I just subscribed to This Old House Magazine online and was greeted with this message after I checked out.
Subscriber’s Automatic Renewal Program:
You authorize This Old House Magazine to charge your credit/debit card or your PayPal account at the price above now and in time to renew your This Old House subscription, without interruption, before the start of each new annual term at the guaranteed low rate then in effect unless you tell us to stop. You may cancel at any time during your subscription by contacting customer service and receive a full refund on all unmailed issues. If your credit/debit card or your PayPal account cannot be charged, we’ll bill you directly instead.
I immediately called and and had them take off this “feature” on my account. To be fair, I went back and looked a the fine print in the checkout proceedure and that language was there beforehand.
In this day and age of identity theft, to have a major corporation hold onto my personal and credit card information for two years, just to auto-renew my subsriptions seems foolish. Foolish for me in the exposure to my personal credit, and foolish for them in that the cost of keeping that data 100% secure (do you think consumers would ever give them their credit card numbers if they were stolen en-mass?) for those 2 years has got to be outweighed by the risk associated with that. Perhaps someone did a cost analysis that proves me wrong. I just think you could figure out a more creative way to keep subscribers – without the risk to all parties. It is quite easy – have good product.
Also, I still think it is an obnoxious business practice.