Hundreds of thousands of consumers are pleased to buy magazine subscriptions from legitimate telephone salespeople each year. The majority of these subscriptions and renewals are offered by reputable publishers and professional telemarketers. And renewing magazines by phone is a quick and convenient way of avoiding interruptions in the delivery of your magazines, says the Direct Marketing Association.

If you agree to renew a magazine or subscribe to a new one, you will be mailed an invoice that includes the magazine title, cost, terms of the offer and total price. If offered, a free gift or premium is mailed to you.Typically, no payment is required in advance by credit card if the call is from a legitimate marketer. Unfortunately, says DMA, some consumers are tricked by fraudulent telephone operators into paying hundreds of dollars for multi-year subscriptions.

If you are interested in a magazine offer, you can protect yourself by making sure you know the name of the caller, the company, its address and phone number, and the full costs and subscription terms.

Before you respond to a magazine solicitation, ask questions so you will have adequate information about what is being sold and the total costs involved. If your questions aren't answered satisfactorily, hang up.

Make sure you're acquainted with the provision in your sales agreement that allows you to cancel the order.

If you agreed to a magazine solicitation call but wish to cancel, sign and return a cancellation notice to the proper address. (The proper address may be difficult to locate if the organization is fraudulent.)

Put your cancellation notice in writing and send it by certified or registered mail to provide proof of your mailing date.

After you send the form contact your bank or credit card company to stop any unauthorized payments.

The Magazine Publishers of America is a trade association of 1,000 consumer and other magazines published not less than four times a year.

MPA can provide assistance in resolving complaints regarding magazine subscriptions. For information write to the Director, Subscription Inquiry Unit, Magazine Publishers of America, 575 Lexington Ave., New York, N.Y. 10022, or call (212) 752-0055.