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Cook's Illustrated / web membership

1 United States

Date: 9/18/17


None desired. I don't want to hear from or speak to them. I will resolve myself. I will be calling my credit card company to permanently stop payment, I will be plastering this identical review on Yelp, BBB, Google Reviews, Facebook, and anywhere else I can find, and I will throw my back issues of Cook's Illustrated into the recycle bin today.


I signed up for web membership about a year ago. The material led me to believe that I would be able to access their online library of recipes. Guess what? They show me recipes from every service they offer, making it look like I can go to any of them, but when I try to click on one that is (apparently) not in the scope of my subscription, I get a crappy rude screen that tells me (1) I'm not authorized to view that recipe, and (2) I should subscribe to another piece of their service for another fee. Misleading click bait. -10 points for hostile UI design.

I shrugged my shoulders and tolerated that for a year. Then I got an auto renewal email, which was actually a nice courtesy. +5 points.

When I read the mail, I discovered that I can cancel a magazine sub online, even though I subscribed on paper, with a postcard. And I have to cancel my Web subscription offline, by calling a phone number. What?!? -10 points for irrationality.

So I called the number, and a voice told me "Congratulations! You've been chosen to take a three question survey!" No option given to skip the survey. -10 points for invasive, rude voice mail interactions.

Survey voice started asking me personal questions, and thankfully they did add an option to skip a question by pressing #. So I skipped three times, and to my surprise, what happened? They asked me a fourth question, meaning they flat out lied to me. -20 points for dishonesty.

I skipped and skipped and skipped - finally when they reached 14 questions (I am not exaggerating!) I hung up. I tried again three times. Same result. -50 points for their contempt for customers, and their blatantly transparent and unethical attempts to discourage customers from unsubscribing.

To top it all off, while some of their recipes were excellent, most were pretty much of average quality. My wife can cook better versions of the latter.

Total score: A well deserved -99 points on a scale of -100 to 100. Mini-kudos of 1 point for at least sending a warning mail before auto-renewing me.

Sep 18, 2017

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