Watch Out for Some of those “Free” Deals

We all know that sometimes free doesn’t always really mean free. It might mean free except for shipping and handling, free except for processing fees, or free with another purchase. It might also mean free if you give out your personal information. While most of us don’t mind giving out some information, sometimes these promotions get a little carried away.

Obviously, you will have to give out your address if you want to receive a free sample by mail, but some of these registration forms are surveys in and of themselves. Still, a lot of people don’t mind, since they are getting something out of the deal.

However, there are promotions where you go through all of this, give out all your personal information, fill out an actual survey (or several) only to find that you have to complete an offer from another manufacturer, one that often does cost something, in order to obtain your free sample. Personally, I do not like these tactics. They should make it clear that this is required before you begin registering.

So, you get to the part where you have to complete various offers and you change your mind. Well, they already have your information, and you can be assured that your information will be used, rented, sold, and traded, unless the privacy policy specifically says otherwise. They got your information, which is what they wanted, and you got nothing in return. That’s not good business, and I generally try to avoid companies if I find out they use such tactics.

There are lots of great deals, rebates, promotions, and coupons available, but there are also a bunch of scams, from the type described to some that are more serious. The old saying goes be careful what you wish for, but you should also be careful what you sign up for!