I decided to click at random on a sponsored ad. The link took me to this page (I refuse to give them a free link, and if you go to the page, I'm not responsible if you click any links): http://cashtestimonials.com/lindas-story/.
Wow, this is the story of someone who's supposedly making big money from Google with a kit she purchased online. Awesome! But wait...in the right column, under About Me, it says:
My name is Linda and I'm making a full-time income working only 10-15 hours a week, from my home...But if I look right down the middle of the page, at what appears to be a blog post titled, Mom Making Money at Home, it says:
My name is Beth and I just wanted to share with everybody my story on how IDidn't you say your name was Linda? Make up your mind, dude-ette, are you Linda or are you Beth? Or have you made so much money with this fool-proof system that you've forgotten who you are?
As you scroll through this amazing blog post, you'll find the following text:
The kit is totally FREE*, I just paid $2.95 to ship it (*wierd shipping I guess?)Is that wierd or weird? At any rate, if you blew right by it, notice that there is an asterisk next to the FREE. So that must mean it's not REALLY, TOTALLY, FREE, right? Did it even get your attention?
The Disclaimers - Didn't You Read the Fine Print?
Now, if you bother to scroll through all the phony comments on this supposed blog post, you'll find the fine print at the bottom of the page (assuming you haven't clicked your way through to untold Google riches yet). Instead of being on a white background with easy-to-read text, the disclaimer text is on a gray background with lighter gray text. But here is where it gets funny. Here's an excerpt (with my emphasis added):
This page and associated pages on this site are an advertisement. All persons mentioned on this blog are fictional examples of people who used the promoted products and is for demonstration purposes only. The statements contained herein come from many different people and are not necessarily being made about the specific products discussed.So I guess these fictional people are raving about someone else's product then. Well, at least you admitted it - if anyone bothered to notice. But wait...there's more:
If you utilize any information provided in this site, you do so at your own risk and you specifically waive any right to make any claim against the author and publisher of this Website and materials as the result of the use of such information.OK, so you're saying you're not responsible for anything these fictional people are saying about someone else's product - it's okay for your to rip me off, because you just told me you're not responsible. Hmmm, interesting. But here comes the kicker, and why it's not really "FREE" (again, my emphasis added):
Upon submitting a request for Membership, a Member ID and Password are assigned to you and can be used to gain access to ...The initial shipping and handling charge of $2.95 S&H which includes fourteen (14) days worth of access to the online directories and training. After 14 days, you will be charged MONTHLY of $47.50 for the recurring monthly fee... After the 30 day trial I will be charged $99 for the programOK, I get it now. I'm paying $2.95 for shipping and handling, which you've just defined as access to online directories and training. Well, that gives a whole new meaning to "shipping and handling" since you aren't shipping me anything, are you? Yes, and by the way, you'll charge my credit card that I used to pay this $2.95 shipping and handling (for "air shipping") another $47.50 per month, forever or until I cancel my credit card, whichever comes first, plus, at the end of the month you'll charge me an additional $99 fee for the program. Or are you charging yourself the $99? After all, you did say, and I quote, "After the 30 day trial I will be charged...". Wow, how could I turn that down? You had me at FREE*!
Well, alrighty then. What happens if I decide to cancel? Again, I have to weigh my options between two choices:
Access is contracted on a month-to-month basis and can only be cancelled by calling customer service any time fourteen days prior to the payment date.But then in the next paragraph, it says:
You may stop payment on any pre-authorized charge by notifying .... at least three business days prior to the scheduled charge date.14 days? 3 days? Oh well, it's all the same thing, right? And, I'm assuming you meant canceled (the status your ad deserves). I suspect it doesn't really matter if you cancel within 3 days or 14, they're going to try to keep charging your credit card no matter what. Aren't you glad you gave it to them?
Moral of the Story
People like this are out to take your money and be held completely unresponsible for doing so. You don't make the money - they do! They have no respect for their customers and would prefer that they find every loophole possible to cheat you out of every penny you have. So, always remember...
- Always read the fine print
- Ads are ads, no matter where they appear
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