MagazineCity Scammers or Angels? You Decide.
In the last ten years there has been an explosion in web sites offering discounts on magazine subscriptions.
The business model is obvious. Sell subs and get a margin when you hand them on to publishers.
But using a middle man in the process leaves customers more open to fraud or just bad service as their payment disappears between pillar and post.
MagazineCity sells subs to US magazines and may be totally legit. But its handling of a recent complaint by IT consultant Martin Brampton leaves a lot to be desired: no mags, refunding problems, agent blaming the publisher.
It's all a bit dodgy if you ask me.
Why is it that middle men often think they have a right to hold onto your money when their trading partner fails to deliver the goods?
In short it took him six months to get things resolved. Would a reputable company put a customer through that?
Full story here:
Postscript: Eventually Martin got a refund, but only after complaining to the Better Business Bureaux (a sort of US Citizens Advice for business problems). The comments after his story suggest that MagazineCity has plenty of other unhappy customers.
If you type in 'Magazinecity Scam" into Google you see hundreds more warnings:
I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that good discounts online from unknown brands CANNOT be trusted. I am not having a go at new entrants but simply saying that online selling without significant branding presence is being totally discredited by those who exploit the willingness of consumers to 'give it a try'.
As I highlighted in 2006, with the case of Vistaprint (Google "Vistaprint Scam" to see my story) it is all too easy to create websites that give the impression of trust, dependability, and friendliness and then to run some scam behind the scenes.
The beauty (from the point of view of the perpetrator) of these types of online scams is that if someone hollers loud enough you can refund them and get them off your case. Only the mountain of comment on the internet tells the real story because print publishers are loathe to cover these stories because they are so hard to investigate fully.