Third party subscription companies have become so aggressive in recent months that The New York Times took out its own full page ad to warn about this scheme.
Neal Stone told me a while back he almost fell for one of these bogus renewal notices.
"When I saw the charge for Sports Illustrated, I figured it was my annual renewal," he said. "Then I looked at the price, and it was $77." That's much more than he normally paid.
The New York Times says most of these third party companies will renew your subscription for you, so they are not "scams" in the true sense of the word. But they take a healthy profit and renew you at a very high price.
Mary McCarthy, who subscribes to a half dozen magazines, told me its tough knowing which are real.
"You could renew twice in the same year and be extending another four years. It's just never ending!"
So how can you protect yourself?
- Make sure the card is from the real newspaper or magazine and doesn't misspell any names. Look at the return address carefully.
- Pay by check, not credit card, so they cannot auto renew you for years to come.
- Check your subscription end date before renewing. If you still have 6 months left, don't bother renewing.
Otherwise you could end up doubling up on your subscription and paying a third party company .
Don't waste your money.