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Universal Reading Services



Complaint Rating:  100 % with 15 votes
100% 15
I received a call this morning from this place. I have had the flu for the past week and consequently am not up to par. So I laid disoriented on the couch while this guy (Devin) rambled in my ear about a sweepstakes and magazines. It sounded like a good idea to me since I was looking into a subscription anyway. (Hindsight: Don't ever sign up for a subscription from someone who comes to you. Go get it yourself firsthand.) He gave me the story about how he is new, blah blah, and I get a free watch, blah blah.

There were a couple things I noticed even through the fog of flu. First of all, they talk really fast. And when I would ask questions, they would avoid answering completely and instead give me an irrelevant response. Then the feeling that something wasn't right sank in when I was reading my card number aloud. The problem is that they are really slick about getting you to give information. I admit it was dumb on my end - but the "supervisor" on the phone was leading me to believe that he had all of this information already anyway and just wanted to verify that it was correct. And maybe they do have it and they just need to have you on recording so they can say you authorized everything. Who knows. But he would give me part of my info and I would give the rest. Stupid me. It did occur to me in the call that it was really odd that he was reading off information of mine and I had never even answered a call from here before.

When I realized this was a scam then I told the supervisor I wanted out. He fed me crap about me already consenting and he already put me in the drawing (boo-hoo, dude!). Then he proceeded to talk me down to a lower monthly rate (which added up to about $700 bucks overall, by the way). I was sick of him and I thought $39.31 a month wasn't so bad so I went on with it. At the end of the call I asked for a number to call them back (so I could cancel) and he said I would get it in my welcome package. "Oh, okay. Thanks." *Click*.
...wait..."I WOULD GET IT IN MY WELCOME PACKAGE?!?!?!" HELLO! Are you stupid???????

I immediately went into my bank account and there was the charge! Plus some other $1.00 hold. The $39.31 came from UNIVERSAL READING COMPANY, VIRGINIA BEACH. The $1.00 hold came from MAGAZINE INC. MARIETTA HWY FL. (Florida? What?) What I am guessing from the million numbers I've called is that the $1.00 hold is from all that secondary crap they feed you at the end (hopefully you didn't make it that far) when they tell you about some other ID theft companies or some other companies they are giving information to. Whatever that third party was, that's your $1.00 charge.

The scammers gave me the correct number for that third party but this second number they gave me leads only to some underwear place (Crap.) I already canceled with Universal Reading so I shouldn't have an issue with this third party.

The best thing you can do is
1) notify your bank of the scam and ask them to reverse the charge. Most banks will do this for you. You may have to wait until the charge posts but that beats $700 of your life getting sucked away.
2) Cancel and replace your debit card. My bank said this is the best thing you can do in this situation. I did that. You should not have issues with collections and crap if you can get through to Universal Reading and cancel your subscription. Unfortunately, that's the hard part.
3) Call the scammers and cancel. The following numbers worked for me and you'll end up getting the same people no matter which number you call (another obvious clue that this is shady):
1-888-446-4405*** (***these two numbers will get you the same guy)
They will try to tell you that you made an agreement. They will also try and sell you a lower price. Just ignore it and tell them firmly that:
This shut them up for me and I had it canceled. Call time there was 3:33 -- so just be firm and you won't have 20-40 minute calls. I also called each of these number back again and I verified again and again that it was canceled. Also, they can give you a cancellation #. ASK FOR IT.
Complaint comments Comments (22) Complaint country United States Complaint category Scam Contests
More Universal Reading Services Complaints & Reviews
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Universal Reading Services - REALLY!!!! [3]


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N  30th of Sep, 2009 by    0 Votes
I got a call about entering a sweepstakes and receiving free stuff, as long as I sign up for a magazine subscription. I was first talking to a female, then was transfered to a male who told me the previous woman was "new" at the job. It started out reasonably priced, but by the end of it, they were telling me I needed to pay 69.90 per month for 5 magazines! So I declined and I was offered a lower payment of 49.90. They have really good, persuasive fast talking sales people, and I already gave them my card number so I gave in. They will also record you agreeing to everything they are asking you. But then I googled this company and found a complaint on this site, so I called my bank right away. I found 4 pending transactions on my account: a 49.90, and three $1.00 charges by the same company. My bank told me they cannot dispute pending charges, and that I should just wait and see if the transactions go through or not. They eventually didn't, so I let it go and assumed I wouldn't be charged again for those rip off magazine prices. But then one week later, I was charged a 24.99 by a company named Magazine Virginia Beach (which I guessed were the same people). First of all, the first transaction didn't go through because I didn't want it authorized, secondly, this new transaction isn't even the same amount that I was told I was going to be charged. So I called the number listed on the transaction, and talked to a "new" salesperson who couldn't even get past 5 minutes talking to me about cancelling and decided to call in her "supervisor" who started to explain to me that I was talking to a "new" girl. De ja vu much? Same story as the first call. I then told the supervisor that I want to cancel, and she kept insisting that I am locked in and cannot pull out of the deal. When I kept insisting that I wanted to cancel, she proceeded to give me a 70% discount and that I MUST pay the monthly and whatever bs they had left to pull. I told her the bottomline was that I wanted to cancel and that I am in no legal way bound to keep paying. And if they weren't willing to cancel, I will just freeze my bank account. She then became pissy and told me that they were making an $800 loss and even had the nerve to ask me "are you happy now that our company is making a loss?" and I said "Yes." So she cancelled it. They better not charge me again. My advice, just don't give your card number to anyone calling from either Universal Reading Services or any magazine services coming out of Virginia Beach. But if you unfortunately have already, just keep insisting on cancelling, don't fall for their discounts or specials as they call it, and be ready to freeze your account if you have to.
A  18th of May, 2010 by    0 Votes
but what is the number to call them on to cancel?
A  13th of Aug, 2010 by    0 Votes
hi, i'm Chantel,
They had just called me today and they had pulled 58.82 dollars out of my bank account and then i changed my mind, at the last minute and i had told them i wanted to cancel he said " oh sorry you have to call the other line", unfortunately they DID NOT give me the cancellation number, they have no sources online and cannot be found. So i'm only 18 and already people are starting to scam me. do you or anyone have the cancellation number? otherwise i should freeze my bank account
A  29th of Oct, 2010 by    0 Votes
I just got one of these calls 30 min ago and got sucked in like all of us. I looked online and found the actual number and talked to the customer service lady and had it "canceled". the number is (800) 643-1164. i havnt even made it a day thru this experience yet but if they charge me next month im ready to freeze it.
D  23rd of Nov, 2010 by    -1 Votes
Wow I cant believe how stupid I was I believing all this crap! All the stuff you guys are saying happened to me too 3 days ago so here I am all freaked out because that stupid magazine company charged $68.28 out of my card and yes I did give them my card number and the safety numbers from the back...what's wrong with me now I'm regreting what i did! If your reading this I'm sorry to tell you, you got scammed big time as someone said already freeze your card if you have to..cuz I'm ready to do that ASAP!!
A  15th of Mar, 2011 by    0 Votes
They got me too. They charged me more than what they told me and so I canceled my card. I called the number above and after arguing with the woman on the phone for about 10 minutes she put me on hold and eventually agreed to cancel the subscription. This is 100% a scam, I had the same experience. A "new" girl called me and asked me all kinds of questions and then transferred me to her supervisor who spoke very quickly and made the numbers seem like it was a good deal. Then they literally record you saying yes to how much you agree to and what you're getting and everything so that they have proof. When I tried to cancel they started telling me that I had agreed to the payment and that their company had already committed to the publishers and they wanted me to "honor" the agreement so they don't lose money. Forget it, cancel your card and try to get them to cancel your subscription.
A  11th of Apr, 2011 by    0 Votes
The same thing just happened to me about an hour ago. I was driving to school and wasn't really concentrating all that much on what they were saying but the salesperson was "new" also and sucked me in to all these promotions. Then the "supervisor" came on to verify everything. It started out being $4.99 and all of a sudden went up to $68.00 a month for 19 months which is ridiculous for magazines. I told her I wanted to cancel and she kept saying she would give me a discount to 49.99 and kept saying "Now I know this is much better right?" NO ITS NOT! She still wouldn't agree to cancel and kept dropping the price but by now I knew it was a scam. I went to my bank and cancelled the debit card I gave them. Now I plan on calling the Better Business Bureau and filing a complaint. Don't let them get you and if this just happened to you I suggest you go straight to your bank.
N  5th of Aug, 2011 by    0 Votes
yea i was tricked also I called that number (1 800 643 1164 ) told them that i wanted to cancel buddy they tryed thier best to talk me in to taking a smaller paymeant told them that i would freeze or close out my bank account they said they would refund my money and cancel my account but we will see i also was recording the phone call ((( due to them saying that they record the call for trianing and such !!! ))))
A  5th of Aug, 2011 by    0 Votes
i called that 1 800 643 1164 to get mine canceled they tryed thier best to talk me out of it offering me disscounts but thing is i to was haveing a bad day due to losing my job and that what they charged me overdrafted and if they were not going to cancel i was going to freeze or even close out my bank account !!! they said that they would cancel me ( dude was not happy but how is today ) BUT WE WILL SEE!!!
A  31st of Aug, 2011 by    0 Votes
i got a call around 11:30 this morning. it basically consisted of the same BS as the other comments above. the whole Diamond watch thing and the chance of a lifetime sweepstakes winning up to $100, 000 in cash and prizes. I of course agreed to the magizine thing bc i wanted the diamond watch. silly me. when we got off the phone i checked my bank account online and what do you know, $68.28 was already deducted. i then googled and found hundreds of complaints. after having no luck what so ever on canceling my subscription bc they said"sorry sir, it takes a couple days for your information to be processed into out database", i then went directly to a local branch of my bank and deactivated my debit card and ordered a new one. i am thinking that that is the only way of canceling your subscription. also, call your bank and file a dispute on the current charges that already been deducted from your account. you should be credited back. let this be a learning experience bc it certainly was for me.
N  9th of Nov, 2011 by    0 Votes
They work under a company called National Services Corp.
N  15th of Nov, 2011 by    0 Votes
Same thing with me. The girl told me i had to pay only 69.28 for 4 months & then i dint have to pay them anything but i wld b gettin the magazines for 24 months but the charges dint stop. When i asked them how much more i had to pay them he said 1000something & i freaked out, i canclled my card & they kept calling me all day just bugging me. I spoke to the supervisor & she gave me a BS story sayin they already paid for the magazines so i cant unsubcribe and offered me 50% discount but i had to pay them 500 bucks to close it, i said no then she offered me 85% discount n pay her 1oo something i& i said no again, she was ### but i got out of this S...t mag thing. Dont even consider this guys its a huge a.. scam
A  21st of Nov, 2011 by    0 Votes
Same thing happened to me, I than google the company and saw this postings I called and canceled and they didn't want to canceled I was like why not the guy had said that I had already agreed to pay 68 per month for 19 months I than told him there was no way I could of done that I am unemployed and am a college student he than after going back and forth said yes to canceling and said that my $68 would be transfer back do anyone know if this would be true or should I just talk to my bank and frezz my account.
N  22nd of Dec, 2011 by    0 Votes
same thing happened to my husband today. a survey company called and offered him 4 magazines for 20.00 they ended up withdrawing 68.00 three times out of his debit card. he had to cancel his card. the number they called from is 281-824-3293 beware its a scam!!!
A  1st of Feb, 2012 by    0 Votes
I just got off the phone with the supervisor. He told me I couldn't cancel, it was too late, I made an agreement. He tried offering me a lower price, told me the magazines are pre paid and they just want their money back. I told them I have cancelled my card and that my bank won't be making payment. He told me my bank does not have the authority to cancel it. At that point I hung up. I'm scared, I do not know who can help me or what to do. I can't afford to be scammed like this. Someone please help.
N  1st of Feb, 2012 by    0 Votes
I tried calling this number 1 (800) 643-1164 and was transferred to the supervisor. I kept insisting that they cancel my subscription but he kept getting more and more intimidating. I told him I already cancelled my card and reported it as fraud and he said my bank doesn't have the authority to cancel anything. He was really scary. I'm an 18yr old female in college. It was stupid of me to agree to anything but they talk so fast and they're good at what they do. Even after canceling my card, I am still getting emails from my bank saying that they were trying to get more money out of my account. I don't know what to do. I've already receive a letter from the "magazine" company saying I owe them money. I sent that letter to cancel it but the supervisor says I did not send it in time therefore I am responsible for payin everything back. I told him I have the right to cancel it whenever I want and he told me that I agreed to a 3 day cancellation period wtf?! Someone please help.
A  4th of Jun, 2012 by    0 Votes
This was helpful. I was so disappointed with myself when I got drawn in. Immediately after the call, I saw the charge was on my card. It took me to find this website, and get the phone number. Thanks. It wasn't provided, and I have not received anything from this company yet. I just beat the 3 day receision period, although it took me at least 4 times telling the receptionist I wanted to cancel altogether. She wanted to offer options, but I insisted I wanted the order cancelled.
A  7th of Jun, 2012 by    0 Votes
I got a call from them a couple weeks ago and had agreed to the magazine subscription. As they went along I knew I should have hung up on them after I said no to them a couple of times and they kept insisting. I've called them 3 times and they said they couldn't cancel because I called after the 3 days I was told I had to cancel. The first time I called I was told that the 3 days after they placed the order had passed so it was too late to cancel, but I also had 3 days from when I received a "packet" in the mail. I received it in the mail Wednesday of the next week after they called me. I followed the instructions for cancelling and mailed it back to them. I called earlier this week to see if my account was cancelled and it was not. When I asked if they received my cancellation in the mail they said they didn't get it. This was after I was transferred to a supervisor. When I asked him if it was true that I had 3 days after they placed the order to cancel and 3 days after receiving the packet to cancel he didn't ever answer the question. He just kept going on about how they had an obligation to the magazine companies and I was too late in cancelling and everything had already been finalized. I contacted my bank the same day I received the call and filed a claim. My bank did put a stop recurring payment on my account from the company and it worked because it blocked a transaction of about $300 to pay upfront and not have to pay again the last time I called the company. I've been beating myself up about it ever since it happened. But trying to get it all taken care of. The number they called me from was 703-634-0037.
A  11th of Jun, 2012 by    0 Votes
After getting the wrong numbers to cancel, they tried to convince me that "this is the fourth day and therefore i was unable to cancel." Just argue that the 72 hr period is mute when you were given the incorrect contact information initially. I asked to speak to "Latoya's" supervisor and, or course, I was already speaking to her (as if). I pointed out that there is always someone in charge of even the highest managers and wanted to speak to them. I was transferred to another person who gave me a cancellation number, a guarantee that if anything posts on my account it will be refunded and if not to call back (rolls eyes). Raise hell, and you shall receive. Having worked in customer service for years, I already know we don't' want to deal with the ###-iest people in the world, so just be a pain in the ### and you're golden.
N  9th of Nov, 2012 by    0 Votes
okay i recently called 800-643-1164 to cancel my account with a company name "Universal Reading Services" which appeared on my account and this other magazine company appeared with a number on my account "APG*MAGAZINES 866-898-1073" so i called both numbers and it appeared to be the same company taking money out of my account and talked with the same lady trying to cancel my account but she told me the only way i can get my account cancelled is to pay off my remaining balanced of $900. I told her that this is bull and i had never received magazines in the mail like she said i did. She told me I had a 3-day period to cancel my account, ugh this pissed me off because she said they had been trying to reach me all this time. So i don't know what to do or how I can get my money back!!!

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