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May 4, 2008 09:21 AM

Cooks Illustrated website - more expensive for mag subscribers?

I was attempting to try a free 14 day subscription to their website.

There is a where after entering your information, you click a box to indicate if you are currently a magazine subscriber or not (mag subscribers are promised additional savings and benefits).

Well, when I failed to click the "current subscriber" box, I was asked to enter credit card info for a 24.95 membership (the price advertised in their FAQ section).

When I went back and selected the box since I am a magazine subscriber,... the new price I was asked to pay was $34.95 !!!!
HUH? What kind of a low trick is this, so that they can later pretend I am saving money on something as a magazine subscriber? I found this distasteful.

Anyone else had this issue? How much do you pay for your web subscription if you are a magazine subscriber as well?

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  1. i'm a magazine subscriber, and i don't understand the reasoning behind making subscribers pay again for use of the website. that seems like a perquisite that should just be part of the deal.

    1 Reply
    1. re: beelzebozo

      Cooks' Illustrated is a great publication, but they are just a little too proud of themselves. With so many other places on line for you to get recipes and information free, its amazing to me that they expect people to pay for theirs. But I guess if you dont accept advertising, you have to pay the bills somehow.

    2. I don't subscribe to either the website or the magazine, but perhaps the $34.95 price is a one year subscription to the magazine (obviously a renewal for you) AND website together? So maybe it's only $10.00 for the annual website subscription if you already a magazine subscriber, but $24.95 for the web version if you're not a magazine subscriber.

      1. Why ask us when you could be asking them?
        If there is a premium price for subscribers, I'd then also notify Consumerist. But I'd make sure first.

        1. From their website:

          I subscribe to Cook's Illustrated magazine. Why can't I access the online recipes?

          A membership to our website is separate from a subscription to our magazine. Website memberships are $24.95 per year, and Cook's Illustrated subscribers receive a 20% discount when joining.

          I expect you got logged out or clicked a button to add something else to your cart....though I'm not certain about that.

          14 Replies
          1. re: ccbweb

            A membership to our website is separate from a subscription to our magazine. Website memberships are $24.95 per year, and Cook's Illustrated subscribers receive a 20% discount when joining.
            So they give you a whopping $5.00 off if you're a mag subscriber and want to get online as well? Is everything that's in the magazine online, and vice-versa? Or do they deliberately not put everything in the magazine on the website, and have things on the website that's not in the magazine? If so - gyp.

            Yes, I know they don't have advertising. But neither does Consumer Reports, and they allow a simple monthly subscription. So if you don't subscribe to CR, but want to search for their latest reviews on something, you can subscribe for a month (or could a few years ago when I did this) and get what you wanted and then unsubscribe (or not subscribe after the month was up).

            Too bad CI can't accomplish the same thing. I have to believe this would tick off mag subscribers that they don't get web content without paying 80% of what the magazine costs.

            1. re: LindaWhit

              I dont mind paying for a subscription... if the advertised price is 24.95, then I would expect to get %20 off and pay 19.95.

              But, what ticked me off was when I initially forgot to check the box that I already subscribed, the advertised price showed up. THEN, when I went back, and clicked to indicate I do subscribe, the price INCREASED to 34.95. So then I went backwards, and unclicked it.... then the price showed up as 39.95!
              So basically, if you say you subscribe, they jack up the price, so they can then later pretend they are giving you some discount.

              1. re: Mellicita

                I clicked through the same things and didn't see those numbers.

                1. re: Mellicita

                  I'd delete all cookies (tools>internet options>browsing history [delete])and try again. Maybe the website adds to your cart everytime you click.

                2. re: LindaWhit

                  CI does a $3.95 per month option.

                  1. re: ccbweb

                    Right - which would be a great option for CI to do as well. Instead, it sounds like they're teeing off their magazine subscribers by not allowing access to the web version at all without an additional hefty annual charge.

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      I think we're missing each other on the monthly access bit: both CR and CI do the monthly access option.

                      Yeah, CI magazine subscribers often voice displeasure about not getting the web content included with their magazine subscription, though the CI customer service portion of their website offers an explanation (certainly, many would not like the explanation). What I've found works out best for me is to subscribe only to the website: I get all of the magazine content, plus the archives, plus some video and have one less magazine in my house.

                      1. re: ccbweb

                        Ahhh - sorry ccbweb - I read your "CI" as "CR" - obviously not fueled with enough coffee (or I need my eyeglass prescription checked!). And subscribing only to the website makes sense if you get the entire monthly magazine plus archives...and don't kill a tree in the process. :-)

                        1. re: LindaWhit

                          I boycott the CI website and their magazine ever since I fell for their statement (false) on America's Test Kitchen that one could download free info and recipes at their website. When I got there I was advised that I had to accept a free 1 month trial sub to CI in order to access the recipes/info. I did so.

                          I then received the mag and wasn't that impressed with it.So I didn't "renew" or "upgrade" to a full sub. A few weeks later I started receiving notices that I hadn't paid for my full sub to CI. I disregarded these since I'd never agreed to a full sub.

                          Then I started getting dunning letters and finally a message that my account was being referred to a credit agency.

                          I was so boiling mad by this time that I called them. The person with whom I spoke was very pleasant and assured me that the "credit agency" was in-house (as if that'd make it ok). I told her I did NOT want the full sub and she finally canceled it and removed my name from their list of those who should be harassed.

                          After that, the down-home, folksy and "straightforward" face that CI and ATK put in their mag and TV program was forever ruined.

                          1. re: oakjoan

                            It says clearly on the site that if you're not satisfied you're to write "cancel" on the invoice and return it to cancel the sub. They didn't do anything wrong at all. Like a recipe, you have to read the directions.

                            1. re: oakjoan

                              You can get free recipes from the ATK website. The current seasons recipes are online.
                              You have to subsribe to get to the archives.


                              1. re: Davwud

                                Well yes and no. They make it sound like the site is open after you give them your email. Then you find out it's only partly open. That there are -- despite what they said -- closed areas and those are only open if you pay up.

                                Trust me, the more you get around that site, the more you feel like you've been taken in by a bunch of con artists.

                                1. re: HarryK

                                  I've only looked for recipes and that's all I said were free. This years recipes.
                                  Anything else I can't comment on.


                    2. re: LindaWhit

                      to address your first question, no, the website & magazine are not identical. the mag regularly touts web-exclusive recipes. haven't spent much time on the site, so can't say if it contains everything that's in the mag.

                  2. Cook's Illustrated has a number of marketing problems. About two years ago, I received a barage of unordered books from them, which didn't stop until I threatened to file a postal complaint against them. I finally ended my subscription. Then, all of a sudden, we started getting issues addressed to someone who had left our community two years earlier. Pity, it is a fine magazine. But I got tired of dealing with what may have been high pressure sales tactics but more likely was simply disorganization in their offices. Now I buy it on the newsstand when something of real interest comes up.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Father Kitchen

                      They are a very greedy site. While I love the television show, the site seems like a tourist trap (if you know what I mean), go down one corridor ask for money, send you over the other place then demand more money. I joined the magazine for a low special, think it was $9. And ever since they keep billing me for $25. If they keep this crap up I'm going to put the FTC on their collective butt for outright fraud.