Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Game...

TWX Magazines is a company with a pretty shady method of making a profit.
While the actual game they use to leverage monies is not illegal, it is earning them a top spot in the list of shady companies.

Here are the basics.
They partner up with a retailer (music store like FYE, electronics store like Best Buy, etc.) and have them push 'unbelievable magazine deals' at the checkout. Perhaps you can remember being at a checkout and having the clerk push a magazine sale on you.
Some of them are a 'free 3 month' subscription to 'up to 3 magazines of your choice' and some are variations of this.
What you end up finding out is, they charge this to your credit or debit card you are paying for your items with (originally at the store) and the card information is passed along to TWX who along the line sends you info about your new 'free/cheap' subscription in the mail.
This information will generally consist of a very nice welcome message and a 'terms' clause informing you that at any time during the offer you can cancel.
This is true, you can cancel but they also bank on the fact that you will throw away mail you perceive as 'junk mail' ... you know like one mailed from say, TWX Magazines!
After all, your brain simply remembers agreeing to get Time, Better Homes and Gardens, Hot Rod, etc. because when you signed up for them there was no mention of TWX Magazines!

The Horror...

So to this point you have been coasting along in your life, enjoying the magazines you picked, you think until the subscription runs which point you probably figure that Time or Better Homes and Gardens (or which ever magazines you got) will each send you a post card thanking you for trying their magazine and asking you if you would like to continue getting them, right?
Your subscription is with TWX, not with the individual magazines and this is the point in which they try to leverage sales.
The scenarios are endless for what happens next but the majority seem to follow this path...
You find out one day that your bank account is short a bunch of money (hopefully not in the way of a declined purchase) and you might even be looking at NSF charges on top of that!
If you are using online banking and looking at your account you usually see three charges from the mysterious TWX****.
Your heart skips and you go into protect mode
You call the bank wanting to know what the heck TWX**** is and why they debited money from your account when you never said they could.
You no doubt will be told it is a magazine company at this point.
In all the confusion and anger you probably don't link to two things together right now (Time/Better Homes and Garden and TWX****) and you might even ask the bank to freeze or worse cancel you card while you figure out these 'unauthorized charges'.
What your bank should and probably does tell you, is that the charges won't be stopped at this point. That they are posting as 'pre-authorized charges'
The blood begins to boil!
You end your call to the bank pissed and scared that this company has your money and you think there is not much you can do about it. (not true though....keep reading)

The Cure....

Here is the part that took me some digging.
I found this buried in a blog out there somewhere amongst an endless sea of angry reply's and I bring it to you!

First I'll start by saying that I know it works because it was the only way I was able to stop the charges completely and get my money back.
Call 877-813-4977.
This will get you into an automated call handling machine with more options than you have ever heard...I am not talking about the usual 3 or 4 tier system.
I am talking a seemingly endless loop of choices that appear to be designed to occasionally bounce you out into an area of the menu that you have been before so that you will give up.
Don't worry though, we have the work around.
This is pretty much the standard work around for any call handling machine...keep pressing 0 (zero) as your option and you should get an operator after the second 0 (zero).
My wait was all of 2 minutes, maybe.
When you get them on the phone...this is nice. I know you want to bite someones head off but resist that
Tell them that you noticed some charges to your card that you want to clear up. Tell them that you enjoyed the magazines that you got but that you don't want to continue the subscriptions. Make sure that you tell them you want to cancel all of them.
I copied down the entries right from my online account so that I could be sure they knew what I was talking about.
The girl I talked to was very nice and said that they would cancel the subscriptions no problem and that my money would be put back into my account within 72 hours.
Sure enough, it was!!!

I hope you found this blog before you went through too much suffering and that you will send it along to anyone whom you know is dealing with this or even who might be subject to getting wrapped up in this so they can avoid it.
If you found this blog helpful (which if you followed what I said here, it should have got you your money and piece of mind back) feel free to post a comment about your actual experience.

Have a great day!

Just a counter