One of the most powerful but misused words in marketing is “free.” And here is a perfect example.
Saveology.com sent out an email promoting another company’s offer to give recipients a free gourmet chef’s knife, and as a bonus, a free salt and pepper mill.
It says “save 100%” and that the price is $0. Of course, one has to expect that there will be some high shipping charge that in essence will cover the real price of the knife.
The fine print at the bottom of the ad says that shipping and handling is $8.95. Not horrible, but the deal really isn’t free then.
On closer inspecton however, there is a another small tab down their explicitly labeled “fine print.” Clicking it reveals the real story.
If you do nothing, this company is going to send you an additional knife every month for between $50 and $90 plus shipping and handling.
Consumers who decide they want the free knife then click the “buy now” button and are taken to the company’s page with the offer. There is absolutely no disclosure on this page that this is in essence a “knife of the month club.”
How deceptive can you get?