March 24, 2005
I Just Cancelled My "Free" Entertainment Weekly Subscription
Posted by Christine Hurt

Be patient -- this is a long story because I have to make myself look reasonable, even though I got suckered:

Last May, I bought my husband an mp3 player for his birthday.  I was at the Best Buy with my son, who was 2 1/2 then.  As I was trying to pay for the player, the clerk kept trying to sell me the $14.95 warranty.  I told her "no" many times.  Finally, I asked, "Can I not buy the player without the warranty?  Just tell me so I can go somewhere else."  She of course said that I could buy the player without the warranty.  She then asked, "Would you like 6 issues of Entertainment Weekly or Sports Illustrated?  They're free."  The sarcasm in her voice was fairly obvious.  I told her that I would take 6  issues of Entertainment Weekly.  She told me to sign on the computer screen, which I did.  The only information on the computer screen was the amount I owed for the player.  She then handed me the receipt, and then the player.  I went home, wrapped the player, and put the receipt in my jewelry box.

Sure enough, we started getting Entertainment Weekly.  We enjoyed our issues.  Although my husband won't admit it, he read it more than I did.  After the 7th or 8th issue came, I realized that I had received more than my 6 issues.  Hmmmm.  Then, the mp3 player broke.  (If you ask me why I didn't get the warranty, I'll kill you.)  So, Paul wanted the receipt so he could call Rio and yell at them.  I go to get the receipt and notice that on the receipt is a notice that by signing the receipt, I was agreeing to EW automatically renewing my subscription for six months at $29.99.  Aargh.

OK, whatever. 

Rio gave us another mp3 player (which is broken again, but that's another story), and we resigned ourselves to six months of trashy industry news (and a really good column by Stephen King).  Then, before I realized it, my debit card was charged for ANOTHER six months at $29.99 when the first six months was over.  So, today I finally took the time to cancel the subscription before the next six months runs out.

My contracts question is this:  Did I legally bind myself to the first $29.99 renewal subscription by signing a computer screen with no information about that obligation?  Does signing a computer screen for one obligation (deduction from my bank account for amount of Rio player) bind me to a secondary obligation that was only explained to me after signing on a tape receipt that was handed to me without any explanation?  I understand that I could have been more diligent, but this strikes me as a practice designed to deceive.

In addition, the subscription rate for new subscribers is $19.99/six months, according to the website.

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Comments (84)

11. Posted by miguel santiago on July 5, 2005 @ 7:43 | Permalink

The same exact thing happened to me at best buy, but with a sports illustrated subscription. After a few free issues they charged my account $24.95. I called SI and they immediately credited my account. It is best buy I am upset with though and I am going to write them a bitching letter today.


12. Posted by BBY Gal on July 7, 2005 @ 10:21 | Permalink

Sorry, but when you got the magazine, you neglected to read the screen. Everytime we put out a subscription, the credit card has to be slid twice, the first time being to send our information to the magazine company. Before it's sent, you have to sign the screen. Right about the signature line, there is a paragraph explaining the risk-free trial. It states in that paragraph that you need to cancel during your subscription in order to not have it automatically renewed. Perhaps the cashier didn't fully explain how it worked, but it is your fault to not read before signing. Anytime you sign your name, whether it's for a lease or loan or magazines, you always have to read what's above. The whole point of signing is to show that you agree to the information. If you didn't read it, that is your fault. Sorry.


13. Posted by Jim on July 8, 2005 @ 9:19 | Permalink

Same thing happened to me, except the cashier merely said that my purchase entitled me to a "free copy" of Entertainment Weekly. Fortunately I caught the screen (how I'll never know given the small print placed on a totally burnt-in screen withered from people e-signing on top of it). I'm still massively torqued off, however, and filed a complaint with the FTC. I'd suggest you all do the same. Here's the link: http://www.consumer.gov/sentinel/members.htm


14. Posted by Cindy on July 26, 2005 @ 2:53 | Permalink

The same thing just happened to me today. I noticed I was missing about $20 in my account so I scanned through it and found a $25 purchase I didn't make. I downloaded my transaction history and all it said next to it was BB-ENT*WKLY and the phone number. I googled the number and came up with this site. I'm glad that I saw this so now I know to cancel the subscription, but I'm upset that I was only told that I would receive 6 free issues...not be charged for the subscription. I'm hoping that seeing as how I'm a minor that I can get my money back some how, but I really don't know. If anyone knows more I'd appreciate an email. Thanks.


15. Posted by scammedaswell on July 27, 2005 @ 17:59 | Permalink

yeah they got me too
and they were rude to me on the phone!


16. Posted by scammedaswell on July 27, 2005 @ 18:00 | Permalink

yeah they got me too
and they were rude to me on the phone! just call them and tell them that you were lied too, they should refund our money.
888 225 5821


17. Posted by Ryan Wharton on August 8, 2005 @ 19:14 | Permalink

I had the same problem, this information has been helpful. I may actually stop shopping at Best Buy because of this. There was absolutely no mention of the contract I was entering into when the clerk offered it to me.


18. Posted by AT on August 9, 2005 @ 13:54 | Permalink

i work at BBY. She signed a screen agreeing to those terms. If she didnt, the cashier commited fraud. Cancelling is no bigies, but they send u notices in the mail telling you subscribed w. those terms


19. Posted by Erasmus on August 15, 2005 @ 7:17 | Permalink

I wrote a couple of entried in my blog about this whole practice. I even posted what was printed on the receipt verbatim. If you want to read what I wrote, enter "Scammers at Best Buy" (with the quotes) into google.

KE


20. Posted by JC on August 15, 2005 @ 11:54 | Permalink

They tried to scam me on an SI subscription. As soon as I noticed it on my bank statement, I called to cancel. They credited my account (or said they would, I'll find out in 30 to 60 days and I'll never figure out why it takes so long to do a credit)and let me have the issue already sent out for free. Woo Hooo!!!!!!!

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