It is probably just me… but when I see some add that offers, say a hat, for free it seems that all I would have to do is tell them where to send the hat…  Sure there might be a shipping fee, for the cost of sending the hat.

If I see an advertisement for a free hat, with the purchase of a vehicle, I understand that the price of the hat is the cost of the vehicle, and they could have written the ad to say something like”free vehicle with the purchase of a single hat”, and that would be just as truthful.  That would, of course, make for a really expensive hat.  They like to use the word “FREE” as it then seems that you are not paying anything for the hat, or whatever.  More truthful would be to say “at no extra cost”.  That doesn’t give the same impression though.

Then there is the offer of a free gift card, or maybe an iPod, iPad, or other expensive product, and all you have to do is answer a few question in their survey.  So you click on it, and start the survey.

They ask a couple of simple questions, a survey that might be useful to somebody, and then maybe the have you pick out the product you want.  That done you go to the real point of the thing, the survey, for real?  There is usually a disclaimer that says something like “participation required”.  What they mean is that when you are picking between all the wonderful things you might be interested in, or not, if you want the product you picked out then you must subscribe to several of their offerings.  There are normally several different column, much like chinese food menus, from which you must pick a specified number of offers.  That is a scam.

If you have to buy something then the product is not free.  This is less honest than a time share luncheon, where you have to listen to a sales spiel to get that free lunch, which is why it is often said that “there is no such thing as a free lunch“.

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