What's the Catch?

By: Beth Shayne
By: Beth Shayne

In this day and age, we’re inundated with deals and bargains, so much so we rarely have time to find out if we’re making the right assumption or missing that rare opportunity.

You see them on billboards, at each commercial break, and probably every time you check your email. The kind of ads we're talking about promise a lot: they rarely explain very much at all.

It’s not that the offer isn’t technically true, just that there are conditions, exceptions, or maybe you’ll just really have to work for it.

Free I-POD?

For example, we tried for a free I-pod. This website asked us to sign up for a free sample. It wasn't exactly free, we found, but we paid the shipping cost anyway. That’s where we quit—this free I-pod website asked next that we commit to another free offer and then, get five friends to do what we’d just done.

EXTRA CASH?

If you’re a Lugnuts regular, you’ve probably returned to your car to find this deal. You can find it in many different forms, all of them promising extra cash to work for a health and fitness group. We called. Executives never called us back, but an associate did send us to the Web site, www.symmetrydirect.com. The local companies called Michigan Premiere League. The website calls it Symmetry Direct and explains their plan: You buy in for a minimum of $149, sell health products, and bring more sellers into their program. Pony up, accept the risk, and it could be lucrative.

PROVEN MONEY MAKER?

We tried another big bucks promise listed in the classifieds. It called it a "proven money maker" to help us earn $225K per year. Calling the listed number took us to a seller in California. He asked the questions about us and what we'd do to make that much money. He explained he "couldn't" answer mine.

On a conference call with his company Liberty League, we did learn how I could buy in to their program. Their product—a finance guide--would cost me $1,500 dollars. Like the local job, we’d become an associate, and sell their program to others. Each sale would net us $1,000 of our customers $1,500 buy-in. They assured me it's not illegal: "A pyramid scheme is illegal and it's not," the associate, Kevin Shayne, said.

MINGUN MASSAGE?

On the door of a store called Mingun in Frandor Shopping Center in Lansing it offers "Free Therapeutic Massage." We cashed in on the deal. It was a medical massage on the Mingun bed. It was not the comfortable experience we expected, but they promise healing results. And they mean "free": We could get 89 more massages for free.

After that, they’re hoping we'd buy the massage bed. It costs $3,000.

OTHER DEALS YOU SEE SIGNS FOR IN OUR REPORT

"Free 20 oz.":..with a purchase of another free 20 oz.
"Stop Smoking in 44 minutes": Get hypnotized to curb the habit. Dr. Jack Jesse will do it for 90 minutes in his office off Aurelius Road.
"Free Phone":...with a 2 year agreement.
"Free Rent":..a common sign you'll see in an apartment complex. It means one month free rent, and the cost is often distributed over the rest of the months for your trouble.

Check out this Web site for tips on how not to be scammed by an infomercial. http://www.infomercialscams.com/scamorder.htm.


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