Don't join - I joined back in 1997. Seemed to be a pretty cool club and the magazine was good. Bought a few books, they are pretty complete but somewhat overpriced, however if I built everything in them, they wold more than pay for themselves, so I'm not irritated about that.
Then, this year I decided to save myself some money over the long term and become a Life Member. What a mistake that was. I took the payment plan so that I could pay off the balance of the fee over time. No matter how I paid my bills, they would always come with a past due statement (and after reading messages elsewhere, I guess I'm not the only one with this "issue").
This was only one of the issues I have with HCOA. Another was their incessant desire to send me books and videos even when I told them to stop. And then bill me for them anyway, of course with a a late notice attached.
After sending two letters and one fax to the club membership director - I have yet to receive a reply from this organization. I've sent these over the last five months and they don't even have the common courtesy to reply, much less take care of the issues I've complained about. Talk about poor customer service!
If anyone asks me, I say run away from these guys and don't send them a dime. The magazine and the magazine staff may be very helpful, BUT the rest of the folks in this organization just want your money and will not address problems or concerns you may have. All they want is your money and could care less about you as a person. Not a club I want to be associated with. You have been forewarned.