How-to avoid and deal with magazine subscription companies

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As most of you know, we all get those calls from magazine companies wanting you to subscribe to their service. These services are usually not the publishers directly, but another company. A lot of them offering X number of subscriptions, for X number of dollars, for X number of years. Five years seems to be the most common at 49.95 per month. They usually tell you all of that and that it will be paid in full after so many months, and then you pay nothing for the rest of the time. They also tell you that you can change your magazines coming to your house at any time, just by calling them. Something they tend to do though is change them themselves it seems whenever it suits them.

In my experience, there tends to be a number of things they leave out though, and when you think about it after making the commitment, it starts to make sense. A lot of times they don’t tell you how long you have to cancel the service, and by the time you the letter in the mail, you’re down to about 2 days to send it back and get a hold of them. They make it sound like you already have a subscription with then, even though you don’t, and say they just want to double check your information on file. What they’re actually doing during that time is entering your debit or credit card number for the first time ever. They also record the conversation when when they do that, placing the order, and you agreeing to the terms, but they don’t seem to record any other calls that you make. You might hear something about your call may be recorded for “training purposes” but that doesn’t mean it actually IS recorded. If you cancel, they don’t always give you a confirmation number, and then say that you never called to cancel even when you give the date for them to check the recordings, making me believe more so that they only record the calls they make and not the incoming ones from consumers.

So with all of that, here are some tips to avoid subscribing to these services, or making sure one of the ones you belong to is actually calling:

  1. If you subscribe with them, they should already have your account information and not have to update anything unless the charge didn’t go through and they are calling to see if there was a problem. When they do this, they will normally identify themselves immediately.

  2. If an order is placed and you have online bank or credit card access, check your account the following day. It will say who the company was and usually give the location as well. Then check your own records to see if you already have anything from them.

  3. Write down the date the company called and all confirmation numbers in case you have to call back or send any letters.

  4. If you call back, write down the date, time, who you talked to, and if you left any messages.

  5. Be sure to find out the name of the company itself before doing anything or giving any information. They say a lot of times they they send out the publications you get, but always avoid giving the company name until almost the very end.

  6. If you find out that you don’t subscribe to them already after the order was placed and records checked, call back immediately. Most states I believe have at least a 5 day cancellation period as a minimum. Some have more.

  7. Keep all letters and correspondence sent to you by them as your own record of service.

  8. They should be able to tell you your account number along with your remaining months and amount due when asked since they are calling to see that you’re getting them alriught to begin with.

  9. If you continue to have problems, be sure to contact either the Better Business Bureau or your state’s attorney general’s office immediately with your complaint and as much information as you can supply including dates, times, and what you did.

  10. Lastly, if they don’t identify the company they are with immediately, hang up on them. It means they don’t want to tell you until you’ve paid them.

I have had to many bad experiences with these companies and want everyone to learn from my mistakes. The important thing is to never give up when your fighting it especially if you do things immediately. If anyone knows the rules for their state as far as cancellation period, or other bad experiences with these companies, please comment so others know what to avoid as well.


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