Friday, May 20, 2011

After 35+ years, Runner's World doesn't want my money

Actually, I think I am being kind in framing the situation that way (in the headline).


I didn’t receive my April issue of Runner’s World. Looking at my March issue, I see that the expiration date is Feb 2012. However, I don’t remember paying for the renewal, which they usually ask for in December or so. Thinking I renewed expecting a follow-up asking for payment that might’ve gotten lost, I headed to their website. For the last couple of years, at least, I’ve paid my renewal on their web page. Having been through this before, I knew it was going to be difficult to get to that page, but I found it after all.


[Since I am signed in to the web page, why on earth could they not have a “Renew here” or “Your account” page or something easily accessible? Only one of many queries which add to my astonishment that this company somehow is making enough of a profit to stay in existence.]


Once I wind my way through to see the status of my subscription, I get conflicting information. On the top of the page, it shows Feb 12 as my expiration and says no payment is due. Yet, just below that, it says “Awaiting Payment” in red letters. Unfortunately, it is only in that top section that there is (or could be) a button to press to actually make a payment.


So I hunt around for how to contact them. I fill out my info and send a message through their online system. I don’t get any reply. After a couple of days, I do the whole thing again. This time I get the automated “we have lots of e-mails” message. Okay, at least they got my message. I wait a couple of more days. Nothing. So I go through the whole process again and send another message. Several days later, I get a reply saying that my subscription is through some other service and I have to call some 800#. I reply that this is untrue, I paid my subscription right here on this page just last year and besides, I’m in Africa and cannot afford the phone call (a 30 minute call would cost $50 USD, or 10% of my monthly allowance). No reply. I go back to the website and send a message again. Automated reply, then nothing. I go back to the website and send a message again. Several days later, I get the exact same message I got before. I make the same reply (perhaps with a bit more snark this time around).


The third time we go through this routine, I ask for my message to be passed up to someone who can actually do something. No reply.


I go back to the website and try a couple of more times. Nothing.


I have been a Runner’s World subscriber since my father first gave me a subscription when I was 12 years old. That was a long, long time ago. Do they care? Nope.


Now I understand why some (many?) in the RunNet community believe that RW is just a mouthpiece for its corporate sweatshop overlords.


It’s too bad, too, ‘cause I’ve always loved the human interest stories in RW and I was really into the new series by Marc Parent and loved, loved that one of my favorite people, Peter Sagal, was a regular contributor. Oh well, at least I have podcasts. And I might check out Marathon & Beyond magazine. . .

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