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Threatening Letter from LFI


Edward Louis Marit
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And word from LFI:
 

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Dear Mr. Moss,

 
Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. We can assure you that we take this issue very seriously, and are always committed to finding the most customer-oriented solution. We are currently finalising changes designed to avoid such communication mishaps in the future. 
 
Our current subscription policy (whereby cancellation is possible anytime after the first term) adheres to the new regulations coming into effect in Germany in early 2022. However, given our role as a global medium, we are also in the process of introducing new terms and conditions for our international readership – which will take into account the cultural and legal practices in our readers’ specific countries, and will no longer include an automatic renewal of subscriptions.
 
Please be assured that our customers’ experience is of utmost importance. In 2016, we responded to the discussion on the Leica forum by making changes that would better accommodate our readers. And we are sure that our current adjustments will, once again, increase customer satisfaction. 
 

Your LFI Editorial Team

 

 

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On 5/11/2021 at 4:47 PM, john_nyc said:

Four years later and LFI is still at it.

I got one of these “pre-collection” letters today threatening legal action unless I paid up.

I had bought a one year digital subscription around this time 2019.  I allowed it to lapse, and last year I bought a few issues as in-app purchases.  After the initial year was up I no longer had access to new issues, unless I bought them in the app.  Fair enough.

The letter today is demanding payment for the year following the paid year, ending now.  I received no prior invoices or reminders, either via postal or email.  The last emails I had from them were from when I bought the subscription and the code they sent wasn’t accepted for several days.  

Basically they’re demanding payment for a digital subscription I didn’t have, since I no longer had access to new issues after the paid year was up.

It’s like a store that I haven’t gone to in a year sending me a bill for the stuff I would have bought had I continued to go there. 

I don’t feel threatened, since good luck to a small magazine publisher in Germany getting a penny out of me in the US.  I’m irritated that they’d try something like this to begin with.

They’ve guaranteed that they won’t get one more Euro cent out of me for the rest of my natural life. 

 

 

On 11/22/2021 at 5:55 AM, kirkmc said:

I just got one of these regarding a subscription I placed in 2018, which I let lapse in 2019. I resubscribed in early 2020, and I'm still receiving issues. It's odd that they're sending me a letter like this nearly three years after the time of the supposed invoice. I had noticed this thread before, when browsing the forum, so I knew not to panic. I'll just ignore the letter. 

I do enjoy the magazine; it introduces me to many photographers I don't know, and it's attractively printed. I'd rather have the hard copy than the digital version, to be honest., though with the print subscription I can also download the issues in the app. 

 

On 11/26/2021 at 10:23 AM, chrism said:

And word from LFI:
 

 

Thank you @chrism. Reading this thread has certainly been educational. I've learned never to subscribe to LFI and that there will always be defenders of the indefensible.

Just curious, @john_nyc and @kirkmc, have your matters been satisfactorily concluded?

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Well I have just received a debt collection letter from LFI too. What make this particularly grievous is that they claim they had previously contacted me multiple times, yet I have seen nothing prior to the debt letter, nor no indication of what they think they supplied but which was not paid.

I am currently a print subscriber - all paid for in advance. What kind of organisation sends *paying* customers debt collection notices out of the blue?

I am quite furious and I will be cancelling my subscription no matter the outcome. And should I be suing LFI for the not-infrequent cases where a print magazine has been paid for but not delivered?

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I also had big problems with LFI, every year. They would start some six months into my subscription year - wanting me to renew my annual subscription, then along the rest of the year the letters would become harder in tone. That is not common in my country. I am a good payer (worked in invoicing and collections at that time) but I found they handle a method that creates a lot of pressure and anxiety/ so I decided to let the krauts have their magazine but not with me on the list anymore.

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I haven't had any problems with them, but I did cancel my subscription this year (done easily on line) as I don't really care for the magazine. The old Leica Fotografie from the 1950s to the 80s was more interesting and helpful, with more coverage on techniques and new equipment (both Leitz and others) - but that was back when there was a lot of new equipment and development as the photo industry was growing and thriving. I didn't find the current magazine helpful - just a coffee-table book.

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This happened to me in the Fall of 2020 and again in 2021. This year I simply replied to the email cancelling my subscription. I received a return email stating that my subscription had been cancelled and that they regretted losing me as a subscriber. I then subscribed anew on the LFI web site.

If anyone from the LFI head office monitors this forum, as they should, the subscription renewal process for North America should work as it does for other periodicals: near the end of the subscription the subscriber receives a bill (paper or electronic), renews or not as they choose, and if the subscription isn't renewed it ends with delivery of the final issue of the subscription period. In an era when the insistence on respect of local and cultural differences is demanded all across the board, this seems like the decent and proper thing to do.

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I actually like the magazine; it exposes me to many photographers I don't know, and there's always an interesting variety of types of photography. But I may not renew when my current subscription runs out; it's just too much of a headache. 

Edited by kirkmc
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I've never had any problem whatsoever.

As long as I wanted the paper format, the subscription renewed automatically.
as advertised, expected and preferred.

When I wanted to switch to a subscription for digital only, easy and painless communication and update.

When I finally cancelled because I don't have the time anymore for now, I sent one (1) email and that was all there was to it.

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I am still being harassed by these thieves after they failed to accept my payment and I ceased using their services.  I now have received a letter from a lawyer, even though LFI admit that their system caused the problem.  I will never use them for anything again, and anyone who does is asking from trouble.  End of rant.

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On 12/16/2021 at 2:05 PM, Mark II said:

Well I have just received a debt collection letter from LFI too. What make this particularly grievous is that they claim they had previously contacted me multiple times, yet I have seen nothing prior to the debt letter, nor no indication of what they think they supplied but which was not paid.

I finally managed to get LFI to cancel the debt order, which was absurd as I was a paying customer who had simply changed address.

It took more than a month and multiple emails before I had any  response from the company. No contrition or apology - it is all the customers fault that LFI issues debt notices, even though in my case I had receive no notification of renewal or indication of any problem prior to the letter from their lawyers. Frankly, the "fault" here is that I was ever stupid enough to do business with them.

LFI magazine often has interesting content. But the company's approach to its customers is deeply unethical and borderline criminal. It leaves a bad taste associated with both LFI and implicitly all things Leica.

All I can say is simply do not subscribe to LFI.

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Try cancelling a THE ECONOMIST subscription within the first week to the end of the first year…

I had subscribed it during the last 30 years on and off without any problems at all.
Not so the subscription I had started autumn last year. 
Best thing was to follow the advice everyone can find when making a Google search. There are lots and lots of upset customers out there, which is a shame, considering their editorial work.  

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1 minute ago, tri said:

Try cancelling a THE ECONOMIST subscription within the first week to the end of the first year…

I had subscribed it during the last 30 years on and off without any problems at all.
Not so the subscription I had started autumn last year. 
Best thing was to follow the advice everyone can find when making a Google search. There are lots and lots of upset customers out there, which is a shame, considering their editorial work.  

Indeed. And the New York Times requires that you cancel by phone. This said, I think there's a new law in the US requiring cancellation via websites, at least if you can subscribe on a website. 

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I am in the same boat, my credit card expired some time ago in 2020, instead of sending me simple email with updated invoice, which I receive plenty from them promoting their magazines, got a letter from some lawyer asking to pay via bank transfer to Germany including some funny fee for his work. 

I politely responded that it's not my job to monitor level of their IT systems, I also logged in into application and my subscription seems to be cancelled since I can not access new magazines. So if they can prove me in some meaningful way when they actually disconnected my subscription I will gladly pay outstanding balance via credit card. There is no way I am spending another 30$ for international wire transfer. It seems like LFI systems are from 90's. 

It's a good reminder to actually use virtual credit card numbers (from Apple Card or similar) for those types of purchases.

Which also reminds me, if I am in Germany and need a taxi, I better have cash with me :)

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The interesting thing is that there are no reports of legal action being taken against recipients of the threatening letter who simply archive it in the wastepaper basket. 

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On 2/9/2022 at 2:37 AM, jaapv said:

The interesting thing is that there are no reports of legal action being taken against recipients of the threatening letter who simply archive it in the wastepaper basket. 

Yes Jaap, this is true, but if you think about it especially in US, they have no chance.

BTW I received a follow up email asking me to transfer outstanding balance via PayPal as a "friend" to some person and then it will all be sorted out. I would assume this is this some poor intern trying to sort things up not a real lawyer.

What puzzles me is a brand dilution, I spend 10s of thousands of dollars on various equipment with Leica and LFI can not put up an official payment form on their website, so I can pay it and be done with it. It's probably the way they do business, but I sure looks like online scum since I can not independently verify that this person and LFI are connected.

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