• Report: #269794

Complaint Review: US Magazine Service

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  • Submitted: Thu, August 23, 2007
  • Updated: Tue, June 17, 2008

  • Reported By:Rochester New York
US Magazine Service
11300 Highway 93 South, Suite I/J Lolo, Montana U.S.A.

US Magazine Service Scam, Unrealistic mark-ups on magazines I didn't want. Scumbag company where only a scumbag would choose to work. Ripoff Lolo Montana

*UPDATE Employee: This is not the U.S. Magazine Service

*Consumer Suggestion: I was contacted by this HIGHLY illegitimate company this afternoon as well.

*Consumer Comment: Vital Information Left Out

*UPDATE Employee: Get your facts straight.

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I was at work one day in May of 2007. My work phone rang and I answered. I was in the middle of trying to make a deadline and my boss kept coming in and out of my cubicle, so I wasn't paying much attention to the person on the line except to understand that I had been chosen for a $1 million sweepstakes, I would be sent a free watch, and that some magazines were to be sent to me. I honestly didn't realize what I had signed up for when I was on the phone with this person. I originally thought I was getting free magazines (again, I was multi-tasking on the phone at work, and my job is more important than any personal calls I might get). After hanging up with this person, I realized that I had signed up to receive 3 years of magazine subscriptions to 3 magazines I didn't want. Maybe an hour later, this person's supervisor called me back to confirm everything and I was even busier than when I received the first call. I basically ended up "Yes"-ing the guy to death just to get him off the phone (he kept asking me about the weather where I lived, my job, etc). At the end of my lunch break (a couple hours later), I took a look at some notes I jotted down during the course of this conversation and realized that in addition to signing up for the unwanted magazine subscriptions, I was going to end up paying a total of about $2,000 over the next three years for a total of 108 magazine issues. I don't know about you, but I typically don't spend more than $3-5 for a magazine (aside from maybe The Economist). Worst case scenario, if I spend $5 on a magazine, and I subscribed to three issues for three years, I'd be paying a total of about $540 at the end of those three years, which is a far cry from the $2,000 I would be paying with this scummy company. But I digress. When I realized my mistake, I tried to call the company back to immediately cancel my order (I was not told the terms/conditions of the order, I was not told that I could not cancel my order after it was placed, I was not given anything in writing to sign or review). The number I dialed was essentially dead (it continued to ring non-stop). Thankfully, I work for the bank where they were attempting to withdraw my funds to pay for these magazines, and I put a hold on my account so that this company cannot ever access my money going forward. This, of course, prompted them to send me invoices a few weeks later. I called the number on the invoice and spoke with an EXTREMELY rude and trashy-sounding customer service rep, who told me that there was no possibility to cancel my subscriptions as the company pre-paid all of the magazine publishers. She told me that I COULD change the magazines I receive if I didn't like those being sent to me. In attempt to catch her in her illogical suggestion, I asked her how it was possible for me to receive different magazines if they already pre-paid the ones that were being sent to me, yet I couldn't simply cancel altogether, and she couldn't answer me. She then hung up on me after telling me that if I didn't pay, I would be sent to outside collections. I immediately wrote the company a letter telling them in writing that I didn't want their magazines, to cancel my subscriptions and to cease contacting me and I let them know that if I received one more correspondence from them that I would be contacting the New York State Attorney General. This week (3 months later) I began receiving collections calls from an agency. I told them that I was disputing all of the charges (they didn't care) and that I wouldn't pay. I just sent a letter to the NY State Attorney General today, and I'm waiting for some sort of resolution to this issue. My fear now is that this is going to hit my credit report and that I won't have any recourse because I did indeed initially agree to receive the subscriptions. Within hours, however, I tried to cancel everything and was unable to. I just think that it should have been easier to cancel, or that at the very minimum, the company should have stated that once you agree to the magazine subscriptions, you cannot cancel. The terms and conditions were not clear, were not stated and were not in writing.

Jim
Rochester, New York
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/23/2007 03:11 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/US-Magazine-Service/Lolo-Montana-59847/US-Magazine-Service-Scam-Unrealistic-mark-ups-on-magazines-I-didnt-want-Scumbag-company-269794. 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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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
0Author 4Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 UPDATE Employee

This is not the U.S. Magazine Service

AUTHOR: Mos406 - (U.S.A.)

I am an employee at U.S. Magazine Service. I am verify orders at the company, I used to be a closer, and also was a sales representative. I know that you are not talking about the U.S. Magazine Service because first of all, we offer four magazines of your choice for four years. The total price is $796.97, not $2,000. Also, just by saying yes through the whole conversation would not have gotten you signed up. The first person you talk to sells the magazines, they get you to say yes. The second phone call, or the second person you talk to explains payments, then asks you for your credit card number, which indicates that you are PAYING FOR SOMETHING. Then, you would have gotten a 3rd call, which is from the circulation department, asking you for permission to record the conversation, again explaining the payments, and the entirety of the service, then asking your permission to charge your credit card for the payment amount of 49.81 each month for the first 16 months of the service, leaving the remaining 32 months that you don't have to send a penny. Other things you have mentioned do not match up with our company as well. We send everything IN WRITING including a written guarantee, the list of magazines, and a release form for your "free" diamond watch. The word "FREE" is also NEVER mentioned in ANY department's script, which are FCC approved. Another thing that does not match up with our company is that we DON'T HAVE an immediate call back number due to the fact our number comes up as UNAVAILABLE because we are on a secured line because we handle credit card information. A customer service representative would also not say that because if the customer tried to cancel within the first 30-days, they immediately cancel the order without any rebuttals. The sad part of your story is the fact that you still don't know who ripped you off.
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#2 Consumer Suggestion

I was contacted by this HIGHLY illegitimate company this afternoon as well.

AUTHOR: Boxerlady - (U.S.A.)

Let me just tell you- these people are anything but ethical. I got the SAME phone call with the SAME script that the person above mentioned- only- i never said yes. The guy on the phone told me that he was going to send me a "list" of magazines to choose from. Me, being a salesperson myself, felt bad for him and asked if he got a commission for it- he said no. Apparently they work on a "point system" and he gets a "half" by just sending it out... a full one for a whole subscription (at least this is what he told me).

When his supervisor got on the phone (because the original CSR is new- which according to all the google responses I've been seeing... so are ALL of their CSR's)... I told her I don't even read magazines and that I wasn't buying anything. She told me I was lying, she was on the phone (even though she was supposedly just getting on to ask me if the previous CSR was friendly and courteous) and that I was just scared. When I told her that HAD she been on the phone she would have heard me the 7 times I said I didn't want the magazine. She hung up the phone on me.

You can call the BBB, and FCC AS THEY DO NOT ESTABLISH WHAT COMPANY THEY ARE CALLING FROM.

For ANY telemarketing scam- here is how you deal with it:

Filing a Do-Not-Call Complaint

In addition to complaints alleging violations of the national do-not-call list, you may also file a complaint against a telemarketer who is calling for a commercial purpose (e.g., not charitable organizations) IF:

*

The telemarketer calls before 8 AM or after 9 PM; OR
*

The telemarketer leaves a message, but fails to leave a phone number that you can call to sign up for their company specific do-not-call list; OR
*

You receive a telemarketing call from a company that you have previously requested not call you; OR
*

The telemarketing firm fails to identify itself; OR
*

You receive a pre-recorded commercial message from someone with whom you do not have an established business relationship and to whom you have not given permission to call you.

How to File a Complaint

You can file a complaint by e-mail (fccinfo@fcc.gov), telephone 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice or 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY, by fax to 1-866-418-0232, via our electronic complaint form at www.fcc.gov/cgb/complaints.html, or mail. For the FCC to process your complaint you must either fill in the electronic form completely or otherwise indicate:

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your name and address;
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the home phone number where you received the solicitation;
*

identification of the individual or company whose products or services were being advertised or sold, and any phone numbers included in the call;
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a description of the call;
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any phone number provided to allow you to opt-out of future calls;
*

whether you or anyone else in your household gave the caller express prior permission to call;
*

whether you have an EBR with the caller (specifically, whether you or anyone else in your household made any purchases of property, goods, or services from the company that called, or made any inquiry or filed an application with the company prior to receiving the call).

If mailing a complaint, send it to:

Federal Communications Commission
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554
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#3 Consumer Comment

Vital Information Left Out

AUTHOR: Lashelle - (U.S.A.)

Everything he said in this letter is true. I do agree with that, they do call, they do get your number and then verification calls to get permission to charge your card, but what he forgets to mention is that once you refuse to authorize them to charge your card. they are anything but polite. Their attitudes change and they become aggressive and forceful. They immediately tell you that you cannot cancel and say that the person who got your card number told you that you cannot cancel but you must have not been listening. this is what he fails to mention. They also never tell you that you have 72 hours to cancel in writing. I had to find out when it went into collections. Thats three people calling and three people leaving out the most important pieces of information. And you really think that is fair? It is not and it is indeed a rip off because lies are beind told and people are being misled. I never got my 16 months of free magazines.

i paid for 16 months and afterwards the magazines stop coming. So where in that scenario does it seem fair? It isnt. Yes the card number was given over the phone but they know once verification calls 8/10 people would've by then changed their minds and said no they dont want the magazines and therefore cancel.

So in order for them to make money they 'force' upon you the fact that you are not allowed to cancel. they speak to your harshly and aggressively and they will continue to call until they get authorization. That is not fair. it is indeed a rip off.
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#4 UPDATE Employee

Get your facts straight.

AUTHOR: Stolenwalflower - (U.S.A.)

While I appreciate the rights of consumers to be dissatisfied with the service that they've been provided, I think it's only fair that they be asked to tell the truth when slamming a company - and it's employees.

For starters, I take offense to the comment "scumbag company where only a scumbag would choose to work." We don't lie to you - we tell you exactly how it is. If you're too busy with something else to pay attention on the phone - that's your problem.

And for the record - it's not 3 magazines for 3 years at a total of $2000. It's 4 magazines for 4 years at a total of $797. Big difference. Now, I can tell you exactly what was said to "Jim of Rochester" on the phone. It goes something like this:

"Hi Jim?"

"Hi this is ________ calling long distance, can you hear me okay?"

"I'm with Reader's service, calling on behalf of the 2007 All Cash Sweepstakes. The reason I'm calling you Jim, is that your name was entered into our sweepstakes because of your preferred customer status with our publishers, and also Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover. You still carry one of those, right?"

"Which one do you carry?"

"Now, Jim, as a contestant, you are in the running for 1 million dollars in cash, so congratulations! The odds of winning are determined by the number of entries, and winners will be notified by telephone, or certified mail. I see that your home phone number is correct, is there a work or alternate we could reach you at as well?"

"Also Jim, our publishers like to classify readers by age and occupation, so do you mind if I ask how young you are, and what you do for a living?"

"I have some more good news for you Jim! Right now, for participating in our sweepstakes promotion, you're going to recieve a men's diamond quartz watch, with a real diamond at the 12 o'clock setting, so congratulations! Now, we'll send that watch to you at [Jim's address]."

"Now as I mentioned earlier Jim, you were selected because of your preferred customer rating with our publishers, so along with the watch, you're also going to recieve 48 complimentary issues of Maxim and Outside Magazines. Both of those will come out to you at no charge for the full 48 months, just for participating, so I hope you enjoy those."

"Now along with Maxim and Outside, We'll also send you Car and Driver, and The Sporting News each week for 48 months."

"Now, the watch, Maxim, and Outside are all complimentary just for participating. The only thing we ask you to help out with is the Car and Driver, and The Sporting News. Those are at nearly a 40% discount off the newsstand price. It's just 3.83 a week, and that covers both magazines. And in addition Jim, we'll also send you a list of over 500 magazines, so if you ever decide to change your selections, you can just call our 1-800 number, and we'll switch those for you anytime, and as often as you like, at no extra cost, and that's it! Now Jim, someone might give you call back to thank you, and if they do, would you mind putting in a good word for me? Again my name is _________"

"Now let me go over this with you just one more time, okay? The watch, Maxim, and Outside are all complimentary just for participating, and again, we just ask for your help with the Car and Driver and The Sporting News. It's just 3.83 week, we guarantee that rate for the full 48 months, and you can switch your magazines at any time, okay? And keep in mind Jim, we guarantee our service 100%, so if you ever have any questions, miss any issues, change your address, or even just want to change your magazines, just give us a call and we'll help you out right over the phone, okay?"

"Do you have any questions on your order Jim?"

"Then with your permission, I'll just enter your order today, okay?"

"Your order number is _______"

"Thanks Jim, we're looking forward to giving you the finest service available, so you enjoy those magazines, okay?"

As a salesperson - I know one thing. We cannot enter an order unless they say yes. We cannot enter an order without giving them their order number. As for Jim's ascertation that he just "yessed" the second guy who called him to get him off the phone (the closer) - here's something he forgot to say. The closer would have started off the conversation by asking him if the first person who talked to him was nice and polite.

Then he would have asked for Jim's credit card number, in order to get a pre-authorization from the credit card company. If Jim hadn't given this person his card number, the order would have been killed right then and there. So I have to wonder - how does a person, who claims that he wasn't paying attention, and didn't even realize what he was ordering, give a stranger his credit card number over the phone?

After getting the card number, the closer would have explained the billing to Jim. That the total - $797 by the way - would be taken and divided into 16 equal payments to be paid the first 16 months, and the remaining months Jim would simply receive his magazines because his bill would be paid in full.

At this point, Jim's credit card hasn't been charged - the charge has simply been pre-authorized. The order doesn't officially go through until someone in verification gets Jim on tape - with his knowledge - giving the company permission to charge his credit card. Jim - you're an idiot. Don't blame it on us.
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