Charming Charlie scams you to buy unwanted magazines

not so charming charlie

As if being a broke college student isn’t enough – now you constantly have to be on the lookout for scams, unauthorized transactions, and small chunks of money gradually leaking out of your account. With the recent Heartbleed bug uncovering, we are all learning a valuable lesson: check your bank statement. Check it every day or as often as you need to, as long as you can tie every transaction to a living memory of you making the purchase.

Today, however, I am not going to talk about Heartbleed or online security problems. Today I want to talk about a bold-faced lie that a sales associate of Charming Charlie thought she could pull off. The girl offered me “two absolutely free copies of Lucky and Glamour magazine” at the register to which, of course, I said yes. If something is free, I’ll take it.
This isn’t the first time something free turned out to be a scam, so maybe there’s another lesson in here that I need to learn.
Anyways, I went on with my life, got my two free copies in the mail. The magazines were awful – no content whatsoever, just page after page of ads. Thanks, but no thanks, I will keep reading my Cosmo.
In light of the Heartbleed incident I went to check my bank statement to make sure none of my credit card information has been compromised and used without my knowledge. What do you think I discovered? Charges for Lucky and Glamour yearly subscriptions. I freaked out at first because I never gave them my credit card information. How could they have gotten it?
Then I did some research and found out that there are many people out there who were in the same boat – a Charming Charlie sales associate offered them free copies, said nothing about a paid subscription, and then passed their credit card information along to the magazine distributor. If you ask me, that’s absolutely outrageous and probably illegal. And the worst part – if I hadn’t looked in my bank statement, I probably wouldn’t have noticed the $30 charge.
Now, I got the issue resolved by calling the magazine customer service and requesting to cancel my order (and refunding my money). They weren’t surprised at all, it seems like they get these calls every day. The customer service rep confirmed that my credit card information came from Charming Charlie.
That’s when I called Charming Charlie to understand how something like this could happen and whose fault it was. The customer service rep at CC apologized profusely and explained that the sales associates were instructed to offer a discounted subscription to Lucky and Glamour, as well as two extra free issues to their customers. He said that the sales associate must’ve accidentally left out the part about a paid subscription in my case. Um, that’s kind of an important part to leave out. How can you charge me for something that I am not even made aware of?

So, Charming Charlie just lost a very important customer (I love sparkly things!) and I will do my best to warn my friends about the unethical tactics of CC’s sales associates. Not so charming anymore, are they?

What to do if you were scammed at Charming Charlie:

  1. Make sure you recently shopped at CC and that your bank statement shows a charge to CNP Lucky Mag and CNP Glamour Mag
  2. Call Lucky Magazine customer service and request to cancel your order for Lucky mag and Glamour. Explain that you never authorized this transaction. They’re used to it by now. Number to call: 1-800-777-4058
  3. Call Charming Charlie and file a complaint. Make sure to tell them you were never informed of the subscription or the cost associated with it. Number to call: 888-675-2275
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11 thoughts on “Charming Charlie scams you to buy unwanted magazines

  1. I just experienced this same thing! I’m so upset. Thank you for writing about it, and making me feel like I’m not going crazy. So sorry it happened to you, though. 😦 I hope the word gets out to others that this is going on so they can avoid any issues in the future.

  2. I think the sales reps get some sort of commission based on people that agree to “free subscription” I had the same thing happen to me. Same as them asking if you want to save 15 -30% by opening a credit card. They get commission on ever person that agrees.

  3. I’m a sales associate at Charming Charlie’s and I understand what is happening here. However, its not “Charming Charlie”, its the sales associates who do not explain in further detail about the Lucky and Glamour package. At the Charming Charlie’s I work at we HAVE to explain the charges and the number to cancel. I do not want people thinking its a big scam and Charming Charlie’s is a horrible company, because it is not. Its the sales associates, we all know better, but some forget to say the last part about the charge and the canceling number. Please don’t think we are scamming you, because we aren’t and our intentions are not supposed to seem like that. If you however do get charged and the sales associate did not warn you, call that Charming Charlie’s back and complain. These associates need to be held accountable for, because me and my team take such great care of our customers and are really trying to leave a great impression hoping for you to come back, and its difficult when other Charming Charlie around us make a really bad experience. We were trained to say PREVIEW magazines and explain the charge if not cancelled and even give the phone number to our customers. I hope you reconsider thinking the company is a scam, it is truly a great place to work for and each and every one of us love our customers. 🙂

    • Thank you, Rebecca! I agree that this incident made me think poorly of Charming Charlie as a whole, and that is not fair. You are absolutely right, not every CC store is like that, some employees are better trained than others. It sounds like your store takes this issue seriously and enforces very ethical behavior: ) I definitely feel better about the brand in general after reading your comment, and of course I will keep shopping there (perhaps at a different location though)! Thank you for reading!

  4. As an employee of Charming Charlies, there is no commission gained from having someone sign-up for the trial issues. Also, when the customer agrees to receive these trial issues, they are required to read and sign the pinpad/paper stating that they are aware that they are signing up for a subscription and that they will need to cancel it upon receiving the magazines. Nothing in this world is free, everyone knows that. I agree that it can be deceiving, that’s why I rarely ask people to sign up for the ‘trial issues’, but try being a responsible adult and actually read through the terms that you are agreeing to before throwing all the blame on the teenagers workers that are being told to ask that are working there.

  5. Leigh…LOL! NO ONE READS the itty-bitty print on the itty bitty pin pad. Don’t be so bold as to think customers should “know better”. Customers just want to get their purchases and go but the sales associate keeps them there longer trying to push the magazines. I told the sales associate that I was not interested. I understand nothing is free and stated such to the sales associate. She said I will get a notice after the 1st issues to determine if I wanted pay for a subscription. With a line behind me and hungry friends waiting on me, I became tired of trying to find a nicer way to say “No Thank You” for the umpteenth time.
    After I received my two free issues…the only notice as to whether I wanted to pay for a full subscription were two charges on my credit card account. NOTHING ELSE!

  6. It is a marketing scheme. Most retailers pay magazines to feature a product from their busness. It appears that Charming Charlie chose to push the magazines in exchange for having their products featured. Lots of other retailers – Bed Bath and Beyond, Target, Dilliard’s products are featured but their stores do not do the magazine scam. It was a bad marketing scheme that made customers angry and caused a lot of grief.

  7. I am a former sales associate for charming charlie. I actually resigned from my job there as a result of this and other issues at my store. The managers there actually encouraged us not to go into further detail about this offer and we were not supposed to say anything about a subscription to a customer.
    I did not like this type of deceptive selling so I always made sure to let them know about the subscription detail (which my superiors obviously did not like). I know not all Charming Charlie stores are like this but unfortunately some of them are so competitive that they will boldly tell associates to say practically anything to make that sales. I even heard of some managers signing the pin pad for them so they could not see the fine print for the transaction.
    I really hope Charming Charlie steps up its game with the techniques and sales pitches because they will lose customers and employees.

  8. Thank-you for the post! This also happened to me! Normally I do not sign up for things like this but the sales associate at the charming charlies I went to basically shoved the screen at me to put my email address in. “Here put your email address in and you’ll get free magazines” I kinda felt pressured by her.

  9. Ok. Just found this and I am here to tell you…..NEVER agreed to anything free (I already know the deal with this, you need to cancel within so many days or they think you want whatever it is) i said NO, I don’t know how many times. NEVER EVER RECEIVED a magazine in the mail, no Lucky or Glamour EVER!! The worse part my card has been DEAD FOR MONTHS….MONTHS and just recently my “card” was charged for BOTH magazines. It hit my account over 15 times as pending before they stopped and dropped out! Since they were pending I could do nothing but start the dispute process. NO ONE, not Charming Charlies Corporate ofice or the Magazine’s customer service department (I spoke to a manager – I was told) can tell me how this happened! The magazine SWORE it was not them. Finally after getting my bank to do some digging, the charge was “pre-authorized” before the card went dead even though I never agreed to this OR received the so called free issues I never wanted!

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