I’ve had a subscription to Men’s Health Magazine dating back to 1999, my junior year in high school. Throughout college and into my early professional years I found the magazine and books they produced to be an invaluable resource on health and fitness. However, maybe it’s because I’ve had a subscription for so long, or maybe it’s because they repeat the same stuff over and over, or maybe it’s because they spend more time on introductory business “advice” and basic sex “tips” to attract awkward teenagers at the news stand, but I’ve become increasingly disinterested over the past year or two. So much so that when an issue arrives I just flip through, clip a few recipies or interesting exercises out, and then trash it.
A few months back I got a renewal notice in the mail. In my head I decided that I was not going to renew. Their website now has everything anyway. I might as well just subscribe to some feeds and newsletters and save myself the money. When I opened the bill it said that I had set up auto-renewal last year (damn) and that my subscription had been renewed. Oh well I thought. I still get some interesting stuff out of it and it only costs like $2/month.
Then last week I got the following letter in the mail:
Here’s a tip Chris: don’t chastise your customers. “We’re puzzled”. Let me help you out. I never sent anything back, you auto-renewed for me (which I had signed up for), yet somehow messed up charging my card. Unreal. I couldn’t believe I read that from a seemingly professional magazine like MH. Why don’t you do a section in next month’s issue about poor customer retention policies. I give you permission to use the image above from your own letter as the primary example.
I also love that at the very bottom of their nastygram they write that half apology, almost as if to say sorry for their wise-ass tone. P.S. This bill reflects your account balance through 8/29/08. If you’ve sent payment, thank you. Our letters must have crossed. How about STARTING your letter with something along those lines. Everyone who receives one of these letters knows that they’re getting it because they haven’t paid for one reason or another. The sarcastic tone certainly doesn’t make people want to give you money.
I double checked and my card has not been charged. So yesterday I cruised over to Men’s Fitness’ website and subscribed to all of their RSS feeds. Problem solved. Over the past few years they’ve arguably become a better magazine anyway. Consider me no longer a customer Men’s Health.
UPDATE 11/17/2010: I felt compelled to come back and update this post. I’ve since come back to Men’s Health and really enjoy the new editor, new look, and better content. I still wish that the auto-renew system worked better, and that post card was unprofessional, but it’s back to being a great magazine. Just wanted to add that in here in case anyone found this down the road.