FREE Laptop Offers? Really?
Why All the Hype?
You may have noticed that in the past few months, there has been an explosion of ads for 'FREE' merchandise, like laptops or iPod Touches or even iPhones. The list goes on, but I am going to use the 'Free Laptop' as an example here.
You see the ads in your email inbox, all over the internet, on the radio and even on the television at late hours. They're everywhere. Normally, in a visual ad, you are presented with a picture of a top of the line product, like a MacBook Air. Underneath the picture it will say something along the lines of; "Congratulations!! You've been selected to receive this FREE MacBook Air!" You may have also noticed below that text that there is another line of text, quite a lot smaller than the Congratulations line. It says "Participation Required"
Is this a scam? Well, it all depends on how you look at the whole situation. There really could be a laptop in your future, but going this route, it will definitely not be free by any means. The only difference is whom you are giving your money to. This is where the "Participation Required" part comes into play.
What exactly does "Participation Required" mean? Well, if you have ever clicked on any of these ads, you are asked to fill out a simple form to designate where your new 'FREE' laptop will be shipped to and your email address. Easy enough right? After submitting that form, you are asked to take five minutes to fill out a survey. Various offers will be displayed. While none of them are mandatory, the more you skip, the more will be displayed. I skipped through ten offers before reaching the 'Last Steps' page.
At this point the page says 'Complete any two offers below to clain your gift!' These offers range from online movie rentals to Free Government Grant scams. Mostly useless junk, however, you are required to make purchases from this page. The average recurring monthly cost at this point is $12.00. Once you have completed these offers, and click on to the next page, you will once again see 'Complete any two offers below to claim your gift!'. These are much the same as the previous offers and even some duplicates. Again, roughly a $12.00 monthly recurring cost. After completing the offers on this page and moving on, the next page says 'Complete any four offers below to claim your gift!'. On this page, there are only four offers. One of them was the requirement to apply for, get approved and activate a credit card. Another offer was the requirement to sign up for Dish Network. The third offer, you needed to sign up for a poster subscription. And lastly you had to sign up for a free credit report, which actually bills you $14.95 per month.
Ok, looks like you're done, right? Not quite. The next page askes you to complete one more offer so that you can claim a *Free bonus $1000 Visa Gift Card. The offers listed on this page are some of the same ones that were on the first two offer pages. So you are looking at an additional $8.00 roughly per month.
After clicking the final continue button, you are taken back to the very first page that you started on in the first place. No confirmation, and no closure whatsoever $6. There is no verification that you will actually receive the 'Free' laptop that you just worked so hard to get.
So let's review our costs:
First offer page......... $12.00 / mo
Second offer page.... $12.00 / mo
Third offer page........ $44.99 / mo + Credit card approval and activation.
Bonus offer page......$12.00 / mo
Total .........................$80.99 / mo
So if you had already planned on purchasing any of these products or services, then this might not be a big lose for you even if you don't get the laptop. But if you were really looking for a freebie here. This is not the solution.
There are a few problems here.
1.) You don't know what the final offers are until you reach that page.
2.) If you already have Dish Network, you can't re-subscribe
3.) If you are declined for the credit card, you are no longer eligible
4.) Your monthly charges now out-pay the laptop.
5.) You just spent a bunch of money on something that you have no verification that you will get.
6.) Time constraints in completing the offers are very stringent and must be verified by written letter to the offer supplier, otherwise you are not eligible.
In my opinion, this is all just an elaborate scam targeted at impulse shoppers and has no actual value to the consumer. The only ones that really make out in this deal are the advertisers who supply the 'Offers', and the 'Affiliate' who brought these 'Wonderful Offers' to you.
So, in closing.....NO FREE LAPTOP.
Thanks for reading!
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