MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION SCAMS

MAGAZINESI continue to be blown away by the people in this world that take advantage of the elderly and those with cognitive deficiencies. In helping my father get some things in order (including the mail I have written about previously), I’ve been trying to stop a number of magazine subscriptions that he doesn’t remember ordering and in which he has no need or interest.

My dad has never been a reader of Elle, Motor Trend, Men’s Journal, Automobile, Bon Apetit, Inc., Cosmopolitan or Shape.

These (and others I’ve already dealt with) are the product of predatory telemarketers who take advantage of those with memory or other cognitive issues. As I mentioned in my previous post, they also take advantage of the loneliness of seniors–engaging them in conversations that build trust or wear them down over time.

As I’ve tried to cancel (and just cancel, not even trying to get a refund for) these subscriptions, I’ve discovered that the magazine subscription business is a convoluted, multi-level monster. Magazines rarely depend on their own subscription departments to sell–they may do sales, but the majority of subscriptions come from contractors.

Let’s use Men’s Journal (a magazine I actually enjoy reading) as an example. I contacted them (I use email when I can because I want records of their replies) and this was the answer I received:

Thank you for contacting Men’s Journal Customer Service.

We are sorry that you wish to cancel your subscription. Our records indicate that your subscription was entered through Priority One Clearing Serv…a magazine agency. Unfortunately, we are unable to cancel orders placed through an agency and so you will need to contact the agency directly with your request. They can be reached at 1-727-443-2200. In the meantime, we will suspend delivery. Since our mailing labels are preprinted, you will receive a few more copies before delivery stops. Please discard these issues or share them with a friend. We hope you enjoyed our magazine, and that you will consider ordering from us in the future.

We appreciate this opportunity to be of service.

Well, that was one step–sort of. I contacted Priority One Clearing Service. They seemed (at least somewhat) sympathetic with this reply:

Hello,

Priority One serves as a data processing office/clearinghouse for many different publishers, and we do not sell magazines or bill/invoice for subscriptions. We only process the data provided to us by others and send it to the publishers.  We are happy to help you get the information that you will need to get this situation resolved.

Per your request, this order (MENS JOURNAL) has been CANCELLED. Because magazine labels are pre-printed, you may receive 1-2 more issues, then the subscription will stop.

We have also contacted the company that initiated this order to request that your name and address be removed from any mailing lists.

If you would like more information, please contact the company that initiated this order. This order was sent to Priority One for processing by the company (DIRECT CLEARING). You can contact them directly at (866-494-1010). They will be able to answer your questions or refer you to the company that started your order. They will be able to explain exactly why the order was started in your name and provide any billing information if it applies.

Please use the following reference number when you contact that company:  (1914387 #)   .

If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact me.

Wow. So here is another company involved–somewhat helpful, but ultimately passing the buck. I paused here without contacting Direct Clearing and did a little research online. Direct Clearing has an “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau for numerous unresolved complaints. They also pop up on most of the scam and fraud websites. I’m looking forward to dealing with them. But, what worries me is that in that reply from Priority One they say that Direct Clearing “will be able to…refer you to the company that started your order.”

What? I need to go (possibly) to a fourth company (that I know of) to cancel a magazine subscription and have my father’s name removed from their phone and mail lists. Who but scammers and crooks would make canceling a magazine so difficult?

Stay tuned for an update.

~ by kipwkoelsch on May 17, 2017.

One Response to “MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION SCAMS”

  1. And this is what came from Cosmopolitan:

    Your order was placed through one of our authorized agents. We will stop delivery service on your subscription; however, please contact your agency directly with your cancellation request to secure a refund.
    Bluefly.com customers ONLY: If you received your subscription as a gift from Bluefly.com and wish to cancel, we will stop service on your subscription. Do not contact Bluefly.com with your request.
    Click “Stop service” below to submit your request.

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