Jump to content


Photo

Astronomy Magazine DVD Scam

  • Please log in to reply
26 replies to this topic

#1 RodgerHouTex

RodgerHouTex

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1515
  • Joined: 02 Jun 2009
  • Loc: Houston, Texas, USA

Posted 20 November 2012 - 03:50 PM

I just received from Astronomy magazine a bill for a DVD that they included in my magazine this month (I subscribe by mail). The two options on the bill are pay for it and they will start sending me the "Infinite Cosmos DVD Series" or return it in the included White Product Return Envelope which I don't recall receiving.

Anyway, I know that a company can NOT send you something that you have not asked for and then expect you to pay for it unless say UPS delivered it to the wrong address or something like that. But if you did not solicit them for it it is a GIFT.

So I was a little annoyed until I read the fine print in the box at the bottom of the letter attached to the bill. Quote "Service Guarantee: You are under no obligation to participate in the program. Because you didn't order the DVD, you don't have to participate or send it back and can consider it a free gift."

Hmmm! I guess I will let my subscription expire because I don't deal with companies that are this deceptive.

#2 helpwanted

helpwanted

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4503
  • Joined: 04 Jul 2007
  • Loc: Phoenix, AZ

Posted 20 November 2012 - 05:45 PM

just to be fair... and i am not positive, but i think the editorial staff of the magazine have nothing to do with the distribution and sales of the magz, so it really isn't the editorial staff's fault.
just consider it a modern day annoyance, like Spam email, and delete it... but keep the magz!!!

#3 LivingNDixie

LivingNDixie

    TSP Chowhound

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 18610
  • Joined: 23 Apr 2003
  • Loc: Trussville, AL

Posted 20 November 2012 - 10:28 PM

How much was the charge?

#4 RodgerHouTex

RodgerHouTex

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1515
  • Joined: 02 Jun 2009
  • Loc: Houston, Texas, USA

Posted 20 November 2012 - 10:49 PM

$16.95 and they continue to send you the next in the series each month for which you would pay another $16.95.

And if the staff at Astronomy isn't aware of it they should be. It is illegal to do this. They could face legal action. I just posted this so folks here at CN would know that.

#5 Rick Woods

Rick Woods

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 14590
  • Joined: 27 Jan 2005
  • Loc: Inner Solar System

Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:02 PM

They've done this before.

#6 jsiska

jsiska

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 670
  • Joined: 12 Jul 2006
  • Loc: NW Ohio

Posted 21 November 2012 - 02:00 AM

I have a Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia from the early 1980’s. For years I use to receive the annual yearbooks and the science yearbooks because I enjoyed the light reading. I always promptly paid the invoice for the yearbooks. By the year 2000 I tired of reading the yearbooks and right after receiving the year 2000 yearbooks, I decided to inform Funk & Wagnalls via a formal letter that in the future I no longer want them to send me any more yearbooks. Even though I sent the letter, the following year they sent me a 2001 yearbook. I promptly returned the yearbook to Funk & Wagnalls along with a second letter explaining that a year previous I had already sent them a letter asking them to stop sending me the yearbooks. I even personally paid for the return postage of the book via certified mail to be certain that they received the unwanted book I was sending back. After another 6 months, I began getting statements from Funk & Wagnalls that I still owed them the money for the returned book. After another 6 months, I received a letter from a collection agency advising that if I don’t pay for the book legal action will be taken against me. I then sent Funk & Wagnalls copies of the letters that I had previously sent them along with a copy of the U.S. Post office record that the book had been returned to them. I asked them to inform their collection agency that the account is settled. That still didn’t stop the letters from the collection agency. After several more threatening letters from the collection agency each getting more intense, I decided enough is enough. I finally took all my records with me to an attorney to assist me so that the collection agency would not hurt my credit. Shortly after that I received a letter of apology from the collection agency but none from Funk & Wagnalls. That was about 10 years ago and I still am bitter over the fact that it took an attorney to settle the situation.

Although a different publisher, Astronomy magazine has been sending unsolicited DVD’s for a several years now. There have been few other threads relating to this problem. In all those threads, I haven’t read any posts that publisher of Astronomy magazine has resorted to using a collection agency; but these threads certainly remind me of the experience I had with Funk & Wagnalls. I don’t subscribe to Astronomy magazine.

#7 Rich (RLTYS)

Rich (RLTYS)

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 5170
  • Joined: 18 Dec 2004
  • Loc: New York (Long Island)

Posted 21 November 2012 - 07:59 AM

I would just keep the DVD and not do anything. As you stated you didn't ask for it.

Rich (RLTYS)

#8 poodle

poodle

    Ranger 4

  • *****
  • Posts: 335
  • Joined: 21 Jan 2005
  • Loc: Breckenridge, Texas

Posted 21 November 2012 - 08:30 AM

They did this to me a couple of years ago. I just ignored it kept the CD and never heard a word from them about it. I have kept my subscription with them cause I really enjoy their magazine. I also have a subscription to S&T. Internet is cool, but nothing replaces a good paper magazine.

#9 cliff mygatt

cliff mygatt

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1682
  • Joined: 27 Jan 2009
  • Loc: Kitsap County, WA

Posted 21 November 2012 - 09:55 AM

I have been purchasing the DVD series for a couple of years, it is a good series. I teach an astronomy class at my wifes junior high and it is nice to have.

#10 desertstars

desertstars

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 42791
  • Joined: 05 Nov 2003
  • Loc: Tucson, AZ

Posted 22 November 2012 - 12:09 AM

They've done this before.



Yeah, this is nothing new at all. Don't sweat it.

#11 Fimpster

Fimpster

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2320
  • Joined: 24 Sep 2009
  • Loc: Aprox. 1 AU from Sun

Posted 02 December 2012 - 08:06 PM

I was annoyed by the same bit of trickery a few years ago. I decided at that time that I would not be renewing my subscription. I prefer S&T anyhow.

#12 Rick Woods

Rick Woods

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 14590
  • Joined: 27 Jan 2005
  • Loc: Inner Solar System

Posted 02 December 2012 - 10:33 PM

To be fair, it's not a scam, just a stupid marketing strategy. The NRA has done the same thing, and others have reported this tactic being used by various vendors. They must think we're all new!

I'm glad S&T has always shown enough respect for their readership that they don't use an irritating trick like this.

#13 7331Peg

7331Peg

    Sirius Observer

  • *****
  • Posts: 1930
  • Joined: 31 Aug 2008
  • Loc: North coast of Oregon

Posted 03 December 2012 - 12:37 AM

If it's a marketing strategy, it's an incredibly poor one. They WILL continue to send you notices if you don't return the DVD. Whoever decided that was a good marketing strategy should have been fired before the first DVD was mailed. It's amazing that they're still doing it.


John :refractor:

#14 Rich (RLTYS)

Rich (RLTYS)

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 5170
  • Joined: 18 Dec 2004
  • Loc: New York (Long Island)

Posted 03 December 2012 - 09:04 AM

I didn't return mine and never heard anything.

Rich (RLTYS)

#15 7331Peg

7331Peg

    Sirius Observer

  • *****
  • Posts: 1930
  • Joined: 31 Aug 2008
  • Loc: North coast of Oregon

Posted 03 December 2012 - 01:41 PM

That's surprising -- I had three notices mailed to me. They finally stopped coming after that.


John :refractor:

#16 opticsguy

opticsguy

    Messenger

  • -----
  • Posts: 416
  • Joined: 02 Feb 2009
  • Loc: Washington State

Posted 04 December 2012 - 10:27 AM

They have not yet tried that with me. When they do i will immediately cancel my subscription.

#17 cliff mygatt

cliff mygatt

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1682
  • Joined: 27 Jan 2009
  • Loc: Kitsap County, WA

Posted 04 December 2012 - 12:35 PM

I have purchased all the DVDs that have come and wondering if they will ever end, I am up to about 20 now!

#18 rmollise

rmollise

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 15563
  • Joined: 06 Jul 2007

Posted 05 December 2012 - 10:09 AM

What I didn't like, more than the dumb fake "dun" notices, was that what was on the DVD was an episode of _Universe_. That is all well and good, but the fact of the matter is, I bought an entire SEASON of the program for what Astronomy wanted for one disk: http://uncle-rods.bl...binoculars.html

#19 beatlejuice

beatlejuice

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1588
  • Joined: 05 Apr 2011
  • Loc: Hamilton, ON,Canada

Posted 05 December 2012 - 01:04 PM

What I didn't like, more than the dumb fake "dun" notices


Ya, whats up with that, what a waste of paper. My last issue is Feb and I start getting them end of Aug!!

Eric

#20 cliff mygatt

cliff mygatt

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1682
  • Joined: 27 Jan 2009
  • Loc: Kitsap County, WA

Posted 05 December 2012 - 03:24 PM

Rod, I am not sure I agree with your statement. I find the Universe "mega collection" on Amazon for about $90 so not the price of one DVD. Still less expensive than the Astronomy DVDs, though.

#21 turtle86

turtle86

    Pooh-Bah Everywhere Else

  • *****
  • Posts: 2970
  • Joined: 09 Oct 2006

Posted 05 December 2012 - 05:05 PM

Definitely bad business for a company to bill you for something you didn't order in the first place, and then send fake dun notices afterwards. If the first DVD is indeed a gift as the fine print says, the magazine should've simply said that up front and then given the buyer to order more DVD's if he liked the first one.

#22 RodgerHouTex

RodgerHouTex

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1515
  • Joined: 02 Jun 2009
  • Loc: Houston, Texas, USA

Posted 06 December 2012 - 11:39 AM

Yes that would have definitely been more appropriate.

#23 rmollise

rmollise

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 15563
  • Joined: 06 Jul 2007

Posted 06 December 2012 - 03:14 PM

The Mega Collection? That is 63 episodes, which comes out to less than a buck and a half an episode, considerably less than what you will pay for the aforementioned DVDs. And you can find single season collections in BestBuy and other places for far less than 90 simoleons... ;)

Now, I have nothing against Astronomy selling these disks. Some folks like to receive things like this via subscription, and they are for sure very nicely packaged. All I am saying is that I, me, Rod did not find them to be an outstanding value. If you like 'em, more power to you.

Nor do I have anything but good to say about Dave Eicher and the rest of the Astronomy crew. They are professionals turning out an excellent, professional product. ;)

#24 Dave M

Dave M

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 8189
  • Joined: 03 Aug 2004
  • Loc: Ohio

Posted 29 December 2012 - 01:34 PM

Had the same DVD sent to me last year when i had a subscription to Astronomy mag, good grief, i had the same thing recorded on my dvr, not to mention it first aired like back in 2002 or so iirc.
I just sent it back in the white return envelope and havnt
had any problems, ive since changed back to Sky & Telescope.

#25 BigC

BigC

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3208
  • Joined: 29 Sep 2010
  • Loc: SE Indiana

Posted 30 December 2012 - 02:08 AM

I kept the DVD and am ignoring the notices.Maybe if they lost enough money they would stop this kind of stupid marketing.






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics