Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I Will Not be Bullied

Back in the day before I got so busy with working, household duties, chauffeuring children hither and yonder, I was an avid reader. I would read at least a book a week. I LOVE books, still do but alas I no longer have the luxury of sitting down with a good book for a couple of hours (or even one hour). I guess I could if I stayed up after everyone had gone to bed but then I wouldn’t be able to get up in time the next morning and would ran frazzled the rest of the day. Not worth it right now.
So to appease my quest for knowledge, literature and just the desire to read something I began subscribing to various magazines. Issues of Good Housekeeping, Hallmark (alas it went belly-up), Fitness and several others began to arrive on a regular basis and I could always squeeze in a quick read in 15-30 minutes or if needed just doing a quick scan would suffice to appease the addiction. Those of you who love reading know what I mean, if nothing else I’ll read the back of the cereal box or junk mail while eating if I can’t find anything else. Recently printed publications have hit hard times along with everyone else due to the recession. And in looking for ways to cut back I’ve thinned some of this regular delivery of my reading collection. I had so many subscriptions they were starting to pile up faster than I could read them.
Now have you ever tried to cancel a magazine subscription? There is not a box on the renewal form that you can check that says ‘cancel’ or ‘do not renew’. I guess they don’t want you to have that option so usually I just do not respond to the notices. Sometimes I will write in large caps “CANCEL” on them and return. Either method has usually worked. Recently for one magazine this did not work. I can’t recall (my old age shows here) if I ever sent a notice back with Cancel on it. I was debating on keeping the subscription to this magazine because it always seemed to have useful and informative articles and was still deciding whether I should cancel or not.  The thing that finally swayed my decision was when I received a final notice threatening to send my account to a collection agency for non-payment!!  For a magazine subscription? Really? $15 for 10 issues of which I have not received a one yet because the subscription was stopped [as indicated by the LAST ISSUE! RENEW NOW! notice on the final magazine sent] until they had confirmation of my desire to continue it – really? In these times of recession you would actually waste the money to pay a collection agency to collect $15 (again for services not received because I don’t want them). This is the problem with automated notices – doesn’t anybody ever check these? Are no red flags raised when this action is taken for such a small amount?
I started to write a check to submit the subscription but then thought – wait, they are bullying me into a renewal! So I marked out the ‘payment enclosed’ and wrote ‘CANCEL, DO NOT RENEW’ on the notice as well as the outside of the envelope. Maybe I should make copies? I went online to see if anyplace there with info on canceling but of course nothing but how to subscribe.  I did send them an e-mail through their ‘contact us’ feature. Forget about trying to find a phone number to talk to a real person. The guy who signed my notice didn’t even include one.
Anyway as much as I liked the magazine I refuse to be bullied and will no longer subscribe. I’m sure I can find the same nutritional/health information on their web site or elsewhere.
Have any of you had such a problem trying to cancel something you no longer want? I’m sure there must be some stories out there – especially for cable subscribers (I’ve heard!).
Have a great day readers and don’t let yourself be bullied into buying what you don’t want or need.

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