Better Homes and Gardens has been one of my favorite magazines for a long, long time. I usually have a subscription, but over the years I have let it lapse from time to time until a really good promotion to pops up. That's where I am right now. As with any magazine, it used to be that you would get several mailings warning you that it was time to renew, and then maybe a couple begging you to "come back" (usually with an even better price than they offered in the first place).
This time, however, I see that they have really gone hard-core and resorted to questionable practices. This is what I've been getting in the mail lately:
PAST DUE: Payable upon receipt.
The note is labeled as a bill and instructs me to "pay this amount".
It also contains this admonition:
The only problem is I did not renew my subscription (and of course they have not mailed any magazines since my sub expired)! They, however, have "been very patient" and "expect" me to "resolve this....honorably" and "pay my debt".
Last time I checked, you could not bill someone for something they had not ordered. So, my question is, who is behaving dishonorably here? Not I, methinks. Seriously, this sounds like the kind of scam that makes it on to primetime news shows because it fooled a bunch of gullible people. Okay, well, usually that kind of thing would have involved thousands of dollars, but I think the principle is the same. It just seems kind of shady, and it's put a bad taste in my mouth.
I did find this in small print on the website: Continuous Service Guarantee: Your subscription will continue unless you ask us to stop. Each year you'll receive a reminder notice followed by an invoice for the low renewal rate then in effect. You can cancel at any time and receive a refund on all unmailed issues. But I still think this is a dubious tactic...after all, my subscription did not really continue.
I guess I'll go to the website and cancel my non-existent subscription so they will stop sending these things. That'll show 'em!