How to Unsubscribe From Hearst Magazine Subscriptions

What to Do When You Unknowingly Subscribe to a Magazine

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Many magazine companies use sweepstakes to promote their publications, giving away attractive prizes to encourage people to visit their sites. When someone enters the giveaway, they receive an offer to get a free issue of a magazine or to buy a subscription at a deeply discounted rate.

These offers are great if you want to buy the magazine. However, if you're not paying close attention, you could end up subscribing to a magazine that you don't want — and owing money you didn't intend to spend.

Hearst Magazines is known for having sweepstakes forms that made it difficult to enter without ending up with a free trial or a subscription. Unsubscribing from those unwanted subscriptions can be tricky.

If you have this problem, don't worry, you don't need to be stuck with a subscription you don't want. However, it helps if you act quickly.

Magazine Sweepstakes Laws

Magazine sweepstakes must offer a non-purchase method of entry to conform to U.S. sweepstakes law. Companies cannot legally require you to buy a magazine or anything else in order to enter a randomly-drawn giveaway.

Hearst Magazine giveaways do offer a non-purchase method of entry. However, if you are intent on entering a giveaway and don't double-check your entry form, you could easily make a mistake and subscribe unintentionally.

How You Might Accidentally Subscribe

Some magazine sweepstakes pages have a separate link you need to click to access the non-purchase entry method. If you use the regular entry form, you agree to receive a free trial. Others have a pre-checked checkbox to subscribe on the entry form. You need to actively uncheck that box if you don't want to receive the magazine.

While you should pay careful attention that you don't agree to anything you don't want anytime you enter a giveaway, it's important to take extra care when you enter magazine sweepstakes. Sweepstakes fans have complained that they were subscribed to the magazines even after they used the non-purchase entry method.

How to Know When You've Been Subscribed to a Magazine

While you don't need to avoid magazine sweepstakes altogether, you can take steps to make sure you aren't going to receive a subscription you don't want.

One of these is to check your sweepstakes email shortly after entering and in the days afterward to see if you receive a subscription confirmation. If you receive one, you can quickly take action to unsubscribe.

You can also check that magazine's customer service pages to see which magazines you're subscribed to. If you see any unwanted charges, you can take action.

What to Do If You Receive an Unwanted Magazine Subscription

If you receive a notice that you have a magazine subscription you don't want, visit the website for that magazine and look for its Customer Service link.

To find the customer service pages you need, check the complete list of Hearst Magazine websites, which offers links to the customer service page for each magazine. You can use those links to unsubscribe.

If you receive a magazine you don't want in the mail, there should be contact information in the magazine itself. Use that information to opt out. You can also cross out your address, write "Cancel" and "Return to Sender", and drop the magazine back in the mailbox.

Important: Don't Ignore Unwanted Magazine Subscriptions

One thing you definitely don't want to do is to ignore unwanted magazine subscriptions. You might think that you're not on the hook for the subscription if you don't give the magazine a credit card, but that's not necessarily true.

Although the FTC website explains you don't have to pay for materials that you did not order, magazines can try to collect the subscription fee from you. For example, they can send unpaid bills to a collection agency — and that could harm your credit rating.

Another thing that's important to remember is that, even though entering sweepstakes faster can help you win more often, you don't want to be so quick that you don't take time to double-check your entry form. This is true for magazine sweepstakes, but also for every other kind of giveaway.