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Cook's IllustratedUnauthorized billing

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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.

Responses

  • Ji
    Jimmy Davis Jan 10, 2019
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I paid for my order and did not auto subscribe. You have sent me a notice that states it is my 4th notice. This is the first time I have heard rom you!

    0 Votes
  • Rn
    RNSugarfoot Feb 26, 2018
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I ordered a book last year and paid for it. After I paid for it, they continued to bill me for the book. I kept sending it back and telling them that I already paid for it. Then this year I received another book from them. I didn't open it, but sent it back the next day with a note saying "I did not order this. I don't want it. Please stop sending me books. I have received a " third notice" for the book I sent back dunning me for $29.90, however, it was actually the first bill.
    I have again sent them a note telling them I sent the book back. I don't know what more to do. If I pay for a book I didn't receive, they will continue to send me more. If I don't pay, they may turn it over to collections and my FICO score will take a beating. I'm very sick and I'm at my wits end. I don't need this stress.

    0 Votes
  • Pb
    pb4 Jan 20, 2016

    Whoa!, I figured there was something wrong, far greater than I anticipated. 'Send No Money We will bill you later free 2 week trial' and no substantiation of final cost. It surprises me that PBS keeps its affiliation in light of this tactic for billing. It is reminiscent of Columbia House Records. Thank you for the info. I hope that my current email on file with them is not abused. Will find out soon.d

    0 Votes
  • Nl
    N.Larmer Jan 07, 2016
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Today I received another invoice noted to be the Third Notice for the 2015 Cooks Illustrated Annual which I did not order. I have just kept books in the past and given them to other relatives who no longer want them. After I opened my mailbox and saw the package I drove to the post office and returned it unopened. I have tried to e-mail the billing manager but cannot get an address for her. I have also sent notices back with notes on them that stated it was returned to sender which so far has done nothing. I can't afford for this to ruin my credit score. I have also tried to cancel my magazine subscription but it has not worked yet. This is a very frustrating company to try to deal with.

    0 Votes
  • Ss
    SSNAKES Jan 04, 2016

    I have had problems with ordering one cookbook and then receiving more in the past but somehow I got that whole fiasco stopped. I had a year's subscription to their magazine (that is only six issues for some $28). Well now they have come up with a new angle! They have been sending me invoices for renewal saying that I subscribed "by means of our automated renewal program" and they say they automatically renewed my subscription "more than six months ago". NO...I would NEVER subscribe to auto-renewal for anything! This group is unbelievable! I have cancelled any subscription I have with them now and I will not be renewing anything with them in the future, They cannot be trusted!

    0 Votes
  • Tw
    twofoody Nov 23, 2015

    I am sickened from having read all these comments. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Cook's Country has sickened me (no, not from the recipes - which are good - but by having experienced their "automatic book sending list" scam about 7-8 years ago). Except for receiving magazines, everything else that happened to all those on here also happened to me. It all started innocently enough by ordering a cookbook to give as a gift. If only I knew what I was in for; the parade of books, invoices and nasty late notices from my refusal to pay, and yes I was also told "since they never take returns I had to pay" to ship back product I never ordered in the first place. I finally got them off my back via a two page letter to the Director of Marketing, figuring he should not only know what evils his co-workers in the Cooks County Book Department are up to, but should also be commended for doing a rip-roaring marketing job. It's a wonder the company has any business at all, given how lowly they treat their customers. The result? I got to keep the last unordered book for free! Woo-eeee!
    The book remains on a high shelf in my office, covered in dust and in it's original mailing carton. I never opened it. I'm not superstitious, but to me that book is some bad mojo, sent by bad people. Seriously, I am a food professional and have been in the business for over 30 years and although I do not profess to know everything, I know an awful lot about cooking. I also know how important customer satisfaction is. Have you ever had a great meal in a restaurant but had such terrible service that it took away part or most of the enjoyment of the meal? That is what has happened with Cook's Country. They have a fabulous show. I like how well-researched their recipes are and their explanations of the cooking process. I have picked up several hints and tips that I still use and the recipes I've tried were truly good if not excellent. BUT? Their customer relations stink. From a business standpoint, the publishing division has resorted to thievery so as to turn a profit. Aside from the ILLEGALITY if this, they are developing a customer base that feels violated instead of satisfied; let's face it, no one likes being scammed.
    I can't believe the company seems to not have suffered from this, that after years this is still going on, and that except for perhaps a few complaint Internet sites this issue has gotten very little public notice. This shouldn't be an underground movement; it should be in the New York Times. And after the situation is completely rectified, Mr. Kimball should apologize on air.
    Hey, I can dream, can't I??

    0 Votes
  • Ja
    Jay55 Nov 16, 2015
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Unfortunately, I too have been a victim of their unscrupulous marketing. I paid for a subscription and then began receiving books that were never ordered. I even received a book (unbeknown to me) at my ex wife's house which I had never ordered or even knew about and then eventually the unpaid bill went to a collection agency. Now my credit rating has been affected because of this apparently routine practice of shipping items items that were not ordered. This is unscrupulous and needs to be stopped immediately. I wish I were a lawyer so that we could file a class-action lawsuit. It's shameful.

    0 Votes
  • Sh
    shannon Mar 31, 2015

    I googled a recipe. Found it on the Cooks Illustrated web site. Asked if I'd like to sign up for weekly information, offers, recipes, etc. Well, I like their TV show, so I signed up. Didn't see that there was a field, already checked, for a magazine subscription! I guess you have to uncheck it if you don't want a subscription. If I'd wanted a subscription, I'd have bought a subscription. What an underhanded way to trick people into subscriptions! I found out about this field when I called to cancel a subscription that I hadn't ordered. Received the magazine yesterday, together with an invoice.
    The magazine is actually quite good, as is the TV programme, but the underhanded way they go about snaring customers, is reprehensible! I wonder if Christopher Kimball actually knows what the marketing department are doing?

    0 Votes
  • Rl
    rlc5495 Dec 11, 2014

    Just to clarify the previous complaint, I ordered the companion book for the 2014 season and paid for that but the one I didn't order was for the 2015 season.

    0 Votes
  • Rl
    rlc5495 Dec 11, 2014

    I was recently sent a cookbook that I didn't order. All because I ordered a cookbook companion to the 2014 TV season. I was so angry there was no way I was going to keep it. As part of the invoice there was a label for returns. I assumed it was pre-paid but of course it wasn't. So it cost me $7.70 in postage to return it. I called customer service naively thinking that they would refund my postage. I was told no they wouldn't because I should have called them first and they would have sent me a prepaid label. I said "why would I do that when the label in the box said to use that to return unwanted books?". She had no answer. NEVER, NEVER, EVER DO BUSINESS WITH THIS COMPANY!! Christopher Kimball is a scam artist and I have lost all respect for the others on his shows. I will never watch any of his shows again...ever.

    0 Votes
  • Le
    lengel Apr 14, 2014

    Wow. I am glad I am not the only person going through this with this company. When I called to cancel my subscriptions, the woman initially refused. I had to threaten her with a complaint to my credit card. I have since canceled that credit card and discovered that they tried to charge it for a book they claimed to have sent me but I didn't order or receive. When I reminded them that all of my subscriptions had been canceled, they continued to bill me for this imaginary book. I'm going to have to report them. What a pain. The Boston Globe reported all of this in 2011 and they still do it! Just ridiculous.

    0 Votes
  • Bj
    bjr1073 Jan 31, 2014
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    After being both a magazine and website subscriber of Cooks Illustrated, it is clear now that the organization is scamming people. You can't talk to anyone for support, your emails get only automatic replies, and they are overcharging for renewals without authorization. I'll be cancelling my subscription, stopping to buy any of their books or other products, filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, and making sure that everyone knows to avoid this scam.

    0 Votes
  • Dm
    DMC2 Dec 26, 2013

    We been receiving their books also. At first we went ahead and paid for the books because they were of interest to us. However, we have had major medical bills to pay and began refusing their books and didn't renew their magazine subscription. I have talked to a person named Michelle at their [protected] number and told her we did not want them to send books, we refused/returned the books they mailed and wanted to be taken off their mailing list. I am glad to know that we aren't the only ones that received un-ordered books. Too bad, they have a great cooking show, but lousy business practices that is an insult to what could be good customers.

    0 Votes
  • Ly
    lyonflying Dec 26, 2013

    I just got off the phone to the 1800 number on a second notice invoice for a book that had been paid for weeks ago. I have also been receiving another book that I never ordered but was going to keep and pay for on line. Thank goodness I read the complaint postings before I did this as they would have had my credit card information!! I will pay by mail and cancel all further orders from them and go to the site Robert C111 posted on November 12, 2010 for my legal rights-just in case. Thanks for the heads up, everyone.

    0 Votes
  • Br
    brenda howell Dec 20, 2013

    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!

    0 Votes
  • Br
    brenda howell Dec 20, 2013

    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!
    [email protected]

    0 Votes
  • Sc
    Scam, not for me Oct 04, 2013

    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 https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/investigations/MailFraud/fraudschemes/othertypes/UnsolicitedFraud.aspx
    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!

    0 Votes
  • Tu
    tussie Jun 10, 2012

    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.
    https://econsumer.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/

    0 Votes
  • Aw
    awhirl May 05, 2012

    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.

    0 Votes
  • Dw
    Dwitless May 02, 2012

    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!

    0 Votes
  • Di
    Disgruntled13 Sep 08, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    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.

    -1 Votes
  • Ya
    yankeedave Sep 08, 2011

    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!

    0 Votes
  • Wa
    walkinginmemphis Aug 18, 2011

    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.

    1 Votes
  • Di
    Disgruntled13 Mar 22, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    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.

    0 Votes
  • Md
    mdz Feb 16, 2011

    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.

    0 Votes
  • Cu
    curmudgeon 1001 Dec 07, 2010
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    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.

    1 Votes
  • Ro
    RobertC111 Nov 12, 2010

    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 -
    https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/investigations/MailFraud/fraudschemes/othertypes/UnsolicitedFraud.aspx

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

    1 Votes
  • Cr
    crooksillustrated Aug 06, 2010
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    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.

    2 Votes
  • Ja
    Jackiebear Aug 05, 2010

    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 [email protected]

    1 Votes
  • Al
    alaskanchick1 May 18, 2010
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    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: [protected]

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

    0 Votes
  • Ge
    GeorgeAndGracie May 11, 2010

    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!

    2 Votes
  • To
    Tom Adams Jan 26, 2010

    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

    2 Votes
  • Ci
    Cigar_Smoker Oct 15, 2009

    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 [protected] 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 [protected]
    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

    2 Votes
  • Da
    Damien May 11, 2009

    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 (www.cooksillustrated.com) does not provide an opportunity to contact a customer service representative.

    1 Votes

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