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Subscribers often face long wait for these magazines

By NANCY PARADIS, Times Action Columnist
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 23, 2003

I ordered a subscription to Cosmo Girl magazine from a young man representing the Press On Ltd. company. The date on the order form, as you can see, was April 20. I gave the boy a check for $25 and on May 7 sent in my remaining payment of $25 as instructed.

The order form says to wait 90 to 120 days for delivery to begin. By my count, it has been more than 165 days, and I have not received the first magazine. I have written to the address of Magazine Network Ltd. that is on on the front of the order form. I have had no response.

Because the company has not answered my requests for service, I am hoping it will be more forthcoming with you. Myra Hernandez

Response: The company did not respond to our letters of Oct. 28 or Dec. 4, the second sent certified. Nor did it return our call of early January. We were therefore glad to get a copy of the letter you received stating that your order had been incorrectly entered and your subscription should begin within 90 to 120 days. In addition, for your inconvenience, you may choose an additional magazine, at no cost.

Because we always urge readers to check out unfamiliar companies before doing business with them, including those whose representatives show up at your door unannounced, we looked up Magazine Network on the Better Business Bureau Web site, The Better Business Bureau of Southeast Florida in Miami gives Magazine Network Ltd. an unsatisfactory record because of a pattern of failure to eliminate the basic cause of customer complaints and a pattern of failure to deliver the promised products or services as represented.

The report states: "Complaints received by the Better Business Bureau allege that consumers are being solicited by young adults claiming to be from a local school or college and that after paying for the magazine subscriptions do not receive them and are unable to speak with a company representative to resolve the delivery issue." The report concludes that the company, which also does business as Booknet LTD, Independent Marketing Firm, Mag-Net, Press On Ltd. and Press Unlimited, has also been unresponsive to complaints brought to its attention by the bureau.

We hope you receive your magazines. Let us know if you don't.

Account that wouldn't die

I am writing to see if you can get results. In October I called Verizon Internet to cancel my account. The girl assured me that it would be canceled and no further payment would be automatically taken out of my checking account.

In November the company took money out of my account, causing me to have an overdraft at the bank. I again called and was told that the cancellation had not been put through. I said I had not used the account since September and wanted it canceled. I was given a confirmation number.

Here it is Dec. 23, and money has been taken from my account again. I called and was told that my request was in the computer and there was no explanation for why the account hadn't been canceled. I was told that money would be withdrawn again in January because it takes two billing periods to adjust this. I don't want to wait that long. How do I stop this? Theresa Graham

Response: Cynthia Keppel with Verizon Online's customer relations office in Tampa said that you have been contacted by the company, which issued a three-month credit of $68.85 to your checking account. This was acceptable to you, she said. Verizon Online did not compensate you for your bank overdraft charges, however, as it maintains that your account was canceled Nov. 29, not in October, she said. As a final note, we suggest that if you face such a situation again in the future, you also alert your bank.

Bonus award shows up

I use a Discover Card so I can redeem cash back bonus awards. In November, I redeemed my bonus awards in the form of four $40 gift cards to Red Lobster. I received three of the cards. The fourth never arrived. I have made at least 10 phone calls since to Discover Card asking for the fourth card. Every time I call, I am told it will be ordered and sent. I have exhausted my patience trying to receive this "bonus." It is hardly a bonus when I have to go through such efforts to receive it.

Would you please see if you can get me my card? If you have any success in reaching someone at Discover Card who has some authority to solve this problem, will you ask if I may also have some kind of additional compensation for all my trouble? For instance, an additional Red Lobster card? Amy Greco

Response: We have not heard back from Discover Card, so thanks for letting us know that you received a phone call indicating that your account would be credited for the missing Red Lobster gift card.

- Action solves problems and gets answers for you. If you have a question, or your own attempts to resolve a consumer complaint have failed, write Times Action, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731, or call your Action number, (727) 893-8171, or, outside of Pinellas, toll-free 1-800-333-7505, ext. 8171, to leave a recorded request.

Requests will be accepted only by mail or voice mail; calls cannot be returned. Please send only photocopies of personal documents. If your complaint concerns merchandise ordered by mail, we need copies of both sides of your canceled check.

We may require additional information or prefer to reply by mail; therefore, readers must provide a full mailing address, including ZIP code. Names of letter writers will not be omitted except in unusual circumstances. Letters may be edited.

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