If price != transparent, then

So, my online subscription to the Wall Street Journal is up for renewal. I don’t visit their site much, getting most of my commodity news elsewhere, and getting OpEd news via blogs and NetNewsWire. The renewal price was $79, and I decided that it wasn’t worth it to me. Maybe if they had RSS feeds, but I’m rarely surfing their site.
It turns out that you can’t cancel online, you can only renew online. So I called customer service and when asked “Why?” I said, Not really worth it at $79. The rep immediately said, “Well, okay, what if I renew you at last year’s rate?” And what was that rate? “$59.” Oh.
I said, I guess it’s worth more like $40 to me. (The print subscriber’s online rate is $39.) He said, “Well, how about if I extend you two months free, so you can think about it? I don’t want you to have to make any quick decisions, and if you decide to extend we’ll do it at last year’s rate.” Okay, thanks.
They’re going for a 34% price increase in this challenging economy, on something so cheap to distribute that they’re willing to give me 17% of the year free to decide. And unless I was a very dilligent customer, I wouldn’t have noticed the major price increase.
Spread the word.