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.
Rochester, New York