Why I Will Not Do Business With Taunton Ever Again

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Review by gerrym526 posted 11-22-2012 02:36 PM 6916 views 1 time favorited 34 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Why I Will Not Do Business With Taunton Ever Again No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Here’s my experience-I’ll let everyone draw their own conclusions.
I was a Fine Woodworking Magazine subscriber for 15yrs from 1995-2009, and enjoyed many of the issues in the earlier years. As my experience in woodworking grew, I found the quality of the articles, projects, advice, etc. in the magazine going downhill-particularly from 2006 onward. Purchased the DVD of all issues in 2010 and still refer to the earlier articles as they have challenging products, excellent advice, and generally aren’t filled with tool reviews hawking their largest advertisers.
My problem with Taunton has to do with their business practice of how online subscriptions to are handled.
I subscribed to the onine website, then ended the subscription when I did not renew my hardcopy magazine subscription in 2009. Since that time, I have had my credit card charged every year for the online website subscription, and have had to call them to reverse the charges.
When I received another credit card charge this month, I went back to the website and did a very thorough review of all information surrounding my account, and couldn’t find any place for subscribers to cancel their subscriptions. I’m very computer literate, and website saavy, so it wasn’t a case of not knowing how to use a subscripton website (participate in others-non-woodworking).
When I called Taunton’s customer service and asked where the authorization to charge me for a renewal came from, they said it was part of the Terms I agreed to. The customer service rep then had me go through their “free 2 week membership page), and in very tiny print, had me check a box that opened up the Terms and Conditions agreement. The document had over 20 paragraphs of “legalise”. In one of them having to do with payment terms, there was exactly one sentence saying I gave them the right to auto-renew the subscription and charge me for it. There is nothing “spelled out” on the subscription website making it easy to understand they will be auto-renewing your subscription. Nor, more importantly, is there any option on the website to cancel your subscription. Basically, you have to call their customer service to do so.
When I pointed out that for “non-computer literate” woodworkers, this basically amounted to deceptive consumer practices- the customer service rep politely pointed out that their legal department had reviewed the Terms page and they were in compliance with all regulations (!!!).
You can all draw your own conclusions from my experience, but from my perspective this isn’t the way you treat your customer-I won’t be doing business with Taunton again in any capacity (magazines, books, DVD’s, etc.)

-- Gerry

View gerrym526's profile


331 posts in 5059 days

34 comments so far

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 4173 days

#1 posted 11-22-2012 02:51 PM

While I like their mag I canceled my subscription a long time ago.(along with several others) I usually just pick up a copy at the bookstore and thunmb thru it. Something I like I buy otherwise it’s back on the shelf.
I got tired of all the mags sending me a “renewal” when it was paid up for two years(beat to death here on other blogs) I sent them emails and complained and was told in so many words that’s the way it is. So I told them ” cancel that’s the way it is”.
Good post, I can certainly appreciate where you are coming from.

-- Life is good.

View SirFatty's profile


547 posts in 3462 days

#2 posted 11-22-2012 02:56 PM

Unfortunately, more common than not.. the EULA or ToS have become a joke. Recently companies have started to put “cannot sue” or “will not join a class action lawsuit” verbiage into these agreements.

-- Visit my blog at

View NiteWalker's profile


2743 posts in 3827 days

#3 posted 11-22-2012 03:01 PM

It seems to be handled by the taunton store now; go to, sign in with your fww email/password, go to my account, then on the left online memberships. The cancel button is right next to the membership details. It took me 2 minutes to find it…

From the fww site, sign in, go to update account at the top, click on update memberships next to online memberships and it takes you to the taunton store page.

Having access to all the articles and being able to save or print whichever I need when I need them is worth the $5 a month for me.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Dusty56's profile


11866 posts in 4938 days

#4 posted 11-22-2012 03:14 PM

Good info …thanks for sharing it : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View MJCD's profile


617 posts in 3622 days

#5 posted 11-22-2012 03:58 PM

What I wonder … is whether FW has kept pace with modern practices.

I’d love to see a review of Sommerfeld’s Cabinet Joinery (I have the DVD, but my only reference point is me); Incra’s approach to Rip Fences, versus others; after-market Sliding Table attachments (to both the Cabinet Saw and RT); Wandel’s Pantorouter; Router Table Fences – there are several top-end fences, and what are the (dis)advantages of shop-made.

I find their online offering far outstrips their printed material, and has a different perspective – it seems as though there are two different groups, with different working practices – like old-school, new-school. While their videos are interesting and informative, they’re quite limited – YouTube, which is free, offers more depth & breadth; though, you have to be selective in what you consider good practice.

View RibsBrisket4me's profile


1554 posts in 3756 days

#6 posted 11-22-2012 04:09 PM

Good info, thanks for sharing. I’ve had issues like that in the past with other subscription products just charging my card. They way I handled it is I cancelled that credit card, and of course now am very careful about subscriptions.

View waho6o9's profile


9079 posts in 3827 days

#7 posted 11-22-2012 04:53 PM

Thanks Gerry.

No more Taunton.

View a1Jim's profile


118267 posts in 4827 days

#8 posted 11-22-2012 04:59 PM

I’ve learned a lot form Taunton press books and Fine woodworking but this practice is not the way to treat customers.


View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 4712 days

#9 posted 11-22-2012 05:17 PM

I am also a former subscriber to both the print and website. I cancelled the magazine a few years ago as I felt they were taking if from “Fine” woodworking to more of the level of the novice/intermediate woodworker. I felt their content had slipped and not that I know it all, which I dont, I did not feel it was worth the $40/yr. I also had the website subscription and let it expire this year. Luckily my credit card on file had expired and I did not have the issue of trying to have the charges reversed. I will occasionally purchase the mag if I happen to see an articel that is particular interest but that is where my relationship with Taunton ends. I do however, like the Shops special edition and will continue to purchase that every year.

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their [email protected]

View RibsBrisket4me's profile


1554 posts in 3756 days

#10 posted 11-22-2012 05:27 PM

MedicKen brings up a good point….I do buy their shop edition every year. I also buy some of their “compilation” editions of various projects. That works better for me than any subcriptions.

View Bob817's profile


679 posts in 3633 days

#11 posted 11-22-2012 05:40 PM

Thankyou for the post. I was debating on wether or not to subsribe to them but you have perswayed me to step back on that idea.

-- ~ Bob ~ Newton, N.H.

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 4176 days

#12 posted 11-22-2012 06:21 PM

I am a long time subscriber and really enjoy their products, online and printed versions of the FWW magazine, books and videos.

Too bad you had a bad experience and won’t deal with them, you may be the only one that suffers…

All the best,

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View robscastle's profile


8283 posts in 3454 days

#13 posted 11-22-2012 07:34 PM

The Terms and Conditions clauses, yep what a load of legal rubbish

They may well be legal and in compliance with the regulations but at the end of the day if business suffers as a result at the end of the day its just another legal w*nk.

Just about every goods and services transaction has this “screw over the customer” statment somewhere, on the back of invoices and the such.

Regardless of whether you read it, or are are even given the oportunity to read it, its there.

From my experience with it and the companies I worked for its yet another example of arrogant business practices by goods and services suppliers.

It appears to be legally ducking or whatever their obligations of responsible business behaviour, if in the event that the customer raises a concern.

What has failed to happen is that recognising businessness arrorance until its too late and the customer is gone.

You can use T&Cs to your advantage simply by requesting a copy of their T&Cs prior to conducting any transactions if you are being pressured into buying something you dont want dont need especially over the phone cold callers.

A current case of the BP oils spill is a typical example, all sorts of “its not our responsibility, not our core business, we have done everything legally required, didnt prevent a court ruling themas being responsible and as such “Pay up”

If at any time there is a concern regarding just exactly who is responsible, in most cases its a simple matter of looking in a mirror.


-- Regards Rob

View cutworm's profile


1075 posts in 4044 days

#14 posted 11-22-2012 08:29 PM

Thanks. I once had to cancel a credit card because of a similar issue. That’s one way to handle it. Just get a new card.

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

View CooperDBM's profile


34 posts in 3596 days

#15 posted 11-22-2012 08:36 PM

I started my online subscription to Fine Wood Working about five years ago. I’ve known from the beginning that the subscription would renew automatically unless I cancelled it (probably from their initial email). That seems like a reasonable business practice to me for an online subscription. As NiteWalker states above it’s fairly easy to get to the page where you cancel the subscription. I haven’t tried cancelling the subscription yet but I don’t have any reason to believe that it doesn’t work. Did they not point this out to you when you called?

I’m an intermediate woodworker with a lot to learn. I hope to grow out of FWW someday but in the meantime I’m still getting something out of it.

-- Dave, Ottawa, ON

showing 1 through 15 of 34 comments

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