Bad Business

I mistakenly subscribed to Popular Science magazine a couple of years ago. My mistake was using a credit card with a business like Popular Science’s publishers or distributors, whoever they are. That’s part of the problem.

Last year I saw a charge for Popular Science renewal. i didn’t intend to renew and never received any correspondence from them regarding the proposed renewal and didn’t agree to a continuing renewal. It didn’t cost much and there is an occasional article of interest in the magazine, not many though that’s why I intended to cancel.

This year, I did receive a card in the mail. The print was all 6 point so it was more than your typical small print notice. It did not mention what it was related to except that deep in the notice, it had a phone number that I needed to call in order to cancel whatever it was. I suspected it was the Popular Science subscription so I called it. It was an automated system. It requested I enter the Subscriber number from the form. It was difficult to find and read due to placement and size. When I entered the number it said the account didn’t exist. On the 6th try and after attempt to get me to enter every other form of identification that might relate to me, it finally recognized the account. It then asked if I wanted to cancel. I said yes. It said to the effect, “fine and since you’re such a good customer we’ll cancel the subscription and send the magaazine to you for 6 months for free. If you then contact us we’ll not enter your charge subscription”.

It was actually worded such that probably 99% of the people answering the question would end up with a continuing subscription thinking they had canceled.

This is an example of a business that doesn’t deserve anyones business. I will not read another PS magazine nor anything else from the publisher of it.

I normally use disposable credit card numbers to prevent just such nonsense and I’m not sure how this one by passed that. I must have been in a hurry and thought they were a reputable business. A mistake!

The problem is that they aren’t too different than most other businesses.

Some gas stations deliberately swap the grade selection at the pump in such a way that a user who normally selects the lowest grade as I do will select the highest grade. It’s easy to see it was intentional because, where I’ve seen it, they aren’t in order. Normally they are placed highest to lowest left to right as a normal person would suspect. At the crooked dealers, I have seen them Medium, lowest then highest, left to right. Cute.

How about the nice market that advertises a sale product and then places higher priced similar items in the space below the sign. They may have the actual item nearby but the placement doesn’t appear accidental. And then there is the stuff along the shelves near the registers. I’m sure the moms apreciate all the candy being placed there.

And then there’s the City of Santa Cruz with their parking violation scam. They consider the posting of a sign as unimportant to inform the driver of parking restrictions, if, a sign is posted someplace else in the city. Just shows you don’t have to be a slimy business man to be dishonest. “Public” servants can be as well.

These are just a few and possibly not the most significant attempts at swindling us recently.  The problem is, they are not isolated incidents. It seems to be the norm for business activity recently. For that reason, I am intensifying my efforts at not doing business with such organizations and making life as difficult for them as I can in every other way I can. I just wish there was more I could do to put such business out of business more quickly.

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