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Nothing “Free” About This Magazine Deal

You’ve got to watch out for all the sneaky ways stores and Web sites are creating to slip recurring charges onto your credit cards.

I fell for the

I fell for the “free magazines” that Loehmann’s clothing stores are offering.

As I was checking out a cashier said I could sign-up for three free months of the magazines being promoted on a laminated place mat on the counter.

“It’s a really cool offer,” she said.

I like free, and it looked legit, so I signed up. The cashier recorded my choices by scanning the bar codes for the titles I chose.

Stupid me. A few months later, three mysterious $15 charges showed up on my account.

The cashier didn’t mention that those free trials led straight into paid subscriptions, charged to the card I used at Loehmann’s, unless I went online to cancel the deal.

This isn’t a one-time hit either. The subscriptions automatically renew each year until you demand they stop.

I blame myself for neglecting to read the fine print and grilling the cashier about just what I was buying.

But I also blame Loehmann’s for taking advantage of its customers, especially when you’ve got a bag of clothes, a list of errands and a line of waiting customers behind you.

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  1. al said:
    on January 21st at 08:28 am

    I have been writing my congressmen for eight years about the rules on forced continuity, which is what this is called.
    It was the same years ago with the bok and record clubs. You kept receiving the product until you ordered enough to satisfy the offer and then you had to keep rejecting those cards each month.
    The Internet has made it so much easier for these companies to do this.
    Start writing your congressmen about regulations for this. Instead of trying to find the fine print that warns you about the charges and what you have to do to cancel, it should be if you want it, you’ll sign up after the trial.
    Be careful about any offer that says FREE, just pay shipping. Once they get your credit card on file, I guarantee you’ll be getting charged for something that is surely, NOT FREE!