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…And Some People Say That HVACR Contractors Can’t Be Trusted

Redbook Magazine….imagine, not being able to trust an American institution like Redbook Magazine.

I found out recently that Redbook magazine, which has been around since 1903, can’t be trusted. It turns out that a while back, there was a special offer regarding a subscription to Redbook Magazine. If you were already subscribing to another magazine, you could, for the wonderfully small sum of $2.00 also purchase a one-year subscription to Redbook by using a credit card. What the offer didn’t tell you was that once your subscription was up, it would automatically be renewed via an automatic hit on the credit card you used to make the original purchase.

And, as it turns out, the only way you could find out that your credit card was about to be hit was if you happened to notice a small loose piece (called a ‘blow-in’ because that’s how they insert it in between two pages) that was included in a recent issue. And, if you did notice the piece in the first place, you also had to check the fine print on this seemingly innocuous and unimportant piece of paper to find out that if you don’t take action to cancel your subscription…well, as I said, your card will wind up being hit for a renewed subscription. Which, by the way, as I’m sure you can figure out, won’t be at the original $2.00 price.

And, oh, by the way, no matter how hard you search on the small blow-in piece, there’s no toll-free phone number listed so you can call to cancel if you want to. Heck, there isn’t even a non toll-free number listed so you can call to tell them that you don’t want them to hit your card for a renewal.

Redbook Magazine…so named by its first editor because, “Red is the color of cheerfulness, of brightness, of gayety.”

Well, there’s no cheerfulness, brightness, nor gayety in the fact that they’re engaged in what I consider to be a less-than-above-board practice. I mean, c’mon….I’m eligible for Social Security and my grandmother subscribed to Redbook Magazine! If Redbook Magazine is engaging in this kind of chicanery to sell subscriptions, how can you trust anything that’s printed on their pages anymore?

Well, they’re getting away with it, but we can all imagine what would happen if the HVACR industry decided that it would be OK to sell a service contract one year, and then just haul off and automatically hit the customer’s credit card for another year with nothing more than some kind of non-descript, easily ignorable “notice” that was inserted into a monthly issue of a magazine, and that ‘notice’ didn’t offer any simple and easy way to opt out of a renewed contract. All three major T.V. networks would be reporting the unsavory practice on their evening news reports. CNN’s Clark Howard would be warning us about this ripoff scam that would be reaching into our pocket for money.  There would be a thread on an Internet discussion board that would have several hundred comments about how HVACR contractors can’t be trusted.

No, we wouldn’t pull a stunt like this. We would let our customer know that their contract was due to expire and then ask them if they would like to renew.

Shame on Redbook.

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