Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona is warning magazine subscribers of Publishers Billing Exchange (PBE) after several hundred consumers allege non-delivery and refund issues.
Complainants typically allege the company mails solicitations resembling bills to consumers who are already subscribers to national publications. Some consumers pay the company believing they are paying the actual publisher. When consumers realize they renewed through a third party and paid more than what the publisher charges, they cancel their orders and allegedly experience difficulty obtaining a refund. In some cases, complainants claim they never received the ordered publication.
Some companies have posted notices on their websites stating they will not honor subscriptions purchased through the company. PBE claims they have contracted with a clearing house to sell the subscriptions.
The company currently has an “F” rating with Better Business Bureau serving Northern Nevada for failing to responds to ten complaints. In total, the company has generated 353 complaints in the past year. In some cases, the company responded to complaints by offering a full or partial refund.
The Nevada address given to consumers is believed to be a mail drop along with addresses in Sierra Madre, CA; La Habra, CA; and White City, OR. BBB lists more than 20 names for the company including Lakeshore Publishing Service, Publishers Network Exchange and Global Publishers Center.
“Solicitations like PBE’s make it important for consumers to read the fine print before agreeing to anything,” said Kim States, BBB President. “In this case, it is stated that the solicitation is not a bill, but it’s not stated as required by federal law and is still misleading consumers.”
United States Postal Inspection Service requires businesses mailing solicitations resembling bills or invoices to include specific disclaimers identifying it as a solicitation in at least 30 point font. The solicitation reviewed by BBB, dated September 27, 2010, did not comply with federal law.
BBB recommends verifying all invoices, bills or statements that are out of the ordinary by reading the fine print and speaking to the company directly.