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Hearst’s CMAs Sweepstakes reader says contest signed him up for a magazine subscription without his permission.

Ad Alert

Hearst’s CMAs Sweepstakes

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A reader was hoping to win a free trip for two to the 2016 Country Music Association Awards, or CMAs, in Nashville on Nov. 2. Instead, he got a magazine subscription and a bill for $10.

“It was just a form to enter a contest,” the reader said of the email offer from the Hearst media company, which publishes Cosmopolitan, Car and Driver, and Popular Mechanics among other magazines. “Nothing about a subscription, no ‘I agree to the fine print.’”

But after entering his name, address, and email on the entry form and clicking “submit,” the reader said he received a confirmation email from Hearst saying that he owed the company $10 for a magazine subscription (he did not specify which magazine). If he wasn’t cool with that, the reader said the email indicated he’d have to wait a week to contact customer service while the company processed his “order.”

Hearst did not respond to a request for comment but a funny thing happened after we reached out to the company. The entry form changed. Here’s what was added above the blank spaces (in addition to details regarding entrants’ consent to a “continuous service program” below the empty fields):

Fill in the fields below to get 1 FREE issue of Country Living Magazine and be automatically entered for your chance to win. If you’d prefer to enter the sweepstakes without getting a free trial, click here. … If you like what you see, you’ll get 1 year (for a total of 11 issues) for just $10.00 — that’s 82% less than others pay on the newsstand. If not return the bill marked ‘”cancel” and keep the first issue with no obligation. You’ll still be eligible to win the sweepstakes.

So there was the option to enter the sweepstakes without signing up for a magazine subscription or sorry, without signing up for a “free trial.” Sure sounds like information that would have been useful to our reader.

Find more of our coverage on sweepstakes here.

Our Ad Alerts are not just about false and deceptive marketing issues, but may also be about ads that, although not necessarily deceptive, should be viewed with caution. Ad Alerts can also be about single issues and may not include a comprehensive list of all marketing issues relating to the brand discussed.

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