Posted by: Kate Ashford | March 2, 2012

Thanks For My $80 Magazine Subscription.

JJ Cole Swag Bag

I got something interesting in the mail recently. It was a renewal notice for my subscription to Money magazine. The offer? Thirteen issues for $79.95.

Let me repeat that: $79.95.

That’s $6.15 per issue, which is more than the actual cover price if I bought it on a newsstand. That’s just nutty.

That’s so nutty, in fact, that it feels like a scam. Are there people who simply check “Renew” and mail this thing in? After all, the flyer says, in bold type, “You’re receiving one of the lowest available rates we can offer for your regular subscription.” Am I? Am I really?

Also, let’s consider the company sending this offer. It’s not Time Inc. It’s the Associated Publishers Network. A quick Google search yields absolutely no company by this name. In fact, the only thing it pulls up is a variety of links to this guy’s website–he got the same offer that I did. Then there’s the sketchy direction to “make checks payable to APN.” That could be anyone.

I tried calling the company, because I was curious. The first time, I spent about 20 minutes on hold before I was finally directed to leave a message. I didn’t leave a message.

I called back and finally reached Kristie, who cheerfully offered me a new rate: $69.95.

Me: “You know that’s more than the cover price for the magazine, right?”
Kristie: “Yes it is.”
Me: “That’s ridiculous. Do a lot of people take you up on this?”
Kristie: “Yes, a lot of people do.”
Me: “Did you know that Time Inc. offers the exact same subscription for $14.95?”
Kristie: “There are different offers out there, and you can go with whomever you wish.”

She was very pleasant, at least.

I politely declined. I’ll subscribe via the actual publisher of the magazine, thank you. Readers, I hope you’ll do the same.

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Responses

  1. WOW. I love that you called and that’s what she said! Oh man, that is sketchy, sketchy business.

    • She was terribly nice about it. I was actually kind of impressed. And judging by the wait time, they’re getting a lot of calls. That or she’s the only person working the line. (Which is possible. Maybe she’s APN.)

  2. I got the same offer yesterday and at first was mad at Times for such a crazy offer and the checked that my due date was not for another year. Just went on line and like you, no such company. Is there anyone we can report this to so some less aware we not get ripped off

    • I’m working on that, actually. I’d like to report it to the right resource but the Better Business Bureau has no record of this business. (No surprise.) I’ll update if I find something. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Absolutely crazy-nuts. A total rip-off. Someone wants money, money and more. For sure, we know all about greed. Crooks will try anything to get your moola.

    Obviously, some folks fall for this scam ….. whatever you wish to call it.

    Go to the library and read the magazine. Or check it on on your library card. They have very reasonable rates!

    P.S. $69.95??? Ohyeahright …. a real bargin Kristie. Find another job please.

  4. I too have a lot of subscriptions and have received several of these “Renewal” notices. This company has over 600 complaints with the BBB in NV where there office is. The website where you can pay by credit card originates out of the Philippines. Just one giant SCAM.

  5. I was helping my nephew a few years ago, so being the good uncle, I subscribed to a magazine for him (this was initiated through his grammer school no less). Who knew it would auto-subscribe for 4 years!!!! Automatically deducting the money from my checking account. My only way out was to CHANGE MY BANK ACCOUNT! Really! You can’t unsubscribe any other way!

    • Often, those auto-subscribe charges list a phone number with the charge, and if you call it, you can cancel the subscription (and get a refund if they recently charged you). It’s also a good idea to use a credit card for programs that might auto-renew, because if you get hit with an unwanted charge, you can dispute it. But what a hassle!

  6. Thanks Kate! Sad to say I almost fell for this but something didn’t sit right. I tried to google the company and nothing came up until I found your write-up. You def saved me from getting scammed!

  7. I received an offer from APN about renewing my subscription to The Economist. (Somehow, they can find out that I am a subscriber.)
    When APN didn’t answer the phone after many rings, I called The Economist, who told me that they have no relations with APN, and that if I send money to APN, it will not renew my subscription.
    I then called the FTC and reported what had happened. They opened a file based on the information i provided, but the representative did not indicate that the FTC was previously aware of this organization.

    Let’s hope the FTC shuts them down.

  8. Fascinating! A business model based on “oh maybe they won’t notice.” Wonder how long they will last in this day and age.


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