Dell: Unbelievable Deals*

Dell laptop deal

Dell widely advertised “10 Days of Deals”, with “unbelievable savings.” Today’s deal is on a Dell Inspiron E1505 notebook for only $633. A great price for a loaded laptop. All you have to do is enter the special coupon code when you checkout, and another $414 will be deducted from the price. Trouble is, their system won’t accept the coupon and therefore the real price is over $1000. Dell’s salespeople say this was a “marketing error,” and they can’t honor the price.

*MOUSE PRINT: “Dell cannot be responsible for pricing or other errors, and reserves the right to cancel orders arising from such errors.” [Dell website, April 2, 2006]

If Dell is not responsible for the prices they advertise, who is?

Krispy Kreme: A Family Vacation for Life*

Krispy Kreme Vacation Sweepstakes t

Sweet. Krispy Kreme is holding a sweepstakes and the top prize is a family vacation for life.  Assuming a 35 year old husband and wife and two kids won, adding up airfare and hotels for the next 40 years would be quite expensive… so what a valuable prize this is.  Or is it?

*MOUSE PRINT: “Ownership one week timeshare at a nationally recognized vacation club based in Orlando, FL and $5000 …”  Alternatively, you can take $15,000 instead of the timeshare and $5000. [Newspaper insert April 2, 2006]

Who would have expected that the prize was really a timeshare? Also, note that airfare is not part of your vacation.  You will surely use up your $5000 pretty quickly on that, and on maintenance fees normally charged on timeshares.  And, unless you always want to vacation in Orlando, there may be extra charges to swap your week for a week in another location.

Sweet?

P.S.  You don’t have to buy a dozen donuts to get a game ticket. You can just ask for one with no purchase necessary.

Schwab: Just Say No Accounts*

Schwab say no t

Finally, a stock brokerage account where you don’t get charged a ton of fees or high commissions.

The claims: (1) Our commission prices start as low as $9.95  (2) Just say no to account service fees.

*MOUSE PRINT: (1) “$9.95 trade pricing is for clients who have $1 million in qualifying household assets or trade at least 30 times a quarter.”  (2) “Accounts exempt from account service fees are subject to a minimum balance charge of $30 per quarter for brokerage accounts … [if after notice] … assets remain below… $2500.” [US News, April 3, 2006]

I think Charles Schwab is just saying no to little accounts (under $1 million) with respect to the advertised commission rate, and does not consider a “minimum balance charge” to be an “account service fee.”