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Discussion Starter #1
A few years ago when Cycle World was still sponsoring the show at the Javits Center, I subscribed once again to Cycle World magazine. It was a deal at $7 and I do enjoy the monthly columns by Peter Egan and Kevin Cameron. I had a subscription before that but canceled it as the magazines arrived looking like they had been fed through a paper shredder on the way to my house. They had improved the paper stocks and the magazine seemed better able to withstand the USPS getting it to my house. I've resubscribed each year as I get the bill as it's still a better deal than buying them at the cover price at B&N.

Today in the mail I get what I assume is my usual resub bill. I open it to find a "subscription invoice" for my "outstanding balance of $15". The letter goes on to say:

"We have entered your subscription for 12 issues, as you requested. However, we have not yet received your payment."

What? It then says (in bold type):

"Regrettably, your account is now PAST DUE."

"We must received your check for $15.00 at once, or your service will be at risk. No doubt you are busy, so perhaps making this payment simply slipped your mind. Please take a moment now to return the INVOICE above with you payment.... Blah, blah, blah"

So maybe I don't understand how a magazine subscription works here. Somebody tell me if I have it wrong. You send in a subscription card for a magazine you want. They send it to you along with a bill. you pay. When the subscription period ends, they ask you if you want to resubscribe. If the answer is yes, you send another payment and they send you more magazines. If the answer is no, they don't send any more magazines. Do I have this wrong?

So now because they've sent me what reads like a late notice, I'm trying to decide what to do next....

Do I:

a. Go ahead and send them a check and feel a little bullied by their approach?

b. Ignore the notice and let my subscription lapse, reverting back to buying the issues that really interest me at the bookstore. A higher cost option here as three issues would be the same $15.

c. Write a nice note on the bill "Please cancel my subscription then eff off and die immediately after you roll this into a tube and jam it sideways into the rectum of the idiot that thought it would be a good idea to send a resub notice disguised as an overdue bill" and mail it back to them at my own expense (return envelope is not postage paid.

d. Resubscribe and return the sub card along with my payment in pennies. To show there's no hard feelings perhaps I could include a sample of the coyote urine we use to keep the deer away from the flowering plants in the yard - just hope I remember to tighten the cap properly.

e. Copy the "late notice" and send it along with a letter explaining why I (and my family) will no longer be buying anything published by the Bonnier Corp to both Bonnier (if they have a customer service or complaint department - haven't found one on their website yet) and also to the Cycle World offices in California.

Anybody have a better idea for responding to this?

On a somewhat related note, I just added a subscription to Classic Bike from Motorsport Press http://www.classicbikebooks.com to the other Brit Bike Mags I get by subscription from them. Cost me $59 a year and they arrive in a sealed bag with a paper ad for other motorcycle books available like clockwork every month. When it gets close to resub time, they send me a nice postcard to remind me.

Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #4
quote:Originally posted by Geeto67

F: you ask for the professionals rate of $6 a year.
Okay - how do I do that? Also, there's not any hot pants modeling involved is there?

Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #5
quote:Originally posted by Geeto67

F: you ask for the professionals rate of $6 a year.
Okay - how do I do that? Also, there's not any hot pants modeling involved is there?

Jim
 

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The same issue is happen to me - I took out a 2 year subscription and let it run out but they think because I didn't send them a letter canceling the subscription that I owe them money. I simply throw the invoice payment request away. I may send them a very nasty letter telling them to stick the their rag where the sun don't shine. Based on this experience - I will never subscribe to any of these magazines again.
 

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The same issue is happen to me - I took out a 2 year subscription and let it run out but they think because I didn't send them a letter canceling the subscription that I owe them money. I simply throw the invoice payment request away. I may send them a very nasty letter telling them to stick the their rag where the sun don't shine. Based on this experience - I will never subscribe to any of these magazines again.
 

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I vote b. Ignore the notice and if you still like the magazine content then just pay for another subscription once they stop sending you free ones. The dudes running Cycle World probably have very little say in how their parent corp. deals with administrative issues like this. Yes, it's shady as hell, but it's not something to get mad at. Why do you think a company shady enough to employ this tactic would give a crap once they receive a nastygram from you? They fully expect to receive some backlash for this tactic but they're also betting that it works in their favor more often than not. I believe it is a short-sighted and disrespectful tactic but I would not waste time/effort trying to change them.

Also, my favorite bike mag is Classic Racer (http://www.classicracer.com/) from Mortons. As much as I love their print edition, I'm going to save money and paper by going with their digital subscription. You get 6 issues (1 year) for just £9.00.

And finally, here is a funny editorial from Frank Westworth talking about manning the booth at a bike show and how many people get his magazine, Real Classic, confused with another magazine called Classic Bike
http://www.realclassic.co.uk/opinionfiles/people_at_old_motorbike_shows.html
 

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I vote b. Ignore the notice and if you still like the magazine content then just pay for another subscription once they stop sending you free ones. The dudes running Cycle World probably have very little say in how their parent corp. deals with administrative issues like this. Yes, it's shady as hell, but it's not something to get mad at. Why do you think a company shady enough to employ this tactic would give a crap once they receive a nastygram from you? They fully expect to receive some backlash for this tactic but they're also betting that it works in their favor more often than not. I believe it is a short-sighted and disrespectful tactic but I would not waste time/effort trying to change them.

Also, my favorite bike mag is Classic Racer (http://www.classicracer.com/) from Mortons. As much as I love their print edition, I'm going to save money and paper by going with their digital subscription. You get 6 issues (1 year) for just £9.00.

And finally, here is a funny editorial from Frank Westworth talking about manning the booth at a bike show and how many people get his magazine, Real Classic, confused with another magazine called Classic Bike
http://www.realclassic.co.uk/opinionfiles/people_at_old_motorbike_shows.html
 

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I'd go with "A" it's probably a little hard to not take something that comes into your home personally but i think it's pretty much just a tactic that someone in the marketing department devised that have gotten them a good return % on re-sub notices. With the state that the market is in for an actual physical (published monthly) magazine trying to stay relavant in the era of the internet I'd imagine they have to resort to such clandestine tactics just to stay afloat.

The only other thing I could add is to try and get a phone number and call in and sepak to someone about your concerns. But on the grand scheme of things $15/a year is a steal. I can spend that at a bar on one glass of bourbon :)
 

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I'd go with "A" it's probably a little hard to not take something that comes into your home personally but i think it's pretty much just a tactic that someone in the marketing department devised that have gotten them a good return % on re-sub notices. With the state that the market is in for an actual physical (published monthly) magazine trying to stay relavant in the era of the internet I'd imagine they have to resort to such clandestine tactics just to stay afloat.

The only other thing I could add is to try and get a phone number and call in and sepak to someone about your concerns. But on the grand scheme of things $15/a year is a steal. I can spend that at a bar on one glass of bourbon :)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
So they sent one more renewal form this weekend and this one was a bit gentler in how it was worded. Just letting me they can't send any more magazines if I don't renew (duh).

In a case of sweet irony, I noticed a magazine subscription deal on deals.woot today:

http://deals.woot.com/

http://www.discountmags.com/promos/woot?a=woot

$3.99 a year? SOLD! I resubbed for 3 years for a grand total of $11.97.

Jim
 
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