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Free Money!

A few weeks ago I called Synapse Connect, Inc. to cancel my 3 "free if you cancel during the first year" subscriptions. This offer used to be great. You'd sign up, then, as long as you cancelled within a year, no charge. They must have gotten abused that way, so they changed their model. To get the "free" year now, they first charge you, then refund your money if you call and cancel.

Easier said than done.

When I called, I was greeted by a very annoying automated system. There was no clear method to reach a human being (it was voice activated, so even rotary callers would need to wade through the menus). After a few attempts I managed to respond to just enough questions to have the system interested in me, but not understand me, so I got transferred to a non-native English speaker. Where this person resided, I do not know, but what I do know is that the connection was terrible.

After I explained my interest in canceling, I was offered to set up the subscription to "Do not renew," which would allow me to continue receiving magazines through the end of the subscription year. What they didn't state, however, was that this option would just cancel the subscription, not provide a refund. Sneaky Synapse. After I rejected this idea, they offered to extend my subscription if I maintained it. Another offer I rejected.

Finally they agreed to refund my money. It sounded like one subscription had already been renewed, so they would have to deal with that one separately. I was worried that they tried to renew it, because the credit card that I had signed up with had expired. However, the fact that it had expired was potentially problematic, because they refund to the same account they originally charged. From past experience I knew that credits on closed accounts are generally no problem, and I still have a different credit card with the same company.

A few days later I called my credit card company to find out if they got my credit, and if so, if they were going to automatically transfer it to my active account. The CSR with whom I spoke initially claimed that no credit could be applied to a closed account, but when I pressed her to investigate, she found out that I was right, and offered to transfer the credits that showed in the account ($68 for two of the subscriptions) to my active account, and I agreed.

A few days after that I checked my account online, and found not just the one credit for $68 (in bold), but several others as well.

11/29/2004 TRANSFER BALANCE $68.00 CR
12/07/2004 TRANSFER BALANCE $12.00 CR
12/07/2004 TRANSFER BALANCE $12.00 CR
12/07/2004 TRANSFER BALANCE $56.00 CR

I should probably let them know that they not only gave me an extra $68, but they seem to have paid interest on the charges that sat in the old account. This makes me wonder about what would happen if you had a positive balance in a credit card account. Would the credit card company pay you interest? That could very ... interesting.

UPDATE: It has occurred to me (thanks Shaya) that instead of the credit card making the mistake, it might have been Synapse. I got a statement regarding the closed account, and it only showed credits for $12, $12, and $56, so there might be something to that. If I need to contact synapse, I'll be able to try out a new number I found online at 800-927-9351. Their address, in case you're curious, is:
Synapse Connect - Magazine Processing Center
PO BOX 30468
Salt Lake City, Utah 84130


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When I had a credit for a few months i didn't get any interest - they just mailed me a check after a while...

hey...im also having this problem
how did you get in touch with a live operator? that goddamn machine is so annoying...

I found that by repeating "I want a f#@%ing refund" several times it would send the call to a live operator.

I have had good luck with saying "operator" over and over when calling the evil synapse machine. Try this number: 1-877-781-3425. Haven't used it in a while but got a live person much quicker using it. I now look at www.magazinepricesearch.com and have gotten some great deals on mags from reputable companies and hardly use Synapse at all. Their latest scam was the "gift card". I got $100 worth of mags for only $2.95. Of course the subscription prices are so inflated that it comes out to 4 mags for a year each. Still not bad for $2.95 so I did it. Got first issue of Redbook [March 2005] and label shows April 2005 as expiration date! Looked on Redbook site and it says I am getting 12 issues starting with January 2005. But I never received Jan or Feb issues. Emailed Redbook and called Synapse who is "expediting" my complaint. So far haven't received any issues of the remaining 3 magazines and their online sites don't have my scrip info. But I only redeemed my fab gift card with Synapse in December so not worried--yet.

I'm trying to track down what appears to be an identity theft issue. TWX (which is Synapse Connect) had a temp charge on my credit card statement. When I called, they could only say that I had "responded to an online offer." I just got a card in the mail that says I accepted an offer through OrangeBrick.com. Go check it out. There isn't any OrangeBrick.com.

I also had unauthorized charges from a bunch of Trilegiant companies (TLG; like Shoppers Advantage etc.) that said I clicked on a popup at Netflix.com, which I did not do. And I had a charge from Blockbuster.

I'm waiting for a call from Customer Service at Synapse to explain this. Anybody here have any info? Please email me at trispy27@hotmail.com.

BTW just press O for Operator when you get that horrible voice recognition. Got me to an operator.


just got a card from synapse connect inc informing me that a subscription that I have never received or asked for will be automatically renewed if I do nothing. I have no intention of calling their number and providing their system with additional data on me ... I will contact all my cards and carefully check all charges ... no way will I pay these thieves a cent.

Here is a # that I found online that takes you directly to an operator.


I called 1-800-601-1958, waited for the automated greeting to complete first sentence, pressed 0 (zero), waited for automated voice to complete the next sentence, pressed 0 (zero) again. A human being came on the line very shortly after that.
By the way, their automated attendant is quite good in fact. I used it ( should I say "her" ;-) ) once to cancel "upcoming renewals".
What is their website ?

I did the same as the last post and it worked. The guy I talked to said to call 800-601-1958, hit 0, answer No and get transferred to the call center. You can tell them exactly what you want instead of hitting the wrong key and not getting your refund.

I have used Synapse Connect several times for free magazines. To get a live operator, press zero after you get to the automated response. After a while, you will be connected to a human.
If you use a speaker phone, you can record your transaction -- if there's ever a question of whether you cancelled your subscription.

I'm glad you all started this; I just got billed for $147.00 for 3 magazines and had no idea what was up. I called and got the annoying automaton, too, with the comment that I had "signed up using one of your favorite websites!"

Anyway, after getting the Synapse Connect name I went and checked their website, with is only about 4 pages with an interesting "job opportunities" page that makes it look like they're a subsidiary of Time Warner. Hmmm....

I had probelms with this company too. I got an offer to get magazines for $2 a subscription for a year.
It was a great way to try out different magazines without paying a lot.
I got the card in the mail saying they were trying to not bog me down with unwanted mail (renewal notices) so they sent this card with teeny-tiny writing saying that if I didn't call the number my subscriptions would continue and I would be charged the full subscription cost - $160 compared to the $8 I originally paid. I not only called the 1-800 # to cancel all my subscriptions but also wrote back saying I preferred the many renewal notices in the mail because they weren't trying to sneak one past me. So a couple of months after cancelling the renewals I started to get charges on my account for the subscriptions. I called and Customer Service showed that none of them had been cancelled. (I hit zero as soon as I got the recorded voice) They cancelled all of them and refunded my money. I had much rather receive the renewal notices every week for months than to have been mislead like Synapse did. Besides, I can get the subscriptions cheaper directly through the magazine than the automatic renewal cost.

I used 1-800-382-5210 and got a real live person to talk to. She cancelled my subscription and assured me that the charges on my VISA card would be refunded.

Why not give Synapse the extra money back?

If you kept it wouldn't that somewhat be like stealing?

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