What can I say about the National Magazine Exchange? I probably can't call them RAT. FUCKING. BASTARDS! without insulting any bastards out there who like to "get jiggy" with rodents.

I first learned of the National Magazine Exchange in 2011 when I discovered that my 82 year old mother was receiving three new magazine subscriptions. Her subscriptions also meant she was entered in their "Sweepstakes" and she showed me a list of some tacky “free" gifts and a list of additional "free” magazines from which she was supposed to select. Mother lives on a limited income, so right away Forbes magazine was out. She barely gets around using a walker, so Golf Digest was a no-go. She speaks only English, so Latina would do her no good. And the price of all this? Just $1.29 per week. Of course that was $1.29 for four years and of course they don’t bill by the week--it is charged to her credit card in four easy payments of $67.08, for a total cost of $268.32.

My mother is easily persuadable. I take after my father. I called the National Magazine Exchange to discuss the situation and experienced some of their high-pressure tactics for myself. I could barely get a word in because the customer service rep practically shouts that legally she has to "explain" everything. She did offer to change the "free" magazines to different ones and also offered to cancel OFF the free magazines and spread out Mom's payments; of course that would mean my mother would still be paying the full $268 amount, so why would she cancel the "FREE" magazines?

When I mentioned that I would be contacting Better Business Bureau, the Rep said go ahead, because they've been in business since 1984. I took this to mean that they skirt the very edge on legal issues and have been pulling this crap for over 25 years.

After further telephonic wrangling the best resolution I was able to achieve was that they would not charge the remaining three payments and Mother’s three subscriptions would only continue for one year. This meant Mom was only charged $68 for subscriptions which would have cost $51 if she had contacted the magazines directly. What a triumph!

I visited my Mom yesterday. She gave me the December and January issues of her latest magazine, Self, which is, as far as I can determine, geared towards 20- to 40-year old women. Sigh. It begins again. Goody. Fucking. Gumdrops.

Note: The Florida branch of the Better Business Bureau shows the National Magazine Exchange (aka ThinkDirect Market Group) is not accredited by the BBB, and has a rating of D+. They show the company has had 381 complaints filed against them with the BBB, as follows:

  • 149 Advertising / Sales Issues
  • 104 Billing / Collection Issues
  • 49 Delivery Issues
  • 79 Problems with Product / Service

    Further information about the NME's business practices can be found at:


    There were other sites I could link. Are we sensing a trend here? (OK, I'm going to wipe the froth from my mouth, take a couple aspirin and lie down now. Sorry about the F-bombs.)

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