A Business That Penalizes Its Loyal Customers

Tfb’s recent post “A Business That Punishes Its Largest Customers” prompted me to write this post to relate my experience with a magazine subscription.

I have been a subscriber of PC World for a few years. It came up for renewal last month but I didn’t renew it immediately because I thought the renewal price was much higher than what I paid last year.

Anyway, the cover page of my last issue was screaming “This is your LAST ISSUE. Hurry! Renew today! Save 80% off the newstand rate with the 2 year term!”. The renewal rates were:

  • 12 issues for $19.97
  • 24 issues for $33.97

I didn’t send back the renewal card. And I am glad I didn’t because earlier this week, I received another letter from PC World:

  • “As a qualified professional you are entitled to renew your subscription at up to 88% off the newsstand price. Bonus: Mastering Windows CD-ROM — FREE with paid renewal.”
  • 12 issues for $9.97
  • 24 issues for $19.97

By waiting for the subscription to “expire”, I get 50% off from the first subscription offer, plus a bonus free CD-ROM. If I had renewed immediately, I would be paying double for the subscription.

Such is an example of a business that penalizes its loyal customers.


  1. Thad

    I have had a similar experience with Money magazine. Last renewal, I waited for a good deal, and then signed up for the 2-year subscription. After about 8 or 9 months, though, I started getting renewal notices (for higher prices) in the mail, even though I had probably 13 or 14 months left on my subscription. They conveniently don’t show you how long you have left, so if I hadn’t paid attention, I would have renewed it again, way too early.

    They continue to send them about every month, particularly trying to get me to sign up for the “automatic” renewal, where they just charge your credit card, year after year, without having to send you a notice.

  2. missMM

    Yup, i find this true in almost all the magazines I subscribe to: WIRED, BAZAAR, PC WORLD, Reader’s Digest, etc. Because of this sense of punishment, even though I can renew at a pretty darn good rate after waiting the few weeks, I decided to stop the subscriptions, for I just can’t trust that these companies treat me fairly.

  3. John

    The expiration date should be coded on the mailing label along the bottom. I don’t renew Newsweek until the price drops to 29 cents per issue.

    ‘…for I just can’t trust that these companies treat me fairly.’ Corporations were invented specifically to profit at your expense and if directors suspected that an officer was not up to the task, he would be replaced.

  4. marathonwmn

    Even more egregious is the correspondence which I received from Money Magazine which intimated that I had failed to pay for my subscription. Upon calling the subscription department (no small feat finding the phone number) they confessed that the correspondence was in truth a subscription renewal.

    What gave it away to me was that I never would have signed up for one year at $24.95 – I’m too cheap for that?

  5. Pingback: Bookmarks about Correspondence

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