Tuesday, May 20, 2014

BBB Alerts Public to Subscription Renewal Notices

Burnsville, Minnesota – May 20, 2014– Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB)  is warning subscribers of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal (MSPBJ) to be aware of phone calls and mailed notices regarding subscription renewals from United Publishers Network, a company which operates under several different names and is based out Medford, Oregon. This business has been given a rating of F, the lowest rating possible, by BBB of Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington. 

MSPBJ has advised their subscribers – via email – that they have no relationship with United Publishers Network and that the company is not authorized to offer their subscriptions. In that email, they also note that United Publishers Network’s prices are far higher than theirs.

According to BBB’s Business Review for United Publishers Network, there have been 885 complaints filed against them in the last three years. BBB of Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington reports that United Publishers Network has resolved most of those complaints; however, that BBB has “recognized a pattern of complaints from consumers regarding improper billing and collection practices. Consumers allege they receive bills from this company for magazines they currently have subscriptions for, implying it is time for renewal. However consumers claim the subscriptions are not expired, nor did they originally order through this company.”

Narrative text in United Publishers Network’s BBB Business Review goes on to say, “Consumers further allege the company's renewal advertisement states it has the lowest renewal fee, but consumers find that renewing directly through their magazine's publisher costs less. Consumers also claim the company charges a $20 processing fee to cancel renewals.” BBB notes the mailing sent by United Publishers Network regarding Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reads, “…by acting now, you can lock in at one of our lowest rates.”

“Based on the Business Review maintained for United Publishers Network by BBB of Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington, it’s very clear this is how this company operates,” said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. “They attempt to profit from confusion. We ourselves (BBB) received this renewal notice.”

BBB contacted the company and inquired about MSPBJ’s statement that United Publishers Network was not authorized to offer their subscriptions. The individual who answered the phone stated that they contract with magazine clearinghouses that are authorized to offer subscriptions.

MSPBJ advises people who have received calls or letters from United Publishers Network to ignore them or to file complaints with BBB (bbb.org) and/or the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office. They advise subscribers and potential subscribers alike that renewal notices and subscription offers from MSPBJ will always display an official logo and ask that payments be sent to their customer service center in Charlotte, North Carolina.
For any and all questions regarding renewal of subscriptions to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, company representatives can be contacted directly at 1-866-853-3661.