New York Magazine has a lot of explaining to do.
As a subscriber to the magazine for several years, I enjoyed receiving it each week. But in the past year I noticed I wasn’t reading it as much and instead was reading specific stories online that interested me and therefore decided to drop my subscription. I’d paid my bills. I didn’t believe I owed anything.
But the bills from New York Magazine’s credit department poured in anyhow in the form of notices indicating I owed more money for God knows what. Soon the notices turned more sinister and threatened to send a collection agency after me to recover the funds I allegedly owed.
A sample letter (yes, in all caps) from the “Office of the Controller”: “TO DATE, YOU HAVE DISREGARDED ALL PREVIOUS NOTICES ABOUT YOUR DELINQUENT ACCOUNT. I HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO REFER YOUR ACCOUNT TO A COLLECTION AGENCY. IN ADDITION, BE ADVISED THAT YOUR CREDIT ORDERS MAY NO LONGER BE ACCEPTED BY THIS COMPANY OR ITS AFFILIATES. THIS IS THE LAST TIME I CAN WRITE YOU ABOUT YOUR PAST DUE ACCOUNT. SEND ME PROOF OF PAYMENT OR REMIT YOUR BALANCE TODAY.” Slapped on the top of the letter: “FINAL NOTICE before Collection Agency Referral.”
I nearly paid the $24.97 just to get them out of my hair. But seeing as I did not want to receive 44 more issues, I decided to call the number on the collection agency threat.
What I was told floored me.
The polite woman on the line wondered about my reasoning. “Can I ask why you don’t want it anymore?” she inquired. She sounded genuinely sorry that I no longer wanted it. I explained, as I did above, that I just didn’t feel like I was reading the print magazine enough to warrant a continued subscription. She didn’t push. She understood and told me that I didn’t actually owe anything, that nothing would be sent to a collection agency and that I was all set.
I questioned her, asking, why would New York Magazine threaten to send a collection agency after me if I didn’t owe anything? “They’re just trying to get you to get the magazine,” she replied. “You don’t actually owe anything.” When I told her that this was, in fact, lying to me, the customer, she said, “If you want to look at it that way, yeah.”
The Mirror sought comment from New York Magazine’s Public Relations Department. None was forthcoming by press time. Should they get their deceptive act together and respond, I’ll bring you their explanation.
UPDATE: Lauren Starke from New York Magazine’s PR department wrote to say that the woman on the customer service call with me was wrong. She said they sent notices and that I needed to formally cancel my order. None of this was explained on the notices. She assured that my account is now cancelled. “The comments from the customer service rep that you didn’t owe any money or that this was done just as a gimmick are totally false,” she wrote. “I’m sorry about the inaccurate information you were given, and for any confusion.”