Monday, November 09, 2009

Shameful Subscriber Trickery from Men's Health

I think the magazine subscription industry can be unscrupulous and sneaky. I realize that prices for consumer goods vary from store to store, and that it's important to shop around.

Dealing with subscriptions isn't always that simple.

Sure there are many manners in which one can subscribe. I have used all of the following: Resellers,, Direct from the publisher, and Using airlines points for free subscriptions.

When it comes time for renewal, that's when the irritation sets in.

Consistently, magazine publishers extend better offers to acquire new customers than they do to their existing customer base. Don't they realize that these offers are easily accessible by the users of their products (i.e. subscribers like myself), and create a fair amount of resentment among the customer base of people who they should be embracing and rewarding?

I have called a number of magazines when it comes time for renewal and I find a far better deal right on the magazine's website. The latest culprit here is Men's Health.

Their CRM cadence is quite off here - first I received an email a few days ago, mentioning that my subscription had been automatically renewed but they had not received payment yet. Funny, I thought. I never received an invoice.

So I clicked on the link to pay, and saw the terms - 10 issues, $29.97. I thought that was a little steep. 3 bucks for each issue?

So I checked the offer that they had on their website, and saw that 20 issues were being offered for $29.97. I also saw that they had an online customer service chat feature. So, I engaged them in a chat and explained the problem.

After a brief chat and without any pushback, I received this message (the chat transcript was emailed to me) "From time to time lower subscription prices are offered under certain circumstances. We will be happy to honor your request for this price."

Certain circumstances? A lower offer online during the same day when an email is sent out with a link to a higher offer to an existing long-term customer like myself? Please.

I then received a letter in the mail, which probably should have arrived before their email, as it didn't seem to indicate that my payment was late like the email did. The letter was for the same 10 issues / $29.97 offer, and included the following:

"As a member of our Preferred Subscriber Service, your subscription to MEN'S HEALTH has been automatically extended for another year (10 issues) to Jan 11...."

Preferred Subscriber? I am preferred? Doesn't that imply some level of benefits? It appears to reward me with a convenient auto-renewal at a higher rate. That's wrong.

Although the rep claimed to have changed the term, when I clicked on the renewal link the following day, the 10 issue offer remained.

So instead of play this game with them yet again, I simply canceled my subscription. Perhaps when Men's Health figures out that a loss of a subscriber is far worse that forcing an existing subscriber to renew with the best offer, then I'll return.

1 comment:

The Fuz said...

I'm sorry, I stopped reading at Jason Statham.