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Old 12-20-2004, 04:36 AM   #1
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Fan Reaction: Problems With New U2.com Memberships*

By Devlin Smith, Contributing Editor
2004.12



I was definitely more of a casual U2 fan before 2001's Elevation tour. After snagging tickets to the group's first LA appearance that November, I became hooked. I signed up on Zootopia—U2.com’s official message board—and, inspired by stories of ticket presales and members-only CDs, joined Propaganda, the official U2 fan club.

A little less than a year later I got my first, and only, issue of its fan club magazine. For nearly three years there was no official word that Propaganda had disbanded. Even after the compilation book "U2: Propaganda—20 Years of the Official U2 Magazine" came out, no one knew definitively if the fan club was over.

With the launch of the new U2 album came a redesigned U2.com and official word that Propaganda was moving from the print world online. For $40 a year, members could enjoy many of the same benefits old fan club members enjoyed, including presales on tickets for the upcoming tour. As a thank you to all the Propaganda members who, like myself, never got their complete subscriptions fulfilled, membership was offered at half-price. All you had to do was wait for an invitation letter to arrive in the mail.

Letters were sent out the last week of November. Nearly three weeks later, I still haven't gotten my letter. By scanning Interference.com's message boards I've learned I'm not alone. Dozens of other fans who joined in the last few years (between 2000 and 2002 when Propaganda stopped taking new members) have not received their letters either. Phone calls have been made and e-mails sent to figure out what's going on. Thus far, it seems no one has received a satisfactory response.

I myself have sent several e-mails with my Propaganda ID number, including one through U2.com's new web form. Two of those e-mails got me a form e-mail that answered none of my questions. Finally I e-mailed Cecilia Coffey with Principle Management who has promised me she'll look into this. I'm cautiously optimistic she'll be able to help me.

Other fans have not gotten such positive responses. Interference.com member Monkey79 has contacted Fanfire, the company now managing U2's fan club, twice this month. He joined Propaganda in May of 2001, receiving two issues of the fan magazine (half of the four promised subscribers) and was able to get two general admission Elevation tickets through the club. Because he doesn't have his original Propaganda ID number, Fanfire has not yet been able to track down Monkey79's information. "I do feel somewhat shafted since I gave them my $20 and didn't receive a full allotment of issues," he says. "I thought the idea of getting a break on the U2.com membership was cool but it looks like they screwed that up, too."

u2valleygirl, who joined Propaganda in 2001 and only received one magazine, has contacted Fanfire four times. "The first time they told me my letter was on the way, second time same thing," she says. "Third time they could not find me in the database and would have Terri [Panaro, also with Propaganda] call me. Fourth time my name was not in the database, Terri would call me and there was not much I could do. They did not have my number or any record that I had ever joined."

Other fans who joined in 2001, like BostonAnne, anitram, youtwohearts, LarryMullen's_POPAngel and MissVelvetDress_75, also have not gotten letters and have tried contacting Fanfire to find out why they were left off the member list. "I was told that they used an old database and the letter was sent to my old address, even though I had submitted an address change form to Prop," anitram says. "Then I was told I was not in their system. Then I was told that somebody would give me a call with my new code. Then I was told that there is only one person there handling the codes, but every time I specifically asked for her she was either out or 'busy.'"

Other fans are experiencing a similar run-around. "I called on December 8 and spoke to a rep," BostonAnne says. "She insisted that I didn't get my letter because my subscription expired." This wasn't true in her case, or when MissVelvetDress_75, youtwohearts and myself were told the same thing. "I got the same generic letter saying that they could not find my information and that my membership must have lapsed," youtwohearts says. "I did write them back and said not only did my membership not lapse but they (Propaganda) never even filled their end of the contract. To that I have not received a response."

So what’s a frustrated fan to do? A few have bitten the bullet and joined the new fan club for the full $40 price. "I've joined the new Prop at $40," says ascender_RS who has been a member of Propaganda for 17 years and had two issues left on his most recent subscription. "Thankfully to me the $40 isn't a big deal but I do feel sorry for those who can't afford to just go out and buy it regardless. Added to the wasted money from their last subscription, it's really sad to this from this band."

LarryMullen's_POPAngel, who joined in 2001 and received two magazine and priority tickets for Elevation, also got tired of the wait and joined the club at full price. "I already have [joined] after being told that I would eventually get my Prop code and be eligible for a $20 discount," she says. "Of course, that hasn't happened yet and doesn't look as if it will."

BostonAnne has also been promised she'd get a refund if she joined at full price now. anitram, though, got a different story. "I was told that even if I joined for $40 they were not required to pay me back the $20 later," she says.

At least one fan has had enough. "No, I will not join the new Prop," says MissVelvetDress_75, who joined in 2001 and received an Elevation presale letter after the tour was already sold out. "I am very disappointed with the level of service that has been provided to the loyal fans of U2. I feel that our memberships should have been honored and there should be more assistance to helping fans like myself out who joined Propaganda in 2001."

Even for those who have joined the new fan club, though, there is concern over whether this membership will get them what they really want—concert tickets. "What I would like them to do [is] fix the problems," says youtwohearts. "What is going to happen when tickets go on sale?"

With a ticket announcement expected in a few weeks, Fanfire is undoubtedly being flooded with orders for U2.com memberships, both from brand new members and people who belonged to Propaganda. In the midst of such a flurry, what can they do? "I just believe they need to get more people to work on the Propaganda problem," says U2SJ, who joined in 2000 and received two issues and Elevation tickets. "Multiple people at Fanfire tell me they only have one person working on all the Prop issues. That is ridiculous considering how many people are having problems."

For some, though, this latest snag is just the kind of thing they've come to expect from Propaganda. "The one failing of the magazine from the start has been it's unreliable nature," says ascender_RS. "There has never been an easy way to get in touch with them to query your subscription details, it just smacks of unprofessionalism. In this day and age a band like U2 should be able to put a wee bit of time and money into getting a professionally-run fan club."

Regardless of whether they've joined the new fan club or not, this group of fans all agree that something must be done. "[I'd like to see] a full refund for a Prop members who either signed up with a code or who signed up for the $40 after being led to believe they could later get the discount," LarryMullen's_POPAngel says. "The manner in which this was handled has been atrocious."

In the meantime I'll keep checking my mailbox, hoping that through some miracle my letter does show up. Hopefully it will come before the upcoming tour has sold out.
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Old 12-20-2004, 09:50 PM   #2
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same boat

16 years in the fan club and same story, no letters, no correspondence, no answer, and perhaps for the first time since the joshua tree tour, no tickets. This is pathetic.
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Old 12-21-2004, 06:24 AM   #3
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U2 fan neglect

I just wanted to add my name to the list of people unhappy at being screwed over the new fan membership fiasco.
I have been a U2 fan for 15 years, over which time I have had an active subscription to Propaganda in the UK, and then when I moved to the US in 2000 I opened a subscription here.
I only received one magazine in the US the second was supposedly sent to an old apartment address. Two years ago Terri Perano at Propaganda actually e-mailed a response to my membership enquiry - she told me my ID number and that my mailing address was now updated.
When I moved again earlier this year I used the Propaganda mailing address update page online, and as the new album approached, I e-mailed Terri to verify everything was still OK. I didn't get a response, but I soon learned of Propaganda's demise.
It is very frustrating that I still haven’t received the code for reduced membership charges, and I have not been able to get a response from anyone, as to the status of my membership.
I think this is a disgraceful way to treat loyal fans. I have been at the front of U2 concerts all over the World, celebrating the band with many others that have given so much to a band that has always given so much more back in return - I’ve always believed our fan loyalty was respected and returned by the Group and their fan club.
Something needs to change soon, or the whole meaning of being a true U2 fan will be lost to many of us.
Wayne
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Old 12-21-2004, 11:36 AM   #4
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I was a lucky one, EVEN AFTER they sent my letter to my old address. I did an address change about 7 months ago and Terri (Propaganda) responded within a day confirming my address change. Thankfully, I filled out a change of address form with Canada Post as well. The U2.com letter came to my old address and then to my new address. Once I had my card, it was easy. However, it was a close call. If I never notified Canada Post with my new address (for a fee), I would of been one of the lost ones here.
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Old 12-21-2004, 05:19 PM   #5
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Propaganda Letters ??

It's obvious U2 don't care about their fans. I have been a Propaganda member from the very first issue. I moved a year ago and updated my address on the Propaganda website thinking U2 is a competent organization and didn't think that updating my address would be a big deal. To date I have not received my letter and I presume it got sent to my old address. You would think with all the money U2 have they could invest in updating their database or get an updated computer before they send out letters to all their members. I can just imagine how much returned mail is coming back to them and how many fans will be disappointed when they miss the pre-sales of concert tickets. I mean how the hell do they expect to transfer all the Propaganda members over to the new U2.com website in 1 month and expect to have a ticket pre-sale in January ?. This transformation should have been done months ago. They shouldn't have waited for the release of the new album to change the fan club format over to u2.com. Obviously U2 should hire more than 1 person to handle all the problems that FanFire is experiencing. Maybe since they need more than 1 person working at FanFire they are now considering contracting the fan club services out to sweat shops in the third world ? I bet they would be a lot more competent. I sent an e-mail to orderhelp@fanfire.com more than 2 weeks ago and have called them several times and I have had no response. All I was told was that they under estimated how many U2 fans there are and that they would get back to me at some point. I really doubt it. Obviously u2 really doesn't intend to give back anything to their long time fans. What happened to the days of getting free CD's ?.
I have been a member of other fans clubs such as Pearl Jam and Sting and they always include free CD's or vinyls at Christmas. Propaganda has to be the worst and most unreliable fan club of them all. The people that have issues still remaining from their subsciptions should have gotten the first year for FREE not for a discounted rate of $20.00 would that have really bankrupted them ?. So I guess I am forced to sign up and pay $40.00 instead of $20.00 so I can get "priority ticketing for the upcoming tour" to see the biggest band in the world, so I can line up outside in March and freeze my arse off to get as close to the stage as possible. Remind me again why I am such a dedicated fan if this is how they treat their long time fans ? So go ahead U2 take my lousy $40.00 if that will make you happy. Merry Christmas ya cheap bastards.
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Old 12-21-2004, 07:56 PM   #6
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I kept in contact with Propaganda over the years. I changed addresses, and they followed me.

I did receive the letter. But here's your next problem:

As I had signed up under the FREE service, I am now trying to sign up for the U2 Membership service.

Trouble is: everytime I try to register, the program tells me the database already has a memebr with my name (It's ME, you silly twit! I'm trying to upgrade!)

I sent two e-mails to Contact Us (with the closing question: How can I give you money?) which generated two automatic responses.

I'll keep hoping for the best.
(perhaps I just re-register as someone else)

Is Holly Peters out there? (you helped folks during the Achtung Baby tour. We need your help again!)

Patience, Peace (and I hope it all works for each of us)
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Old 12-27-2004, 04:12 AM   #7
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I was a subscriber of Propaganda since 1989....Since I had not received the famous letter with the "membership U2com card" I decided to write an email to Cecilia to explain her everything...She suggested to wait for a few days...( I have to say that I have changed my address two years ago, and I do not live anymore at my parents' house).
I waited , but no letter arrived at my old address ( parents' one) so I asked her if she could send me another card at my current address...
Luckily 5 days ago I received the letter from Dublin with the famous card, so I have to thank Cecilia and all the staff ....
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Old 12-27-2004, 05:35 AM   #8
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How can I contact Cecilia, maybe she can help me also (although it's probably too late)?
Thanks.
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Old 12-27-2004, 06:44 AM   #9
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Old 12-27-2004, 06:47 AM   #10
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Thanks Elvis, I will give it a shot.
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Old 12-27-2004, 10:02 AM   #11
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I just spoke with someone from FanFire after not getting an answer back on a call I made last week and was told that more letters are being mailed out. Fingers crossed for all of us still waiting on our codes.
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Old 12-27-2004, 02:10 PM   #12
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I got screwed too. I am supposably a prop member, never got my last issue, didnt move and I never got a letter with my code. I ended up signing up on 12-10 and paying $40 only to NOT have it go through for over 2 weeks. Finally I signed up again a couple days ago and it went through. Just hoping now I dont get charged $80

It's really ridiculous.. I have never seen so many angry people or so many bugs on one site. Especially a site as U2.com you would expect to have some kind of order and good customer service.
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Old 12-28-2004, 04:49 AM   #13
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I received the infamous letter a couple of weeks ago and I went through the process of trying to join up only to find that you can only pay by credit card! I don't own a credit card and don't wish to own one, so what now?! I've been a U2 fan for about 15 years and for about 13 years subscribed to Propaganda and up until now they've always expect paid by cheque as well. I e-mailed u2.com to find out if it at all possible to pay by cheque in the future but I've had no reply. And now it seems as U2 won't be coming to Finland again on this tour, so my hope of seeing them live this time round is very slim!! I'm going to have to hope my friends, who have been able to re-subscribe, will help me!?
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Old 12-29-2004, 12:27 AM   #14
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You can contact Cecilia thru mail....Her accont is Cecilia@numb.ie...
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Old 01-04-2005, 08:45 AM   #15
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I think that the sheer fact that we have to pay to get to most of the info on the U2 site - especially when they expect us also to fork out hundreds of pounds for those "new" tracks on the Complete U2 - is bollocks.

Haven't we given them enought money already?

"About £500 each", according to the B-man.
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Old 01-06-2005, 02:53 AM   #16
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While U2.com started off with too many problems - they have taken steps to correct them. I am hearing many success stories of people getting their codes - including myself. If you were a Propaganda member and haven't received your code - keep trying.

Correspondence is currently directed here:

SBentley@signaturesnet.com
http:/u2.com/contact.php

Good Luck!
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Old 01-31-2005, 09:50 AM   #17
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handicapped seats

I am also very distressed over this whole ticket fiasco. I joined U2.com specifically to get the "best and cheapest" seats available, and figured I would be just fine, because there was a "find handicapped accessible seats" button on the site. However, when I went through this option after trying for GA tickets to no avail, it said nothing available for that, too. I did get one response back for the Arrowhead Pond, for the absolute worst seats in the house, and at the highest price. I can barely afford the U2.com subscription, let alone the $171 for that ticket!

I then called Ticketmaster, and was given the runaround. They told me to wait until the general public sale, so I did. Then I was told there was nothing left, other than that same offer I got at the presale request! Furthermore, I am dismayed and angered to discover that Ticketmaster actually solicited able bodied fans to buy these accessible seats at various outlets!! The fans looking for seats didn't ask for them, they were offered! In desperation, the fans took them up on the offer, of course.

So now, I cannot get in to the shows. I am totally left out of this. And it's just me, I just want to be able to sit in my wheelchair, in a decent handicapped spot. It's amazing to me that Ticketmaster could sell those seats that way, to actually go out of their way to offer them up. It's not right
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