Powered by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

 
Atlanta Bargain Hunter

Posted: 4:45 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014

Clark Howard: Magazine renewals can be costly 

  • comment(1)



Related

Clark Howard photo
Listen to Clark's live radio show 8-10 p.m. weekdays on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB.

By Clark Howard

Time Warner is doing some ugly stuff in the magazine business through a secret subsidiary known as Synapse Group that is ripping people off, according to The New York Times.

First a little background here: I subscribe to Fortune, a Time Warner magazine, and my subscription runs through June. I recently received a mailer trying to get me to renew at a special discount renewal price with a credit or debit card payment.

But the mice type revealed that if I accept this particular offer, my subscription to Fortune will continue without interruption. No more mailers will be sent to me to ask whether or not I want to continue receiving the magazine at the end of my subscription period. So it’s a thinly veiled automatic renewal.

I hate automatic renewals. I think they’re a gross, unethical, terrible way to do business. But it gets worse. In addition to doing this for Time Warner’s own magazines, Synapse Group is allegedly sending people notices to renew for publications that are not owned by Time Warner.

I know that it’s tough to meet a profit goal, but there’s no reason to abuse customers with auto renewal clauses. If you Google the Synapse phone number, people are furious about getting ripped off.

Here’s my solution: If you are into magazines, Amazon.com offers fantastic deals. Just know that when a magazine comes up for renewal, you won’t be offered the phenomenal deal you got upfront. So I suggest you take the longest term available if you really like the magazine.

One other thing about the Amazon deal: Once you subscribe to a magazine, Amazon will send you offers for private sale deals on other titles. Some of these other offers are extraordinary. Magazines that might be $30 or $40 annually can be offered for $5 a year.

Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Find more answers to your consumer questions at Clark's website.

-- Clark Howard -- Save More, Spend Less, Avoid Rip-offs -- for the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog

Follow Atlanta Bargain Hunter Nedra Rhone on Facebook | Twitter | Email

  • comment(1)

 
 

Today on MyAJC.com

Barr vs. Loudermilk: a true Jeffersonian (in a cheap wig) weighs in

Barr vs. Loudermilk: a true Jeffersonian (in a cheap wig) weighs in

Somewhere, if one believes in a deity and an afterlife, Thomas Jefferson was smiling the other day when his name was bounced about in a political campaign in Georgia.

Comments  (1)  

Subscribe to the AJC on your device

24-hour Digital Pass: Personal Journeys

Be inspired for 99 cents. Personal Journeys offers inspiring stories, videos and photos of remarkable people in our community

In your community

Annual Woofstock event in Suwanee

Volunteering in Atlanta

Learn how to volunteer in Atlanta and north Georgia, browse volunteer events and search local groups who need volunteers in the arts, community, food programs, housing, animal rescue and more.

Top news now from the AJC

FedEx shooting survivor leaves hospital

FedEx security guard wounded at work by gunman returns home

Christopher Sparkman, the security guard who was seriously wounded in April while on-duty at a FedEx facility in Kennesaw, returned home from Wellstar Kennestone Hospital Thursday, according to a message posted by his wife on social media.