Popular Mechanics magazine scam [subscription won't stop]

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drealbmw
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Popular Mechanics magazine scam [subscription won't stop]

Post by drealbmw » Wed Jan 18, 2017 2:50 pm

I paid for a year of Popular Mechanics by check, and now my year is up.

The magazine is so-so, and I don't intend to renew.

However, I received a notice that, "as part of our Continuous Service program, your subscription will automatically renew unless you tell us to stop." I don't remember signing up for such a service, but you never know with the micro fine-print "gotcha" tricks.

I decided to ignore the notice, figuring that they would stop sending me magazines when they didn't hear from me or get my money.

However, it's been 6 months and the magazine keeps coming!

I live in fear that I will receive a huge bill one day and be on the hook for hundreds of dollars. Fortunately, they don't have my e-mail address or my credit card.

Can they hold me responsible and demand that I pay for magazine issues that I did not expressly request?

Any advice is appreciated.

rkhusky
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Re: Popular Mechanics magazine scam

Post by rkhusky » Wed Jan 18, 2017 2:55 pm

I think it would be polite to tell them, at least once, that you do not intend to renew.

RudyS
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Re: Popular Mechanics magazine scam

Post by RudyS » Wed Jan 18, 2017 3:00 pm

How do 6 months of magazines amount to hundreds of dollars? Just tell them to stop.

MIretired
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Re: Popular Mechanics magazine scam

Post by MIretired » Wed Jan 18, 2017 3:32 pm

Automatic renewal was always the standard practice of magazine subscriptions for my times. I was always required to cancel, or write "CANCEL" across the return bill/invoice slip and send it back. IIRC, the fine print requires you to send it back (or call) to cancel. Though I doubt they'll send you to a collections agency for that amount. Be prepared to get numerous bill notices.

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knpstr
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Re: Popular Mechanics magazine scam

Post by knpstr » Wed Jan 18, 2017 4:43 pm

We randomly started getting "People" magazine at our house. We have never signed up for it, but it comes to my wife.
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cheese_breath
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Re: Popular Mechanics magazine scam

Post by cheese_breath » Wed Jan 18, 2017 8:01 pm

The auto renew was probably in the fine print when you originally signed up. Just pay up what you owe, and cancel the subscription.

Consider it an inexpensive lesson in ignoring the fine print in what you sign or ignoring notices like these.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

tim1999
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Re: Popular Mechanics magazine scam

Post by tim1999 » Wed Jan 18, 2017 8:47 pm

I last paid for a subscription to Golf Digest in probably 2010 (and it was only like $12 per year) but they keep sending it and have never sent a bill. I think it's worth it for them to do this to keep their circulation numbers up in order to keep ad prices up.

I suspect the magazines hope you'll pay them so they break even on the postage, but since their business is selling ads, they just want to keep the circulation numbers up.

They don't have your credit card number, that's good, and I doubt they are going to one day retroactively bill you $75 or whatever for say 5 years of magazines. And then what could they do if you don't pay? They don't have your social security number to ding your credit, and they aren't going to take you to court over $75.

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LiveSimple
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Re: Popular Mechanics magazine scam

Post by LiveSimple » Wed Jan 18, 2017 8:47 pm

Many moons, ago, when this happened, I called.

The answer was, as a courtesy we do sent additional magazines, enjoy.

Steven in NC
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Re: Popular Mechanics magazine scam

Post by Steven in NC » Wed Jan 18, 2017 8:56 pm

If you are truly living in fear over a magazine subscription it would probably be worth a phone call to cancel.

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LadyGeek
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Re: Popular Mechanics magazine scam

Post by LadyGeek » Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:30 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (magazine subscription).
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ByThePond
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Re: Popular Mechanics magazine scam

Post by ByThePond » Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:45 pm

I still routinely get all sorts of unsolicited magazines each week/month, because I used to have a waiting room. At one point, they were sending me _six_ copies of Prevention at a time, all shrink wrapped together. As mentioned above, it's all about their circulation numbers and exposure.
It it gives you peace of mind, though, by all means give then a call to clear your conscience.

Mudpuppy
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Re: Popular Mechanics magazine scam

Post by Mudpuppy » Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:47 pm

If you initially paid by check, they might have already charged the renewal fee directly to your checking account. Every check carries the information necessary to set up future ACH transactions. You should look at the history of that checking account to see if this occurred.

MrsRoos
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Re: Popular Mechanics magazine scam

Post by MrsRoos » Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:58 pm

Easy, just call and politely tell them that you no longer want the magazine. As for any back charges, you shouldn't be obligated to pay it.
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F150HD
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Re: Popular Mechanics magazine scam

Post by F150HD » Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:05 pm

drealbmw wrote:I live in fear
you should be worried.

I had a similar experience with Readers Digest. After refusing to pay for issues they kept sending, they eventually sent a group of old people to my door and had them threaten to drink all my Butternut coffee.

NoGambleNoFuture
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Re: Popular Mechanics magazine scam

Post by NoGambleNoFuture » Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:12 pm

drealbmw wrote: However, I received a notice that, "as part of our Continuous Service program, your subscription will automatically renew unless you tell us to stop."
LOL this is not a scam -- if it was you wouldn't receive a notice...
drealbmw wrote: I decided to ignore the notice, figuring that they would stop sending me magazines when they didn't hear from me or get my money.
So you decided to "show them" by ignoring their courtesy reminder... :confused
drealbmw wrote: Any advice is appreciated.
How about when you get a notice that says something is going to renew unless cancelled, you cancel so you don't have to live in fear?!

lightheir
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Re: Popular Mechanics magazine scam

Post by lightheir » Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:50 pm

I got nailed by this pseudiscam myself embarrassingly.

I bought running shoes online a few years back and then spontaneously received outside magazine despite not signing up for it. Thought it would stop but it came for a whole year.

I didn't get a bill for the year but a renewal request that I thought was a bill. Turns out you got a year for free by buying b shoes on that website and I'm sure the magazine got a lot of folks like me who assumed I signed up for it somehow with all the clicking and had a bill to pay.

student
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Re: Popular Mechanics magazine scam

Post by student » Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:31 pm

One time I received some magazines for no apparent reasons. Several months later I received a bill. I called and they said it was automatic renewal. I told them I have never signed up. It turns out that some cashier signed up for me when I declined the offer at the checkout. I called the store's corporate office and complained.

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FrugalInvestor
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Re: Popular Mechanics magazine scam

Post by FrugalInvestor » Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:53 pm

I've subscribed to lots of magazines over the years, let them expire and received 'extra' issues (sometimes). Prior to and after the subscription ends I always get lots of notices including special offers, notices regarding auto-renewal, threats of cancellation, last chances, etc. You name it. Never have I actually been auto-billed. Nowadays I always subscribe with virtual card numbers with a dollar limit I set (the amount for the original subscription only). However, I used to use checks with the same result...never an auto-bill even though some of the language sounded a bit ominous.

I wouldn't worry about it but if you are I would just write a note on the 'billing' saying that I no longer want the magazine.
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emoore
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Re: Popular Mechanics magazine scam

Post by emoore » Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:14 am

NoGambleNoFuture wrote:
drealbmw wrote: However, I received a notice that, "as part of our Continuous Service program, your subscription will automatically renew unless you tell us to stop."
LOL this is not a scam -- if it was you wouldn't receive a notice...
drealbmw wrote: I decided to ignore the notice, figuring that they would stop sending me magazines when they didn't hear from me or get my money.
So you decided to "show them" by ignoring their courtesy reminder... :confused
drealbmw wrote: Any advice is appreciated.
How about when you get a notice that says something is going to renew unless cancelled, you cancel so you don't have to live in fear?!
+1

They said they were going to auto renew but you decided to do nothing. Now you are scared you owe the money? Just call and cancel. Not a big deal.

daveydoo
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Re: Popular Mechanics magazine scam

Post by daveydoo » Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:23 am

You owe nothing for unrequested items that show up in the mail. This happens all the time. Their advertising rates are based upon circulation/subscriber number. They must make more from having you on the rolls as a "subscriber" than they lose in bulk postage. A parent was a professional and was constantly inundated with magazines that were never requested or paid for, yet they continued to show up for decades (and now for a half-decade after he's been gone).
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pshonore
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Re: Popular Mechanics magazine scam

Post by pshonore » Thu Jan 19, 2017 8:40 am

Mudpuppy wrote:If you initially paid by check, they might have already charged the renewal fee directly to your checking account. Every check carries the information necessary to set up future ACH transactions. You should look at the history of that checking account to see if this occurred.
I've subscribed to many magazines over the years. If I used a credit card, they will generally charge an "auto-renewal" to the same card but I've never had that happen where I paid with a check. That sounds like fraud to me.

Mudpuppy
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Re: Popular Mechanics magazine scam

Post by Mudpuppy » Thu Jan 19, 2017 1:12 pm

pshonore wrote:
Mudpuppy wrote:If you initially paid by check, they might have already charged the renewal fee directly to your checking account. Every check carries the information necessary to set up future ACH transactions. You should look at the history of that checking account to see if this occurred.
I've subscribed to many magazines over the years. If I used a credit card, they will generally charge an "auto-renewal" to the same card but I've never had that happen where I paid with a check. That sounds like fraud to me.
If it's in the fine print, it's not fraud. The laws allow a company to convert a paper check to electronic debit.

gwe67
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Re: Popular Mechanics magazine scam

Post by gwe67 » Thu Jan 19, 2017 1:26 pm

Same. They have a "cancel subscription" link on their website but it never functioned for me. I had to email HSTdigital@cdsfulfillment.com to get it to stop.
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DetroitRick
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Re: Popular Mechanics magazine scam

Post by DetroitRick » Sun Jan 22, 2017 12:02 pm

A suggestion to avoid this common hassle in the future - Amazon has a very easy to use magazine subscription service. You control your subscription settings and auto-renews from your account on their website (Amazon Magazine Subscription Manager). I've done this and cancelled easily with nearly instant verification. In fact, I've found it so easy and reliable that I just take the auto-renew option when subscribing (price is often lower), and then cancel prior to renewing. For me at least, cancellation has been flawless.

The function is available for a wide selection of magazines, including the print version of Popular Mechanics.

drealbmw
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Re: Popular Mechanics magazine scam

Post by drealbmw » Mon May 14, 2018 8:21 pm

Now I have a new scam.

I recently started getting Cosmo magazine for an unknown "Nancy Kaiser" at my home address. It expires in Sept. 2022, almost 5 years from now!

I don't know who this "Nancy" woman is and I never heard of her. I never ordered this magazine, I never paid for it, and I never received a bill or any other notice for this subscription. I would call and cancel, but there is no phone number to call for cancellation. It looks like I would have to give Cosmo my e-mail address and open an online account to cancel. Not likely.

Also, as a 65yo bachelor, I'm not too keen about getting the magazine's advice on the following:

"Your BFF's beach party is days away, and your new haircut is meh as hell. What do you do?"

I think what I will do is ... recycle immediately.

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Pajamas
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Re: Popular Mechanics magazine scam

Post by Pajamas » Mon May 14, 2018 8:28 pm

drealbmw wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 8:21 pm
I would call and cancel, but there is no phone number to call for cancellation.
800-888-2665

https://gethuman.com/phone-number/Cosmopolitan-Magazine

Save the trees!

It's probably not a scam, just an error in the address.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Popular Mechanics magazine scam [subscription won't stop]

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Tue May 15, 2018 10:59 am

For a time, I started getting magazines that I didn't want and weren't really appropriate for me. Some investigation showed that the subscriptions were initiated by a company called "Subco Inc.". I contacted them directly, and got this response:
Thank you for your recent inquiry regarding Brides Magazine. Subco Inc. is an independent magazine clearinghouse serving over 100 different subscription agencies. In reviewing our records, we find that we received an order for Brides Magazine from a selling agent – it was sent out as an introductory offer and you were not obligated to keep it and you will not be receiving a bill for these magazines. The magazine subscription was good for one year, however we have cancelled this subscription per your request.

Customer service is our number one priority! As such an immediate cancellation has been submitted to the publisher for your Brides Magazine subscription. Due to publisher labeling procedures you may receive another issue or two before they cease arriving.

Please know that your name has been added to our internal “Do Not Solicit” list which will prevent Subco Inc. from processing orders in your name in the future. We have also contacted the selling agent to express your wishes.
I did not receive any further subscriptions.
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bombcar
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Re: Popular Mechanics magazine scam [subscription won't stop]

Post by bombcar » Tue May 15, 2018 1:51 pm

Subscribers are worth more to the magazine than the subscription costs - those are basically barely able to cover postage, and most (not all) magazines would be glad to send you free copies if they knew you read the ads. (You can tell the magazines that actually care about subscriptions because they charge big bucks for their subscriptions.)

Newspapers used to be this way - originally 90% of their revenue was from sales of copies and subscriptions! Now it's 90% from ad revenue; and we wonder why print quality is lower.

criticalmass
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Re: Popular Mechanics magazine scam

Post by criticalmass » Tue May 15, 2018 3:06 pm

cheese_breath wrote:
Wed Jan 18, 2017 8:01 pm
The auto renew was probably in the fine print when you originally signed up. Just pay up what you owe, and cancel the subscription.

Consider it an inexpensive lesson in ignoring the fine print in what you sign or ignoring notices like these.
"Probably in the fine print....." does NOT mean "What you owe."

I've had issues with phony subscriptions too. Just do nothing. Eventually they will stop, and you have no duty to pay for something you are not ordering. WSJ kept sending me newspapers after a subscription, then sent demand notices.** Three weeks after their "demand," they started sending solicitations for dirt cheap subscriptions again. :) The post about magazines making most of their money through advertising is quite true. Sure, they like subscription money, but the cost of a subscription to them is nothing compared to increasing their circulation numbers, which increases their advertising revenue.

BTW: You can often find FREE subscriptions to Popular Mechanics. (And they are quite good at stopping when the free year ends...unless you apply for another. :)

** If they try that nonsense in a triple damages state, you can make some good money.

hoops777
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Re: Popular Mechanics magazine scam [subscription won't stop]

Post by hoops777 » Tue May 15, 2018 3:19 pm

drealbmw wrote:
Wed Jan 18, 2017 2:50 pm
I paid for a year of Popular Mechanics by check, and now my year is up.

The magazine is so-so, and I don't intend to renew.

However, I received a notice that, "as part of our Continuous Service program, your subscription will automatically renew unless you tell us to stop." I don't remember signing up for such a service, but you never know with the micro fine-print "gotcha" tricks.

I decided to ignore the notice, figuring that they would stop sending me magazines when they didn't hear from me or get my money.

However, it's been 6 months and the magazine keeps coming!

I live in fear that I will receive a huge bill one day and be on the hook for hundreds of dollars. Fortunately, they don't have my e-mail address or my credit card.

Can they hold me responsible and demand that I pay for magazine issues that I did not expressly request?

Any advice is appreciated.
Could be thousands of dollars.May be time to hire an attorney :happy :)Do not live in fear they will probably not cause you financial ruin
K.I.S.S........so easy to say so difficult to do.

westie
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Re: Popular Mechanics magazine scam [subscription won't stop]

Post by westie » Tue May 15, 2018 6:15 pm

took me 7 months to stop receiving the WSJ after my subscription ended.

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Popular Mechanics magazine scam [subscription won't stop]

Post by DaftInvestor » Tue May 15, 2018 6:36 pm

If you signed up for the magazine and think it probably had a autorenew statement (which most do these days) why not just call and cancel? And why do you think it a scam? It's common practice now. There was probably a "by submitting your check you are agreeing to have us automatically renew your subscription"
It would have been faster to call and cancel then to write your post (and then you need to read the responses).
If you call they likely will waive what you already owe them for the additional issues you failed to cancel.

Cinbad
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Re: Popular Mechanics magazine scam [subscription won't stop]

Post by Cinbad » Sat Aug 25, 2018 4:51 am

I did some research I found on my PayPal where they were taking out eight dollars for one of the magazines that I was receiving it as a Time magazine I did not order I now get it in style magazine and one other kind also I have yet to find out where that money is being taken from but they’re figuring out how to charge for these magazines already trust that they’re not gonna give send you a bill.

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