It's an issue that's existed for many, many years, but I've never understood the logic: Why do magazines charge existing subscribers a premium to renew, compared to the price a brand new subscriber would pay?
Yeah, I've heard the logic that they want to lure in the new customer so they're willing to possibly lose money the first year for that new subscription. OK, maybe that makes a bit of sense, but is it worth alienating your existing customer base?! After all, isn't it equally (if not even more) important to make sure you're not losing existing customers in the process?
My latest example is with BusinessWeek magazine. I've been a subscriber for many years now and it's time to renew. As a "valued customer", they wanted to charge me $60 for a one-year renewal. I visited their website and saw that a new subscription is only $45. I decided to ask them why I'd want to renew when it would be better for me to let my current subscription lapse and sign up as a new customer for $15 less.
Their answer, and I'm not making this up, is as follows:
Your subscription renewal has been entered to our files for the number of issues you requested, and service will start with the June 18, 2007 issue.
You will receive an invoice in the near future, and upon receipt of your payment of $45.97 your subscription will continue for the full number of issues ordered.
How about that?! I ask them to clarify their terms for new vs. existing customers but they ignore my question and renew my subscription without even asking me!