Saturday (March 8) I had to get a TIME magazine from Hastings. Not all retail stores carry the weekly edition, and I had searched high and wide for the CODE RED cover that talks about fixing the Obamacare website (March 10).
As I was checking out, the nice lady casually told me I qualified for “a” free magazine. I thought I was going to quickly go back to the magazine rack and grab one, but she slowed me down and pointed to a pad on her counter. I was to pick the magazine from one of a dozen offered.
Then, she changed her wording just slightly – I was to choose “three” free magazines.
Again, I was preparing to head back to the magazine rack to pick up my free copies, but she started to explain, “We will mail them to you. Just sign here.”
Well, the line behind me had now grown to a considerable size, and I even apologised to the next lady in line. I had no idea “a” free magazine would cause such a stir.
So, in consideration of the people behind me, I signed and got out of the way.
Then I went home to read the small print. Enlarged here for your benefit.
“Yes, send me my selections for 2 months Risk-Free WITH AUTOMATIC RENEWAL. I AUTHORIZE HASTINGS TO SEND MY CRED/DEBIT CARD INFO TO MAGAZINE REWARDS CENTER TO CHARGE MY CARD FOR THE initial AND renewaL MAGAZINE TERMS. . . .”
In other words, “Suck my credit card dry – FOREVER!”
So, after I peeled myself off the ceiling, I called the service phone number. After about 20 minutes of playing dodge-ball with a robot, I realized this was going to get me nowhere. The female robot just couldn’t find my account no matter what private information I gave. It’s designed this way so you will give up and take the $%^&) magazines. AND be billed for them.
It was a Saturday, so I figured I would wait until Monday for an all-out offensive.
Monday cane, so I started my campaign from the start. Same dodge-ball tactics from the robot. Stall until you give up – send you in circles until you surrender to the robot.
And here is the kicker folks – you need to stick with it. LISTEN CAREFULLY and follow the instructions EXACTLY. The robot will try and twist you in circles so you make a mistake and your grandchildren will receive PEOPLE magazine until their child have babies.
At the end, make sure you get a transaction number.
I went one step further. After my call went through, I drove to Hastings and talked to the store manager. He gave me a canned apology – as if he had heard it all before – then promised to take care of it if I ran into ANY trouble. He gave me his card where he had written down an “escalation” phone number. I could call that number, or visit him personally, if the magazine started piling up in my mailbox.
“This isn’t a scam,” he said flatly.