"Independent magazine clearinghouse agent" - Scam?

I just about had a heart attack today when I saw a renewal notice for my Economist subscription - almost a year in advance. That sucker’s expensive and I don’t like dealing with it more often than I have to, so that made me look at the notice more carefully.

It wasn’t from my bright red Economist friends. Instead, something called “Publishers Consolidated Subscription Services” was offering a renewal, at a price that (if anything) sounded even higher than what I already pay (although I suspect that’s just wishful thinking on my part). Anyway, here’s what they say on the reverse side of the (suspiciously bill-like) notice:

<cough> :rolleyes:

This looks deceptive as hell to me. My worst-case scenario: these guys send notices out hugely in advance, pocket the cash, and leave the customer with no renewal and no way to complain to the publisher. And because it’s so far in advance, and most people probably forget that their renewal date is printed on the address label, people won’t notice the lack of renewal for many months. Are my instincts right?