ESPN the Magazine: You’re cut!

For a while I subscribed to ESPN the Magazine. It’s a pretty well written rag with decent stories and a nice touch of humor. Lately, though, I haven’t had time or desire to read magazines, so I let my subscription (and a few others) expire. As I expected, I got the little set of follow-up letters offering me special pricing if I renew right away. No big deal.

But the last few of their letters have gotten odd. In fact, they’re hostile. I know I paid for a 1-year subscription, up front. I let it expire, and they stopped sending me magazines. I owe them nothing. That’s pretty much how this whole economy thing works with the exchange of monies for goods.

But now they’ve gone too far. They sound hostile, like I actually owe them something. The latest notice includes the words “final notice”, “collect payment”, and “permanent ESPN the Magazine credit record”. So I decided to use their web form to drop them the following complaint/question:

I let my subscription expire on purpose. I paid up-front for a certain number of issues and there was (to my knowledge) no stipulation about renewing. I have been getting increasingly threatening letters from your “Collections Department” which I took to be a fairly rude/clever/harmless way to attempt to get me to re-up.

The tone of these letters has become unacceptable, with talk of some sort of permanent credit record. If this is marketing, it is deplorable.

If there is indeed some actual balance left on some account (I haven’t received the magazine for many months, after the 1 year I paid for), please respond to me via email and enclose a copy of the terms.

I can also be reached on my cell phone at 650-xxx-xxxx.

Thank you.

I think that is fair. I’m willing to play ball here. But you know what? Their fucking web form is broken! They apparently have some junior asshole programmer working on their site and can’t handle a single <textarea> and file it in a database or fire off an email! Apparently, there are “Invalid Characters In Request”. It’s text! Are quotation marks too much? Maybe it’s those nasty backslashes? Nice work, jackasses.

So, this is my open letter to the apparent fucktards in ESPN the Magazine collections. If I missed something or actually owe them money, then I’ll take this down. Otherwise it stays.

Update: I just submitted the URL to this entry to their form, and it succeeded.

Update 2: I just poked at their form a little more, attempting to put a few words in to explain the URL. Well, it seems that their form can’t handle me hitting “Enter”! That’s right, “\n” is an illegal character apparently. Genius. So no complaints in proper paragraph form.