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National Readers ServiceMagazine subscription scam

1
D Review updated:

OK, last week I didn't know anything about National Readers Service. After dealing with these people on my daughter's behalf, that's certainly no longer the case. At this point, National Readers Service has verbally agreed to close her account with no balance, no bills in the future, any additional magazines received after this cancellation are her gift at no charge, and her payment to date will be refunded. Whether or not that agreement is honored, we will see over time.

The Scam:
Unknown to me, my 19 year old was scammed by National Readers Service in June 2009. She bought a pre-paid, essentially cover price, 5 magazine/ 5 year subscription for $68.83 per month for 19 months to be withdrawn automatically from her bank account through her check card number. She also agreed to preview two other offers, United Benefit Advantage and ID Sentinel Alert programs (address Naperville, IL), and was offered a $100 gas card. This ended up being a registration card from International Rebates, LLC (address Tallevast, FL) through United Benefits Services (address Virginia Beach VA) for $10 per month mail-in gas rebate program.

When she tried to cancel the magazine subscription, National Readers Service refused to honor an understood 7-day cancellation period. She was offered a “settlement” of 30% of the total $1229 remaining on the account to cancel or a reduced payment plan of $39.93 for 31 months as her only options. She took the reduced payment plan. When the member packets for the 2 preview offers arrived, she realized there was a one-time, non-refundable $19.99 charge plus $19.99 per month charge for each program with a 30 day cancellation period. She called, and they both agreed to cancel by phone with no difficulty. Whether or not those agreements are honored, we will see over time as well. We have no intention of registering for the gas rebates. But if “not registering” isn’t enough of a message we could end up having to deal with them too.

I hope our "experiences" with this company can be helpful to someone else. Suggestions for ways to deal with these people are on my blog at http://theNRSscam.blogspot.com/

Good luck!!

Responses

  • M
      Jan 27, 2010

    I'm 20, and I had the exact same offer thrust upon me September of 2009. The telemarketer refused to take no for an answer. I understand these people are just doing their job, but to what extend I might ask? I saw another comment elsewhere saying oh, well you people should have known what the terms were if you would have listened and these telemarketers are just doing their jobs. How many times does one person have to say no before these telemarketers understand? They should not continue on for over 45 minutes telling you about what a great deal it is, ESPECIALLY not if you have already said many times that you are not interested! I was sick in bed and had taken cough syrup about 30 minutes before when I received the call, and pretty much went through this same exact ordeal, except I refused the other two offers. What frustrated me is that I told them I was not interested, that I couldn't afford it because I was a college student, and that I was not feeling well and wanted to decline the offer. But to no avail. I was told that there was a cancellation period, and when I called to cancel two days later, they refused and said I would be financially obligated to pay throughout the remainder of the service. They told me that they are not allowed to cancel services, that the telemarketers would never have been allowed to say that, and that if they allowed customers to cancel they wouldn't be able to stay in business. They said I must have been mistaken. They talk as fast as possible in one breath, you tell them to slow down and repeat themselves and they just do the same thing over again. It's very upsetting being put into this sort of situation. You're being told and led to believe one thing, and doing something completely different. There was also something I remember about them calling me because I was a visa card holder and that they had my information somehow, which I thought was odd. I don't like that they had my card information and cell phone number, that was a little frightening that they had that on hand. One thing that really bothered me about the people I spoke with is that they talk down to me. They did not and still do not respect me as a customer, which is what I still am, considering I'm still being forced to pay on the account. Rather, they talk to me like I'm naive, stupid, and easily manipulated because I am of younger age. On the contrary... the only reason I even agreed to accept the service is because I was ill, in bed, on medications, and very tired of trying to talk to these people about how many times I was uninterested. I honestly wish I had hung up the phone, although I don't usually like doing that to people, because they are still just trying to do their job. But they shouldn't be putting people in these kinds of situations. It's wrong.

    0 Votes
  • E
      Feb 02, 2010

    Feb 02 2010

    On Jan. 26, 2010 my husband received a phone call regarding mags. My husband and I were just discussing fundrasier for the Elementry school my little one attends. So the phone rings and my husband thinks ok this is for the school no problem. I come in ck the bank and see a debit 68.23 for Universal Readers another name in which they are allowed to operate under. Well I now its a scam get on the phone trying to reach someone no answer. Ok do the web search and low and behold there they are. Scam Scam Scam. Ok get on the phone have to cancel cards and change accounts. What a nigtmare. Finally come home today and there is a confirmation notice call if changes need to be made. May Medina is the supvr name Yeah Rigth. Ok we will cancel 2 wks. Dont hold your breath. Hopefully this is over but according to sites this is just the begining form what I see.Its very sad they these business are still in business. I lesson well learned never give information out over the phone or for that matter purchase unless you know for sure. These types of Business will clean you out in minutes . Becareful.

    Has anyone tried to cancel ?

    Thanks

    0 Votes
  • D
      Feb 10, 2010

    Yes, Elizabeth,

    Not only tried ...succeeded!

    My daughter's account was cancelled AND her payment was refunded. (They even agreed mistakenly to a double refund during a follow-up phone call before we realized the $68.28 had already been credited through her closed debit card. Thank goodness they didn't actually send the duplicate refund, or I would have been tempted to scam them back for the aggravation. lol) She also received a written cancellation confirmation letter from them.

    This happened only after being reported to the FTC (and telling them so) and very straightforwardly informing them of my intentions to report them to the National Consumers League, the Better Business Bureau, my Attorney General/ their Attorney General, the Magazine Publishers of America... you get the idea here. After being contacted by the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office, NRS replied with a letter again confirming her cancellation and stating she "will never be billed again whatsoever" and expressed their "sincere regret" for any inconvenience caused to myself or my daughter.

    Hopefully that sincere regret (or at least the resulting attention of the Attorney General) will actually encourage them to abide by their own policies in the future. If not, perhaps a continuation of official complaints will result in a “genuinely sincere regret” at some point. lol.

    For anyone needing to cancel with the Pittsburgh bunch, I suggest dealing directly with "Christopher" as the best course of action...

    “It has always been our policy that under the pay during service agreement, the order is cancelable upon customer request.” [per Christopher Johnson, Customer Service Manager, NRS 1709 S. Braddock #166, Pittsburgh]

    During my first conversation with NRS on my daughter's behalf I made a promise to "Roberta" and "Summer" to post these suggestions on any message board I ever encountered with National Readers Service complaints. Creation of theNRSscam blog was the result of keeping that promise. I have collected general magazine subscription scam information, consumer protection resources, specific information about National Readers Service, and suggestions for dealing with magazine subscription scams including convenient complaint submission links for all the above mentioned agencies and organizations. Hopefully you can find something helpful there if you need it.

    Best of luck to everyone, D/
    www.theNRSscam.blogspot.com

    0 Votes
  • J
      Mar 24, 2010

    Its a scam! Don't accpet the magazine as a free gift for closing the account without the 'additonal charges'. I did this two years ago..paid a settlement fee of $278. Two years later they call (now they are usuing Virginia Renewal Service instead of National Readers Service) and are stating that was a settlement for only for two year subscription..I still owed them five years and that there was a two year grace period from the date of settlement and that I can either pay $720 now or in monthly increments and give them the option of not renewing...whatever means it is do not accept the offers, gifts, apologies, etc..they will come back and try to scam you again!

    0 Votes
  • F
      Sep 29, 2010

    Don't even get ME started! I, too, was duped. But they have started a new tactic...going by 2 names to get you to pay, and showing 2 different totals, hoping you'll be gullible to think, "Oh God, I signed up for 2 of these!" However, when pressed you get the same service date. Hmm.

    Lookout not only for National Readers Service but ALSO Midwest Publishers Inc.!

    Better yet. Just don't do it! If anyone does a cold call to you tell them to take your name off their list as that is the law. If you are already on the DO NOT CALL list tell them that and that they just broke the law. See who can hang up the fastest then!

    Wish I had been the wiser back in March. Still fighting my strategy using the BBB, FTC, State AG, Consumer Affairs, and the list goes on. The more complaints I can file (and print to send to these 2 companies in response to their bully tactics) the better off I hope we will all be in the end. If they took you for a ride, file away too! Thanks D for all your suggestions at your blog! Everybody should go there!

    0 Votes
  • A
      Mar 04, 2011

    I've been dealing with them for months... When they called me, it sounded a bit odd but I had thought at the time it was legit. I wish I had done some research cuz now I keep getting billed for things I'm not even receiving. I've received maybe 10 magazines in like an 8 month period. And they'll call me sometimes up to 7 times a day back to back to back if you miss a payment or to try to get you buy something else. It's aggravating to say the least. For the most part the people are extremely rude and give you the run around when you try to cancel your subspriction. It's such a pain. To anybody who reads this if you get contacted by Virginia Renewal Services ignore them, tell them to die, pretty much tell them whatever just dont subscribe to anything they'll try to sell you. I'm trying to get out of my subspriction with them and its a nightmare. If anybody can help me out please dont hesitate to share your information.

    0 Votes
  • M
      Jun 21, 2011

    I was called a company called American Publishing and agreed to their offer I immediately tried to call them back but never got through the next day I did and they told me that my order would be cancelled and I also asked them o send me a written confirmation that I has been cancelled should I also send them a letter just to confirm that it was cancelled and that I will not be charged in the future

    0 Votes

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