Magazine renewals often are not a favor – Bangor Daily News

Magazine renewals often are not a favor – Bangor Daily News.

It might be called making money hand over fist.

It’s what some companies try to do while making believe they’re doing you a favor. As a result of that “favor,” you may end up with a pile of magazines you didn’t want.

The companies set themselves up as renewal services, mailing reminders to subscribers and offering to extend their current subscriptions. The prices they charge are anything but a bargain. A recent mailing to our household offered two years of Harper’s Magazine for $69.95, slightly higher than the magazine’s advertised sub-scription price of $26.97.

All of which is not news to the people at Harper’s. An alert in the magazine’s April edition says it is aware of several companies that solicit renewals without the magazine’s approval.

Harper’s went on to say that it has tried to track down Magazine Billing Services, Publishers Processing Services Inc., American Consumer Publish Association, Publisher’s Periodical Service, Magazine Billing Network and Crown Marketing. Most of those efforts have been unsuccessful.

The alert advises readers who are unsure whether a renewal notice is authentic to call them directly or visit their website, That way, readers can avoid any unauthorized “middlemen” and the huge markups that go with them.

The shady renewal companies don’t stop at offering renewals at inflated prices. Once they get a positive response, they’ll likely try to get you to renew another subscription (again, at a hefty markup)…

As with most mass mailings, these are numbers games. If a hundred low-cost mailings yield one high-cost renewal, the sender’s making money. Mailing lists are bought and sold daily, pouring fodder into the mailers’ databases. So read carefully, compare prices and buy only what you really want.

Visit the Federal Trade Commission website ( and, under the Bureau of Consumer Protection tab, search “magazine subscription” for useful tips.


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