• Report: #618933

Complaint Review: Highlights Magazine

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  • Submitted: Tue, June 29, 2010
  • Updated: Wed, June 30, 2010

  • Reported By: HowDareThey — Orange County California United States of America
Highlights Magazine
2269 S. Saw Mill River Road, Bldg. 3 Elmsford, New York United States of America

Highlights Magazine RMCB Collection Agency, Retrieval Masters Creditors Bureau, Inc. Received BOGUS COLLECTION NOTICE for subscription never ordered/never sent! I called/researched-It's a SCAM! They send an UNREQUESTED sample followed up with scary, official-looking COLLECTION NOTICE, Elmsford, New York

*UPDATE Employee: Highlights' response

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I received an urgent, official-looking COLLECTION NOTICE for $24.84 from RMCB Collection Agency today for a Highlights Magazine (Highlights High Five) subscription that I didn't order and never received.

I have absolutely no debt so obviously became concerned right away about the effects to my credit (listed on back) etc.  Thoughts of fraud, identity theft, etc. immediately came to mind.  I visited the "My Account" portion of the Highlights website and entered my address.  An account showed up with my name but referenced "No Payment Due."  Yeah, because I never ordered it!  And it was never sent!

After 45 mins on the phone with both the phone number listed on the Highlights website and the phone number listed for the collection agency (take you to the same place by the way), I discovered it's a SCAM!  Here's how it works:  They send your child an UNREQUESTED magazine sample and then follow up with a scary, official looking COLLECTION NOTICE, w/threats about credit, etc. Guess who OWNS RMCB? Highlights! They call it an "in-house service." Now even kids' mags are crooks!  So sad.

I was able to make contact via Facebook with Highlight's Editor, Christine French Clark.  I provided her with all information as well as the scanned photos of what was sent to me.  She said she'd look into it and get back to me.  She never did.

Remember how this USED to be a FUN publication to pick up in the doctor's office? I'll be disposing of every one I ever see for the rest of my life.

Please don't fall victim to this scam!  I can only imagine how many innocent victims will send in the $24.84 out of fear.  I have NEVER fallen for anything like this ever... but this one looks really convincing, people.

Also - a formal complaint has been filed with the U.S. Postal Inspector -- their federal site outlines clearly this practice being against the law.  Will keep you posted!

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/29/2010 10:04 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Highlights-Magazine/Elmsford-New-York-10523/Highlights-Magazine-RMCB-Collection-Agency-Retrieval-Masters-Creditors-Bureau-Inc-Recei-618933. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 UPDATE Employee

Highlights' response

AUTHOR: Highlights - (United States of America)

I was sent this customer's complaint by the magazine's editor, who received it via Facebook yesterday. Below is some of the reply I sent her, although I've redacted the parts that specifically address her account transactions in order to protect her privacy. If she would like to share that part of the response here as well, she can post an update. We sent a full reply a few hours after our editor promised we would look into it. I hope the original poster will contact me directly if she still has questions. 


This is included below, but I want to say clearly and up front that we absolutely do not engage in the marketing practice this customer suspects. More information about our policies is included in the response below.


Hillary Bates

Manager, Communications

Highlights for Children


We do not process any orders unless we receive a request. However, it is often difficult to determine whether orders are legitimate. As a result, we process all orders we receive in good faith. If we are informed that an order was not legitimate, it is our practice to immediately cancel the order and remove all charges. It is never our intention to force a customer to pay for something that they did not authorize. 


RMCB is a third-party collection agency; we do not own them, but do contract with them for some billing efforts. We refer accounts to RMCB only after our own internal billing efforts have failed to receive a response.


I want to say clearly that we do not engage in the marketing practice you outlined. It is, in fact, counter to all of our policies. One of the things I am most proud of about working for Highlights is that this company has a long history of trying to do the right thing for our customers. We are members of multiple Trade Associations, the Council of Better Business Bureaus, and the Central Ohio Better Business Bureau. The company has been working very hard to ensure that our record with the Better Business Bureau has remained untarnished (with no unresolved complaints) since the 1940s.

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