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Post-Gazette Home Delivery Customers To Be Charged For Magazine Insert Unless They Opt Out

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- More than 120,000 local residents get the Sunday Pittsburgh Post-Gazette delivered to their home, and it's a thick bundle.

What customers may not know is that -- starting this Sunday -- six premium magazines will be slipped into the newspaper over the coming year, and customers will be charged for it.

"I find it astonishing, honestly," says Prof. Paige Beal of Point Park University's School of Business, "not that they would include a magazine, but that they would automatically add it to the bill.

"From an ethical perspective, it really defies all explanation," she says.

The normal practice, says Beal, is to ask customers first if they want an additional product and service for a fee -- and then ask them to opt in.

"Even apps that you download on your phone go through a procedure that you want it, and you know you're going to pay X amount of money for it," Beal said.

But in the Post-Gazette's case, the paper placed a notice on the op-ed page promoting their new Pittsburgh Insider's Guide.

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Read carefully, it does say all home delivery customers will pay an extra $1.99 for each magazine -- six over the coming year -- unless the customer opts out online or by calling a telephone number that's in very small print.

Beal says the opt-out fails the test of being clear and conspicuous.

"Not clear. Not conspicuous," she says, pointing to the language.

It's not hard to opt out of these premium magazines once you get to the right Post-Gazette webpage.

The challenge is finding the link. You really have to read the fine print in the newspaper.

Post-Gazette officials tell KDKA money editor Jon Delano that they will highlight the opt-out procedures in future editions.

The PG also plans to include a letter in newspaper deliveries to alert customers to the issue.

Bottom line -- if you get the Post-Gazette and don't want to pay extra for something you didn't request, act before Sunday.

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