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theNRSscam blog was created to provide general magazine subscription scam information, consumer protection resources, specific information about National Readers Service, and suggestions for dealing with magazine subscription scams.

If you have found any company's business practices to be deceptive or fraudulent, I strongly encourage you to contact your local consumer protection office and file complaints with the Federal Trade Commission and Attorneys General. Feel free to link this site to any relevant discussion you encounter, help me keep my promise, and make the ability to keep doing this type of business more difficult!!

Thanks for visiting, D/

Check out who else is checking out National Readers Service:

> December 24, 2009: Pennsylvania Attorney General opens file on National Readers Service, Pittsburgh, PA

>NRS, Pittsburgh responds to the Attorney General
> December 30, 2009: Kansas Attorney General demands trial by jury against Publisher’s Renewal Service d/b/a National Readers Service, and Treasure Coast Renewals, et al. Check out the court documents at courthousenews.com

Check out something interesting:

> Rip Off Report complaint about International Marketing Association (a.k.a., National Readers Service, et al) .


Suggestions for Dealing with Magazine Subscription Scams

Discussion topics::
    1. Handling annoying telemarketing calls
    2. Additional third party preview offers
    3. Addressing fraudulent debits/ charges IF YOU HAVE NOT made any agreement (verbal or written)
    4. Addressing unacceptable business practices if you have agreed to an account but have no contact information
    5. Addressing unacceptable business practices after agreeing to an account
    6. Addressing inappropriate debt collection practices

  • If the "offer" is too good to be true...
  • Be wary of unsolicited sources, “free prizes”, and high-pressure “limited time” offers.
Never buy a magazine subscription without knowing the answers to at least these questions. Ask for, carefully review, and research written information BEFORE you decide to buy.
  1. Who are you buying from? (BBB search/ Google)
  2. Exactly what magazine titles they are selling?
  3. How long is the subscription and are renewals automatic?
  4. What are these magazines worth and how much are you paying for them? Do the math!!(This is not an endorsement for www.magazines.com, just an example of a cover/ subscription price comparison option.)
  5. What is the cancellation policy?
  • Remember the right to cancel and the legality of telephone recorded contracts may vary by state. NEVER assume that you can cancel later or get out of a "legally binding contract" once made as that may not be the case. Be aware there are many conscientious magazine subscription agents who do allow cancellations (and even offer full refunds) for undelivered issues at any time. Just know who you are dealing with before you subscribe!!
  • NEVER give (or "verify") your personal account information unless you intend to buy. There is no other reason to obtain account numbers than to withdraw funds.
  • If you have been scammed once you are a prospect for future scams. Attempts may be made to create duplicate accounts, complete fraudulent renewals, or catch you in unrelated scams from other companies. BE PREPARED!!

Handling annoying telemarketing calls:
  • If already on the National Do Not Call Registry, file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission or Federal Trade Commission. You may also consider contacting your Attorney General.
  • If not on the registry, place all landlines and cell phones on the National Do Not Call list. Complaints may be filed, with certain restrictions, after being on the registry for 31 days. Registration on the National Do Not Call list does not require renewal and never expires. (This change became law in February 2008.)
  • Some states also have Do Not Call lists. Contact your Attorney General's office for more information.
  • Request to be put on the telemaketing company's own "Do not call list" at the time of unwanted telephone contact. Specific consumer requests must be honored for five years regardless of whether you are on the DNC list or not or if a previous "business relationship" exists. Violations may be reported to the FCC.
  • Handling debt collector calls is addressed below.
Special note regarding additional third party preview offers: Details of the additional preview offers with my daughter's solicitation are here.
  • If you are charged by a magazine subscription scam company, it is not unusual for you to have "agreed" to other third party preview offers during the initial solicitation without realizing it (these may have non-refundable activation fees as well as monthly charges!!).
  • Closely monitor your account(s) for any other unauthorized debit activity.
  • Disputed charges can be handled as outlined below.
  • Request WRITTEN cancellation agreements from these "companies" as well.
To address fraudulent debits/ charges to your bank or credit card account IF YOU HAVE NOT made any agreement (verbal or written):
  • File a report with your local law enforcement for fraudulent debit activity.
  • Contact bank or credit card company about reversing charge(s).
  • Either place a suspicious debit alert or stop payment for the specific company and monitor your account for unauthorized activity at least weekly or close the account and transfer all legitimate pre-authorized debits to another account.
  • File complaints with the Federal Trade Commission and Attorney General.
  • Contact your local consumer protection agency or consumer law attorney for guidance if needed.
  • Check bank or credit card statements for phone contact number. It may be listed along with the state of origin for the debit/ charge. This number may be for the actual company or for its debit processor.
  • Keep records of all contact with this company.
  • If contact information is available, you may notify them (by phone and/ or send written notification) of actions taken, your expectation of refund (if unable to reverse charge through bank/ credit card company), and expected receipt within 10 business days of written verification of account closure without any balance, no future billing, and placement on the company's do not call list. See examples of cancellation notices here.
  • Keep a copy of all written notifications for your records and send by certified mail with return receipt request.
  • Seek legal counsel if needed.
To address unacceptable business practices if you have agreed to an account but have no contact information:
  • Check bank or credit card statements for phone contact number. It may listed be along with the state of origin for the debit/ charge.This number may be for the actual company or for its debit processor.
  • Contact information for various National Readers Service companies can be found here (from BBB listings and my daughter's information).
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission , your state's Attorney General, and your local consumer protection office.
  • Simply closing the account if you have made a verbal agreement should be approached cautiously. In some states cancellation rights are not guaranteed, and telephone contracts are considered legally binding. Seek guidance from your bank or credit card company, local consumer protection agency, or consumer law attorney as needed.
To address unacceptable business practices after agreeing to an account:
Wondering what to expect?? Specific details of the magazine subscription cancellation process and "insider" scripts can be found here. Details of my preparation and conversation with NRS here!
  • Gather your documents: contracts, price comparisons of your deal with both cover prices and subscription prices for the magazines you have chosen, etc. (This is not an endorsement for www.magazines.com, just an example of a cover/ subscription price comparison option.) Knowing what you have bought will motivate you to deal with them!!
  • Decide what resolution is acceptable to you (closing the account, refunding your money, etc). Remember the earlier in your “contract” you are dealing with this scam; the more likely it will be resolved to your satisfaction.
  • Refund requests should bear in mind the more magazines received... the more unreasonable expecting any refund becomes. If cancelling a pre-paid five year subscription within the first several months, for example, one year of magazines with a refund of payments over 20-25% of the subscription's total price should be a more than reasonable suggestion (should be... but don't expect to reach any such agreement easily. In fact, actually getting ANY refund from a scam company may be impossible).
  • Contact the company (by phone and/ or send written notification) and attempt to resolve issues to your satisfaction.See examples of written cancellation notices here.
  • Keep a copy of your own written notifications for your records and send by certified mail with return receipt request.
  • If you choose to contact them by phone, preparing a written script can be helpful.
  • If you have found a company's business practices to be deceptive or fraudulent and have already unsuccessfully attempted to resolve your dispute, file a complaint from this Federal Trade Commission link or VERY easily by telephone at 1-877-FTC-HELP.
  • If they have been unreceptive in previous contacts, another conversation similar to what follows may increase your likelihood of success. There are certainly more possiblities to include, but here's a list (with links) to start with. Be determined, but do not be distracted by losing your temper. Say what you mean, mean what you say, and then do what you said!!
  • Do not tell them you will follow this course of action unless they comply with your wishes (that's blackmail).This is your plan regardless, and you are simply notifying them of that fact.  
"I am informing you of my intentions to:
  1. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (Or inform them that complaint has already been filed). Note: Complaints may also be filed VERY easily by telephone at 1-877 FTC-HELP. 
  2. File a complaint with the National Consumers League.
  3. File a complaint with the  Better Business Bureau
  4. Contact my Bank or Credit Card Company regarding reversing charges.
  5. Contact my local consumer protection agency and file an official complaint, as well as, send letters detailing my entire experiences with your company to the Attorneys General in both your state of operations and my state of residence.
  6. E-mail a consumer complaint to the Magazine Publishers of America.
  7. Contact an Attorney specializing in consumer law.” 
  • Inform them that you expect to receive WRITTEN confirmation of cancellation or any other agreements within 10 business days (magazine subscription companies seldom honor verbal cancellation agreements) and consider sending your own written notification to them as well (keep a copy and send certified mail with return receipt).
  • In the case of cancellations, specifically address the account being closed and paid in full with no other accounts that you are unaware of, nor any future billing, any additional magazines received are your gift without charge, and details of expected refund (if any). You may also specifically request no telephone contact from the company in the future.
  • If the account is not closed, specifically address the complete terms of the agreement- magazine subscriptions to be received (specific titles and number of months), the amount, number, and method of payments (consider alternatives such as money order through the mail), total remaining balance to be paid, and specific request of no automatic renewal.
  • If considering a revised payment plan, request written details to throughly review prior to making any new agreement. Do not give any additional account information, credit card numbers, etc. over the phone.
  • If your dispute is in arbitration and you plan to continue payments, money orders through the mail are option rather than automatic withdrawals from your account. You may request a mailing address for payments if you close the account they have access to.
  • Keep records of all contact with this company.
  • If needed, your local consumer protection agency or the Better Business Bureau may be willing to provide arbitration assistance in working with this company. You can also contact an attorney or consumer law advocate.
  • If you believe a company's business practices are deceptive or fraudulent, file complaints with the Federal Trade Commission and the Attorneys General regardless of whether your dispute is "satisfactorily resolved" or not. While the FTC and AGs do not provide legal advice or intervene on the behalf of individuals, official investigations can make the ability to continue these types of business practices more difficult and may protect the next unwary victim! 
To address inappropriate debt collection practices: 
  • If you are contacted by a debt collector, you may attempt to resolve the matter with them even if you think it is a mistake or you cannot immediately repay a legitimate debt.
  • Remember a "collection agency" contacting you for an outstanding magazine account balance could, in fact, be the same telemarketing employees simply functioning in a collections capacity, a lawyer working for the company, or an actual third party that has purchased the debt (who could be completely aware of its questionable nature in some cases).
  • Request any agreement that a debt is invalid IN WRITING.
  • Within five days of contacting you, the debt collector must provide a written “validation notice” detailing how much you owe, the company to whom it is owed, and how to proceed if you don’t think you owe the debt. Specifically request this written validation notice from them.
  • Send a letter to the debt collector (certified mail with return receipt) within 30 days requesting “written verification” of the debt. They must stop contacting you until written verification (such as a copy of the bill/ contract, etc.) has been sent.
  • You may also specifically request in writing that the collector not contact you again or direct all contact through your attorney if you have one. They may only contact you after such notification to inform you that no action will be taken or that they intend to take a specific action, such filing a lawsuit.
  • Third party debt collectors’ conduct is restricted by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA ) in order to prevent abusive, unfair or deceptive practices. The FDCPA may apply to in-house collections that misrepresent themselves as well. Some specifically prohibited practices are listed here.
Debt collectors may NOT: 
  • contact you before 8am or after 9 pm or at your work if you have told them that you are not allowed to get calls there.
  • contact third parties other than to find out your address, home phone number and where you work (and generally only one contact is permitted for each party).
  • discuss any details of your debt with anyone other than you, your spouse or your attorney.
  • contact you by postcard.
  • harass you, make false claims, or misrepresent who they actually are in an attempt to collect a debt.
  • falsely claim that documents are legal forms or official government documents if they are not.
  • threaten to have you arrested, to garnish your wages, or seize property unless it is legal for them to take such actions.
  • threaten to take legal action unless they actually intend to do so.
  • attempt to collect interest or other fees unless the original contract (or your state laws) allow the charge.
  • deposit a post-dated check early. 
  •  The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months.
  • There is only one place to obtain a truly free credit report -www.annualcreditreport.com (Do not be fooled by any of the companies offering one free report followed with charges for intermittent monitoring services.)
  • Staggering your requests from each of the three of the nationwide consumer reporting companies during a 12-month period may be a good way to keep an eye on the accuracy and completeness of the information in your reports.
  • The Federal Trade Commission has additional information about your free credit report here.
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About me & theNRSscam blog

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I'm no one special, my kid is just one of "the scammed", and I'm keeping the promise I made to National Readers Service. By the way, while I can attest to the truth of my own personal experience with National Readers Service as presented here, I cannot make the same guarantee for the other complaints and comments posted here or linked on this site. Also the suggestions offered here worked for me, the opinions I post are my own, but neither constitute legal advice. You'd have to consult a lawyer for that, of course. I hope you find something helpful here if you need it.