Councilmembers Eric Costello and Mary Pat-Clarke met with SunPlus in mid-June to discuss ongoing concerns with the delivery of the SunPlus weekly. Specifically, we discussed numerous and relatively consistent complaints related to the delivery of the SunPlus: the publication laying on the sidewalk and looking like trash, piles of the publication indicating a vacant property or owner that is out of town, and concerns that when individuals call or email SunPlus asking it to place them on the “Do Not Deliver” list, SunPlus frequently fails to do so.
Background on delivery operations: SunPlus executives provided the following information on their delivery operations.
SunPlus uses 6 distribution companies which subcontract delivery to approximately 120 Contracted Carriers who deliver the SunPlus on Wednesdays or Thursdays each week, City-wide. Each carrier is equipped with a pre-programmed GPS unit which identifies their route area as well as notifies them in real-time of addresses included on the “Do Not Deliver” list. Addresses in residential neighborhoods receive the SunPlus, with the exception of Wednesday Baltimore Sun subscribers (this is because the ads in the SunPlus also appear in the Wednesday Baltimore Sun). Commercial properties do not receive the SunPlus.
In addition, SunPlus directly contracts Quality Control Specialists, equipped with a tablet. These Quality Control Specialists perform two main functions: 1) on Wednesdays and Thursdays, they ensure that addresses on the “Do Not Deliver” list did not receive a SunPlus; and 2) on Saturdays and Sundays they conduct “pile-up” searches, essentially looking for addresses that have multiple SunPlus papers piled outside. Their field work is used for quality control purposes and updating changes to the “Do Not Deliver” list, based on what is found and reported from the field.
Improvements committed to by SunPlus moving forward: SunPlus has acknowledged that while they have made progress in reducing the number of complaints, there is still work to be done. Specifically, they agreed to the following requests from Councilmembers Costello and Clarke:
- Vacant addresses will be added to the “Do Not Deliver” list (Baltimore Department of Housing & Community Development has agreed to provide SunPlus with a current list and keep SunPlus updated of changes moving forward).
- Properties that appear vacant with real estate signage or door knob lock boxes will be added to the “Do Not Deliver” list.
- Active Foreclosures will be added to the “Do Not Deliver” list. Baltimore Department of Housing & Community Development will provide SunPlus with a current list and keep SunPlus updated of changes moving forward.
- SunPlus Contracted Carriers will be directed to “place” SunPlus on stoops where possible, as opposed to on the sidewalk adjacent to stoops.
- SunPlus has agreed to provide the City a copy of its “Do Not Deliver” list.
“Do Not Deliver” list for individuals and neighborhoods:
If you would like to be added to the “Do Not Deliver” list, you may either call 888-539-1280 (if you call you will receive an acknowledgement postcard via USPS) or email SunPlusService@BaltSun.com AND firstname.lastname@example.org (if you email you will receive an acknowledgement email). If you are currently NOT receiving the SunPlus but wish to, you may call or email the above info to be removed from the “Do Not Deliver” list. If a neighborhood (community association) has concerns about SunPlus delivery in general, the SunPlus Circulation Operations Manager, Edwin Franze, is willing to meet with them, and they can reach him at efranze@BaltSun.com or 410-332-6460 (office) or 410-808-3713 (cell).