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When it comes to shopping everyone wants the most value for their money. The idea is to pay as little as possible and receive as much as possible in return. Smart shoppers know that cheap pricing does not always translate into the most value for your dollar. Something that seems like a phenomenal deal could turn out to be a nightmare. Buyers can find themselves saddled with products of inferior quality or poor customer service.

Shoppers searching for cheap magazine subscriptions are especially vulnerable. Magazine circulation numbers (the number of people who subscribe combined with the number of magazines purchased at the newsstand) have been steadily declining for years. The increasing number of magazine salesman and retailers factored with the combination declining sales has created an environment of intense competition for customer dollars. Sellers competing for the shrinking pool of consumers shopping for magazine subscriptions have resulted in prices that are at an all time low.

Unfortunately, meager profit margins have led some magazine subscription sellers to list low prices only to deceptively find other ways to raise the cost of the subscription. While there are great deals to be found for cheap magazine subscriptions, customers should look for these common tricks used to raise the cost of a subscription by dishonest retailers.

Added Shipping Costs

If a magazine seller has added a shipping cost to the total price of a magazine subscription, beware. Publishers ship magazines to customers free of charge, and the cost of shipping is included. When magazine sales agents remit payment to publishers, they are not paying added shipping costs. The added charge is an attempt to increase the price of the magazine while trying to make the added charge seem legitimate.

Automatic Renewal

Though the initial price of the subscription may be low customers may find themselves paying retail the following year when their credit card is charged automatically, often without their knowledge. Sellers, interested in repeat business can use deceptive practices in securing customers. The automatic renewal may be buried within the company’s terms of service and once you make a purchase from them, you have automatically agreed to the terms of service.

Such companies may also fix the language of the offer to make it seem like an added convenience for you, so that you do not need to worry about missing your favorite magazine. It does not take into account that you may not want to continue receiving the subscription after the initial term is over. It is important to read all information provided and to request information not readily made available. Magazine sellers must disclose automatic renewal information to customers.

Processing Fees

While charging a processing fee for each magazine or order placed in not technically wrong, customers looking to purchase cheap magazine subscriptions should add up the costs to see if there have actually been any savings after these so called processing fees.

For example, a subscription to Wired Magazine could be advertised for $1.99 per year. Once the customer tries to purchase the Wired Magazine subscription they find that in order to receive the price of $1.99 per year, they must pay a small processing fee of $7.99. The reason for the fee varies from seller to seller. It may be termed a membership fee, and the truly dishonest hide behind the guise of charity. The Wired Magazine Subscription would cost $10 in total, the same price the publishers of Wired, Conde Nast requires sellers to charge for the subscription.

In the end the consumer saves no money at all, but has been lured in by the thought of purchasing a subscription that seems incredibly cheap. Here is another situation where a customer would be wise to find out all information before making a purchase.

The tricks used by some companies are not uncommon. Investigating a company’s reputation before making a purchase can give potential customer a measure of added comfort. If typing a companies name into a search engine brings up a host of complaints, or if checking with the Better Business Bureau produces a list of unresolved complaints customers would be better served to take their business elsewhere.

Customers should contact sellers with any questions they may have concerning pricing or any other issues related to the sale of the magazines they are interested in. Good practice would be to keep a record of all customer service related correspondence, including all emails, faxes, etc. as well as the names of the customer service representatives corresponded with. Just in case the search for cheap magazine subscriptions doesn’t work out, the consumer will have some recourse in gaining a refund in the end.

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