US Airways’ inflight magazine had an unusual advertisement offering a free $500 prepaid giftcard good toward the purchase of watches and sunglasses. MrConsumer thought that they must sell really expensive products to be offering $500 off for nothing.
It turns out that some fine print on the back of the card explains their little trick:
With your PREPAID gift card code, you’ll receive $500 of suggested retail and sale price products! You pay only a 9% Service Fee for your selections. Service Fee includes: First Class delivery, customer service, order processing, labor, materials, goods, profit, marketing, free exchange & full refund programs. Fee is based on suggested retail price of the product and is separate from your Gift Card. Some products carry a minimum Service Fee.
In other words, it says they will charge you a fee to cover the cost of the watch or sunglasses.
On their website, there were a number of watches like this:
The fine print next to the watch explains some unusual terms like “proposed price”, indicating that they plan in the future to sell this watch for $90. Sure. And the sale price is now $54.00. Sure. (You don’t even pay the sale price because you have a giftcard, remember, but the giftcard does not apply to the service fee.) You only pay a $12.90 “service fee.”
Poking around online, MrConsumer found some similar watches of the same (not so) famous brand, “Passion Time”, selling for not $90, not $54, not even $12.90.
So basically, all this stuff about giftcards, and $90 prices, and $54 prices seems like nothing more than smoke and mirrors for a company selling cheap watches.