Popular Woodworking, it appears, has mailed all of their subscribers a book.
They tell you that if you like the book, send them 9 bucks. Otherwise,
repackage the book and mail it back.
I live quite a ways from the post office, in a very rural area. So, I get
this little notice to go to the post office, which we seldom ever do. But,
as we hardly ever get these notices, we drop what we're doing, go to the
post office, get our package, bring it home and open it up and there's this
book. I am not happy with this book. And I am not happy with the
interruption of my day. I know that according to the law, I do not have to
return the book, nor send them any money. But, being in a friendly frame of
mind, I repackage the book, and include a nice letter outlining my
displeasure with the action Popular Woodworking has taken. I had just
renewed my subscription and sent them the money. Now, they get to repackage
that money and send it back.
Maybe I'm just an old grouch in my old age but I believe this was a very
sleazy method of marketing.
Maverick (akmaverick by any chance?), I agree with you. I think you
were definitely being nice to them by returning the book especially
considering the travel and time involved on your part.
A few years ago I received a book from Reader's Digest. Same sort of
thing--unsolicited--they just sent it. Knowing the postal regulations I
decided to keep the free gift. RD sent a request for payment. I sent it
back with a note telling them that I wasn't paying for it since I
hadn't requested it. Then I started getting notices from some
collection agency and eventually a law firm.
I sent the RD, the collection agency and the law firm (the last two I
suspect don't actually exist but are a figment of Reader's Digest's
imagination) a letter telling them that I didn't appreciate the
harrassment and that I would be turning the matter over to my state's
attorney general and the Better Business Bureau. I also informed RD
that if I ever got another piece of mail or a phone call from them that
I would consider it further harrassment and would contact a lawyer.
That seemed to work and I've never been bothered by them again.
Sleazy and illegal in my state. The same thing happened to me with a
'partner' of Wachovia when it issued credit cards. Seems Leisure Advantage
a branch of AT& T(IIRC) ordered me a discount 'travel plan' without my
approval. I contacted the state attorney general in my state , the attorney
general in the state that Leisure Advantage was based and the postal
inspector. I filed a complaint with each and each agency followed through.
In the end, Leisure Advantage removed the charge it had made and gave me an
additional $70 credit. You don't have to just sit and take it. Call your
state attorney general and get a complaint form. They will bring a lot more
to bear on PW than an individual.
Probably need to check with the US Postal Service, but, if this book was
sent to you without your prior knowledge or authorization, the book is
yours - not sure of the details, but usually anything sent via US Postal
Service which you DID NOT order, that "thing" is yours to keep.
Lawrence L'Hote wrote:
Definitely sleazy, but I wouldn't consider it beneath most magazine
publishers. None of them get real high marks in my book for
customer-oriented behavior. When I canceled my american woodworker
subscription due to it getting too readers-digest-like (yes, I know who
publishes it), I spent 10 phone calls arguing with them over their supposed
*policy* that they _couldn't_ cancel it, even upon my request due to the
fact that I purchased the subscription through a third party *agent*. In
this case, the agent was a neighborhood high school kid I was helping out
with a fundraiser. Not only this, but they don't keep records on who the
agents are so I have to go track the kid down if I want to cancel. Utter
bullshit says I, and they better get their stuff together or calls will be
placed to attorneys, bbb etc....(ok, this was a bluff, but it worked). A
week later they call back saying that they found out the agent organization
and they're canceling my subscription. Odd, says I, you said you didn't
keep those records for anyone. What, was *MY* account mysteriously tagged
with the agent information that you were able to call me with, or were you
just flat out lying to me trying to make me go away? No, nevermind, that
was rhetorical. So, 2 weeks later, I get a check for the balance of my
subscription. This was nine months ago.
AND NOW, the kicker,
I'm still receiving the magazine.
Naaaah, you're right in feeling that way, IMO ... and by sending the book
back, you definitely keep them busy handling the results of their dubious
marketing schemes. If everyone took the time to send the books back, they
would soon quit.
That said, there is a recent "marketing scheme" that I DO like.
Got a CD in the mail from TurboTax. Stick it in the CD drive, access their
website, pay for your desired version with a credit card and bingo, you've
got a full fledged copy of TT, no fuss, no muss, no travel, no standing in
That, I like.
This is a good idea and I have gotten those also but I always get the CD
about 3 weeks after buying the copy from the store. They need to send them
out first. Additionally I have found the store price to be cheaper.
I think with the CD in the mail / online purchase, you get the state
version for free. So it works out even / slightly better deal than
walking into the store. IIRC, last year I got an email in conjunction
with the CD, this year just the CD came in the mail. Been using TT for
the last 5 years, don't know why I paid someone before that!
Becareful with Intuit's TurboTax. Don't ever sign up for next year. It took me
two years to get my name and credit card number off their mail list. Each time I
called I end up in India and spending hours each time... Just DON'T do it if you
understand me, it's just not worth it!
Except that Intuit is as sleazy as the mag publishers. Examples include
their recent letter to Quicken users, "sunsetting" anything other than
their new version that has less features and is loaded with more ads and
"phone home" features than the versions being sunsetted. I had used
TurboTax for a number of years until 3 years ago when they tried their
"product activation" scheme that limited use to a single computer,
jeopardized the ability to recover records, and used a protection scheme
that was highly dubious (i.e. had many characteristics of spyware). I
migrated to TaxCut and have been satisfied with it as well, it's as easy to
use and thus far they don't treat their customers like criminals. (Take a
look at ed foster's gripe line and do a search on turbotax for some better
detail than I can type in a few seconds. <www.gripe2ed.com> Ed Foster
writes for Infoworld. Unfortunately, it looks like there are only
allusions to the earlier activation/spyware incident, most of what is there
is more recent things that Intuit is doing (e.g. won't import from
soon-to-be-sunsettted Quicken versions and reduced functionality). Here is
a link from the original Intuit behavior:
<http://www.infoworld.com/article/03/02/14/07gripe_1.html Note that the
complaints here are not that Intuit was protecting its software, but how
and the effects it had on honest folks.
The absence of accidents does not mean the presence of safety
Army General Richard Cody
Yep ... I heartily dislike Intuit, and particularly QuickBooks ... have used
the latter exclusively for about ten years for my Internet company. Intuit
definitely sucks since they took over with their corporate attitude and MSFT
However, I started with TaxCut years ago for my personal taxes and then
moved over to TurboTax, I have never regretted the move ... _yet_.
That said, I load it at the last minute, do my taxes, and get that crap off
my computer as fast as I can. The Discs/now CDs go in with the years
receipts and a print out of all the worksheets.
I could care less whether I ever see it again, nor would I ever have a need
to load it again.
I agree with you. They went to the trouble to send it to you, if it is
truly valuable and they want it back they can come and get it also.
Imagine a local store delivering to you instead of to the correct address
and wanting you to complete the delivery or go to the trouble to return
It is Popular Woodworking's mistake in assuming that you wanted to buy the
book. It is their responsibility to come and get it if they want it back.
I have to wonder how many of these stories may actually be the result
of some jerk filling out trial book club memberships in someone else's
name, and not sleazy business practices.
Just a thought.
Please remove the spamtrap to email me.
"I always wanted to be somebody...I should have been more specific..." - Lily Tomlin
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