Magazine Scam Knocks on Mid-Missouri's Door

5 years 6 months 1 week ago Wednesday, May 29 2013 May 29, 2013 Wednesday, May 29, 2013 6:11:00 PM CDT May 29, 2013 in News
By: Cody LaGrow
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COLUMBIA - Mid-Missouri Better Business Bureau warned local residents to beware of door-to-door salesmen claiming their profits would benefit people in need.

"He said you buy a subscription, and it will go toward a children's hospital or a retirement home," explained University of Missouri student Megan Rentschler.

Rentschler became suspicious of the magazine scam when she refused to purchase the subscription and the salesman kept pushing.

"I told him I didn't have money right now. He told me they took checks, but I didn't have a checkbook," Rentschler affirmed. "That's when I started to get weirded out. Then, he said they get extra points if I take him to an ATM."

Rentschler repeatedly refused the offer, and the salesmen left her apartment. Rentschler then called Columbia Police Department and learned more about the company from the Better Business Bureau.

"There are numerous complaints coming out about a company based out of Cameron, Mo., called Midwest Circulation," said Mike Odneal of the BBB.

"They're currently rated 'F' with the Better Business Bureau," Odneal detailed.

The Mid-Missouri BBB said its seen similar patterns across the state. Salesmen go door-to-door, offer subscriptions to magazines and hope consumers purchase subscriptions. However, some people that do purchase subscriptions from door-to-door salesmen never receive the product.

"I lost more than one hundred dollars to Midwest Circulation," said Angel Richardson. A salesmen arrived at her door in Harrisburg, and she fell for the trick. Months later, Richardson did not receive any magazines and sought her money back.

"I contacted the company directly and asked for a refund," said Richardson.

Midwest Circulation did contact her back and asked Richardson to provide a receipt of her purchase. Richardson emailed her receipt and never heard from Midwest Circulation again.

According to Midwest Circulation, the company deals with every complaint received. It just asks customers to contact them directly, like Angel Richardson.

However, Richardson never received a refund and complained with the BBB. KOMU asked Midwest Circulation why it doesn't refund customers who do not receive subscriptions. A manager who identified herself by her first name alone named Jamie briefly spoke to KOMU.

"Midwest does not care about our rating with the BBB because you can buy your rating. We have thousands of subscribers and few issues. If they have a problem, they can contact us directly," said Jamie.

Midwest Circulation hanged up the phone after the statement and refused to answer any more questions after multiple calls.

Captain Brian Richenberger said CPD would be more than willing to scope out a neighborhood if a resident suspects suspicious behavior from door-to-door salesmen.

"CPD would search the neighborhood. If we found anyone suspicious, we would check for proper business licenses, and check for any outstanding warrants," said Richenberger.

Richenberger added that the easiest thing to do would be to ignore door-to-door salespeople.

If you do have a problem or have been scammed by Midwest Circulation, you can reach them at 816-632-2919. If you are interested in other complaints with the company, visit BBB's website for additional incidents in Missouri.

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