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Periodic Contributor

beware AARP membership renewal notices

AARP sends mass mailings to "valued members" to renew.  Over the years, I've received many of these posted YEARS before my membership is actually due for renewal.  AARP is well aware of this and chooses not to correct this clearly deceptive and predatory practice. 

 

It will be interesting to see if AARP takes down this post.

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Newbie

MY NAME IS MARIA SALSAMENDI, AND I AM CANCELLING MY SUBSCRIPTION.

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Community Concierge

@creekclark67 Thanks for being a member! I appreciate you taking the time to reach out regarding the difference in offer pricing. The membership fee is $63 for 5 years although we occasionally have discounted pricing offered on certain mailings. It seems as though you do not have Private Messaging enabled on this Community Forum for me to send you a private message with more details. Please give us a call toll-free at 1-888-OUR-AARP (1-888-687-2277) so we can discuss the options regarding the membership offers. 

 

Also, the particular offer that was used to renew your membership did not include a gift. That's no problem! I have ordered you the complimentary 4 piece luggage organizer set and you can expect to receive it within 3-4 weeks by mail. You will also be able to track it online once it ships, learn more here: Where Is My Free AARP Gift?

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Periodic Contributor

@AARPJanelleM   I don't want to extend for 5 years.  I don't want any gift.  I want AARP to stop the unethical practices described in this thread.

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Contributor

I, too, have received multiple notifications for renewal of membership dues.  I finally paid for a couple of more years of membership (to insure my elegibility for United Health Insurance).  I now have three membership cards, one for a former wife, all received AFTER I spoke with a lady in member services.  After my last payment was received by AARP (December 2021), I received a notification that I had paid for ADDITIONAL years on top of the two more years for which I had already received credit.  This makes me question how AARP manages funds in general.  

 

About five years ago, I complained to AARP that they were not crediting me for dues paid in advance.  After months of hearing nothing, I received a check for the overpayment.  No explanation that I recall.  Just the check.  Gotta wonder how much that kind of paperwork costs the association.  

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Community Concierge

@DougM312671 Let's get this fixed. When you have a moment, please give us a call so we can get more information from you:  1-888-OUR-AARP (1-888-687-2277). We look forward to speaking with you to get to the bottom of this!

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Periodic Contributor

The fix is obvious and very simple to implement.

 

It is clearly unethical to intentionally send such premature notices.  If the practice is intentional, then AARP should review their ethics standards.  I suspect that this practice is also illegal.   It certainly should be.  It's not hard to imagine that a large number of members unwittingly send in unnecessary payments.  It's clear from responses on this thread that AARP is not diligent about returning such payments; and is very slow to return those payments when a complaint is made.  Will it take a class action lawsuit for AARP to correct this?

 

It's very hard to believe that this practice is not intentional.   AARP could easily do some very simple database programming to base notices on expiration date.  If your tech staff is telling you otherwise, then you need to find some competent programmers. 

 

Correcting this practice would not only make members less suspicious of your motives, but it would save huge administrative and mailing costs.

 

 

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Contributor

Michael-

I enjoyed reading your post.  In defense of AARP, I do not agree that the practice of sending out notices offering "free" gifts for renewing way ahead of time to AARP members is illegal or even unethical.  I'm pretty sure that AARP is well aware of what they are doing and has the technology to send renewal notices closer to expiration dates. Taking prepayments and having the use of that money for a longer time period is probably the only way that AARP can afford to offer "free" gifts for membership, which I have personally received, and most times have found useful. The large brown and green tote bag offered in 2020 has become my favorite shopping bag because of its large size and strong handles so I do not regret at all renewing when I received that, although I admit that many of their incentives are far less valuable.

 

It is up to the member to decide whether the items offered as incentives are useful enough to pay over a year in advance.  It can definitely be a problem when a senior has lost capacity for reasoning but retains the ability to make payments for multiple years in advance and due to health issues, is unable to use any of their membership benefits, other than the "free" gift they receive.   However unfortunate, I do not believe that AARP has any way of knowing their members' mental state unless notified by the member's family.

ELLE
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@kekk2kwrote:

Michael-

I enjoyed reading your post. In defense of AARP, I do not agree that the practice of sending out notices offering "free" gifts for renewing way ahead of time to AARP members is illegal or even unethical.


How about when they tell you "Your membership is about to expire!" -- 3 YEARS before that is true! That's what happened to me this morning. I have a hard time believing intentional deception is ethical!

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Periodic Contributor

Thanks for your thoughtful comments.  The problem is they send these notices without showing when current membership expires.  Yes, we could look in our records, but let's face it, many of us seniors can be a little disorganized, forgetful and too trusting; or just don't take the time to check - we assume that AARP is a reputable organization and only sends renewal notices when expiration is approaching.   Because of this practice, we sometimes unintentionally renew years ahead of expiration.

 

AARP could clearly state in the notice when the current membership expires.  But they don't.  I've complained about this by email and phone.  Their responses are invariably polite but evasive.

 

Read some other posts in this thread - there are many similar complaints.  For instance, see the post from WebWiseWoman dated 08-19-2021 below. 

 

So they are well aware of this practice and they could easily correct it (only send notices within a short period before renewal (say 3 months); and clearly state expiration dates on the notices.  But they don't.  This suggests that they are deliberately deceiving the people whose interests they supposedly represent.

 

As for using prepayment money to pay for "free" gifts - that's not so different from a Ponzi Scheme where an investment company uses money from new investors to pay off existing investors.  These companies often go bankrupt when cash flows from new investors don't keep up with demand.  I hope that AARP is not in such dire financial straits that they are doing this.

 

Why not just offer the incentive "free gifts" in an online store and use the savings to lower dues?  Those who want the items could buy them with the money saved on lower dues.  And those of us who don't want them save on lower dues.  I suppose the current scheme brings in more money since they can probably buy larger quantities of the items much cheaper.

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Regular Social Butterfly

Agreed, Michaelg! I have "lifetime" membership bought when I was eligible in 2004 (and have bought for Mom, then Sis and Bro when those two became eligible) so we have to patrol Mom's mail for these renewal notices.

 

I spoke to AARP when I received the first one for me and they attempted to blame it on data issues; I haven't wasted my time on the following notices (15+ years or so). At some point some shyster lawyer will launch a class-action suit, I'm sure...

 

#StaySafe


#VegasStrong
Phil Harris, actor and showman, to John Fogerty of CCR: “If I’d known I’d live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.”
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Contributor

. . . and to that the 'free gift' of an AC/DC power charger which lasted for 10 minutes before it stopped working can be added!

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Gold Conversationalist

Hi @gm94    I had to laugh at your comment “the 'free gift' of an AC/DC power charger which lasted for 10 minutes before it stopped working…” ☹️

as I had a “Bluetooth speaker” which sounded like a practical & useful bonus gift….yet at 4 inches high you could barely hear anything…& worse…it only worked with a device that’s less than 10 feet away…..

so much for MEH bonus gifts! 😄

 

Take care ~Allen 

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Periodic Contributor

  • I received the offer for the free charger if I auto renew for 2 years, so I did. Then I saw a message in my inbox for the 5 years for $45 so I cancelled the auto renew. When I went back to my inbox the message was there but when I clicked it it didn't do anything. The next time I went into my inbox it was gone. I will not renew unless I can get it for the 5 years for $45. My subscription expires in April. On a side note I did receive the free charger, so now I will have to keep an eye on my account so it isn't charged. I don't really care about the free gift. I would rather get the 5 year discounted price. I will say that I purchased over $3000 worth of gift cards for a vacation I am taking next year and I instantly saved 10%, or over $300, so there is definitely value to being a member, but I agree that the discount offers are not timed well. I hope there is an offer for 5 years at the discounted price before my expiration date or I may let it expire.
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