Before You Sign-up for that Online Book Club

Online book clubs can serve as an alternative for chain book retailers. Compared to chain book retailers, online book clubs offer deep discounts off their books as well as special offers and free shipping. Nevertheless, before you sign-up for a new membership with any online book club, you need to be aware of a few things that may make you think twice before pressing send.

Be wary of the new members special book offer. If you have ever visited an online book club you would have noticed the special offer for new members: four or five books for $.99. Of course buying four or five books for twenty-five cents apiece sounds good; however, once the price euphoria is over you will soon realize the regular cost of the books. Depending on which book club you join you can luck out and pay only ten dollars per book plus free shipping, but there are some that will overcharge you for books plus shipping fees.

Read the fine print. Reading fine print of anything involving your finances or requires your signature should be a must. All online book clubs require you to have a credit card or debit card on file, and you must order a certain number of books per year to fulfill your membership agreement.

Now you may think those are simple requirements for having a book club membership, but you must really consider what the book club is asking of you. They want you to have a credit card or debit card on file that you cannot remove, and the book club has the right to take funds from your personal accounts all because you gave them information to do so. You have to order a certain number of books per year to fulfill your agreement which may not sound bad because it may be one to four books per year; however, if you have financial issues and can’t make the payment you still may receive the books (which funds were taken resulting in an overdraft) because you agreed to the membership requirements.

Canceling your membership is not as easy as you think. We are all under the impression no matter what type of arrangement/agreement we get into there is leeway for us to back out. That may work depending on what’s written in the contract, but when you are dealing with online book clubs it will be nearly impossible.

I was once part of an online book club and I had fulfilled my membership agreement by purchasing all the books within my year. After I made my final payment I realized I wanted to spend my money elsewhere, and I would use the public library more often to save money. I sent the company a letter stating I had fulfilled all my membership obligations and I was requesting termination of my membership. They decided to ignore my request. Because I had dealt with a similar situation in my past I knew what to do. I made copies of my correspondences, deleted as much information from my profile the system would allow, and changed my active debt account information to a deactivated card. In the following weeks I kept receiving an email saying we tried to take funds from your account but your card is inactive. I replied by letting them know I sent a notice of membership termination weeks ago and it should have been granted since my membership obligations were fulfilled. Suffice it to say they were not happy and finally closed my account.

Online book clubs can be a great thing if you are someone into a particular genre, and you can receive better discounts compared to book retailers. However, you must be aware that signing up for an account with an online book club you are bound by membership contract to comply with whatever is stated. Read over everything carefully and never give any book club access to your checking account or credit card accounts. Purchase a prepaid debit card and just load it to save yourself the headache of having funds withdrawn from your account without permission.

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