First, we want to say thanks to TIME Magazine for naming us one of their top 25 blogs. Now that’s out of the way, and we can ask why they’re using such a misleading ad on the masthead of their site: “Subscribe to TIME Magazine for just $1.99″ it says! Yes, but when you click through to the sign up form, you see that your “subscription” is for six issues—six weeks—and that the fine print indicates you also agree to an auto-renewed fee of $19.95 every six months. We don’t mind the $1.99 tryout period, but hiding the real subscription fee in fine print is sneaky. Any magazine with the good taste to recognize our blog should also respect its readers enough to be upfront on the details of its subscription offers.
C writes in with another lesson on why you should check your statements frequently:Two years ago I purchased items for my grandchildren at KidsStuff.com. This month (March 2008) I found an $18.00 charge from them on my American Express card.
DirecTV is jacking up rates by 4% as of February 27 and is reminding newly disgruntled customers that DirecTV still ranks higher than cable according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index. Most customers can expect a $3-$5 increase, but don’t count on award-winning customer service.
We’ve received two letters claiming that Hollywood video is signing their customers up for magazine subscriptions without their consent. The scam sounds similar to the ones that Best Buy is accused of in their on-going racketeering lawsuit.
Kevin Trudeau isn’t the only one writhing in the icy grip of justice this week—one-time magazine subscription entrepreneur Richard L. Prochnow was ordered to pay over $7 million a few weeks ago when the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a judgment from July of 2006. Prochnow ran Direct Sales International (DSI), a bad magazine company that lied to customers and trapped them in a “buying club” that charged monthly fees and was very difficult to cancel.
Taking a page from Netflix, Time is developing a service that will let customers pay a single monthly price for up to seven rotating magazine subscriptions. Dubbed Maghound, the service is Time’s attempt to augment the yearly subscription model by embracing the internet.
Say you’re a satellite radio company with a loyal, even evangelical customer—someone who listens daily, who keeps buying your products for the people around him, and who steadily expands his own collection of your hardware and subscriptions. Wouldn’t that be a great guy to screw over? Sirius seems to think so.
TampaForums member Treysdad received a $7,243.29 bill after subscribing to numerous third-party text packages. By purchasing an unlimited text message plan from Nextel, Treysdad thought he could receive any texts for free.
Car and Driver magazine sent Jim a real jerkoff collections notice, made all the more worse because his payment wasn’t even yet past due.
Match.com has sagely decided to stop requiring you to send a telegram to cancel your subscription.
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.
PR blog maven B.L. Ochman says Adweek screwed her over by charging her $19.95 a month for a magazine subscription she didn’t order.
Anya responded to a telemarketer’s call 2 years ago and bought some magazine subscriptions. She thought she was going to pay “somewhere between 14 and 44 dollars a month,” and paid with her debit card.
…and, of course, it’s not just AOL who instructs their customer service reps to exhort, pressure, extol even bully canceling customers into staying with the service. The entire industry of cancellation call centers seems to work upon customer retention quotas. And it’s not just in the U.S.
In a classic bait-and-switch, customers allege that Best Buy tells people they get a free magazine subscription and then charges them for it.