Educational Consumer Tips

Magazine Subscriptions

Author: Better Business Bureau

Better Business Bureau warns that potentially deceptive door-to-door magazine sales crews are hitting the pavement looking to earn a quick buck. In 2011, BBB received over 600 complaints from consumers across the country, about companies selling magazines door-to-door.
Many of these operations employ crews of high school and college-age people who are trying to earn money over the summer. These crews are sent to communities to knock on doors and sell magazines - sometimes without appropriate licensing. In the sales pitch, the representative might explain he is working to help get his life back on track, raising money on behalf of a charity, for a school trip, or are even selling subscriptions to support troops overseas. 
Sales representatives are typically high school or college-age, victims readily believe the potentially fictitious sales pitch and often pay several hundred dollars for the subscriptions by personal check given directly to the sales representative. Most complaints against such companies allege that a sales rep took their check and the magazines never arrived. Some complainants also allege being subjected to high-pressure and misleading sales tactics. 
Experience tells BBB that customers aren't the only victims of this scam; the young salespeople are potentially being taken advantage of by their employers and forced to work long hours, endure substandard living conditions and have their wages withheld from them.

The BBB receives thousands of complaints each year from consumers who have unknowingly purchased multiyear magazine subscriptions or who have purchased subsciptions only to find that they never receive their magazines.