I filled up a form for a monthly magazine subscription. I gave them my name, address for delivery and credit card number. I hit the Submit button and the page said my card was rejected -- so the site never showed me a confirmation page or receipt. I did not insist and forgot about the situation.

I did not talk to my bank yet but I am guessing it declined the transaction as it does with some sites (it requires you to pre-acknowledge the transaction you are about to make).

Weeks later the first issue hit my door (even if I never paid) and this week the second issue did same. The price for "trial" first issue was about $7 ("just cover the shipping cost" site said) and about $49 for each subsequent monthly issue.

I think the company not receiving my money would be enough reason on their side to deny sending anything as it would be unpaid. I don't remember what Terms of Use exactly said but I can look for them.

My concern, is the company too stupid as to not verify payments before sending the issues to everyone, is it due to a glitch in their software (the order forms, payment processor, etc) -- it still would be its fault not mine or is it likely the company knows I did not paid and is playing dirty as to claim/require much later in time large amounts of money due to unpaid issues?

Even if I should have written them asking to stop sending anything in the moment first issue hit door I would like to know what to do? And, is there any obligation on my side to pay them -- for the two issues I already received?

The company is in Canada. My address is a POBOX in the US. I am not in the US nor I am an US-resident. I am not sure if it is ok to disclose company name.

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    In principle, depending on the fine print, you could even be on the hook for the whole subscription (a year?). At some point you entered a contract, payment is a technical detail. Consider the fact that before the Internet and instant credit card payment, you could have sent a check for example. Or consider a rental agreement where you pay by check or direct debit every month: You are not relieved of your obligation to pay the minute a payment bounces, the contract is still valid. – Relaxed Nov 28 '17 at 23:59
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    Similarly, consumer protection laws might give you an out for some time but it's not even obvious that reacting in writing after receiving the first issue would necessarily be enough to immediately stop the subscription. – Relaxed Nov 28 '17 at 23:59

First, contact your credit card company and explain the problem to them, to ensure that they never pay any money to this company.

Second, research the US postal code. Somewhere it says that if you receive unsolicited goods in the mail, they are a gift to you. Then it becomes a question of whether you went far enough in the subscription process to commit to the subscription.

Third, reread the fine print on the web page. "By clicking submit, you agree to deliver us your firstborn and a herd(?) of baby goats."

Finally, armed with information from the previous steps, call (maybe better to do it in writing by sending a letter to) the company selling the magazines to let them know their mistake. That the transaction was never completed and that the failure of the transaction led you to believe that the subscription was never agreed upon. And that you never received a confirmation. Let them know that you do not wish to continue receiving the magazine. If you're on the hook, having clicked submit, then find out about their cancellation policy. Hopefully there's a cancel any time policy. If so, pay for the first couple of issues, then write it off as a relatively inexpensive lesson on subscriptions, fine print, and reading and keeping copies of contracts.

50 bucks an issue for a monthly magazine sounds expensive. Is it a trade magazine?

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  • I thought about talking to my bank but somehow knew they would decline payment by default, for this site. I asked the company to cancel any subscription and they replied with a massive discount offer, which I declined. I also mentioned them I received an issue even if I never completed transaction and was not willing to pay any later fees. They replied again: I have no subscription. This was a valuable lesson about subscriptions and taking action ASAP that still went free this time. I appreciate your help. – ejuan Dec 2 '17 at 3:49
  • I accepted your answer since it was helpful and describes things as they went. Seriously, I don't know why somebody would down-vote you (without giving feedback)! PS: It is advertised as a life coaching magazine and comes printed in white bond paper with several non relevant images. Even if I try to not judge it by the cover I found limited value on it, not to mention a significant part of it was info about author's past and next events. Overall, it feels expensive given the limited value, no matter what your income may be! – ejuan Dec 2 '17 at 4:12
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    @ejuan There is, or was, a pyramid style making money scheme which sold products that you simply downloaded, put the name of "your company" in the blanks, and sold printed copies. The document told you how to do all this, so you follow the instructions and sell printed copies to people who repeat the process. So keep your eyes open on this type of thing for sale on the internet. Like you said, limited value. They're banking on people who can't be bothered to cancel, or who pay for an issue or two before cancelling. I don't care about the down votes, time will show any value in my answer. – Xalorous Dec 4 '17 at 17:59

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