Repost: More Magazine Mischief! Orbital Publishing Group sends a renewal invoice look-a-like

Update: I got another one of the fake invoices from Orbital this week. This time it was for my Bloomberg Businessweek subscription. It’s nice to know the good folks at Bloomberg so readily sell my contact information. I’m re-posting since the blog is under a new name now and I feel it’s important that someone write about this so that people won’t get duped into overpaying for their renewals.

Another day, another magazine renewal letter that gets my britches in a bunch.

I got a very-bill looking slip in the mail today that someone who doesn’t pay attention might have fallen for. It’s from Orbital Publishing Group in Reno, Nevada. It looks just like an invoice but there is print at the bottom that says NOT A BILL. Can you find those words with just a quick glance? They are hoping that you can’t!
orbital1_erased
They want to charge you $59.95 but you can go to Magazines.com and get a one year renewal for $15. I actually pay less than that each year.

What is especially disheartening is that Entertainment Weekly obviously sold my information either directly or indirectly to this company.

Here is the back of the slip:
orbital2
My favorite part is “As an agent, we do not necessarily have a direct relationship with the publishers or publications that we offer. With your purchase you authorize us and our suppliers to process and clear your order with the publishers directly or by whatever means available.” I think this means that they will pay the $15 (or less) and pocket the $44 difference. That’s quite a profit.

If you look at the “bill” above, you’ll notice that this company refers to themselves as Subscription Business Center and Publishers Billing Center. On the envelope, they call themselves Orbital Publishing Group. If you look at their Better Business Bureau page (they have a Grade F with over 500 complaints in the last three years), you’ll see that they have quite a database of names that they use:
Alternate Business Names
Orbital Publishing Group, Inc., Allied Publishing Services, American Consumers Publishers Association, Associated Publishers Services, Associated Publishers Subscription Services, Billing Services Association, Billing Services of America, Bradford Publishing Service, Circulation Billing Center, Circulation Billing Services, Global Publication Service, Global Publishers Center, Innovative Data Services, Lake Shore Publishers Service, Lakeshore Publication Service, Magazine Billing Network, Magazine Billing Services, Magazine Distribution Service, Magazine Payment Services, Magazine Subscriber Services, Magazine Subscriptions Center, National Magazine Services, Periodical Billing Center, Periodical Billing Services, Platinum Subscription Service, Publication Service Networks, Publishers Access Services, Publishers Billing Center, Publishers Billing Services, Publishers Consolidated Subscription Services, Publishers Distribution Center, Publishers Education Services, Publishers Magazine Billing, Publishers Magazine Payment, Publishers Marketplace Services, Publishers Network Exchange, Publishers Payment Services, Publishers Periodical Service, Publishers Processing Service, Publishers Services Exchange, Readers Billing Network, Readers Billing Service, Readers Billing Services, Readers Payment Center, Readers Payment Service, Seascape Publishers Network, Slo Call Center, Subscription Billing Service, Subscription Payment Exchange, Subscription Payment Services, United Publishers Services, Subscription Business Center, Seascape Publications Service, SPS, Publishers Billing Association, Seascape Publishing Services

Can you imagine going to Walmart every Saturday to get groceries and finding out that they are changing the name of the store every week?

These guys sound incredibly dodgy. I feel bad for all of the people who have fallen for crap like this.

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