Harper’s Bazaaro


Last January while signing up for W magazine I quickly got tricked into clicking on Lucky magazine and it automatically charged to my credit card. Reasoning that $12 wouldn’t break the bank, I decided not to cancel and enjoy a full year of Lucky. This year when I got a letter saying that the subscription would be automatically renewed again on my credit card I figured, “why not, go ahead.” But as I surveyed my small room, I found that magazines were taking over- W, Lucky, TimeOut, New York, USWeekly, INStyle… I figured something had to give. The first week of January I got a note in the mail: 

“Dear subscriber, when you ordered your subscription with the convenience of being billed later, we fully believed you would send payment upon receipt of your invoice.”  

WHAT?! I had never chosen ‘bill me later’ in my life! Why did I receive such an invoice? I continued reading: 

“Since we have no record of your payment at this time, your good standing with us is at risk.” OH NO, is this going to affect my credit? (sadly, the first thing that went through my mind). “You can resolve this matter quickly and easily by returning the subscription invoice with your payment in the enclosed envelope.”  

I instantly flashed to the invoice and saw it was dated 1/24/09. How many others were sent? It did not say. Who can I get on the phone? No customer service number. I knew this must be some sort of mistake; the small kind of mistake that I hate myself for never being able to ignore. My investigation began online…it listed the date my subscription began, the last copy sent and the start issue: March 10, 2009-HUH? I glanced at the invoice and saw ‘first issue” March 10, 2009. There was no mention online of unpaid bills, only this new subscription they wanted me to sign up for.   I immediately canceled online and was fuming.  

Am I stupid or naive? Is this how the magazine industry works? If so, why do I not get a nasty letter from every other magazine I subscribe to?  

The letter ended “We look forward to hearing from you.” 

If Harper’s heard from me, my letter would say, “Shame on you, Harper’s, for making me think I missed a bill, getting me angry and for making me go through all this effort in the interest of $12.” 

I still have no idea what happened.  All I know is tricking women into buying your product is never correct; we want honesty, no ifs, ands, or invoices.

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May 23, 2024
by Mary Lou Quinlan

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