Keeping track of your magazine subscriptions

I enjoy reading magazines related to my hobbies, for trends and inspiration. But sometimes I get overwhelmed by renewal notices. Keeping track of the expiration dates for my magazine subscriptions can get confusing, especially when I get multiple renewal notices for the same publication.

Sound familiar? Well, here are a few tips to help keep track of magazine subscriptions.

  • Keep a running list of your magazine subscriptions, including account numbers and expiration dates. Since this information is included on most magazine mailing labels, simply clip the label and add it to your list. That way, when you get a renewal notice, you can check the expiration date and decide whether to renew or wait.
  • If lists aren’t your thing, contact the magazine publisher directly – or check the magazine's customer service site for account information and renewal prices. And remember, it never hurts to negotiate the price or shop around for a better deal.
  • Understand that a renewal notice is NOT a bill or an invoice. Some renewal notices may look like invoices or bills, even though the fine print says otherwise. But a renewal notice is simply a reminder about when your subscription expires.
  • Know who you’re dealing with. Renewal offers may come from magazine publishers directly or from third-party companies (unrelated to the publisher) that buy subscriber lists to solicit renewals. Third-parties may charge much more for renewals than the publisher. Your best bet: Call the publisher using the phone number on its website or in the magazine to find out if it sent the solicitation and what it charges for renewal.
  • Consider auto-renewal and payment. Then, you don’t have to rely on renewal notices at all. If you do this, remember that paying with a credit card gives you better fraud protections. Also remember, however, that with auto-renewal your subscription will automatically renew until you cancel the subscription.

Have some tips of your own? Feel free to share them here.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

I like this website

i like to read the magazine helpful tips. thanks

One BIG caution: DO NOT subscribe with a credit card! If you ever want to unsubscribe, you'll have a heck of a time. A friend of mine's Mom wanted to discontinue her subscription to "Reader's Digest". However, they put her thru "H" because they kept renewing through her credit card. Just this year, I dropped "Alabama Heritage". I took out a 2-yera subscription last year. Surprise! They sent me a renewal notice THIS year. Yeah, I've lost that year, but I would have anyway.

My bank offers so-called ShopSafe numbers, whereby you create a new credit card number online which acts like a subaccount to your regular credit card. It is valid only for the merchant of your choosing. You may limit the dollar amount and also the time period for which it is valid.

Hi IMP, can you tell what bank offers this ShopSafe option? I watch out for many elderly seniors and this option would be great for some of them. Thank you!

I've had the same problem keeping up with auto charges on my iPhone apps. For those you have to login to the app's website with your login and password. I run into app subscription renewal problems when I get a great offer from a third party vendor for maybe a year free - app auto renewed the subscription for $79! There was no billing or renewal notice AND I couldn't cancel once the auto renewal had charged..the best I could have done was login in and cancel the auto renew so I wouldn't have had an almost $100 surprise! I don't know if this is legal not to allow people to cancel so app subscriber beware!

If you use an electronic calendar, add the expiration date to your calendar. Also include an entry to renew that subscription about 1 to 2 months prior to the expiration date. This will allow you enough time to decide if you want to renew and to seek the best renewal terms.

Haave notified a magazine three times about stopping the subscription but we continue to keep getting the magazine

As long as they don't charge you for it, either read it or throw it away. They can't require that you pay for something you have not requested.

Does anyone really believe this information provided is something useful,instead of: people pretending to be useful.. Next we'll see a subject line: Is your house cold?? Followed by,turn on the heat and close the windows and doors... Gimme a break.... Do people require this kind of help??

High sales tactics survival and scam survival is not taught in high school nor college. If you don't like this, don't read it.

For the rest of us, it's a great place to exchange ideas and what hot scams are going around, and what some current creative tricks work. I consider the comment section the best part some times, because of the diverse ideas.

I enjoyed your post! Thank you for posting!

Great article! I get a lot of magazines and I have unsubscribed to some but others I'm still receiving after I've tried many times to unsubscribe!

Accidentally put in my email address! This is my user name!

Publishers-CH magazine supplier renews with No notice, and caused me and overdraft charge at my Bank. I Did not Know of any auto renewal, on these Magazines.

Using a credit/debit card to purchase magazines with auto renewal isn't very smart. You may end up having to report the card as lost to cut off those auto renewal payments. The card issuer with your permission will send you a replacement card under a new number. Another way to watch out for your best interests is to use a credit card with an expiration date that is well before the expiration date of the subscription. Once the auto renewal tries to renew using the credit card in their file it will show up as no longer good because it will have expired. Of course the publisher or whoever will keep trying to contact you for the new expiration date. Just don't answer them and hopefully they will go away--if not use plan B--report the card as lost.

I used to use my credit card with the shortest expiration date as you mention, but now that all my cards have chips, all my expiration dates are at least 4 to 5 years in the future, arrrrrggggg.

When I renew a subscription will photocopy the payt. info with the renewal form, write down the exp date with a F/U date when to SHRED. I keep all subscriptions by alpha in a "SAVE" file folder and always refer to it when renewal notices come in. Fortunately only have two "Auto Renewal" magazine accounts but am thinking about cancelling one of them. However, from reading the above remarks, guess there's a chance there may be a need to "go to battle" so to speak, to cancel. Hope not, tho!

I also go through this with my magazines. It can be dreadful. Every year I buy my daughter In Style for Christmas. If they offer a good deal for 2 years I buy it. This year I did. A few weeks ago another offer came thru from another company $8.00 cheaper. I didn't bother trying to switch its too confusing. I retired to READ magazines, not to be a bookkeeper!! LOL

Earlier I had same problem of auto renewal charge. Since 3 years I subscribe with check and mail them instead of online payment. Since then I face no problems.

IV been reporting this to justice. Gov.com no response I been hacked into my account took over my phone I would set protection programs they cause my battery to burn out

IV been charge for thing I did not buy my personal pictures and my info of mmy disability benefits so much morei don't know what to do in this account I got all the proof

You can get help with identity theft at IdentityTheft.gov. You can file an identity theft report, and make a recovery plan to help fix the problems caused by identity theft.

If you were charged for things you didn't buy, you can dispute the charge with your credit card company. This FTC article has information about disputing credit card charges.

I had claimed to have unsubscribed with New York Magazine, but they keep sending my copies as if I had never left them from time to time. I even get calls as if they claimed I'm still with them even though I have asked to cancel numerous times. Then again, if the number isn't official, especially coming from another city, it's probably not them anyway. In all honesty, I have no idea how got on the subscription to this in the first, which my guess is that it had to be through some third party placing me on it.

I am nearly 80 and found these pages of hints while trying to find information to help me in proving that just because I had severe illnesses and loss of memory ( which made me unable to keep up with IRS dates and duties like forgetting to do my taxes, on time), it wasn't fair for the IRS to take my life's savings when I owed them nothing yet was penalized for not filing ---even though I was not trying to not file---I ended up finding lots of information for just normal people who were unaware of the amazing resources that were created by using our taxes to help us during the Obama administration--and made more info accessible to help us. Not to late to appreciate...
I try to Remember these Good Things as an example of what our Government does now for us,.. I have finally been convinced that the old cynical cliche " I'm from the Government, and I I'm here to help you " just could be true!

We need to get back to working together with hope and kindness to make our own lives better!

We need a law that magazine publishers cannot send false notices, as in "your subscription is running out" when there's a year or more to go and envelopes labeled "final notice" when it's no where near the renewal date. There should be an allowed time period before actual renewal date for them to send the notice. Otherwise, n my opinion, they r committing mail fraud. I no longer subscribe to any magazines because of the trickery. Finally took the time to figure out I had paid overlapping renewal prices more than once because I had no quick way to check actual start date of the subscription.

I made my own chart to track magazine subscriptions:

Date Pd. - Publication - Length - Expires - Amount - Check # - Name on Pub.

I do it on the computer but a simple chart on notebook paper would work, too.

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