I hadn't planned this post, it just came up yesterday. In the morning, I went to fill my tank ($1.65/gallon - woohoo!) and my credit card was denied. Later in the day my wife said one of her Christmas purchases (online) was returned. Being the master sleuth, I looked at these two events and recognized a pattern.
My wife called the credit card company and after speaking to one of India's finest found out there was a charge from a "highly fraudulent" company, so the card was put on hold. (Why didn't they call me to tell me this? That's work for another day). Anyway, it seems a subscription renewal service had charged $94.64 for a magazine. I won't publish the name of the mag, but let's just say it's devoted to sports and is very well illustrated. I like the photos and my son likes the stories.
So, my wife called the magazine to find out about the charge. I distinctly remember getting a "courtesy card" a few weeks ago telling me the renewal was coming. I didn't know if it was a 2 or 3 year renewal. When she asked, she was told this was for 1 year. She explained that she thought this was a lot of a year and was asked if we had received any promotions. No, she explained, this was an automatic renewal.
After thinking a bit, the gentleman reduced the price to $49.84, a 47% savings. Two more calls to India's finest at my credit card company and the card was reactivated.
Now, the magazine is definitely entitled to a profit. They have some of the best photography I've ever seen. They have to pay those photographers and a lot of writers. They have to distribute the mags. And some investor wants to see some return on his/her money. But they don't have to have over 100% profit and they don't have to get it from me.
So, here's the moral of the story (that I learned yesterday). Never use automatic renewal on the magazines. Always ask for a lower price. The savings will buy my wife and I dinner.