I completed an online survey and got a pop-up saying I was entitled to choose a year's subscription to 3 magazines for only $2 each. Although I should know better, I went ahead and signed up. The originator of this program is Magazine Customer Service, www.magcustomerservice.com, and the website shows an association with Synapse Group Inc out of Stamford CT.
I agree to the terms which indicated that the subscriptions would be autorenewed annually and charged to my card, but I am a frugal enough person to cancel before that point and that was my intention.
About four months later when I had been charged $6 but had not yet received ANY of the magazines, I called Magazine Customer Service, waited the 20 plus minutes to speak with a live representative, and eventually was told that the magazines had been going to the wrong address...my old address from graduate school where I have not lived for TEN + years. When I signed up for the offer I obviously listed my current address. The ONLY way they could have gotten this address wrong was to somehow have accessed credit card records, or some such private financial information. Right then I should have realized something was very wrong with this company. But we fixed the information, supposedly restarted the 12 month subscription cycle so I would get my full # of issues, and went from there.
I did start getting the proper magazines about a month later but also soon started getting letters from the publishers asking me to renew..."you have only 3 issues left!" How could I have only 3 issues left if the year subscription just started? Well I let it go because those publisher notices don't even have any contact information on them.
THEN I start seeing something very interesting. For the last 2 months, my credit card is being charged by Magazine Customer Service. $2 in May, $4 in June. And there are also credits from them, in odd amounts like 1.17. When I call their 800 number and use their automated service to inquire about a charge, I am told that one of the charges was for a magazine renewal I authorized as of July 3. I haven't authorized anything from this company since April/May of this year. I then asked to speak with a live rep and had them cancel everything. They said I would continue to get the magazines I had "already paid for". I had him repeat several times that I would not be charged anything further. I did not bother to try to figure out why these charges had been appearing unauthorized on my card as the rep did not seem to speak English well.
In summary, Magazine Customer Service, and by association Synapse Group Inc, is a participating in some very suspicious business practices. From my view I'd call it a scam. They hook you, get credit card information, and then start sneaking in charges and it's very difficult if not impossible to figure out why. I'd feel sorry for anyone who did not pay close attention to their credit card statements, or any older person who'd have a very challenging time navigating the cancellation process, as they would be completely taken advantage of by this, in my opinion, unethical enterprise.