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February 20, 2004

Somebody's Evil...

I got home from work last night to find a mail from Official Xbox Magazine. I registered my Xbox, so I thought, "okay, here comes the spam." But when I opened it, it was a bill! Not a subscription offer, but an unambiguous bill. "Thank you for your subscription to the Official Xbox Magazine. Your first issue is in the mail. Please render payment to..."

Well, this stinks. I know I didn't subscribe. I deliberately threw that blow-in card into the trash, and it didn't have my name or address on it. So I look in the mail and find the website, go there, and find no way to cancel the subscription. I do find a nice, prominent link to pay after I enter the serial number in the letter. No way, Jose.

So I look again, and find a phone number. I call it, get a recording. The gist is, "if you are calling about problems with our subscription, please go to our website and use the convenient links." I know already how convenient these are, so I wait. After this dismissive message, the phone begins to play Muzak. I'm supposed to think there's nothing more and hang up. I don't.

After ten or fifteen seconds of this nobody's-home-I'm-in-the-shower dodge, another recorded voice comes on: "if you do not have access to the Internet and would like to blah blah blah, press 1." So I do, and almost immediately I get a real live person. "May I have your area code please?"

After all the preliminaries, she asks "how may I help you?"

"I received a bill for your magazine, but I didn't subscribe."

A pause, almost imperceptible, but there. Then, "I'm sorry for the mixup sir, I'll cancel your subscription. The April issue is already mailed, you may keep that, and ignore any further billings." That last part about further billings sounds ominous, but I'll deal with that if they get nasty later. I hung up.

Point is, she was expecting callers who wanted to cancel subscriptions they didn't ask for! This damn magazine is autosubscribing anyone who registers their Xbox and assuming that some folks will just shrug and pay up. That's damned unethical, and slimy to boot! Almost makes me regret buying the Xbox (if not for Baldur's Gate ).

Posted by dpwakefield at February 20, 2004 07:37 AM


Do you happen to still have the phone number of the Official Xbox Magazine company. I cannot find a phone number for them and I don't want to try to contact them through e-mail. If you could send me their phone number that would be great. Thanks.

Posted by: Josh at February 27, 2004 11:48 AM