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Cook's Illustrated / Unauthorized billing

1 Des Moines, IA, United States Review updated:
Contact information:

In 2008 I ordered a Christmas gift of the 2008 Cook's Illustrated book. I marked that it was a gift and paid in full when the order was placed. That was the end of it, or so I thought. This year I received another book (the new 2009 version) that I did not order. When I contacted customer service they said to return the book with the label on the web site. That was a month ago, I am still receiving past due notices requesting payment. I would not suggest becoming a customer of this company if they are going to treat their customer's this way.

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  • Da
      11th of May, 2009
    +1 Votes

    I accepted an offer for a free issue of Cook's Illustrated magazine, but I did not order a subscription. I have received 4 invoices demanding payment for a subscription. I am annoyed that Cook's Illustrated does not supply a phone number for me to phone in a complaint. I am also annoyed that the Web site that is listed on the invoices ( does not provide an opportunity to contact a customer service representative.

  • Ci
      15th of Oct, 2009
    +2 Votes

    This scam company just sent me an invoice telling me I owe them $$$. Problem is I NEVER ASKED FOR A SUBSCRIPTION! This invoice is dated 9-14-2009 and I received it on 10-15-2009. I know the Post Office can be slow, but thirty days!

    Looks like a scam, smells like a scam, sounds like a scam, it is a SCAM!

    I just finished talking to Tonya at Cooks Illustrated and my subscription should be cancelled. I bet I will get another invoice in the next few weeks.

    For those who need their phone number - Cooks Illustrated can be reached at 800-526-8442
    Don't waste your time with the automated phone attendant, just tell it that you can not find your account number and you will get a live person

  • To
      26th of Jan, 2010
    +2 Votes

    I, too, had ordered a book which was sent to me in 2008 and, subsequently, when my magazine order ended I had nothing more to do with them. The book was overpriced and I wasn't getting enough use of their magazine to continue at any price. Almost a year had passed and I received another (the new 2009) book which I did not order. I refused it and returned it to the post office thinking that was the end. A month or so later I received an invoice for $35, so I called immediately and, according to the customer service woman my account was credited and she apologized for the mishap. I was pleased at the quick and easy response. Almost three months afterward I started receiving collection notices which are impossible to clear up because I can't reach a person! I'm angry about this and their lack of customer service availability - try calling them! Tom Adams

  • Ge
      11th of May, 2010
    +2 Votes

    Yes, it is seemingly impossible to stop receiving unsolicited books and charges from America's Test Kitchen. The Post Office refuses to help, and you have to prove that you returned the books to them and hope that they don't get lost in the mail, lost in receiving, etc. I cannot urge folks strongly enough to never provide America's Test Kitchen with your name or address!

  • Al
      18th of May, 2010
    0 Votes

    I got a marketing phone call for a free offer to preview a Cooks Illustrated book. Since I have had issues in the past with this company, I Very Clearly declined the offer... low and behold a book showed up on my doorstep. It was infuriating to see they sent it anyway and when I couldn't find a phone number to contact the company, I thought my head was going to explode. THANK YOU "Cigar_Smoker" for posting a phone number to contact Cooks. The end result is: I will be donating their book and they have removed me from all of their marketing (fingers crossed).

    Cooks Illustrated Customer Service number: 1-800-526-8442

    Thanks again, for your post - it was very helpful. =) =)

  • Ja
      5th of Aug, 2010
    +1 Votes

    I agree completely. What started out as an ad-free approach to cuisine and advice about materials of cooking seems to have emerged as a quite greedy enterprise; it wraps the content of their articles into several forms, often with over-lapping redundant information. After all, there are really only a small number of ways to cook, and once having gotten through the basics, it's everyone for herself. Thus, I am tired of receiving a barrage of advertisements from Mr. Kimball, rather tired, too, of his sermons and descriptions of his life, and, finally, while I admire his path to riches, I don't want to contribute beyond a specific minimum. For what it is worth, should anyone have trouble with this matter, you are advised to contact Ms. Valerio at [protected]

  • Cr
      6th of Aug, 2010
    +2 Votes

    I also received the unsolicited 2008 cookbook with a bill, which I promptly returned. I had signed up for the 30 day free access to their site, which I thought I had canceled and certainly never renewed. I told them I wanted nothing to do with their immoral company, and made sure my account was closed. Thirty months later I find that they are billing me $3.95 a month, with no notice or bill. I didn't see the charge for less than $4/month, and didn't know for over two years that I was a member. I never got a bill and haven't been on their site since the last scam. Don't give them your credit card info! Better yet, don't support this awful business.

  • Ro
      12th of Nov, 2010
    +1 Votes

    Unfortunately, my story is the same. After purchasing the "America's Test Kitchen Cookbook", I started receiving unsolicited merchandise, with accompanying charges on the credit card. By law, this extra merchandise is mine for free -

    I'm reporting their business practice to the U.S. Postal Service.

  • Cu
      7th of Dec, 2010
    +1 Votes

    I spend the winter in Mexico so that when they send me the book I can't return it in the 30 day "review" period. There is no address on the invoice to write them so in 2009 I wrote on the invoice telling them to send no more books. Well when I got back to the US there was another cookbook. I refused to pay hoping they would stop sending me stuff. Well, now it is in the hands of a credit agency. I don't know what to do. It is my understanding you don't have to pay for unsolicited materials sent in the mail but I hate seeing my credit besmirched.

  • Md
      16th of Feb, 2011
    0 Votes

    I recently requested a free trial of the Cooks Illustrated magazine frm their website. I got the magazine, then started getting letters that I owe them 24.95. I was going to contact them to confirm that I don't owe them anything, then I found the following on the back of the invoice:

    "Restatement of Offer Terms and Conditions:
    You will receive a Free Trial Issue of Cook's Illustrated magazine. If you wish to continue receiving Cook's Illustrated, pay this invoice and receive one full year of Cook's Illustrated (six issues in all, including your Free Trial issue). If you decide that Cook's Illustrated is not for you, write "cancel" across your invoice, return it, and owe nothing at all for your Free Trial issue."

    Needless to say, I'm sending this invoice back with CANCEL written in red ink. It is unfortunate about the whole scamming situation too, I really love the show and hate that it is affiliated with such an immoral marketing department.

  • Di
      22nd of Mar, 2011
    0 Votes

    I made the mistake of getting a subscription to Cook's Illustrated and ordering one of their cookbooks. A month later I received a bill for $24.95 even though I had ordered nothing and received nothing in the mail. There was no explaination what they were billing me for. I e-mailed their customer service and received no response. Last month I was sent a book that I did not want or order so I immediately returned it with a note telling them not to send me any more merchandise. I also cancelled my subscription to the magazine and removed myself from their e-mail list. This month I was sent yet another cookbook and a bill for BOTH cookbooks including the one I returned last month. I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau to which they did not respond. My husband has tried contacting them by phone and via e-mail and gotten no response. They are the worst company I have ever dealt with and I will never purchases one of their magazines, videos or books or ever watch the show again.

  • Wa
      18th of Aug, 2011
    +1 Votes

    I agree as well. I have a similar story. Received books I did not order. Sent them back months ago and am still receiving overdue payment notices. This seems to be a pattern with this company. Buyer beware! Avoid Cook's Illustrated like the plague.

  • Ya
      8th of Sep, 2011
    0 Votes

    Agreed! It's a good TV show but I am so sorry that I ever ordered anything from them - I have cancelled and still keep getting charged on my credit card. DO NOT ORDER ANYTHING FROM COOK'S ILLUSTRATED! You will regret it!

  • Di
      8th of Sep, 2011
    0 Votes

    I finally got a response from my complaint to the Better Business Bureau and Cook's Illustrated stopped sending me bills and claimed they refunded money to my account (which is interesting because I don't remember ever giving them my credit card account info). However, they stated that by ordering one cookbook I had agreed to get an entire series of them and was sent notices to stop the cook books being sent. This is news to me, because frankly if I had known it would be a series of cookbooks, I would not have ordered the first one. As it is, I never use the thing and it's probably getting donated to the local library. I do not know where these notices were about receiving the other books were either since I never saw one. When I returned the first unwanted book I explicitly stated that they not send me another one and that request was ignored. They also did not acknowledge that I had returned one of the books. So basically, they're finally done sending me bills but according to the e-mail they sent it was all my fault. So customer service is not their strong suit to say the least. My mother also had an issue with the magazine. She purchased a subscription and did not know that my sister had also purchased one for her at the same time so my mother was receiving two magazines. She wrote to the company and asked for either a refund or for the money to be put towards the next's years subscription. She received a check in the mail that was sent to Cook's Illustrated by a completely different person, instead of getting the check she sent. Had she been a dishonest person, Cook's Illustrated basically sent her an excellent opportunity to steal someone else's identity. A personal check has someone's name, address and bank account on it after all. My mother destroyed the check and decided it wasn't worth the hassle. Everyone in my family has had a negative experience with Cook's Illustrated.

  • Dw
      2nd of May, 2012
    0 Votes

    I started getting billing notices for Cook's Illustrate which we never received nor subscribed to. However, we had visited the America's Test Kitchen website looking for a recommendation on something.

    I didn't even know what Cooks' Illustrated was until I googled and found this site.

    I called ATK (800 number on their website) and asked to have this removed asap. I'll be following up with a report to teh Better Business Bureau. I think this "subscription" was caused by a cookie on their site due to how the bill was sent - there is a typo in our Internet service provider's info, and it's on the bill too. This is SO wrong and I am so glad each of you had posted with your stories!

  • Aw
      5th of May, 2012
    0 Votes

    I too have been receiving bills from Cook's illustrate for ATK after visiting their website. I have just received a third notice saying I have 21 days to make a payment or I will have an OVERDUE ACCOUNT STATUS. I never subsribed to this magazine.
    Do not know what to do to get this harassment to stop.

  • Tu
      10th of Jun, 2012
    0 Votes

    Their practice is fraud. By law, and according to the FTC website, unordered materials do not have to be returned and if the company attempts to collect money for them, especially if there is harm to your credit rating, they will get hefty fine. So report them. The FTC has a simple online form to fill out to lodge a complaint. If everyone does this, they will be fined and no longer be able to be in business with these fraudulent practices.

  • Sc
      4th of Oct, 2013
    0 Votes

    I was a victim of this sleazy approach and spent way too much time trying to email and speak to them. Check this website for verification that you have no obligation to pay for unordered books
    And then find creative things to do with the books you are sent. Gifts, donations, firewood, doorstops. Don't even think of paying for them!

  • Br
      20th of Dec, 2013
    0 Votes

    Good after noon, i have recieved abill from you of 24.95, i have not ordred any magazines from you, this is my 3rd notice, this is the first bill i got, i have not recieved any magazines from you, please take care of this, i dont read magazines, i did not order a magizine!

  • Br
      20th of Dec, 2013
    0 Votes

    I did not order any type of magazines from your company, i just recieved a 3rd notice in the mail, i have not recieved any oyhers bills of 24.95, i dont read magazines, i have not recieved any magazines, please take care of this!

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