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Old 08-03-2008, 02:10 PM   #1
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Magazine Subscription

I have had a subscription to to Sports Illustrated for over 20 years. I generally have extended the subscription for a 3 year period. As my subscription was expiring, I decided that I was not really reading as much of it as I had before, in other words I did not feel that I was getting my money's worth any longer. I decided to let the magazine subscription expire and, as I know how to read their label, I knew that May 2008 was the end.

After receiving, and ignoring, about a dozen mailings from SI, I noticed that in June my weekly issues continued to arrive, even though they still had a May '08 date on the label. After 4-5 weeks my weekly issues of SI stopped arriving. I was now out of the loop.

Lo and behold, I started receiving SI again this week and I noticed that the mailing label now indicated that AUG 2009 was now my expiration date! No one asked, nor paid, for this extra free year of SI. No letter was received by me indicating why they are being so generous as to supply me with something that I do not want.

I'm sure that this has something to do with readership numbers and ad revenue, not the generosity of Time, Inc.

Has anyone else encountered this phenomena of free mags?
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Old 08-03-2008, 02:23 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by mickeyd View Post
Has anyone else encountered this phenomena of free mags?
We've gotten 3 free progressive farmers so far, each of them proudly proclaiming that this is our last issue and we need to renew now.
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Old 08-03-2008, 08:06 PM   #3
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Yes, I bought a subscription to Cooking Light as a favor and the subscription ended in January but they still show up with a notice " This is your last issue " .
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Old 08-03-2008, 08:18 PM   #4
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A few years ago I got about 10 free subscriptions going at once. It was weird, every few days another subscription would start up. Stuff that really didn't apply to me: one about rap music, Latina, and Maxim are the titles I remember. (Maxim is a god-awful rip-off of Esquire). They went a full year and then stopped.

Then later at the office we received a postcard indicating that we might receive free subscriptions; apparently we didn't win that lottery.

I think the freebees I got at home had to do with some magazines i order at the "professional" rate. I noticed those same freebees at my dentist's office.

I had several subscriptions end recently and stop abruptly, as agreed! Hey, Cooking Light was among them. Actually a pretty good magazine.

MickyD, what is it you no longer like about SI, maybe they should do more swimsuit issues?
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Old 08-03-2008, 08:56 PM   #5
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I'm sure there are posters on SimpleLiving.net or FatWallet.com who have never paid for a magazine.

So... what are the ethics? Generally the subscriber's experience is so miserable that they're happy to let the publisher screw themselves.
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Old 08-04-2008, 09:14 AM   #6
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I had something similar with a different ending. When we moved here I received a coupon from the local newspaper offering 52 weeks for $52...a pretty good deal.

Half the time I ended up just relocating the paper from the driveway to the recycle bin. Our 52 weeks pretty much was due to run out when we were in the middle of our major home renovation project and of course, sitting around reading the paper wasnt on my to-do list.

The paper keeps showing up. Mailings keep showing up with progressively more urgent "Your subscription is expiring!" notes written on the outside. Mailings and paper went into the recycle bin.

When we finished the remodel and the paper showed no signs of stopping, I finally called to tell them that I really didnt want it. After 20 minutes of 'press 1 for this and 3 for that', sitting on hold, and having a customer service dude try to sell me 400 different variations on their subscriptions they agreed to stop. Then told me I owed them $11 for the couple of weeks they decided to keep sending me the paper.

First off, I didnt ask you to keep sending me the paper, I asked for 52 weeks and no more. Second, a year is $52 and a couple of weeks is $11?

After telling them I had no intention of paying it, they decided to send me a bill. Then turned it over to a collections agency. I explained in primarily four letter words the chances of seeing any payment.

After that it seemed they decided the best course of action was to turn me over to 100 telemarketers who were calling me 5-6 times a day asking if I wanted to subscribe to the newspaper again. We'd tell them to remove us from their list and the usual response was either to hang up while we were talking, sometimes yelling "yeah, whatever!" before doing it. Then they'd call again the next day.

I'm not sure if this was revenge or just ridiculously overaggressive marketing. Maybe both.

Free magazines galore here. The oddest one is "Gourmet" magazine. They started sending me that years ago and I didnt know why. After about a year they sent me a postcard saying that they needed to straighten out their database, would I indicate whether I was a paid subscriber or not? The post card said if I didnt know or wasnt receiving the magazine to throw it away, so I did. More magazines. About a year later they sent me a postcard saying they planned to continue my free subscription but I needed to sign and return the post card to authorize this, so I did. Still getting it.

Some of the cheap subscription services are pretty insidious. They auto renew you, usually at uncompetitive rates. Their fine print may also note that they can, at their discretion, start sending you magazines you might like on a trial basis, and its on you to cancel before billed for them or you're on the hook.
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Old 08-04-2008, 11:12 AM   #7
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I pay for a three-day weekend subscription to the local paper. Get constant telemarketers trying to sell me a better deal which is for new customers only. They are unable to put me on a do-not-call list because I am already a subscriber. I will stop paying when it runs out. Mercifully I cancelled the credit card it was originally connected to so they have to bill me.
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Old 08-04-2008, 11:18 AM   #8
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The best magazine I have seen in years is now our household favorite: The Week. Brief, politically fair in my view, minimal junk. We love it.
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Old 08-04-2008, 01:45 PM   #9
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Yes - we still get "Parenting" magazine for free after signing up for a "six months free" deal what must have been close to 4 years ago (our oldest daughter is almost 4 now). It is chock full o ads like many other magazines these days. My take is they make enough marginal revenue from selling advertising to pay the marginal cost of printing and mailing the rag to me. Maybe it is based on demographics (we're probably a choice reader demographically - high income, multiple kids, etc).
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Old 08-04-2008, 04:04 PM   #10
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MickyD, what is it you no longer like about SI, maybe they should do more swimsuit issues?

I guess that it's already old news by the time that I got SI. I did not get ESPN when I started SI and now get ESPN on about 5 channels. Also, I believe that the quality of the writing has dropped and I can read it cover to cover in less than one day, when I used to read it over few days~editions now have less content.

Even the swinsuit edition seems lacking these days.

TimeWarner is my cable/Internet provider also so Time Inc is still getting more than it's fair share of my $.
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Old 08-04-2008, 05:21 PM   #11
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I'm going to miss newspapers when they're all gone --I don't think the Internet or any other media will do the kind of investigative work they do.
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Old 08-04-2008, 05:58 PM   #12
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The good thing about the Internets is that anyone can state their opinion.

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Old 08-09-2008, 04:10 PM   #13
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Update:


Today I received a letter from Time Inc "Billing Center" the starts out "Thank you for renewing your subscription to SI." Attached to the top of the letter? You guessed it ~ an invoice for 56 issues of SI. My "low cost" is only $39.75.

The letter wraps up this way~"P.S. If you have already paid, please accept our thanks." How could I have paid as I thought that this was a freebie!

Evidently that free year of SI is more costly than I assumed.
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