Happy Sunshine Fun-Time Magazine Customer Service Happiness

Maybe it’s because of the nice sunny weather we’re having after days and days of dreary, grey weather, but we’re in a good mood today. And our good mood means we’re less inclined to take the all-companies-suck-all-the-time perspective that some readers seem to think we need to be employing. Sometimes, believe it or not, companies screw up and then actually fix the problem.

So when reader M sent us this comment regarding his difficulties in getting a subscription to Money Magazine at the rockbottom rates he “plays hardball” to get, we started off sympathetic, but he lost us.

M got them down to $9.95 for a year’s subscription, but the magazine (or whichever company they contract to manage the subscriptions) entered it in as a 6 month term instead of 12 months. Intentionally? Erroneously? Who knows. But M called and they fixed the problem on the first call. Great! That’s how customer service is supposed to work. Would it have been nice if they had billed him correctly in the first place? Of course! But we just can’t get all hot and bothered by this.

The joke about paying “a visit to their call center with my .45 revolver” didn’t go over too big here, either. Lighten up, man.

M’s e-mail, uncut, after the jump:

I’ve been subscribing to Money magazine for at least three years now. I originally signed up for a one year subscription for $14.95, and was thrilled to get that price which is roughly half of the usually cost. Almost immediately, Money started sending me renewal notices stating that my subscription was about to run out (even though I had ten months to go) and that I could renew my subscription for the low, low price of only $29.95 per year.

First, I refused to renew ten months before my subscription was set to expire. Second, I refused to pay their low, low price. I played hardball with them, insisting that I get the reduced price in order to continue my subscription. Over the years, they have usually caved to my demand since I would wait and let their renewal notices get more and more urgent as the months passed. When I get their “final notice” then I send in my check to renew for one year. Money has, for the most part, gone along with this game to see who would blink first, but always they came back with the premature renewal notices.

Recently, I sent in my reduced check (which is now down to $9.95) to renew for another year, but to my dismay when I got my first magazine I found that they had only renewed my subscription for six months instead of the full twelve that make up a year. I immediately called their customer service toll free phone number, that is buried in microscopic print on their index page. I informed the phone rep that my subscription had been inexplicably truncated to six months. She had the nerve to say I had responded to a special offer of six months for only $9.50. This was untrue. I told her that never in my life had they ever sent me an offer to renew for only six months – that the minimum subscription has always been twelve months. She put me on hold for a moment and then came back to inform me that my subscription had been extended to twelve months. I told her that if they ever mess up my account again that I will pay a visit to their call center with my .45 revolver. (Just kidding. I did not say that.) I find this to be a very shabby way to run a magazine. They really are banking on their subscribers not paying attention to the details.

Comments

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  1. AcidReign says:

    …..I have friend who works for a magazine subscription company and gets me PCWorld for about $6 a year. And if the mag is late, or disappears for a couple of months, I’m still getting quite a deal. A LOT of magazines these days have a website, and most of their material from the magazines is posted there. A good pop-up blocker is recommended, though!

  2. adamondi says:

    Candidate for least important story ever? I vote yes. Not only was this guy taken care of by the customer service, he wastes his time and that of the customer service people haggling down the price of a magazine subscription that is already less than $30 a year. This guy has way too much time on his hands.

  3. greg771 says:

    It might be unimportant, but magazines often don’t care much about customer service and should be called to account if they start taking their customer base for granted. When I was growing up, magazines always arrived on time, almost always in good condition. Now they occasionally arrive within a week of ‘schedule’, often ripped and creased. (granted, the Post Office probably shares the blame.)

  4. billhelm says:

    wow, he’s got his pants in a bunch over 5 bucks. i hear the violins…

  5. Mister_Keating says:

    I’m afraid some of you have missed the point entirely. The point is that Money likes to play games with their subscribers. Sure, $10 isn’t a lot of money, but to cut someone’s subscription from 12 months to 6 months is a 50% reduction in service that the customer did not agree to. What difference does the amount of money make? It’s the principle of the thing. Go get ‘em M!