Monday, February 15, 2010

The Sky is Falling: Real Simple Billing

If you subscribe to any magazine, you've been the recipient of multiple mailings requesting renewals and payments.  Some magazines have even gone to a, usually disguised in the fine print, automatic renewal system that requires you to tell them to stop rather than the other way around.
I've subscribed to Real Simple for several years.  They seem to send out a more than normal amount of reminders and bills.  But this one really went a little too far.

The bottom screams: 4TH REQUEST FOR PAYMENT.  Now that part was probably true.  But after going on-line as directed at the bottom to check my account, my subscription was in no way in danger of being suspended as threatened.  I was paid up for nearly another year.  Then the next day a magazine arrived and showed a 2012 expiration.  

This notice didn't just cross in the mail with my payment - the payment was made and received months before.  So are they hoping that I (and others) will just knee jerk react and send another check?

I contacted the on-line customer service and expressed my dismay at this scare tactic and inaccurate billing.  No reply.  Then a few days later I was sent a a link to complete a survey about my on-line customer service experience.  Are you kidding me?  So I completed the survey and let them know they were misinformed if they thought my request was responded to.

Then I got an e-mail that simply said that my account was cancelled as requested and that a refund was forthcoming. 

Someone at Real Simple made a business decision to use this billing strategy.  Guess what?  I suspect I am not the only one that had the complete and total opposite reaction than the one they were hoping for.  Bye-bye.  Insulting your customer's intelligence is bad business.  It's that simple.


  1. Love the "learn how to pay your bills on time with our magazine' statement, too. That in and of itself would have made me un-subscribe.

  2. ugh! How annoying! Anyway, check out the specials b/c I got my one year Real Simple subscribtion for $5 around Christmas time. (if you ever decide to renew!)


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