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"Free"...........Not Really

 
 
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 06:42 am
I have noticed more and more offers for various and sundry products on the internet that are advertised as "free". When you delve further, you discover that you need to give your personal information, including your credit card number.

Apparently the deal is, that if you order the product you can use it for a week, a month or whatever. If you don't like it you can return it. I am really curious as to whether there is any difficulty in returning the product, and if you have to pay for return postage.

To me, that is not, "free", and the entire advertisement is a trap to entice people to buy something.

I am not looking to get something for nothing. If I want something, I am perfectly happy to pay for it. It just pisses me off when something is touted as "free", when it really isn't.

What do you think? Did you ever get a "free" product that you could return? What was your experience when you tried to return it?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 7 • Views: 2,286 • Replies: 17
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shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 06:46 am
@Phoenix32890,
some of these I think really are 'legitimate' as legitimate manipulation can be that is..

Basically i think these companies are trying to rely on peoples laziness in order to make money.
If you only have 7 days to return something for free, essentially borrowing it from the company, shipping takes 4 of those days... most people will think it is 7 days AFTER they get the product and not look any farther into details to confirm other wise.. and Bingo.. company just made money off of you.

30 days to return something. most people forget and again.. Bingo for the company.
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 06:59 am
@shewolfnm,
What was the catalyst for this thread was an ad from Hugh Downs touting a natural method of controlling blood pressure. For Pete's sake, HUGH DOWNS. If you can't trust him, whom CAN you trust?????
0 Replies
 
Cliff Hanger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 07:00 am
@Phoenix32890,
I've always considered from the vantage point of the promoter they are trying to lure you in to try the product and then they count on you forgetting the deadline for return, or better yet, you're to busy to return it and so you'll pay for it. That's how they make it "easy" on you, by taking the credit card information up front.



sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 07:02 am
@Cliff Hanger,
Cliff Hanger wrote:
I've always considered from the vantage point of the promoter they are trying to lure you in to try the product


That's the crux of it I think, ancient technique, new ways of doing it. I just went to a festival where a local restaurant was giving away free samples of their food. It was really absolutely completely free -- but they wanted you to say "wow, that was delicious!" and then come back and pay for more.
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 07:07 am
@sozobe,
Soz- I do not mind that. In fact, I think that giving away free samples is an honest way of introducing people to a product. After all, the sample IS free. What a person does afterwards, is his business.

What I object to is attempting to fool people into thinking that something IS free, when there is a "hook" involved.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 07:08 am
@Phoenix32890,
I think that happens sometimes, sure.

My point is that "try this free!" can be a perfectly legitimate technique.

Dunno if Hugh Downs is on the up and up or not.
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 07:16 am
@sozobe,
I think that computer program shareware is a marvelous way of giving someone a "taste" of a program before he has to buy it. Sometimes the shareware is a stripped down version, but that's ok. In most cases, if you don't pay for the program after a certain time it stops working.
0 Replies
 
Cliff Hanger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 07:17 am
@sozobe,
I think it's a smart move to give samples, it gets the restaurant's name out there and who knows, you may even go to eat there now.

I thinks it's way more questionable when it comes to the credit card.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 09:28 am
Nothing is ever "free." But I can sell you a bridge in Montana.
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 09:35 am
Just this past week, while doing other stuff on the computer, I ran across a website offering products that I can use. To entice my business they offered a choice of freebies, one of which was one of those self-inking address stamps. As our old one is wearing out, I thought okay, I would take advantage of their offer and would soon throw some business their way too.

So. . .I complete the rather lengthy process of 'signing up' and finally get to the finalization where they send my my stamp. The shipping charges were going to significantly exceed the value of the stamp--in fact were a bit more than the actual cost of the stamp plus actual shipping charges. Sigh.

I cancelled the order and won't be throwing any of my business that way. I figure if they are dishonest in their promotion, I wouldn't trust them with my credit card number or anything else.

I wonder if these folks actually do get a lot of people to bite on these things? It seems to me to be so self defeating.
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 09:38 am
@Foxfyre,
And along these same lines, have any of you taken these quizzes that go around--quickie IQ tests and such--but you have to give them your cell phone number before you can get your results?

So far I haven't bit on that one either. Very skeptical. Any experience with that anybody?
mismi
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 09:47 am
@Foxfyre,
Quote:
What was the catalyst for this thread was an ad from Hugh Downs touting a natural method of controlling blood pressure. For Pete's sake, HUGH DOWNS. If you can't trust him, whom CAN you trust?????


I have seen an infomercial by him that I thought was a talk show at first. I was a little taken aback when I found out he was peddling this book. Isn't it questionable to use your reputation as a newsman to gain the trust of people and peddle something like that? To me - the setting of a talk show was what kind of perturbed me.

Foxfyre - nothing is free. That is how people are making their money these days - overcharging shipping - Ebay is the worst. I will get a deal on something and pay a boat load of money for the shipping. I have learned the hardway to check that first before I bid.

Some companies also want to get your name and address and they sell the list to companies for mailing lists. I don't trust anyone or anything much these days. Makes me sad.
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 10:09 am
@Phoenix32890,
I have heard horror stories of these "free" products where you have to give
your credit card number "just in case". People were charged on a monthly
basis for the product even though they returned/refused further shipments
and some had to completely cancel their credit card just to get rid of these
charges. The internet is full of disgruntled customers whose stories are quite
similar. Don't give your credit card number to any "free" advertisements!
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 10:30 am
@CalamityJane,
I experienced on of those recurring charges, after I cancelled my credit card, but the credit card company said I authorized the charges, so they couldn't close my account. I told them I wasn't paying, and if they had closed the account, those additional charges would not have appeared. I told them to sue me. They finally closed my account.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 01:21 pm
@Phoenix32890,
I did once - I bought one of those wax thingys that supposed to remove hair - all guaranteed per the add. Well I used it and it took some skin as well causing me to bleed (also something it advertised it would not). I stuck it back in the box and sent it back - I think it had a return type thing. I didn't pay for the postage and they did fully refund my money including postage.

Although I also had a situation (not a freebie) in which when I returned I had to pay the postage.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 01:22 pm
@shewolfnm,
Actually I was a couple of days late returning, but they still honored the refund - maybe because I explained the reason I returned the item was because it injured me.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 01:25 pm
@CalamityJane,
aka Trudeau does this - his book is either free or at bargain basement prices - but they some how sign you up for this email crap and begin charging you monthly for it whether you agree to it or not. One of those it is free for the first month - I think they hope you don't notice the charge on your credit card.
0 Replies
 
 

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