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    Fortune Fails

    warren_buffett_fortune_magazineRecently I got quite the offer from Fortune Magazine on a 3 year subscription.  I have always thought about getting a subscription but it always seemed just a bit to expensive for me.  If you know me you know I take my money very seriously.  So after much consideration (mostly in the form of having the offer sit on my desk for a few weeks) I decided to go ahead and send in the form.

    At this point I would like to admit that I am a credit-card-aholic.  I hate to use cash and never use a check – at least when it can be avoided.  Its not that I rack up the debt, it’s more that I just prefer it as a form of payment.  I like the perks that it offers.  I like the convenience of it.  I like being able to review my transactions BEFORE the money is taken out of my account.  And that’s my beef with debit cards.  I can contest a credit card charge before the money ever leaves my holdings.  I have to get the money back if there is an error and I used a debit card.

    With that background in mind, I move on to my issue with Fortune.  On the slip they provided, an option was to be billed later (and probably use my own stamp), send a check, or fill in my credit card info.  I did the credit card info.  It was just the easiest and quickest way to pay.  I slipped it into the provided return envelope (postage paid by them), licked it shut, and was all ready to send it off when I noticed something odd.  I could basically see right through the paper and read my credit card number.

    This didn’t take some special light, or even holding it up to the light.  Literally all I had to do was set it on my desk and press down on the envelope and I could see, plain as day, my credit card number.  Hmm….seems a bit odd.  So I didn’t send it and instead put in an inquiry to Fortune Customer Service – to verify that the offer was in fact real – and said the following:

    Comments : Hello – I got an offer in the mail for Fortune that advertises a corporate rate of x yrs. for $xx. The listed address is PO BOX 61xxx Tampa FL 33xxx-1xxx I have filled out the form, but before I send it off, I wanted to see if the offer was real. Main reason I question it is that you can see right through the envelope. Odd for an offer that asks for payment info to have a return envelope that is easily seen through.
    Thanks,
    David

    It took them nearly the full 2 business days they quote to get back to me and they said:

    Thank you for contacting FORTUNE Customer Service.
    Yes, the offer is a legitimate offer from FORTUNE magazine.  Any further questions, please let us know.

    We appreciate this opportunity to be of service.

    And then they had a bunch of links to useless info at the bottom.  Does this strike anybody as an odd response?

    Here I am, a potential customer.  I was suspicious about the offer but I didn’t discard it.  I went through the trouble of making sure it was real.  But more importantly I let them know why I was concerned and they didn’t even address the issue.  And they certainly didn’t thank me for bringing it to their attention.

    Keep in mind that this is Fortune magazine.  One would think they would be savvy about the real danger of identity theft.  And yet, they seem to have no problem giving you return envelopes requesting payment information that can easily be seen through.

    This is the sort of stuff I just don’t get.  How can they totally ignore the issue in their response?  I know there is just a small chance of anything actually going wrong but in the days where it is not difficult to hear about one story after another about a stolen identity, one would think a magazine of Fortune’s reputation would do what they can to protect the people they are prospecting to.  I don’t want to make a big issue out of nothing, but I can’t help but feel that being able to see my credit card number and expiration date through a business reply envelope is a big deal.

    What do you think?

    This has been a Thought From The Cake Scraps.

    One response to “Fortune Fails”

    1. Ryan says:

      That’s bull, but doesn’t surprise me. I hate sending out checks in the mail, because I’m paranoid that someone can see through the envelope. It sounds like their envelope was pretty crappy.

      I’ve also found that customer service for most “normal” companies sucks through email. By normal, I mean traditional companies like Fortune, AT&T, etc.

      Your best bet would have been to call them, but that makes you go out of your way to become a customer of theirs. To which I say, screw them, they’re undeserving of your money. It’s no wonder that these traditional companies aren’t doing too well, especially traditional magazines and newspapers. Good riddance, it’ll hopefully allow good companies in to take their place.

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