Sunday, August 17, 2014

Magazine Subscriptions that will Trick You

I have to tell you, these magazine companies are getting so greedy the past several years. When they send you a subscription notice, you really need to investigate. At our house, we get a lot of magazine subscriptions. We get everything from cooking, to woodworking, to crafts, and general reading material. Above is one example. I've blocked out the name because we really like the magazine, and it really doesn't matter, because many of them are doing it.

Notice where it says "Subject to Expiration." At first glance it makes you think that is when your magazine expires. But no, it's when this special deal expires. About an inch below in much smaller print, you'll find the code to the actual expiration date of the magazine subscription. Just think if it were one that didn't post the expiration date. And what is with the free gift subscription? It confused me right off the bat! So tricky in so many ways, especially when people today are so busy and constantly multitasking, they don't always read every line. And doesn't "Customer Notice" make it sound like something you need to know? We have some magazines that send us renewal notices several times a year.

Another trick some of the use is they don't put the expiration date on your issue. This can be confusing. I'm on to them now! I keep a file in my Evernote notebooks (you can use a spreadsheet, word document, or anything you like) so I can keep track of all my payments that I make to renew. I note if it's a digital issue or a paper issue, the payment method, the date I paid it, how many issues, and the new expiration date. When you get as many as we do, that's the only way to keep track.


  1. I just got a notice the other day saying that my subscription was about to expire and I couldn't help thinking that it seemed like I just got it a few months ago.

  2. We get notices all the time, too! It's so shady. I always buy my magazines through Amazon (it's so much cheaper!) and all we have to do is look back through our purchases to check the date.

  3. Popular Mechanics is up to more than trying to get you to renew early. (You left their name in the bottom right corner ;-D by mistake!) If you read that bottom paragraph, it refers to putting both your renewal and the 'gift' subscription on their "Continuous Renewal Service" - at no extra cost to you, of course. If you look on the back of this renewal notice, you will probably see that they are asking for your bank or credit card info so they can 'conveniently' withdraw the next and future renewal payments automatically ad infinitum.
    They present it as a convenience they're doing for your benefit but it's really to get you permanently subscribed. If they have to send you a renewal notice each year or two when your subscription expires, it gives an opening to you to consider whether or not you want to reconsider the subscription. You may have taken up a new hobby and dropped the hobby that made you a customer, your family structure may have changed so a lifestyle magazine, such as a parenting mag, is no longer relevant or your financial situation may have changed so you're looking at cutting back. If you're on auto-renew, the magazine keeps coming without you making a conscious decision each time.
    Most people function from a position of inertia - we don't make changes unless something happens to spark the change and these magazine peddlers are counting on that. As long as the issues keep coming and you don't have to actually make a decision to pay for them, you stay on as a subscriber.
    They doubly benefit since they save the cost of printing and mailing renewal and reminder notices. But, of course, they present it as purely for your convenience - they are just so good to us!!

    1. Oh I did, didn't I. LOL Oh well, it is what it is. Yes, I had one magazine that kept my credit card information and I didn't know it. The credit card that I used was the credit card that was compromised last year in the Target issue so they issued us new ones. I found out about the auto-renewal when they sent me an email saying they tried to renew me but couldn't because the card was no longer valid so they would need me to send them another number. I no longer wanted the magazine anymore so I didn't send them a new number. Slick!


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