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Wisconsin
BBB Warns of Subscription Renewal Notices
May 29, 2014

Milwaukee, Wis. – The Better Business Bureau Serving Wisconsin is warning subscribers of The Milwaukee Business Journal to be aware of phone calls and mailed notices resembling bills regarding subscription renewals from United Publishers Network (UPN), a company which operates under numerous different names and is based out of Medford, Oregon.

United Publishers Network has an “F” rating, the lowest rating possible, by BBB of Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington.

The Milwaukee Business Journal has advised their subscribers through their publication that they have no relationship with United Publishers Network and that the company is not authorized to offer their subscriptions. In addition, The Milwaukee Business Journal, a BBB Accredited Business, warns that United Publishers Network’s prices are significantly higher than theirs.

According to BBB’s Business Review, there have been 878 complaints filed against it in the last three years. BBB of Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington reports that United Publishers Network has resolved most of those complaints, however, that BBB has “recognized a pattern of complaints from consumers regarding improper billing and collection practices.” Consumers allege they receive bills from this company for publications they currently have subscriptions for, implying it is time for renewal. However, consumers claim the subscriptions are not expired, nor did they originally order through this company.

The BBB’s report further states, “Consumers further allege the company’s renewal advertisement states it has the lowest renewal fee, but consumers find that renewing directly through their magazine’s publishers costs less. Consumers also claim the company charges a $20 processing fee to cancel renewals.”

The BBB Serving Wisconsin notes that the mailing sent by United Publishers Network regarding the renewal states, “…by acting now, you can lock in at one of our lowest rates.”

“As evidenced by the BBB of Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington’s Business Review, it is very clear how this company operates,” said Ran Hoth, CEO and president of the BBB Serving Wisconsin. “They are soliciting customers, hoping to benefit from their confusion. We advise customers to read renewal notices carefully.”

The Milwaukee Business Journal encourages people who have received calls or letters from United Publishers Network to ignore them or to file complaints with the BBB (bbb.org). They note that renewal notices and subscription offers from the Milwaukee Business Journal will always display an official logo and ask that payments be sent to their customer service center in Charlotte, North Carolina.

For any and all questions regarding renewal of subscriptions to the Milwaukee Business Journal, company representatives can be contacted directly at 866-853-3661.

 

For more information or further inquiries, contact the Wisconsin BBB at www.bbb.org/wisconsin or 414-847-6000 (metro Milwaukee), 920-734-4352 (Appleton), 608-268-2221 (Madison) or 1-800-273-1002 (elsewhere in Wisconsin). Consumers also can find more information about how to protect themselves from scams by following the Wisconsin BBB on TwitterFacebook and You Tube.
 
ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2013, people turned to BBB more than 132 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 4.5 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org/wisconsin. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for 112 local, independent BBBs across North America, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation. BBB Serving Wisconsin was founded in 1939 and serves the state of Wisconsin.