Consumer Complaints and Reviews
On or about September 2013 I was filling out a facebook Publishers Clearing House opportunity. When it was clear that this was some magazine company I backed out and did not complete the application. I was contacted via telephone by Gulf Coast Readers among other people, as a result of this incomplete Facebook publishers clearing house contest. I was pressured to sign up for a 5-yr magazine contract. Several months later, I was contacted by GCR to pay my 5 yrs off at $500. I did, I did not want any more calls. I was called repeatedly after that to pay even more. I received a call from a supervisor on or about December 16, 2014 who stated that I would not receive any more calls, I could not get any money back or cancel the contract. I agreed to wait out the 5-yr period as long as I received my magazines and nobody called me.
Today on June 16, 2015 I was called by a very pushy salesperson who tried to get me to commit to pay a savings of $49/month for my next 5 yrs of service. I said I have only used 1.5 years of my current service. He stumbled around and said this was to "lock in" my price at $49/month for the next 5 yrs. I said no. I called customer service and talked with ** and he assured me that I would get no further calls, and still receive my magazines until Fall 2018. He did say that he could not refund my unused months of my contract, nor could he stop my contract. I asked to talk with his supervisor and he said his word trumped all other departments. Basically, I could have started individual subscriptions with my magazines on my own for a lot less and no bothersome phone calls. I did not sign a contract so I do not understand why I cannot end this one and get some of my money back. I would be happy with $250 back.
Better off going to the store to get magazines. Then on my bank statement money was going to "My best option" w/o consent and when I called they say when you agreed to the magazine's it's some kind of long distance calls. Won't let service end.
On 10/26/12, I sent a letter (certified mail) to cancel all subscriptions and signed on the line to cancel the contract on customer right to cancel line and returned the new contract. The first yr. contract had ended in Oct. 2012. I did not receive a written contract for this 2011-2012 year, so I don't know the day of beginning or ending, only Oct., much less other conditions that might have been stated by phone such as length of contract overall, total amount involved. I only knew a monthly amount would be deducted from my bank account to cover the subscriptions available. The magazines I really wanted were and still are not available. I had to take substitutes, which defeats the purpose of having a magazine service, i.e., to get the ones of value to me.
It was after the confrontation described below that I received a new written contract to start the new time.
I read of others, like me, whom the manager called and intimidated. It was mid-October when I was contacted by him. I told him I was driving my vehicle in heavy traffic on a trip home (I asked him to call me that evening when I would have been home or the next morning so I could concentrate on what he wanted; he refused). But that didn't stop him. He demanded that I listen and make a decision that day. It turns out, it was about the length of contract. I was horrified to learn Gulf Coast had obligated me to a 5-year contract with automatic renewal - without my knowledge and was out to get me for renewal payments.
So, he kept on pressuring me to agree immediately to what he said (without giving me sufficient time as requested, to validate what's spewed out by his confrontation, think it over, and evaluate if it was right and the terms). It was very troublesome to have such an encounter and drive with clarity at the same time, plus there was a lot of road noise and poor cell phone receptivity. My friend and witness helped me try to hear and deal with it as best we could on cell phone because we needed to keep driving to get home by dark. This senior citizen isn't going to be hustled by strong-arm tactics, nor by crude, rude and disrespectful treatment. I'm describing a deceptive practice this company allows their officer(s) to do to take advantage of (especially) elderly people, like myself. This is the opposite of customer service, and I'm angered and highly incensed!
The products - magazine subscription choices - are unsatisfactory; they do not reflect the needs for my lifestyle. I want magazines with the useful information I am seeking. Why renew a contract and continue to pay monthly for something I don't even want, much less use. I called and asked about choices - they could not help me. After the confrontation with the manager, what the company had done to me (5-year contract w/o my knowledge) and lack of magazine subscriptions I truly want, it's not worth it. I'm taking my business elsewhere.
If GCR does not close out my account, but continues to harass me by phone or letter, I have promised to contact BBB and any other sources, websites or government agencies dealing with the kind of fraudulent practices I've experienced.
What happened was I was filling out a form I thought was for PCH’s contest. Part of the way filling out the form, I seen it was for mags. I left the form and went on and found what I was looking for. I went to town and in heavy traffic and the cell phone rang. My wife answered it. It was Gulf Coast Readers wanting to know why I did not finish filling out the form. Trying to hear them and dealing with traffic, I only picked up part of what they were saying. They kept saying I would have to say yes and at that point to get back to being safe in traffic, I said yes. They called me back in a few minutes and asked me to say yes again. Still in traffic, I said yes. Next, here comes mags and a bill. I sent an email to cancel and they said to call them. But with all the complaints I have seen about them, I do not think it would do any good. Can you stop this problem?
This company is a telemarketing magazine sales company. A woman called my mother and told her it was time for her to renew her magazine subsriptions. She told the saleswoman she couldn't afford it but the woman said she had to renew them, she had no choice. My mom is old suffering from dementia so she was bullied into giving her checking account information to this thief. The next week mom received at least ten magazines,some were about health, cooking, sports, men and all kinds of things my mother had no interest in what so ever. Her bank account was debited $60.00.
I told my mother to cancel this immediately and then I called the bank and told them not honor that debit again. The bank explained we had to close the account to prevent it. So I took my mother to another bank where she opened a new account and transferred the money. Then she received a bill from Gulf Coast that said she had subscribed to 5 years worth of magazines for a total of $1,200. and she owed $60 a month for twenty months. My mom is 85 on Social Security so that was either her food or medicine money.
I called this company up and spoke to a woman who was nameless and she said they would make a deal and forgive $900. of the debt if we would pay $189. I asked what that was for and she said because they had reserved that many magazines for my mom. I told her not another penny would be pay and that I was going to report them to the BBB and anyone else I could think of because they were stealing from old people. She said goodbye have a nice day. Then she called me back a said they were going to forgive the debt.
Mom broke down in tears, the whole epsisode was very stressful for her. This company said that they had recorded the conversation of their sales rep and my mom accepting the program she was told she couldn't refuse. They acted as if that was the same as a contract. These people are preditors on old people whose reasoning isn't what it used to be and who fall for their threats. My mom is still out of $60 but she got off cheap considering the max was $1,200.
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