancelled Audible.