I wish I had found this website 18 months ago! Now I see several "rip off" reports and want to add mine.
First of all, one of my credit card companies sold my name to Active Periodical. In September/October 2003 I got a call on my CELL PHONE claiming I was one of 10 people in the state of Texas to be entered in a drawing to win an Explorer and $25,000. I also "won" all these "free" magazines for being one of the 10 finalists. All I had to do was pay the shipping. So after all the fast talk/double talk this woman did, I ended up paying roughly $60/month for 12 months to get all these "free" magazines for 48 months. The way they word it makes it sound like you are paying a few cents per issue, but in the end it's this huge amount and you're dizzy and confused! Like someone else said, I was told I got 30 days to cancel, and I called a few days after getting my contract in the mail and had a chance to think about it, just to be told I was "too far into my contract" for them to cancel. Too far in, yet I had not received a single issue. Anyway, I had that charge hit my card once a month until about July/August 2004. Then I got a call from a woman saying they were going to offer a deal to all of their "special" customers and let me pay it off in one big payment, with a discount off the total due. Which I did- seems like it was around $180 to finish out the 12 payments.
All of my magazines have come on time and damage free for the past 18 months. No charge has hit my credit card since that last big charge which paid off my commitment. Then a few weeks ago I get a call from Julian- his name is mentioned in another of these reports. He claims they would reduce my remaining commitment by canceling out Popular Mechanics since they no longer work with that publisher. I said I didn't want to renew and he said it was related to my current contract. Now let me stop here to say I am an educated woman. I have a master's degree and I am a CPA. I don't fall for scams like this and like to think I am fairly intelligent. But I can't follow anything these people say! Nothing makes sense and they will contradict themselves in the span of 3 sentences. Another report said they scam the elderly. Funny, that has been the thought in the back of my mind since I got roped into this. I keep thinking about the poor older women and men who have likely just gone with what these people tell them to do. That said, Julian offers to charge my credit card $14.95 (or something like that) for the next 24 months. I said my account was paid in full, but he then said they had to treat it as a "new order" and that in fact I was NOT paid in full. Ok, that whole sentence made no sense! When he transferred me to the person to confirm my "order" I told her no, I didn't want to authorize another charge Period. She let it go at that, but a few days later someone else called!
In this call, a woman told me that she had been there 7 years and never heard of the billing department calling to offer someone a one-time payoff of their balance, especially not at a discount. That SCREAMED scam to me because I had not mentioned the fact that when I paid it off, it was at a discount. I never said that to Julian either. So how did she know that if it wasn't noted in my account? In any event, she said my account was not marked as paid in full, but in the meantime I could go ahead and get it reduced to that $14.95 while she "sorted it all out" but in the meantime I would not be charged the roughly $30 I had been charged. At that point I told her no, I hadn't been charged in months. She proceeds to tell me that yes, I was charged as recently as February 2005. Ok, NO charge has hit ANY of my credit cards or my checking account since that last payment. I have never given Active Periodical any credit card info other than the one they set me up with. And it is pretty much never used so I would have noticed a charge from them. NOTHING has been charged on my card. Yet she proceeds to argue with me and tell me yes, I had been paying on this account. My final point with her was that it made no sense that I paid $720 for 18 months of 3 magazines. No one would do that. So obviously I had paid for all of them for the entire 48 months. She sufficiently freaked me out though, so I went ahead and consented to the $14.95 charge with the understanding she would call me back the next day (last Friday) with information regarding the payoff of my account. So far, not a word.
On that note, I called the 800 number a few minutes ago and Lisa said that nothing showed on my account other than my "old" account which was paid off. No new activity. But she was going to forward it to the sales people and put me on the DO NOT CALL list. So we'll see. The whole thing is just fishy to me. Even if they don't charge me another cent or call me again and I get my remaining 30 months of service. It just doesn't seem right. I think, to date, my absolute favorite part is when this last woman told me that this type of service "makes no sense for the normal individual" and is more indented for places like doctor's offices and beauty shops who want lots of different types of magazines out for customers. That if I just read "a few magazines regularly, it was cheaper for me to just send the subscription card in from the magazine and go through the publisher." So, I ask you, why didn't the woman who called me to sign up for this mess tell me that a year and a half ago?! I am already beating myself up for doing this in the first place and wasting all that money. Now they are just rubbing salt in the wound.