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Geocacher Magazine: A Cautionary Tale

Mark Ellam has a cautionary tale on his blog about subscribing to Geocacher Magazine:

First of all please do not confuse Geocacher Magazine with FTF Geocacher Magazine.  The latter is a very successful and highly recommended magazine, the former has yet to be published even though for 4 years the publisher has continued to extract subscriptions from individuals whilst promising a magazine that has yet to be seen by anyone.  Check their own website as proof 🙂

– Winter 2010 brings the latest issue of GeoMag!

– Scheduled to go to press by mid-late October for early November mailing.

It’s Nearly April 2011 and yet only the premier edition was published in 2008, another edition still hasn’t materialised 🙂

Probably important to not confuse this publication with Geocaching in Australia either. I followed Mark’s suggestion and sure enough those statements above are there. The site is fairly well designed and on a number of fronts gives you the impresion that there has been more than one issue (such as images showing multiple covers) but when you look there is only evidence of one issue (like on the order back issues page you can only order the premier issue and no others).

In my last act trying to get this publisher to come clean and stop decieving it’s subscribers and making interest on the monies extracted from it’s victims I complained to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) in the USA.

Today I received a final response from the BBB who for the last 5 weeks have tried to get the publisher of Geocacher Magazine to respond to my complaint to no avail. It seems our friends at Geocacher Magazine not only show contempt of their customers but also organisations like the BBB, which will only damage their business further.

Refusing to respond to the BBB presents is very dodgy indeed.

My advice to anyone considering subscribing to this magazine is to avoid doing so at all cost.  It has no credability and even if you ever recieve one edition you’ll be wondering if you’ll ever receive another !    However please feel free to read my experience and make your own mind up, but don’t say you weren’t warned !

If you are a victim I would urge you to register a similar complaint to the BBB. The process is simple and quick.  The more unanswered complaints the higher the chance they will involve the law enforecement agencies in investigating what after 4 years is tantamount to a fraud ?

Similarly if like me you paid via paypal ask your credit card company to instigate a chargeback. You will get your money and the publisher pays not only your monies back but the card companies charges also 🙂

Great advice there about registering a complaint if you have issues with Geocacher Magazine and how to get your money back via paypal. The whole situation certainly seems extremely dodgy and I would strongly urge anyone considering taking up a subscription to think carefully. Given my experience of geocachers and what a friendly, honest bunch they are I do find the whole situation rather odd. It would be interesting to know whether this was a project that started well but then failed or whether the current situation was part of the plan!?

 

9 comments

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  1. Mark Ellam

    Thanks for sharing my experience with this publisher. I know I am not alone and there are many many people out there who supported and advised me of their same experiences. Unfortunetely most were silenced by the publisher when they published comments or complaints.

    Mark

    1. James and Sarah

      Current email address for Michael Jacobus, publisher of Geocacher Magazine: mjacobus@outdooreducationcenter.org. Phone number: 714.923.3191.

  2. Robyn Byrne

    Thanks for creating this page. I’m one of those that paid in the very beginning (July 2007) and have never seen a thing. I’ve had many promises of magazines and then more promises of refunds but that was it. Then he booted me off his Facebook Fan page when I complained!
    I really miss the ‘Geocacher Magazine Does Not Exist’ Facebook page, too bad it had to go. I will keep persuing Mr. Jacobus but I worry more about the people that are still falling for his scam.

  3. kjwx

    Unfortunately, I got caught out myself, Robyn … I paid for my subscription before I realised Geocacher Magazine was a bit of a joke – though Jacobus’ website does a damn good job of disguising this fact.
    I also think it’s very hypocritical of him to ignore the BBB but to keep updating his Facebook page as if everything is okay.
    At the very least if he kept his customers updated with the magazine’s progress, I wouldn’t mind so much.

  4. Eddy De Clercq

    Hi,

    It’s indeed a fraud. Mails for a refund aren’t answered and posts on his facebook account are deleted.
    I asked the paypal and the CC company for a refund, but they can’t do anything since it’s too long ago when the subscription was paid.

    Eddy

  5. Donna Laprade

    I too launched a BBB complaint in March of 2011. It was not responded to by the publisher..surprise, surprise. I am an original subscriber from 2008. I paid extra to back order the premiere issue. I did receive that. But I never got any magazines under my subscription. I repeatedly asked for refunds via email…and he ignored many emails from many people for years. Literally took off with everyone’s money without a peep. He pops back up on Facebook in 2010 and suddenly he’s back and contrite and “everyone will get the subscriptions they paid for”. In the meantime, he’s opened up the cash register again and is taking more people’s money. Then the promised publishing dates pass. And the excuses for the delays start again. Seeing this happening again, for awhile I kept track of the timelines on his page in regards to his status updates, how they corresponded to the delays and his excuses. For example…during the time he was supposedly gravely ill and recovering from a stroke he updated his Geocacher magazine facebook status with relevant geocaching related current events and questions… nearly every day, sometimes twice a day. Amazing for a stroke victim wouldn’t you say? Also during this time he was job hunting, interviewing and accepting a job as a director at a childrens ranch in California…where he moved. On his bio page at his current place of employment it states that he is the publisher of geocacher magazine. A quick google search of his name brings up multiple postings from him to various geocaching related websites and businesses touting himself as the publisher of the “official” magazine of the sport. So I can imagine advertisers paid for space in this fictional magazine as well. I reported this scam to Facebook who has done nothing. Mark Ellam, who I’ve spoken to several times about this, had a Facebook page questioning the validity of the magazine and it was almost immediately removed. Where is the fairness in allowing a scam to continue but cracking down on those trying to warn people?
    Speaking of trying to warn people, when I pointed out on the Geocacher Magazine page obvious discrepancies between the timelines of his postings and the excuses for his delays and his “illness” I was immediately blocked. I can still read the page and see that others are complaining, I just can not comment on the page or warn anyone to hold on to their money. He has blocked three other profiles to my knowledge and I have seen short glimpses of messages left by people that also seemed to be catching on to the discrepancies and they were also very quickly deleted. I do not know if they were blocked. I could keep making profiles and warning people, and he could keep blocking me…but that could go on forever. Interestingly enough, Mark was one of the most vocal warning people on his page and although the publisher has chosen to block several other ripped off subscribers, he’s let Mark remain. I don’t know why.
    The BBB complaints were doomed from the start because by the time Mark and I filed them, he’d moved to California and Geocacher magazine was registered with an old address in Nevada.

  6. Ila Kaiser

    Greetings, I am looking for a magazine for geochaching for my grandson, high school age. Can anyone recommend one?
    Thanks,
    A grandma

    1. kjwx

      Certainly … I wish my grandma was like you.
      Am not sure where you or your grandson live but there are three main print options in English, one in German and another in Portuguese:
      FTF Geocacher: This glossy American magazine is the oldest and most successful publication on the market, having started around November 2010. You can download its November 2011 issue for free online. Gift subscriptions are available and publisher CK Petrus also offers an iPad app, through which you can read back issues for US$9.95 from memory.
      UK Cache Mag: A brand-new British publication, which you’ll soon read about in INATN. Issue No 3 of this pocket-sized read comes out in October – and we’ll have a discount coupon for our readers who wish to buy it.
      Geocaching in Australia: As the title suggests, an Australian title now in its second year of publication.

      If your grandson is learning German or Portuguese at high school, you might like to consider:
      Geocaching Magazin: Now in its third year, this popular German title specialises in stories about extreme caching and product reviews.
      I believe the Portuguese magazine is GeocacherZone PT (aka GZ Portugal) but their website is currently down for maintenance.

  7. Russell Atkinson

    A friend recently mentioned FTF Geocacher as a magazine I might be interested in and I looked it up with a search engine. Geocacher Magazine came up first and I DID confuse it with the one he mentioned. I just posted a promo for my book Cached Out on Geocacher Magazine’s facebook page. Only later did I notice the lower down link to FTF Geocacher, so I went there and it became obvious this was the successful magazine my fellow cacher was talking about. I posted my promo on their fb page, too, but I’m glad I found this warning here. I will have no further dealing with GM, only with FTF-G.

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