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CF Magazine Publisher

(31 Posts)
WeBuiltThisBuffetOnSausageRoll Sun 07-Jun-20 14:37:05

I've subscribed to a magazine for a number of years and received a letter from the publisher informing me that they were going to stop publishing the title - fair enough. However, they told me that, as I still had several weeks left on my subscription, they were going to transfer this to another (quite different) magazine that they publish - and then my subscription would roll over and continue with this new random magazine that they'd selected in perpetuity.

The letter had been held up in the post, so I actually received an email out of the blue from them before the letter, welcoming me and thanking me for choosing to sign up to subscribe to the new magazine.

Alternatively, if I preferred (and why ever wouldn't I?), I could contact them and cancel my subscription altogether. I did this and they instantly arranged a refund of the outstanding money I'd paid without quibble; but AIBU to think that this was extremely cheeky of them? Surely they should have contacted me to tell me that a refund was being processed, but IF I wanted to transfer to another of their magazines instead, I should let them know?

If it makes a difference, the magazine wasn't closed down because of COVID-19 (has publishing been affected anyway?) - it was on the cards because of dwindling readership for some time - and it's a huge publishing company, so hardly desperate to cling on to their livelihoods.

I remember from when I was a child and I regularly had a number of comics (on regular order from the newsagent rather than postal subscription), but, looking back, I recall that a comic would never actually 'close' and cease being published, but it would always 'merge' with a more successful one from the same publisher. This happened quite a few times. They were always newly styled as 'Comic A and (or featuring/introducing) Comic B', then after a few months, the name of Comic B would be dropped completely. As a child, I never really saw through what their game was.

AIBU that my subscription was to one specifically identified title that I chose to sign up to for my benefit and enjoyment and not some kind of bizarre agreement that I'd made to support their company, in exchange for which they would decide on a random title to send me?

OP’s posts: |
burritofan Sun 07-Jun-20 16:23:39

What a lot of words when you got your refund.

ChocolateQuiltedShitPig Sun 07-Jun-20 16:27:03

What @burritofan said

Sparklesocks Sun 07-Jun-20 16:29:21

Seems strange to offer the alternative as the default but the important thing is you got your money back.

And yes publishing has been affected by Covid. I work in the industry and there have been huge drops in sales. Internet sales have been less affected, but as many physical places which stock out titles are not currently open we have lost that revenue stream temporarily.

CourtneyLurve Sun 07-Jun-20 16:31:12

YANBU. They should have just refunded when the original publication ceased.

Youngatheart00 Sun 07-Jun-20 16:32:15

I do think it’s cheeky but I also think it’s likely a sign of desperation as the publishing house is likely under immense financial pressure.

FineWordsForAPorcupine Sun 07-Jun-20 16:37:43

the magazine wasn't closed down because of COVID-19 (has publishing been affected anyway?)

Umm, yep, the publishing industry has been hugely affected. I work in it, and lots of people have been laid off (I'm not sure if I will have a job to go back to). A lot have been hit especially hard because of a high proportion of freelancers, who don't have the option to be furloughed.

I don't know quite what you're moaning about - you got a refund, after a single phone call.

heartsonacake Sun 07-Jun-20 16:38:22

Surely they should have contacted me to tell me that a refund was being processed, but IF I wanted to transfer to another of their magazines instead, I should let them know?

This is a silly suggestion. It would be impossible to know who might want their refund stopped and changed and by the time they’d started processing refunds it wouldn’t be feasible to stop the process anyway.

So no, they most certainly couldn’t have done that.

WeBuiltThisBuffetOnSausageRoll Sun 07-Jun-20 16:48:12

What a lot of words when you got your refund.

Thanks for your input. You're right, I got my refund, so I could have not bothered posting at all and saved even more words. In fact, so could most people on MN. Sorry to have wasted your time.

OP’s posts: |
Scarby9 Sun 07-Jun-20 16:48:51

YANBU
I still remember as a child when World of Wonder 'merged' into Look and Learn, which was much more overtly educational and nowhere near as much fun!

WeBuiltThisBuffetOnSausageRoll Sun 07-Jun-20 17:05:33

Sorry, yes of course, publishing will have suffered massively based on shop sales. I was thinking mainly of subscriptions that are posted out to people - although a lot of folk might well have cancelled these if their income has taken a hit; but I didn't make that at all clear.

I do think it’s cheeky but I also think it’s likely a sign of desperation as the publishing house is likely under immense financial pressure.

Their profits were down from about £80m to £20m at the start of 2020, so they probably have fallen significantly further because of COVID, but I doubt they're on their uppers.

I don't know quite what you're moaning about - you got a refund, after a single phone call.

Not moaning - just discussing it on a discussion forum smile

This is a silly suggestion. It would be impossible to know who might want their refund stopped and changed and by the time they’d started processing refunds it wouldn’t be feasible to stop the process anyway.

Yes, it wouldn't really be feasible - I was just thinking (badly) of an alternative for them to invite people to keep spending their money with them rather than just assuming that it was still arbitrarily theirs. Of course, the best way would be to send the refund but also promote new subs for their other titles - maybe even offering a discount if you take out a new sub within a certain time of your old one for the defunct magazine coming to an end.

OP’s posts: |
Youngatheart00 Sun 07-Jun-20 17:08:18

Out of interest what was the original mag and what was the sub?

OscarWildesCat Sun 07-Jun-20 17:08:56

They were trying to support another business 🤷🏼‍♀️ You got a refund, no big deal, other people may have though, oh I’ll give this other magazine a bash, thus keeping another magazine in business. I voted YABU.

GinDaddyRedux Sun 07-Jun-20 17:09:08

@burritofan @ChocolateQuiltedShitPig

Hmm. Nice way to belittle an OP... worth remembering you're the ones who sat through all those "words" so you could crank out a snarky comment. There's a very difficult to read post about a parent not wanting her DP to have more kids in case it affected her DCs inheritance. No ones posting snarky stuff there because it's one of MN'ers favourite topics...

Back on topic, @WeBuiltThisBuffetOnSausageRoll
thank you for highlighting this pernicious practice. It should be called out as fraudulent because they're automatically passing your custom onto something you never requested to sign up to. It shouldn't be the case that you subscribe to a publisher you subscribe to the title alone. Fully in agreement with you.

GinnieHempstock Sun 07-Jun-20 17:14:57

This happened to DH about 6 months ago. However, despite me reminding him quite a few times, he never cancelled it and kept getting this other magazine he had no interest in until I ended up cancelling it last month.
So, I guess the publishers are hoping there are more people like my DH than you OP.
YANBU.

SpongeBobJudgeyPants Sun 07-Jun-20 17:26:45

I would be annoyed too. I object to being told how I am to spend my money, and it's always big business IME. Statistically they know many people won't get round to asking for a refund. For the same reason, I don't sign up for free trials of anything, as they always want bank details that you then have to cancel. I got quite annoyed with my bank a few years ago, who changed my account to a free trial of a paid account, and wanted me to cancel at the end of the term. The woman on the 'help' desk couldn't understand that it wasn't my problem to sign out of something I hadn't signed in to. Perhaps she is now on this thread grin

DramaAlpaca Sun 07-Jun-20 17:29:38

I'm with you, OP. I think it was cheeky and you should have been offered a refund first. Glad you got your money back.

GinDaddyRedux Sun 07-Jun-20 17:37:11

@OscarWildesCat

"They were trying to support another business".

Hang on a second.

So if I pay a subscription to Virgin Media, and they close, does that mean they have the right to pass my subscription money onto any other business in their Group just so they can support their portfolio of titles?

I subscribed to Virgin - not to any other media service or any other online service. That's the deal. Customers' money is not there to prop up entire corporations in this way when one title fails. This is corporate CF'ery of the highest order.

Magazines aren't interchangeable like different brands of yoghurts being substituted. The OP has the right to enjoy the editorial flavour of the organ she subscribes to. Once that changes, her custom is likely to change. Opting into subscribing to a magazine is a discretionary spend.

YABU here to suggest that people's money can just be passed around any number of titles because "they might like that one". I'm a car nut, I buy Evo and Octane. I don't want to read Car or TopGear and consider them distinct entities

WeBuiltThisBuffetOnSausageRoll Sun 07-Jun-20 17:47:35

Out of interest what was the original mag and what was the sub?

The original was The Weekly News (technically a paper, but to all intents and purposes a magazine style) - not the hardest hitting publication by any means, but I liked the lifestyle articles, consumer features, nostalgia and cartoons.

The new one was My Weekly - mainly fiction stories, cookery and textile crafts - I can see a slight overlap (and not just in the word 'Weekly' in the title) but not personally my thing at all.

Both are/were published by DC Thomson.

OP’s posts: |
VeganVeal Sun 07-Jun-20 18:09:16

I recall that a comic would never actually 'close' and cease being published, but it would always 'merge' with a more successful one from the same publisher.

I painfully remember in September 1990 it was decided to merge the Topper with another long-running comic The Beezer.
The world was never the same again, I realised it was a cruel and nasty place.

makingmammaries Sun 07-Jun-20 18:19:36

Yes, they are CF.

Though perhaps not as CF as the company that sent me 22kg of the wrong brand of dog food and then told me I needed to tell them a day when I would be available ALL DAY for them to come and collect it, because they want to use GLS. Lockdown is over where I live, and there aren’t any days that I want to donate to that purpose.

Youngatheart00 Sun 07-Jun-20 18:27:20

OP definitely agree that those two titles aren’t comparable!

DramaAlpaca Sun 07-Jun-20 18:43:06

Gosh yes, those titles are completely different with, I would imagine, a completely different reader demographic.

bookmum08 Sun 07-Jun-20 19:32:38

Having had a quick look on DC Thomson's website I personally would say that The Weekly News and My Weekly would appeal to a similar demographic. That's probably why the OP got that rather than The Beano or 100% Gaming Mag. A bit annoying for the OP but was soon solved. Considering magazine publishing is struggling in think this was quite a nice idea from DC Thomson - giving essentially a trial of an alternative. OP didn't like they alternative so cancelled. No biggie. I wouldn't say it's being CF. I would see it more as looking out for their customers and trying to keep their customers.

bookmum08 Sun 07-Jun-20 19:34:55

It is this magazine you mean OP? I would say that's very much the same demographic as My Weekly.

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