Local News

Renewal Notice Causes Confusion For Magazine Subscriber

Posted September 4, 2002

— Five On Your Side has a warning about a marketing campaign that targets people who subscribe to magazines.

Several companies are using a sales strategy that could have customers sending payments to a different company than intended.

Some renewal notices look like they are from the actual magazine company, but as Sharon Eldridge found out, some of the notices are nothing more than a marketing gimmick.

To keep up with the news about the her favorite country music stars, Eldridge and her husband subscribe to

Country Weekly

.

"He reads everything in it," Eldridge said of her husband, Bill.

Last January, the couple got a renewal notice, which they considered odd since there was seven months left on their current subscription.

"I thought, well fine. You know, I didn't mind renewing. I knew it wasn't up, but it was a renewal in advance," Eldridge said.

Months later, Eldridge received an expiration notice from

Country Weekly

.

"I thought, now I've already paid somebody that," she said.

It turns out the renewal notice was from Publishers Services Exchange, a magazine marketing company. Eldridge's original subscription was through the magazine's publisher, so she called Publishers Services Exchange to find out what was going on.

"Anytime I called I got a recording. I couldn't get anybody, and that's when I told Bill 'I'm going to call Five On Your Side, because if this is happening to other people, it's not fair and it's not right,'" she said.

Five On Your Side called Publishers Services Exchange. Rodeo Ray, the customer service manager, said the problem is that customers do not read the small print that states "this is not a bill or invoice."

He claims in Eldridge's case, his company sent the order to the publisher, but it was "kicked back." He then sent the Eldridge's a refund of $103.89.

Eldridge said she has learned a lesson.

"Beware. From now on if I want a magazine I'll either pick it up out of the newsstand or be sure I've got the right company and get the thing right out of the magazine from the company itself," she said.

Five On Your Side found Eldridge is not the only customer having problems with the Oregon-based company.

Five On Your Side found out Oregon's attorney general is suing the Publishers Services Exchange on misrepresentation charges. The attorney general's office said more than 300 complaints are filed against the company.

North Carolina's attorney general has four complaints against Publishers Services Exchange.

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