Most of us are used to seeing infomercials where a product is offered with a free trial period. You pay the advertised price, and then if you decide you don’t like the product, you return it, and get your money back.
Now, there is a new breed of promotion, like this PowerMeter ad. It appears you pay $9.95 for the device that measures the speed of your golf swing, and if you don’t like it, you can return it within 30 days.
If on the other hand you like it, you might assume that you just keep it. Not so fast.
“If after 30 days you still like the Medicus Power Meter, then it’s just 4 payments of $19.95″ … PowerMeter website
So the $9.95 advertised price is the price of the “risk free trial”, not the price of the item. If you keep the PowerMeter, it will cost you a total $89.75 .
The total price of the item may come as a surprise to purchasers who assumed the price that was advertised was in fact the price of the product. To make matters worse, most infomercials that use this new technique of advertising, don’t disclose the actual cost of the product itself in the commercial even in mouse print.
Incidentally, if you don’t keep the product, it isn’t even clear if you get your $9.95 back because this was not a “free trial” but a “risk free trial.”
Thanks to Eric from the Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection for this submission.