Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Health magazine: Health magazine bills create ill will

AT YOUR SERVICE: In the spring of 2003, our school ordered Current Health magazine with money from a Community of Caring grant. The magazines were delivered in my name. We did not renew this subscription. This fall we started receiving Current Health 1 and 2 . I had not received a bill until Jan. 10. It indicates the account is more than four months past due. I do not have authority to make purchases for the school and think I have no obligation to pay this bill just because it is in my name. The company is threatening my personal credit.

I called Weekly Reader ’s customer service department Jan. 30. I was told an order was placed online in my name Aug. 4, 2005. I had not been on their Web site until Jan. 30. I would appreciate your help in clearing this up. — M.E., Excelsior Springs

Dear M.E.: Shortly after we contacted Weekly Reader, you told us that someone with the magazine had called you and insisted that you placed the order and could not understand that teachers do not usually spend more than $700 out of their pocket for school books. The representative said she would mail you a copy of the Web site order, but you said you hadn’t received it but did get another bill for $589.20.

We contacted the parent company, WRC Media Inc. The company said an order for you and eight additional subscriptions, each from different health teachers at different schools, had been entered. These subscriptions were submitted on Aug. 2, 2005, with a confirming e-mail address for the person who did the paperwork on your original order. The company said it later received separate requests to cancel some of the subscriptions, along with your request in January.

The company said that during the time between receiving the Web order and cancellation in January, five issues of Current Health were sent to you. The magazines were not returned, and the company concluded that you kept them. The company has credited the remaining balance and assured you that your personal credit was not threatened.