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Consumer Reports Website: Beware!
Old 09-14-2009, 12:32 PM   #1
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Consumer Reports Website: Beware!

In June I went to the net and ordered Consumer Reports for $5.95, which states this pays for one month usage. Fine as this is all I needed. ONE month. This is their internet version that allows you to go thru all the information they have on file. I only used it for a week, found what I was looking for and that was that.
However, now I find they also billed me for July and August, and were on their way to billing me thru September. I called Consumer Reports and they stated I needed to cancel the subscription. I did not do that, so I went back to their site, logged in and saw a line that said something like "if you want to cancel your subscription." Naturally, I clicked on it. Nothing. There is NO place to actually cancel the website subscription!
Thinking I must be missing something, I turned around and put "Consumer Reports how to cancel" in the search bar on my computer. And what pops up? A Rip-Off Report about there is no place to cancel your internet subscription to Consumer Report. I'm not alone with this problem I see now.
Calling the number on my credit card bill for Consumer Reports got me just some snippy attitude from the operator. So, I have put this into dispute for the months of July and August with my credit card company.

Moral of this story: Just BEWARE if you use Consumer Reports website. They will be happy to bill you until you cancel, but there is no place to cancel. Interesting dilemma.

P.S. The credit card company did say something to the effect that they get these calls often. Nice work if Consumer Reports can get it, eh?
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Old 09-14-2009, 12:34 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Orchidflower View Post
Moral of this story: Just BEWARE if you use Consumer Reports website. They will be happy to bill you until you cancel, but there is no place to cancel. Interesting dilemma.
The irony is that if this is true, this is usually the type of consumer abuse they shine the light on...

Still, it's not unusual -- they make it MUCH easier to subscribe with a couple of clicks, then make you jump through a lot of hoops to cancel...
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Old 09-14-2009, 12:37 PM   #3
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The only thing I could figure out on their website is maybe you are to send an email to Customer Service, which I did.
I've used this site for more than one thing in the past and never encountered this sort of problem before. However, never again now.
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Old 09-14-2009, 12:43 PM   #4
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Their subscription page makes it reasonably clear the monthly subscription will auto renew:

Consumer Reports: Subscription
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Old 09-14-2009, 01:10 PM   #5
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It seems that many services work this way. The providers make it very easy to start the service and more difficult to stop it. The providers probably want to force human interaction to provide an opportunity to talk you out of stopping the service. Retention.
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Old 09-14-2009, 02:50 PM   #6
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Unbelievably, Consumer Reports is a bad company that uses tactics that it would criticize in other companies. For example,

1. It has used spam to advertise.

2. It makes it hard for customers to communicate with them via email, to cut down on customer requests ("We have no public e-mail address at this time simply because the volume would overwhelm us." In other words, "we are making it more difficult for you to contact us in the hopes that you will not do so." )

3. They use deceptive junk mail advertising (junk mail made to look like a check, for example).

All of these things are business-as-usual for most companies, but Consumer Reports should hold themselves to a higher standard if their main business is protecting consumers.
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Old 09-14-2009, 03:00 PM   #7
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This might be a thred hijack... but what the heck...

If you want to know someone who is horrible to contact on the web... try Air France... my wife wanted to check her miles.. and could not remember her 'pin' (not a password)... so she click, can not rember my pin... and it asked her a question... she has answered it correctly... with caps, without caps, first letter cap, the rest small... and it locks her out after three tries... SOOO, let's send them an email.... except you have to KNOW your pin to even send an email!!! I can not find any way to send an email without being in their 'blue' or whatever it is called...

Now I get to make a call to find out what is happening as my wife says it is MY job...

To the OP.... thanks for the info... I almost did sign up a month or so ago to do some research... but talked to my sister who has a paper sub...
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Old 09-14-2009, 03:02 PM   #8
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At the risk of appearing to defend Consumer Reports, when it comes to subscribing online, auto renewal and the ability to cancel, the information in their online agreement seems very straightforward:

Quote:
As explained below, CU will automatically charge your payment card for an auto-renewing subscription unless you cancel your subscription by going to your “My Account” page, logging in with your username and password, and then selecting “cancel subscription.” The “My Account” page can be accessed through a link on the home page. You will be sent a reminder notice before the expiration of your subscription term.
and
Quote:
(b) Unless you take action to cancel your auto-renewing subscription through one of the methods described below, CU will automatically charge your payment card listed in your account to renew your Subscription-Based Services
and
Quote:
If you purchase a monthly Subscription-Based Service, which is billed monthly, you may cancel at any time by logging in to your “My Account” page and selecting “cancel subscription.” Partial months will not be refunded. Upon cancellation, your access to an online Subscription-Based Service will terminate on the next monthly anniversary of your subscription date. For example, if you subscribed on December 15 and cancel on December 28, your access will terminate on January 14.
and
Quote:
In addition to canceling a Subscription-Based Service (annual or monthly) through your “My Account” page, you may also write to us at Subscription Services, P.O. Box 5788, Harlan, IA 51593-1288, or call us at the following toll-free numbers: 1-866-908-8286 for Consumer Reports Health.org only and 1-800- 333-0663 for all other Subscription-Based Services.
Hard for me to find quarrel with their policy. Of course the proof is in the execution...
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Old 09-14-2009, 03:24 PM   #9
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REWahoo, that sounds pretty straightforward. I hope it works! I was planning to subscribe to their online service when we move north in 2010-2011, since we will be setting up new households up there and doing more consuming.
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Old 09-14-2009, 03:29 PM   #10
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REWahoo, that sounds pretty straightforward. I hope it works! I was planning to subscribe to their online service when we move north in 2010-2011, since we will be setting up new households up there and doing more consuming.
I can attest that it worked at least once - at least I think it did. DW signed up for the annual online subscription and I went in through the "My Account" page and canceled the auto-renew.
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Old 09-14-2009, 03:39 PM   #11
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I had a one year subscription to the Consumer Reports web site. When I began the subscription, it was very clear that it was auto-renew. I marked the date on my calendar and a month before the date came up, I thought about how useful (or not) the site had been to me for the past 11 months and decided to cancel. Cancelling was easy via the "My Account" page.

So, mixed results for me. I decided it wasn't worth the money but it was clear from the git-go that it was auto-renew and it was easy to cancel.

I've been a Consumer Reports member for many years. I agree with the comments above that they have become too much like the companies they criticize. It's possible that when my membership comes due I'll quit as the magazine, like the web site, doesn't seem to be as useful to me as it used to be. If I have a few items I'd like to research on their web site, I'd just buy a month of access and remember to cancel before the second month begins and I get hit with an auto-renew as OP did.
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Old 09-14-2009, 04:12 PM   #12
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At the risk of appearing to defend Consumer Reports, when it comes to subscribing online, auto renewal and the ability to cancel, the information in their online agreement seems very straightforward:

and
and
and
Hard for me to find quarrel with their policy. Of course the proof is in the execution...
I think offers where you must opt out rather than opt in are inexcusable, especially for a so called consumer advocate magazine. They have gone to the dark side in the last 10 or so years, IMHO.
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Old 09-14-2009, 04:19 PM   #13
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I think offers where you must opt out rather than opt in are inexcusable, especially for a so called consumer advocate magazine. They have gone to the dark side in the last 10 or so years, IMHO.

I was thinking the same thing.... and my boss HATES any contract with an auto renewal clause... not that we will not renew a good service, just that it is in the contract that IT WILL RENEW if you do not do anything...

Our company send everybody a bill.... if you do not pay, then you did not renew... if you pay, then you renewed... nothing written in the contract where we can say.... 'oppps, you missed that important day last week, so sorry, but you must pay us another year'...


Editing to add.... we have seen contracts that require a 60 or even 90 day notice to cancel the annual renewal.... so when the year is about to be up, you are already past the date you are supposed to cancel...
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Old 09-14-2009, 04:25 PM   #14
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REWahoo: The subscription link you have is not what I used. You must have gotten yours from some other site/link/whatever.
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Old 09-14-2009, 04:32 PM   #15
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REWahoo: The subscription link you have is not what I used. You must have gotten yours from some other site/link/whatever.
Whatever. I went to Consumer Reports.org, then clicked on "Subscribe Now" then clicked on "User Agreement"...
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Old 09-14-2009, 04:45 PM   #16
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OK, Wahoo...now let's see how well you can click on My Account and then click on "cancel subscription." "Cancel subscription" is the part that doesn't work. I clicked on that sucker over and over...and it was a no go. That's my complaint to begin with. I would have been delighted if I could just hit cancel subscription and it would cancel--instead of having to make all those calls and go thru so much hassle with calling customer service and my credit card company.
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Old 09-14-2009, 04:52 PM   #17
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Hey Orchidflower - - I had an idea. Try the "Refresh" button on Internet Explorer, to get the page to reload. Maybe it isn't fully loading the first time for some reason.

Probably won't work, but won't do any harm to try!
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Old 09-14-2009, 05:00 PM   #18
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OK, Wahoo...now let's see how well you can click on My Account and then click on "cancel subscription." "Cancel subscription" is the part that doesn't work.
As I said above, I canceled annual auto-renew, not the monthly subscription. And canceling the auto renew on a monthly subscription is the same as canceling the subscription, right?

Our account went from auto-renew to this:
Quote:
My online products ConsumerReports.org

Member since: June 19, 2005
Expire date: June 18, 2010
Price paid: $19.00
Terms: Non-renewing
Non-renewing / User Request
Sorry you had problems, I know it can be frustrating.
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Old 09-14-2009, 06:19 PM   #19
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I canceled my membership but choose the option of not being charged again but keep my membership for the duration of the subscription. It went ahead and canceled my subscription and refunded my money.

Obviously, I cant handle such complex matters...

There is no choice to not auto renew on my end.


Besides they can shove it in their oven if they cant offer service without auto renew!

Thats a good curmudgeon response.
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Old 09-14-2009, 07:18 PM   #20
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