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CRS Marketing Inc.
4521 Sheridan St.
Hollywood, FL 33021

phone: 954-966-6001

These folks call you, claiming that you're a preferred subscriber to xxx magazine because of your good payment record, so you're going to receive an extension to your magazine subscription.

Although they don't say that it's complimentary, they initially give you the impression that it is. Only after they've sucked you in enough not to hang up do they begin to talk about the costs associated with the promised benefit ot being a preferred subscriber.

Those costs are whatever they want to charge you for a 3-year subscription (quoted as a supposedly very attractive per-issue price), but wait, there's more! You get 12 issues of another magazine No doubt, a year from now they'll call me again to tell me I'm a preferred customer of that magazine.

So what's the scam?

  1. by virtue of this balderdash about being a "preferred customer", they imply they're actually the publisher.
  2. in fact, they have no knowledge about your payment history. although they may get expire lists from some publishers, the publisher denied that they made expire lists available to 3rd parties.
  3. when questioned as to whether they're the publisher, they admit to being "authorized" by the publisher. more on that later.

They basically are pushing the victim into this multi-year subscription, claiming a large dollar savings, which is actually based on the newsstand price. Typically, though, the regular subscription price per issue is less than half of the newsstand price, and depending on the magazine, discounts of up to 50% off the subscription price may be available.

The bottom line is that the savings they promise may in fact not represent any discount from the normal subscription price, though in my case, there was actually a 20% discount based on the one-year subscription price.

Getting on their Do Not Call List

The main goal people should have when vermin like these call is to get on the Do Not Call list. Unfortunately, too many of these lowlifes have decided to just flout the law and hang up on you as soon as you mention it -- they know you can't trace them because they're calling on lines which don't pass through caller id -- so they can do this with impunity.

So if you want to successfully be added to their Do Not Call list, you're going to have to lead them on to the point where you can get them to give you a bona fide company name or other contact information. It gets a little tricky here, since they may go by a very generic name, like "Publisher Service", which may not enable you to identify a particular company.

However, if you feign interest in their offer, they'll be more likely to put up with your questions... if they think you're going to take their bait, they're not going to want to pass up the chance to reel you in by hanging up.

If you get to the point at which you have an identifiable company (e.g. you can find their company in an online phone directory or through a BBB company report), you can ask to be put on the Do Not Call list... and don't forget to have them send you a copy of their Do Not Call policy as well, since it's helpful to make such activities as costly as possible to them.

Don't forget to make a note that you've asked to be put on their Do Not Call list, since that will enable you to claim damages if they call you later or if they fail to send you the Do Not Call policy as requested.

Are they authorized by the publisher?

Who cares whether they're authorized by the publisher? It may be significant, insofar as the Do Not Call regulations are concerned. Those regulations allow a business to call people with whom they have a business relationship, notwithstanding a Do Not Call request. Whether it would allow their "authorized agent" to also not honor a Do Not Call request is not so clear. If the publisher hasn't in fact provided them with the names, then the reference to the publisher is fraudulent and this exception to the rules would not apply. That should strengthen your position if you seek the $500 per violation damages that Federal law allows you to seek through your state's court system.

I got the verification call at 16:45 PDT on Monday 14 May 2001. The caller identified himself as Bill Hall. After he restated the terms of the deal, I indicated that I was not interested in their offer, but that I wanted to be put on their Do Not Call list and I wanted a copy of their Do Not Call policy.

He said he would do the former, but not the latter. Oh well. :-)

Take a look at CrsMarketingResponse web search for CrsMarketingResponse for their response to my complaint to the BBB.

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Revision r1.6 - 24 Nov 2001 - 10:39 by EliMantel web search for EliMantel
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