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Subscriptions to Descent magazine FAQ


How can I find out when my subscription ends?

In 2021 Royal Mail introduced new parameters on how we must post Descent. Until then, we used a mailing slip with the subscription ending printed beneath your address, but Royal Mail has moved to compulsory electronic address submission for all international mail. This has lost our ability to print your subscription ending with your issue, as well as a reminder/invitation to resubscribe at the end of the run. At some point, this will also occur to UK subscribers who, at least in 2022, still have a mailing slip until such a time as paper (rather than polythene) is used for wrapping. Such factors were discussed in editorials in Descents (282), (283) and (284).

To provide more details for subscribers, when a renewal or new subscription is taken out we now send a separate email with the subscription ending, as a reference point. We have also backtracked across older subscriptions and tried to send emails for these as well.

The note is also stored in your account, for reference (in the 'messages' section linked with your orders).

For international subscribers, we now send an email at the same time that your final issue is posted (so it is likely to arrive before that issue), indicating that a renewal is required.

If all else fails, send us an email and we will let you know the status of your subscription.

When does Descent come out?

Descent is normally published on the first Saturday of alternate months: February, April, June, August, October and December. Copies are posted to subscribers and sent to caving shops and outlets during the preceding week.

Occasionally, publication may be delayed by a week, if the schedule clashes with other commitments (such as a caving expedition).

If I subscribe, what will be my first issue?

When you place your order, you will have the option of starting with the current or next issue (or renewing an existing subscription, in which case it will continue from your old one).

In fact, if you wish to backdate your new subscription to an earlier edition so that you can keep your set complete or begin at the start of the year (for example), you should place your order as normal and write a note in the comments box during checkout – we are flexible in dealing with such requests. Essentially, a subscription runs for a minimum of six issues and you can start this with any edition (making it a good way to obtain a sect of back issues, as well!).

Can I send a gift subscription to someone else?

Yes, of course. You will still need to create an account for yourself, so that your payment card provider knows you are the correct person using the card, but you can then add another address for the subscription delivery.

If you would like to have something to give as an indication of an imminent subscription present, you might wish to print off one of our 'gift files'. There's more information here.

Can I take out two or more subscriptions to Descent as presents?

We'll be delighted if you do and of course you can! Ordering two or more subscriptions is just like ordering multiple binders, but there is one difficulty. The software imposes a limit of your own plus one extra address to post anything to, goods or subscriptions (which is fine for sending a present, for example, or having your issue delivered to a different address to that registered to your credit card). For multiple subscription orders, please put each through separately to avoid any confusion over delivery addresses. If you wish, contact us direct and we can help.

Can the first issue of a gift subscription be delivered to me?

Yes, it can. This is not an uncommon request when someone wants to give the first issue in person, but have the rest of the subscription sent direct. Order the subscription as normal for your friend, but write your request and instructions in the comments box during checkout (you can always contact us to ask about specifics ...).

I used to subscribe but I've missed an issue or more.

If you wish to receive the missing issues, choose to 'Renew' your subscription when ordering (using the drop-down box options) and these will be sent to you. If you have already purchased these in a shop, even though you are renewing you can choose to continue from the current or next issue (using the options will trigger sending either of these issues). In the end, as with all 'unusual' situations, if you tell us what you want, we will do our best to help. You can contact us direct or make use of the comments box during checkout.

Please take care with choosing options; if you are intending to renew but select 'New: start with current issue' you might be sent another copy of the edition you already have.

I am moving house – how should I change my address?

The important point is that your online address is not stored in the same database that is used to post your issue of Descent. Updating My Account details will not redirect your subscription. You need to contact us direct, by email, post or phone, with your new address. Bear in mind that address slips are printed well ahead of Descent being posted, so if you are too close to publication date your copy will still go to your old address.

I do not live in the UK – how long will Descent take to arrive?

Though airmail should be much quicker, the British post office states that economy mail (surface mail) may take up to six weeks to be delivered to North America, eight weeks for South America, Africa and Asia, and twelve weeks for Australasia. Western Europe is up to two weeks and Eastern Europe five weeks. With regret, we cannot therefore accept claims for non-delivery until these times have expired (but in the end, we will ensure you receive your issue!). You have the choice of taking out an airmail or economy mail subscription when placing your order.

I'm moving abroad – what will happen to my subscription?

You obviously need to tell us your new address, which you should do by e-mail, phone or post (changing details in Your Account will not update the mailing details for your subscription. Depending on your move, an additional payment to cover increased postage costs may be required (or a reduction of remaining issues in your subscription to cover the increased costs). Make contact and we can take it from there.

What is my subscriber number?

When you subscribe you are allocated a subscriber number. You won't see this appear on the website, because it relates to the subscriber database used to keep track of printing the address labels and posting out issues; it's a totally separate database to the online one where you place your orders. This is also the reason why you need to tell us direct if you change your address, because updating your online details will not change where your issue is sent. Your subscriber number is printed on every mailing slip, but it's really there to help us at the Descent end of things: you don't need to know or remember it.

I'm still confused. How do I take out a subscription?

We have made taking out a subscription as easy as possible. You will need to register to use the website (we need your details to send your copies of Descent, and if you pay by credit or debit card these details will be checked by your bank). Then, you need to select the type of subscription you want and go through checkout to pay for it. We have written a Website Guide as a step-by-step guide to setting up an account and placing an order, which might help show you the complete process (clicking this link will open an Acrobat pdf file in a new window).

With apologies, this guide matches our old site details - it should still be of help, but some aspects will look different on our new site (until we can catch up and write a new guide).