So I have a secret addiction to manga. Well, I guess it isn't so much a secret as it is blatently obvious - step into my bedroom and there are piles of comic books all over the place. But unlike books, which I read and talk about and go out of my way to promote, I don't really talk about the manga I read. There's no particular reason for this. I've thought about reviewing manga here, but then I can never decide whether I should review each individual book of the series, or do a certain segment of the series (say, five volumes at a time) or review the books only if I can do an entire series from start to finish. It seemed like far too much fuss and bother to figure out, so I never did.
Anyway. I bring this up because it relates to a magazine that folded recently. I had been subscribed to Shojo Beat since the first issue, but in July 2009 the last issue was sent out. There just weren't enough subscribers to make the magazine profitable, I guess, which is a pity because it was a great way to try out new manga series without squatting in the aisle at Barnes & Noble. The publisher sent a letter announcing that remaining subscriptions would be transfered over to Shonen Jump, the other manga magazine printed by this company. If we didn't want Shonen Jump, just write to xx address and the remainder of the subscription would be refunded. A 'complimentary' copy of Shonen Jump was included.
So I quickly send a 'thanks but no, please gimme my money back' letter. Most of the stories in Shonen Jump have been running for some time and I'm hopelessly behind, and half the titles just flat-out don't interest me. Time flies by, la la la...and I receive two more issues of Shonen Jump as I wait for my refund. I haven't read them. They're sitting in a pile on my desk.
FINALLY I get my refund check, and it is only for $2! Apparently the 'complimentary' first issue of Shonen Jump wasn't free at all, and even though I followed their instructions and sent my rejection letter as soon as I could, I'm also to be charged for the magazines that arrived while they were taking their sweet time to process my request. Since my subscription expired November 2009, I should have been refunded for August, September, October and November, right?
But Viz is AWFUL when it comes to customer service. My e-mails have gone unanswered and due to work and school, I can't call them during regular business hours. I mean, it's only $6 more dollars, and I know that for magazines the subscription switch is a pretty standard practice. But it's super-duper lame!