Monday, June 6, 2011

Question of the Week: Did You Subscribe to Fibromyalgia Aware Magazine?

It seems that several of my friends who are living with fibromyalgia are still upset with the National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA). They paid for a subscription to the Fibromyalgia Aware magazine and haven't received a copy since about Summer 2010.

About Fibromyalgia Aware Magazine

I'm familiar with this magazine, having read it a few times in my doctor's office. It was priced at $34.95 a year for a paper version and $19.95 a year for the online version and came about 3 or 4 times a year. It was an expense I had to forgo in favor of paying my medical bills and buying food. Which was OK, since I always seemed to manage to pick up a free copy at my rheumatologist's office.

Subscriber Feedback

Back in March, my friend the Fibrochondriac wrote on her blog about her disappointment about not getting her issues of Fibromyalgia Aware. After almost a year of wondering, she learned the fate of the magazine in March 2011 through NFA Founder Lynne Matallana's YouTube video about the problems facing the NFA. She wrote:
Ah, so that’s why I haven’t received a copy since Spring 2010 even though my subscription are paid through 2012.
Then I was shocked when I read this comment in May over at my friend Felicia Fibro's blog:

Had I received any emails I would not be addressing this issue. In January I sent in a subscription for the AWARE Magazine…my check was cashed in March 2011, and I haven’t received a copy of the magazine or any explanation as to where my money went. Could someone please update me as to what is going on. Thank you.
Wow, what can I say? My heart goes out to this reader.

What Now?

So apparently the Fibromyalgia Aware magazine stopped publication sometime during the Summer of 2010. That leaves me wondering if there are subscriber out there who are due a refund for the issues that they didn't receive. There has been no official word from the NFA on the subject of magazine subscription refunds.

The contact information for the NFA on their website is out-of-date; there is no way to call or write and get some answers using the information provided there. Apparently this contact information has been out-of-date since January 2011.

I have learned from another friend that she has repeatedly tried to contact them via email for answers and received no response to date.

I recently saw a new contact address for the NFA in a donation solicitation email for All Wheel 4 Fibromyalgia:

National Fibromyalgia Association
1000 Bristol Street N #17-247

Newport Beach, CA 92660-8916

A quick MapQuest search reveals that this is the address of a business called the Mail Room, a private mail box company.

My 2 Cents

Here is the thing. I once had a magazine subscription that didn't work out as planned. I can't remember the name of the magazine, but unfortunately it went under. I got a very nice letter from them saying that the rest of my subscription was going to be substituted with another magazine. I didn't feel cheat or upset because I found out about this magazine failing directly from the company and they offered a reasonable alternative. Because of their actions, I didn't feel like I needed to ask for a refund.

So why couldn't the NFA they have done something similar? At the very least, how about a postcard saying something like, "Were sorry but Fibromyalgia Aware is no longer in publication." and then some kind of gesture to make up for the inconvenience. But perhaps it's just too late for this now...

I am writing this post today because I care and I want to know:

  • Have you been affected by the demise of the Fibromyalgia Aware magazine?
  • What are your thoughts and feelings about how this whole situation was handled by the NFA?
  • In addition, what steps you have taken to get your voice heard by the NFA about this subject?
  • Most of all, what action and resolution from the NFA would you like to see?
Feel free to leave a comment here or head over the the OMAP! Facebook page and join the discussion there.

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mel said...

It's disheartening to hear that a check was cashed in 2011 for a subscription. It was probably taken for donation purposes. I do think paid subscribers should have been notified. I used to volunteer in the offices so it's sad to see this place go but there a few loose ends obviously needing some attention. I'm trying to make plans to see the bike ride kick off which Lynne is supposed to attend. If I do get down there and spot her, I can ask. :)

Jeni said...

I only found out about the magazine about 6 months ago. I bought the only two issues I could find in newsstands & felt the info seemed out of date even then. I wanted to subscribe but decided to wait until the next issue came out to decide. When it never did, I suspected the company was likely in trouble. By the time the NFA finally made their announcement, I wasn't really surprised--other than the fact that it took them so long to tell us. I think it's a double tragedy that not only did the organization that many of us depended on for support & information let us down, but I feel it reflects badly upon all FM sufferers who already face an uphill battle with receiving validation, understanding & support and now the only voice they had looks like nothing more than a fly by night snake-oil salesman.

Leslie said...

Sounds like the run around to me. Since it seems they are impossible to get in touch with - and I had this happen to me before, not with this magazine though - I would file a complaint online with the Better Business Bureau. They will have to investigate every complain they receive.

Anonymous said...

There was actually a 3rd payment option - their 2 year subscription. This is what I'd paid for since there was a slight discount. Like others, I have tried calling and emailing them about it, with no response.

I LOVED that magazine and I really hope they bring it back and offer us free subscriptions because of the mishap.

Anonymous said...

I wrote a letter to the old address about my subscription and got a very nice letter and a packet with several(about 7) awareness items- I know that the NFA has done so many good things for people with FM and it seems like they are trying to do their best in a difficult situation. I don't understand why people with FM would want to be hard on a group of people who have helped the FM community for over a lot of years. I know two other non profits that have had to close their organizations. You say you couldn't reach them, did you write to their address? Maybe instead of putting down others with FM we should have asked how we could have helped. Just my opinion!