Practical Sailor Magazine

I used to get practical sailor magazine up until I had some issues with my subscription. When I tried to contact them about it I got no response at all. Not a yes, no or maybe. Just silence. So I quit renewing. I received two promotional offers to renew today in email and it just struck me wrong so I felt motivated to send them an email back.

Dear Practical Sailor,

I had quit renewing my subscription some time ago and I don’t intend to renew now. After the last time I renewed and then found out that it wasn’t a special renewal price but just a partial renewal I was very upset. Also I don’t really believe your renew now and get the book of product reviews. Some how the book of product reviews never quite made it to my mailbox. I did contact you about those issues at the time but I guess my business was not that important as you never bothered to respond to my inquiries.

I enjoyed looking at some of the reviews in your magazine. Actually I still do. Since they carry it at the local west marine I will often spend a few moments reading the content and then carefully place the magazine back on the rack.

I admit that the older I get the more of a curmudgeon I become. Some of my serious curmudgeon issues over the years have become being ignored as a customer when trying to get hold of a vendor to resolve a problem and renewal advertising that is less than clear as to what your getting for you renewal. Trust me when i tell you that when you get a special promotional renewal offer and it ends up not being the full subscription you had assumed it to be you get a mite irritable. I guess  you could claim it was stupid of me to assume that the special offer was for a full renewal of my subscription. We all know what assumptions will get us. However if I have to be on my guard to read the super fine print when I go to renew a magazine it really spoils the relationship. Rather than a mutually beneficial vendor/customer relationship it starts to feel a bit adversarial. Honestly, adversarial just doesn’t do it for me, it’s just more stress than a magazine is worth.

So, though I appreciate your offer to renew my subscription I just don’t feel comfortable doing so as based on past experience I’m not really sure what I would be getting for my money.
Thank you

Scott Carle

So about two weeks after I wrote this and sent it to them I got an email from them..

Dear Mr. Carle,
We truly apologize for the trouble you’ve experienced.  Practical Sailor is published 12 times per year and is a monthly magazine. Throughout the year we have several promotional offers for either a 1/2 year or a full year subscription; the current offer you received via email is for a 1/2 year with 1 free issue (7 issues for $19.97).  If for some reason you never received the promotional gift with your last subscription order; we apologize and would be more than happy to send you the Buying Guide.
We understand your frustration and hope that you continue to enjoy Practical Sailor whether it’s by subscription or newsstand.

If I can be of further assistance, please let me know.

Tanja Bethea
Customer Service Manager

I already knew that it was a special offer for a half year and one free issue for 19.95.. Or I should say I now know it was for only a half year and a free issue. At the time I filled it out it wasn’t that obvious to me.  Well they did respond to this email where they didn’t the last time. So I suppose I should give them some credit. Sometimes it is so frustrating to have to go to this level of effort to get a response out of a company.

6 comments to Practical Sailor Magazine

  • Harry

    Found your blog while trying to figure out what in the world PS has for a subscription plan. Their web site lists ONLY the special 7 issue deal. No discussion of what a “year” is (is it 12 issues? 7? 4?) Also, no discussion of what it will cost once they rope me in. I’ve found references on line that lead me to believe it is right around $100/year for 12 issues. Ouch!



  • Chris Hamilton

    I had a similar experience only they took my money for the year and then stopped providing copies after six months…again no promotional items (promised) were received. Aalso, no contact /response!

  • Hey Chris,
    To add insult to injury they have tried to sell me on the same thing several times since. grrrrr. 🙂

  • Jay Bernard

    See the post are a little old. I to had the same experience never recieved the buyers guide after 3 attempts I said to hell with it!! I was going to renew my subscription to night accidently stumbled on your site.I thought my experience was an exception seeing it was not, I have decided to not renew
    well i can still read some of them at the fleet meetings another member brings them in to share not the same as having my own 🙁 What is going on there 🙁

  • I haven’t purchased a subscripting in years now. I still read them for free when I can 🙂 I think they either got bought out by a big publishing company or went with a company that helps with subscriptions because it just all seems really unlike the core concept for the magazine to play all these tricks on people. It just pisses some of us off and then gives them bad publicity when we post online like this what our experience with them has been. Of course I also think that they over bill their core concept also. I have caught them in a fair number of fluff reviews where they didn’t really test the products against the manufactures claims. Just used them a bit and said ohhh that worked well without any metric to show why or how well it was working. Outboard engines are a big one they do this with. I never thought about it till I had an issue with a lot of their reviews since where I take them with a grain of salt as all their metrics are subjective with little objective data. On some things they do a good job but not on all of them.

  • Mike

    I previously had a similar issues as Scott Carle, let my subscription expire a while ago and was looking today to see if I should re-subscribe. Their choices are 7 magz, 12 mags, and 14 digital mags. That is a pretty strange set of numbers to try to figure out how long you are actually subscribing. Is it 12 a year? so 7/12, 12/12 or 14/12 of a year?. It seems like it’s purposely meant to obfuscate the cost. And comparing the digital 14 to the 12 paper version, the digital version is about 2 cents less per issue. That doesn’t seem fair unless it actually only costs them a couple pennies to print and mail a magazine (which I seriously doubt). Treating something that is cheaper and more convenient for them as an elevated service to me makes me feel like a rube.

    It’s disconcerting that a magazine whos main strength is supposed to be honest, trustworthy information uses deceptive practices to try to sell their magazine. Admittedly, subscription services for magazines and newspapers is a notoriously sleazy business, but treating their customers like a mark and then expecting their customers to trust the information they provide doesn’t make any sense to me at all.

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