<<Perhaps there is nothing sleazy and underhanded about
asking for more money in April than in May for the same product. Pissed me
off though. You really should stop and find out the facts before defending
someone that has questionable billing policies. Do all you guys in the
business do that? How about an insider tip as to the best time to renew
subscriptions to get the best deal? Most all of us on this newsgroup
subscribe to a couple of magazines and can use your insight to wind around
the path of multi billings to the best value. >>
I don't know about you, but where I come from we don't get upset when the
price of something we use and enjoy goes down. We take advantage of it. If
I were to buy something at Circuit City or Best Buy or Home Depot or Lowes
and the following week I see that the store has the some product on sale for
less money, I would go back to them and ask them to refund the difference.
In almost every case the store will gladly refund the price difference. In
fact, they often have special forms printed just to accomodate such
transactions. (The alternative is for them to go through the hassle
involved if you chose to return the object for a refund of the original
price and then re-buy it at the sale price, ro worse, from some other
Here's the good news: the same situation applies to magazines. When
Woodcraft Magazine was first announced, a lot of people around here balked
at the 6 issues for $39.95 subscription price. Nevertheless, some people
bit the bullet and subscribed anyway. But the publishers obviously got wind
of the dissatisfaction with what was perceived as a high price and did what
any smart business people would do: they made an adjustment in response to
the marketplace. Now you can subscribe to Woodcraft and get 7 issues for
$19.97, a price most people find more agreeable.
But what about those folks who already paid the higher price? All they have
to do is call the toll-free subscription number (in Woodcraft's case,
800-542-9125) and ask for an adjustment. I don't think they'll refund the
difference in cash but I am quite sure they would be happy to extend the
length of the subscription on a pro-rated basis so that your actual cost
will work out to the lower annual rate.
And I know this will probably upset a few people who never seem to be
satisfied, but in the same way that department stores don't automatically
mail you a check if they lower the price on something you already bought,
magazines aren't going to automatically extend your subscriptions. You
still have to pick up the phone and ask.
To e-mail, replace "bucketofspam" with "dleegordon"
My concern is about mulitiple pricing schemes. Did it go down for everyone?
Is this a tactic for renewal where the price drops as it gets closer to the
last issue? Do you have a problem with finding that out?
Here is the bad news. I'm a Woodcraft customer. I get their weekly
newsletter and in one issue they announced the magazine and the opportunity
to subscribe. I clicked the link and it took me to the page whee I could
sign up for $39.95. I thought it was high and frankly, I expected that
loyal customers would have gotten a special deal. We did not.
What is so bad about that? I did not sign up at $19.95 either. One less
subscriber to help with their advertising rates. AJ did say t hat Woodcrat
Magazine is a separate entity from the Woodcraft stores. That is true, but
we tend to make those associations that they are somehow connected. It
makes me feel that Woodcraft is a rung or two lower on the ladder than they
could have been. Meantime, my local franchise is still a good store and I'll
probably continue to buy from them.
Thanks for the book Rob - I will check it out and if I find it worth of the
fee I will gladly send in a check. If I do not find it useful I will send it
back or toss it (depending if I can still find the packaging and return
shipping label). No whining here. Keep up the good work.
Thank you for replying to all the postings here. What you did not address
though, was the repeated invoicing for the singe book. Frankly, it ticked
me off when I got the second invoice. No, I did not send the book back, no,
I did not join. I do not however, want to be badgered for my decision. I
know there is no obligation. You took a risk and in this case lot out.
Another matter is the cost of a subscription. I recently (and probably
foolishly) sent a check to re-up the magazine for $24.95. The check was sent
and cashed in April. Now I get another request for me to re-subscribe, but
the price has dropped to $19.95 for the same deal. What am I missing here,
aside from 5 bucks? Obviously, waiting to the last minute is beneficial to
me. Please address this concern also. I feel hoodwinked. The bill says
this is for "preferred subscribers" Was I not preferred last month?
So far, WJ has not been a happy decision for me. I don't know if I want to
remain a subscriber knowing that I'm not always getting a fair deal up
front. If you want to check this, you have my name and my address in
Putnam, CT 06260.
I await patiently for your reply.
When you renewed your subscription for $24.95 you got a deal/service/bargain
that you wanted. I assume you thought that was a fair price, that's why you
renewed. At a later point a the magazine changed the offer. Why they
lowered the price, doesn't really doesn't matter, they did. That's a
business decision they made. I don't understand why that should bother you.
You renewed your subscription. At a price you wanted to pay. If you feel
taken, ask for the reduced price or get a refund. Just remember, you got
what you wanted at a price you wanted to pay.
The Woulda, Coulda and Shoulda game is only to be played to learn and grow.
Learn something and move on.
"We are measured by the size and importance of the things that upset us."
I did learn something. Don't trust the first offer from a publisher. As I
stated, I did not intend to bother with anything, but the opportunity to
learn about it came up. So, why not learn? Is knowing the standard
practice a bad thing? Is knowing how to save money for the same
product/service a bad thing? Is sharing that information in a newsgroup a
I am curious to know if this is a standard industry practice or something
that recently happened to reduce prices. Why do you feel I'm wrong in
wanting to know that? Airlines sell tickets to the same destination on the
same plane at different rates at different times. I just want to know if
magazines do that.
I'm *sure* it's standard industry practice. ISTM that *most* magazines do
that: send out the initial renewal invoice six to nine months before your
subscription expires and hope you renew; then, if you don't, as your
subscription expiry date approaches, send out further invoices at
progressively lower prices until you finally take the hook.
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
It has gone on for decades. Something over 35 years ago, we had a
subscription to Life, at about a nickel a copy. We didn't have time to
read it, so let it lapse (this was about '67 or '68). It kept coming
until we left that address in late '72. But the nickel a copy, IIRC,
was down from something like 15-20 cents for a regular subscription,
which was a dime or more under newsstand rates.
Of course, if you want hear about a real scam artist, talk to A.J.
about the outfit that is still trying to sell Woodshop News subs for
about $72. Nothing to do with WSN, but they do suck some people in
(they also sell subs to Newsweek and similar mags at exorbitant rates).
I have had more than one magazine where I noticed that the renewal
price offered to me was more than the New Subscriber price being
offered in various mailings. In those cases, assuming I wanted the
magazine renewal in the first place, I have subscribed my wife or son.
The next year I am somehow magically a new subscriber so the next
subscription goes into my name again. Is all that BS worth the $4
saved - well yeah, 'cause it is a game. I have also noted that the
renewal price does appear to go down the closer to the renewal point
you get or if you let the subscription lapse for a couple of days.
What I don't understand is where those marketing directors were when
they taught in Marketing 101 that it is much less expensive to keep a
customer than to generate a new customer. This is important because
usually when I see these kinds of silliness I just don't renew under
any name at all.
Since I replied to this, I received an email from WJ. With their
explanation, I seems I'm getting a good deal. I'm at work and my papers are
at home, but I have no reason to doubt what they told me.
I asked, they answered. That is what my message was about. Rob was willing
to come forward yesterday, one of his associates contacted me today. I
appreciate that and it helps keep a good relationship between us.
I'm glad your subscription cost concern has been heard and will work out for
you. Most, but certainly not all, of the folks in the woodworking industry
are great to do business with. There are the usual assortment of bad
apples, as in any field.
Consider a suggestion. Maybe the next time you suspect a problem, you are
thinking of challenging a vendor or a practice and you want more information
before taking the problem to the vendor; ask questions of the group. We are
never short of answers. (opinions) Asking questions might keep productive
posts from turning into a "bash a vendor" bitch forum. (might!)
I've addressed the post to you but I'm really talking to everyone to posted
to this thread.
"One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is
the belief that one's work is terribly important."
Ohhhhh John... I have to differ. Taking this approach will only result in
the standard newsgroup feeding frenzy where folks jump in and take their
turn at bash the vendor, or bash vendors at large. The best course of
action is to always take the problem to the respective party before taking
it to a public forum. Public forums are infinately less capable of
providing accurate answers than the agency involved. What public forums
excel at though is turning the smallest thing into some over grown, bloated
issue. Those opinions you reference are often the most dangerous form of
the written word.
I agree with your point. I was a bit off course. The first person to
'talk' to is the one that can solve the 'problem.'
That said, there is also a value to understanding the scope of a problem.
And that scope can best be determined by inter-action with a common group.
The action one takes may be different if they were the only one affected
than if they are one of a large number affected.
When a thread grows too bloated and off topic, we have step away. If we are
to find any value in these forums, we must be able to separate the wheat
from the chaff. And I have learned a lot in this forum. (and a bit about
thanks for your point,
"No one has ever erected a monument to a committee."
Good suggestion. I'm hard on vendors at times, (a lot of times) but I'm also
loyal to good ones and support them. I'm also not afraid to come back and
say they did things right. This type of thing works both ways. I
received a reply from one of the top guys. He took the time to explain
things, showed I'm getting a good deal, and he has my trust. Overall, for
the past few years I've been satisfied with the content of the magazine so
I'd be reluctant to stop it and spite myself. Heck, next time I add to my
web page I may even put a link to them on it.
I've made a couple of projects they had, I've bought some products they've
featured including Rockler parts. Some time back they featured a circle
cutting jig. I built one and have used it for cutting wheels out on the
bandsaw. This is one of the benefits of WJ as well as other magazines.
Stuff happens. What separates the good guys is how they handle the problem
and come to a resolution.
Well I give you credit for coming and explaining HOWEVER, The cover of the
container should have said, FREE GIFT ENCLOSED. Then the letter inside
could have said pay if you like, return if you like, bla, bla, bla.
Returning it would have required me to drive to the post office as my mail
box will not accommodate the size of the package.
No obligation on the cover of the box does not assure me that I am not going
to have to do something to keep from being obligated. I personally would
have rather not had to even open the box to find out any details at all
before I threw the contents away.
You don't <ever> have to...as the info posted from the USPS stated,
<any> unsolicited material is not encumbent upon the recipient in any
regard by law. You can trash it or simply write "Refused" or other
indication on it and leave it for the mailman. If somebody else takes
it instead, no problem.
Yes this is true but I get a LOT of this kind of stuff and much of it I do
order. I am therefore obligated to pay for it. If I have a bunch of bogus
products being sent to me such as this book and I have to cull through which
really needs to be paid and which does not this becomes a nuisance to me.
This is an old vendor trick played on many businesses. Send a company your
product although they did not order it and maybe they will pay for it.
While in the automotive business I often had products sent to me that I did
not order. No packing slip but the main office would receive the bill.
Fortunately our office was on the ball and matched a packing slip to EVERY
bill. Believe it or not many businesses simply pay the bill. It is
marketing at its sleaziest IMHO.
Rob and A.J.,
While I applaud you for answering directly to the newsgroup, do realize that
you did nothing wrong and the few who "thought" (and I mean that very
loosely) to express themselves this way probably have nothing better to do.
I imagine the silent majority is not upset.
Nice reply, I don't have first-hand knowledge of this situation, but
have some comments based on the notes here.
First of all, I suspect that you are legally in the clear, and I
suspect that what is being characterized here as followup bills for
the book are probably technically repeat invitations to pay for that
book and join the club. If not, maybe you need to think about getting
a new lawyer. If so, maybe you need to think about getting a new ad
Seriously, no matter if your communications are okay from a legal
perspective, they clearly are ticking off some folks here. That should
raise a red flag for you that some things are being [mis]interpreted
in ways you did not intend. Surely you don't want lots of your
subscribers getting upset at you. While it is a small number
complaining here, you probably also have only a small number of
subscribers here, and I don't know what percentage it might be of that
very small sample of your readership.
So, explaining here is good, but look inward, too.
Alex -- Replace "nospam" with "mail" to reply by email. Checked infrequently.
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