BBB Warns of Kenosha-based “MidWest Marketing” Door-to-Door Magazine Sellers

April 18, 2013

The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau is issuing a nationwide alert regarding MidWest Marketing, which sells magazine subscriptions throughout the country, via door-to-door sales crews. It has been reported that the company also uses the name “MidWest Circulation” and the initials “MWM.”

Since approximately mid-March, the company’s phone number (877-605-4777) is disconnected. E-mails sent to the company by the BBB have gone unanswered.

MidWest Marketing, has an “F” report, the BBB’s lowest grade, for its failure to respond to complaints. In addition, the Wisconsin BBB has received nearly 400 inquiries from consumers nationwide in the last twelve months.

In its three year reporting period, the BBB has processed 35 complaints from consumers in nine states; California, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, with the most being from Indiana (10). Fifteen complaints have been received, so far, since mid-January.

Complainants report they were solicited by MidWest Marketing, when salespersons knocked on their door, offered magazine subscriptions and requested full payment in advance. Many consumers report that salespersons stated the sales of the magazines would help them to win a trip or contest of some sort. According to complainants, some representatives stated they were with a “local” school. Complainants state that their magazine subscriptions never arrived.

The company’s receipt says, “The salesperson is an independent contractor not an agent or employee of this company. In other words, this person is self-employed.”

The receipt also states, “Prodigy Publications has contracted MidWest Marketing to guarantee the fulfillment of the terms of this agreement.”

No address or phone number is identified for “Prodigy Publications” and Better Business Bureaus have been unable to locate this company.

MidWest Marketing does not have a storefront. The address used by the company, 7528 Pershing Blvd., Suite B, Kenosha is a UPS store with the suite number being a rented box.

“Beware of emotional appeals by someone selling door-to-door”, says Ran Hoth CEO/president of the Wisconsin BBB. “Ask to see information about the contest they claim they’re in or identification from the school they say they’re from. And always check the company out with the BBB before making a purchase, especially when they are requesting that you pay in full, upfront.”

On March 28, 2013, BBB sent a certified email to MidWest Marketing due to a pattern of complaints received by BBB from consumers. In the complaints, consumers allege that magazine subscriptions paid for in full have not been received. According to consumers, they received receipts at the time of order stating subscription fulfillment could take up to 120 days. After 120 days, the majority of complainants reported not receiving any magazines previously ordered and paid for. Other complaints have reported receiving the first 1-2 issues, but then receiving nothing further.

BBB asked the company to provide an explanation as to why consumers are not receiving their subscriptions, a date when consumers can expect a refund for unfulfilled orders, and a copy of the procedure MidWest Marketing will put in place to ensure that these problems do not reoccur. To date, the company has not responded.


Melanie C. of Kentucky says, “Two college aged girls came to my door and said they worked for MidWest Marketing and were trying to win a trip for their speech class. I usually say no to these things, but now that I have two girls in college, I took pity on them. I ordered two magazines and had to write two separate checks to MidWest Marketing and was told my subscriptions would start in about 100 days. Of course, they never came. I did contact each magazine that I subscribed to and they never received anything on my behalf, and of course does not stand behind any type of this kind of dirty business.”

Deborah N. of Indiana says, “A kid came to my door selling magazines in September, 2012. He said he was a student trying to earn money. He talked me into purchasing 2 magazines. I have been trying to contact MidWest Marketing that this sale was from with no answer or reply. I have lost a total of $67 to a bogus kid and a scam company. I would like a refund for the magazines I purchased and never received or would like MidWest Marketing to contact me directly and explain why they took my money and did not send me the items purchased.”

“Beware of emotional appeals by someone selling door-to-door”, says Ran Hoth CEO/president of the Wisconsin BBB. “Ask to see information about the contest they claim they’re in or identification from the school they say they’re from. And always check the company out with the BBB before making a purchase, especially when they are requesting that you pay in full, upfront.”

The BBB offers these tips regarding magazine sales door-to-door:

Be safe. Ask for identification before you open your door. Never invite a solicitor into your home. If you feel threatened or question the person’s identity, report it to local police.
If the salesperson claims he or she is able to win a contest by number of sales, ask to see information on the contest as proof. If the person claims to be a student, ask for school identification.

Never pay with cash. Paying by check or credit card offers you more protection, such as canceling the check through your bank or reporting it as fraud to your credit card company.

Check out the company. Get everything in writing including price, promised delivery date and all conditions. Tell the salesperson you will check it out and get back to them if interested. Ask for a business card and contact information. Check the company’s Business Review at bbb.org.
Be wary of high pressure sales tactics. A trustworthy company should let you take time to think about the purchase and compare prices before buying.

Get transaction details in writing. Be sure you receive a contract or receipt with the company’s contact information on it.
Comparison shop. Check prices of magazine subscriptions directly with the publisher to ensure you’re getting a good deal.
Know your rights. If you buy from a door-to-door salesperson in your home, and the purchase is more than $25, you’re protected under the FTC’s Cooling-Off Rule. The Rule give you three days to cancel your order and receive a full refund.

If you paid for magazines or any product you did not receive in the specified promised time, report it to your local police department and file a complaint with the BBB at bbb.org.

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