Report: #1070967

Complaint Review: Popular Mechanics

  • Submitted: Mon, July 29, 2013
  • Updated: Mon, July 29, 2013
  • Reported By: Frustrated — Somewhere in Kentucky
  • Popular Mechanics
    PO Box 6093
    Harlan, Iowa

Popular Mechanics Hearst Corporation Unrequested Subscriptions Harlan Iowa

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 July 2013

Popular Mechanics has created an Orwellian business plan that counts on their subscribers to unknowingly agree to receive their magazine IN PERPETUITY.  The company then follows up with readers who fail to pay for a service that they never ordered with a series of escalating threatening invoice notifications. Really, is this the way Popular Mechanics wants to do business – intimidate and frustrate its core readers? What happened to Popular Mechanics?  Did the accountants take over and/or get rid of the customer service department?

I began receiving invoices from Popular Mechanics regarding my subscription renewal.  This was interesting since the subscription was for a gift from my in-laws and I was never directly billed for the subscription myself.  The invoice failed to provide any information regarding when the when the subscription would expire, how long the renewal was for, or how many issues I would receive.  Since I did not originally order the magazine, I ignored the invoice. 

The following notice I received said I had requested Popular Mechanics [Hearst] to 'bill me' for a subscription and that I owed them money.  This is untrue as I did not order the magazine (it was a gift).  I was flagged in their system as a non-paying customer. I also ignored this false communication.  I hoped that when the gift subscription ran out the magazine would cease being delivered and the matter would end. The last notice I just received hinted that my “overdue” subscription might be sent to a collection agency. 

No customer service phone number, contact name, contact email address or any additional information was included in these communications. Just a bill and a return envelope.  When I went to look in the magazine I found there was  no contact number for customer service on the masthead page – that seemed strange.  I went to the Popular Mechanics web site – and found the same thing there – no information of how to call them directly to resolve the issue.  Sleuthing with Google on the internet, I was able to obtain a phone number, and through a kind response from another department within Popular Mechanics was finally able to contact a human being within the subscription department at Popular Mechanics. I am hopeful now that the badgering and intimidating invoices will now cease.

For me, this is a great example of terrible customer service and how a publisher can go the extra mile to alienate its dwindling reader base.  I liked Popular Mechanics, but I am now an ex-reader.

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