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Those free magazines weren't so free anymore!

April 7th, 2009 at 05:47 pm

Well, we’ve also been sorting out our “media” bills…newspaper, magazines, cable, all the fun stuff!

For the last year, I’ve been mostly leaving the bills and finances up to DH while I’ve been “recovering” from this accident. Which is great, except that he tends to assume that various charges are legitimate, or that I ordered a magazine or whatnot; he doesn’t ask me about it. We were tracking down my sister’s AOL charges on our credit card bill, when I noticed, well, a bill for Jet magazine. Hmmm…we don’t receive Jet magazine. But we do receive a few others that I thought I discontinued.

In fact, I HAD canceled them, but I had contacted the magazine subscription services directly. The charges were coming through auto-payments to various credit cards, and even though I had stopped subscriptions, I hadn’t double checked that the charges had been credited to our account before the accident. Turns out they hadn’t been credited, they hadn’t even been canceled!

To make matters worse, I’d order a subscription for my Mom three years ago, and the magazine clearinghouse had contacted her directly with offers for some “free trials”, with the auto delivery later being billed to me! My 87 year old, very white, mother was receiving Jet magazine, and a few others, and had no idea I was getting charged for them!

Tracking all this down has been difficult. The magazine clearinghouse runs on an automated system, and you can only access a few magazines at a time. It doesn’t tell you what else might be on your account. Just time, sniffing around, loads of phone calls, and monitoring credit cards for charges. So far we have canceled:

New Yorker
Atlantic Monthly
Child
Parents
Redbook
Ladies Home Journal
Better Homes and Gardens
Kiplinger’s
Times
US News
Travel and Leisure
Harpers
Cosmo
Science
Natural Health
Body & Soul
Garden Design
Architectural Digest
Astronomy
Bon Appetit
Taste of Home
Jet
Vegetarian Times

The charges have been credit back to my account. Yea!

We did keep a few health and fitness magazines, which I renegotiated the rates for. I also had the auto bill removed and a block put on our account.

Our newspaper is offering a new subscriber rate, and even though I’m not a new subscriber, I asked about it and my account was immediately rolled over onto the new rate, at $1.49 a week for 16 weeks. We were paid ahead by two months on the old rate, but they credited the account forward. Whew!

I can’t believe things got THAT out of hand. DH and I are both pretty thrifty, but life sometimes distracts attention from other things, like finances. At least we’re getting back on track now.

Whew!

4 Responses to “Those free magazines weren't so free anymore!”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    Wow! Things did get out of hand. But you've corrected it all now. Good for you!

  2. frugaltexan75 Says:

    Wow! That sure was a lot of magazines you guys had. I'm glad you were able to get it all straightened out.

  3. baselle Says:

    Wow, you were your own library. Some of these recurring charges are like weeds with very deep roots - hopefully persistence pays off.

  4. flash Says:

    I can't believe my husband didn't catch the charges for Jet! Especially since we weren't receiving it. Life overcomes the details sometimes. And yes, it's a RELIEF to have it sorted out!

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