Sevierville couple’s fight to end magazine subscription

Magazines

SEVIERVILLE (WATE) – A Sevierville couple wants to end their dispute with a magazine subscription company, but has been unsuccessful.

Chuck Flammang said he received a call last May from a man with a magazine company who asked him if he would be interested in receiving one of their subscriptions. A retired mechanical engineer, Flammang said he liked woodworking and mechanical things.

The man said he had Popular Mechanics, according to Flammang. He said yes, Popular Mechanics sounded okay, but don’t bill him yet.

“I told him, send me the literature on it, I will decide whether I want to do that,” said Flamming. Now he says he regrets saying the word “yes.”

Related story: Telemarketer sticks elderly Knoxville woman with unwanted magazine subscriptions

Flammang not only received Popular Mechanics, but also a fishing magazine, sports magazine and several other magazines he could care less about. At the end of June, he said Great American Readers sent him their first bill.

The letter outlining the $50 a month payment plan was dated mid-June, but Flammang said he did not receive the bill until June 30. The letter said he had seven business days to cancel his subscription, but Flammang said Great American Readers told him he could not cancel his subscription because he missed the seven-day cut-off.

“They will not take no for an answer. They will browbeat you and browbeat you,” said Flammang.

Then in mid-July, Flammang said his credit card company called to warn him of suspicious activity with his card. He cancelled the card and was sent a new card, but within a month he started getting past due notices from Great American Readers.

The first bill from Great American Readers was for $55. On September 15, the bill doubled to $110 and now his latest bill is $220 and Flammang said Great American Readers is threatening to send him to a collection agency.

Throughout the dispute, Flammang said the magazines continued to be delivered. They sent him everything from Esquire, Entrepreneur to Men’s Health.

“It’s just frustrating. They hold all the cards as far as having this stuff sent to me,” said Flammang.

WATE 6 On Your Side contacted Great American Readers and explained that the couple tried to cancel their contract within seven days in June, but were told they had missed the deadline. The supervisor said the past due accounts would be canceled and the magazines would stop.

Regarding magazine sales tactics by telemarketers, the United State Attorney General’s Office has some warnings:

  • Don’t believe the hype. For example, winning a gift if you make a purchase.
  • Ask to read the fine print rather than agreeing over the phone and ask to have pricing terms mailed to you
  • Be extremely cautious with credit card information
  • Don’t be afraid to hang up

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