Subscribers Taken for a Spin by Phony Invoices

Keep an eye on your magazine renewal subscriptions. Consumers all across the country want others to avoid payment to Associated Publishers Network (APN) – a renewal subscription “business” claiming an address near Las Vegas, Nevada. Complaints from different people and institutions are pouring in from everywhere.

How the scam works:

You get a renewal notice and write the check. You wait and your subscription grinds to a halt. You contact the magazine and they tell you they have no working relationship with APN. Assuming you retained your paperwork, you call the renewal company. You likely won’t speak to a person. If you do, they don’t act. Calls and emails are most frequently not acknowledged; in the end, your request for a refund is ignored.

Publishers have taken notice, and records show the New York Times has filed a complaint with BBB. According to NYT’s representative, Associated Publishers Network “is not associated with the New York Times and is not authorized to solicit renewals for subscriptions.”

Dow Jones & Company, which operates The Wall Street Journal, has issued its own fraud alert to respond to mounting complaints. They say that APN purports to do business on behalf of The Wall Street Journal using various names: United Publisher’s Clearing House, National Magazine Services, Orbital Publishing, and Publisher’s Billing Exchange. Each of these so-called “businesses” shares the same address with Associated Publishers Network, which is 850 S Boulder Hwy., Henderson, Nevada or a P.O. Box in Oregon.

All of this serves as an important reminder that subscription solicitations need to be examined closely, which is why BBB advises consumers to check the payment address of subscription solicitors; also, to avoid third party billers and to not provide questionable agents with financial information. If you feel that you have received a fraudulent renewal invoice, file a complaint with BBB and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

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About Kelsey Owen

Kelsey Owen is the Director of Communications and Public Affairs for the Better Business Bureau serving Metro Washington DC and Eastern PA (@BBB_DCPA). Prior to December 2014, Kelsey was the Communications and Marketing Coordinator for the Council of Better Business Bureaus based out of Arlington, VA. Kelsey graduated from Denison University with a degree in economics and communication and is currently pursuing a master's degree in media entrepreneurship.