Subscriber Warning: Suspicious Renewal Notifications

High Country News subscribers should be aware that an Oregon company is using the High Country News brand and has mailed unauthorized solicitations for High Country News subscriptions and renewals. Please note: THESE ARE NOT AUTHENTIC SOLICITATIONS FROM HIGH COUNTRY NEWS.

Update January 15, 2014

Since High Country News will not honor any subscriptions from Publishers Billing Emporium (read more below), they have issued a postcard (click here to see an image) to some of the subscribers we know have received and responded to their unauthorized solicitation. The postcard informs the subscriber that the HCN subscription will not be fulfilled, and that another title will be substituted. This message also contains an offer of refund and an 800 number. We advise any HCN subscriber who has been taken in by this organization to call this phone number and demand a refund.

 

publishers-billing-emporium-example
Unauthorized HCN solicitation from 'Publishers Billing Emporium.'

Update November 23, 2013

A new round of fraudulent renewal notices has been sent out by Publishers Billing Emporium. In the last 24 hours, we've heard from two alert HCN readers in Montana and Minnesota.

Later today we will send out an email notification to the subscribers for which we have an email address. We will also schedule a Facebook post about this scam. The next issue of the magazine will have a prominent notification as well. In other words, we'll do our best to notify our subscribers of this scam.

We encourage anyone who receives this latest renewal to notify us (call us, toll-free, at 800-905-1155 or contact us through our feedback form), and then file a complaint with the Oregon Attorney General.

We have notified the Oregon AG's office of this new round of fraudulent notices.

 

PBERogala2ndNoticeWeb.jpg
A sample of PBE's invoice, which a handful of HCN subscribers have received after being tricked into paying the first installment.

Update July 24, 2013

One of the handful of HCN subscribers who were duped into this scam informed us that they had received an invoice from Publishers Billing Emporium for the 2nd half of the "subscription."

 

Backstory

The company name being used on these solicitations is Publishers Billing Emporium of White City, Oregon. The solicitation we have seen offers a renewal service for $85.95 and includes some small print on the back. Since this company is not authorized to serve as an agent of High Country News, we recommend you do not respond to these solicitations. We will NOT honor any subscriptions they forward to us.

PBE's business model is to solicit heavily marked-up subscriptions, then have the publisher fulfill the subscription at the normal price. Months after the first wave of these unauthorized solicitations were sent out by PBE, HCN started receiving hand-lettered envelopes with no return address and only the bare minimum of information to process a subscription - a print-out of our online subscription form and a check for the standard subscription rate. Our small but alert in-house Circulation staff immediately tied these subscriptions to the PBE mailings. (In this case, HCN's smaller size was an advantage.)

Because PBE's model relies on the publisher (HCN) to fulfill these subscriptions, we chose to reject them. First, their scheme exploits our subscribers. Second, we do not want to legitimize their business practice in any way. We have returned every check and subscription we've received from PBE along with a clear message that we will not honor their orders.

Please note that "Publishers Billing Emporium" is but one of a long list of aliases this organization operates under. It's distinctly possible you will receive, or have received, similar solicitations under a different names for other publications you may subscribe to. This is not a comprehensive list, but other aliases we are aware of include:

  • Billing Services Association
  • Billing Services of America
  • Circulation Billing Center
  • Circulation Billing Services
  • Magazine Billing Services
  • Magazine Billing Network
  • Magazine Billing Services
  • Magazine Distribution Services
  • National Magazine Services
  • National Magazine Subscriptions
  • Orbital Publishing Group
  • Periodical Billing Services
  • Publishers Billing Association
  • Publishers Billing Center
  • Publishers Billing Exchange
  • Publishers Payment Processing, Inc.
  • Publishers Subscription Services
  • Readers Billing Network
  • Readers Billing Services
  • Readers Payment Center
  • Readers Payment Services
  • Subscription House Fulfillment
  • United Publishers Services

 

High Country News does not engage other organizations to solicit subscriptions or renewals (with one minor exception that only affects libraries). For renewal emails for our regular subscribers, we will contact you directly through email or USPS postal mail. And we never use telemarketers to offer subscriptions.

If you ever have a question about solicitation or renewal notices using the High Country News name, please don't hesitate to call us, toll-free, at 800-905-1155 or contact us through our feedback form.

We do not suspect that any sensitive information has been compromised (such as credit card data). We suspect that HCN has simply become the latest target in a shady scheme that larger magazines have been dealing with for years.

 

What we are doing to inform our subscribers

  • Email to all subscribers for which we have email addresses
  • Prominent notifications in the printed magazine, beginning with the May 27, 2013 issue.
  • Prominent notification on the HCN website
  • Repeated notification through our Facebook page
  • Prominent notices in our weekly email newsletters, beginning on May 7, 2013

 

What you can do

  • Do not pay for the offer contained in these solicitations.
  • If you know other HCN subscribers, make sure they know about this illegitimate offer.
  • If you've been victimized by this scam, please call 1-800-735-0931 to demand a refund.
  • If you have already paid, you MAY be able to work with your bank or credit card company to stop the check or reverse the charges. There is no guarantee of success in this as each creditor will have their own policy for handling a situation like this.
  • File a complaint with the Oregon Department of Justice, and/or your own state's Attorney General.
  • Write a complaint to the White City, OR Postmaster:
    Postmaster, White City, Oregon 97503
High Country News Classifieds
  • OPERATIONS DIRECTOR
    We are a Santa Fe-based nonprofit that builds resilience on arid working lands. We foster ecological, economic, and social health through education, innovation, and collaboration....
  • COMMUNITY ORGANIZER
    Come work alongside everyday Montanans to project our clean air, water, and build thriving communities! Competitive salary, health insurance, pension, generous vacation time and sabbatical....
  • CAMPAIGN MANAGER
    Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA), a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to protecting, defending and restoring Oregon's high desert, seeks a Campaign Manager to works as...
  • HECHO DEPUTY DIRECTOR
    Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors (HECHO) was created in 2013 to help fulfill our duty to conserve and protect our public lands for...
  • REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE, COLUMBIA CASCADES
    The Regional Representative serves as PCTA's primary staff on the ground along the trail working closely with staff, volunteers, and nonprofit and agency partners. This...
  • FINANCE AND OPERATIONS DIRECTOR
    The Montana Land Reliance (MLR) seeks a full-time Finance and Operations Director to manage the internal functions of MLR and its nonprofit affiliates. Key areas...
  • DIRECTOR OF CONSERVATION
    The Nature Conservancy is recruiting for a Director of Conservation. Provides strategic leadership and support for all of the Conservancy's conservation work in Arizona. The...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Amargosa Conservancy (AC), a conservation nonprofit dedicated to standing up for water and biodiversity in the Death Valley region, seeks an executive director to...
  • BIG BASIN SENIOR PROJECT PLANNER - CLIMATE ADAPTATION & RESILIENCE
    Parks California Big Basin Senior Project Planner - Climate Adaptation & Resilience ORGANIZATION BACKGROUND Parks California is a new organization working to ensure that our...
  • CUSTOMER SERVICE ASSISTANT - (PART-TIME)
    High Country News, an award-winning media organization covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, seeks a part-time Customer Service Assistant, based at...
  • SCIENCE PROJECT MANAGER
    About Long Live the Kings (LLTK) Our mission is to restore wild salmon and steelhead and support sustainable fishing in the Pacific Northwest. Since 1986,...
  • HUMAN RESOURCES GENERALIST
    Honor the Earth is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate based on identity. Indigenous people, people of color, Two-Spirit or LGBTQA+ people,...
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    Colorado Trout Unlimited seeks an individual with successful development experience, strong interpersonal skills, and a deep commitment to coldwater conservation to serve as the organization's...
  • NEW BOOK BY AWARD-WINNING WILDLIFE BIOLOGIST, BRUCE SMITH
    In a perilous place at the roof of the world, an orphaned mountain goat is rescued from certain death by a mysterious raven.This middle-grade novel,...
  • DESCHUTES LAND TRUST VOLUNTEER PROGRAM MANAGER
    The Deschutes Land Trust is seeking an experienced Volunteer Program Manager to join its dedicated team! Deschutes Land Trust conserves and cares for the lands...
  • PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Now hiring a full-time, remote Program Director for the Society for Wilderness Stewardship! Come help us promote excellence in the professional practice of wilderness stewardship,...
  • WYOMING COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS COORDINATOR
    The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership is seeking Coordinator to implement public education and advocacy campaigns in the Cowboy State to unite and amplify hunter, angler,...
  • MOUNTAIN LOTS FOR SALE
    Multiple lots in gated community only 5 miles from Great Sand Dunes National Park. Seasonal flowing streams. Year round road maintenance.
  • RURAL ACREAGE OUTSIDE SILVER CITY, NM
    Country living just minutes from town! 20 acres with great views makes a perfect spot for your custom home. Nice oaks and juniper. Cassie Carver,...
  • A FIVE STAR FOREST SETTING WITH SECLUSION AND SEPARATENESS
    This home is for a discerning buyer in search of a forest setting of premier seclusion & separateness. Surrounded on all sides by USFS land...