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No, Amazon is Not Sending You a $100 Gift Card

Last week, MrConsumer received an email seemingly from Amazon saying it was sending along a $100 gift card as a thank you. How nice of them. But on closer inspection, this was a scam.

 

*MOUSE PRINT:

Amazon gift card scam

First, the email was addressed to “abuse@consumerworld.org” which is not a personal email. Secondly, when hovering over the “view details” button with the mouse, you see that clicking it would take you to “woo-brands.com” and not to Amazon. Visiting that site could well have infected my computer with malware, trigger whatever trap the sender intended.

And checking the IP addresses in the header information of this email (under source in most email programs), you see that the email appears to have originated in China and had a lovely journey through Italy on the way to Boston.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Amazon gift card scam source

So, the lesson here is that no matter how legitimate an email looks, double-check any links or buttons, no matter what they say, before clicking on them.

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Lowe’s Extended Protection Plans Called Deceptive

A Washington consumer who bought a barbecue grill last year from Lowe’s is suing the company for deceptive practices after his grill went on the fritz and Lowe’s refused to fix it.

Like many shoppers who buy more expensive products, this customer was asked at the checkout if he would like to buy a four-year extended warranty “Protection Plan.” He was told it would cover everything and even included on-site repairs. After he agreed to buy the $79.99 plan, the cashier put a brochure about it in his bag.

Fast forward about 10 months, and sure enough his barbecue developed a problem so the consumer asked Lowe’s for someone to come out and pick it up for repair. Lowe’s refused saying the grill was covered by a five-year manufacturer’s warranty and according to the customer’s lawsuit, while the Lowe’s extended warranty plans start on the day of purchase, they only provide benefits after the manufacturer’s warranty expires. [Thanks to Truth in Advertising for the case.]

The extended warranty contract used by Lowe’s is not clearly worded to explicitly warn purchasers about this:

*MOUSE PRINT:

Parts and services covered during the manufacturer’s warranty period are the responsibility of the manufacturer. Your Product(s) may have a labor and/or parts warranty from the manufacturer that may provide additional or overlapping coverage with this Plan. Review Your manufacturer’s warranty. Nothing in the Plan will limit or discharge any manufacturer’s obligations.

To add insult to injury in this case, since the barbecue had a five-year warranty and the Lowe’s plan was only four years, it completely overlapped what the manufacturer was providing. That made the Lowe’s plan a complete waste of money for the customer.

Lowe’s has not publicly commented on the allegations made in this lawsuit.

Whenever buying a warrantied product, try to purchase it with a credit card that doubles the manufacturer’s warranty up to an additional year for free. Many card issuers have dropped this benefit, so double-check which of your cards still offer it.

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Use This Kohl’s Cash Trick for Extra Savings

Over the past few weeks we’ve focused on the fine print of store policies, both good and bad, at major retailers. This week, we turn to Kohl’s, which has a genuinely pro-consumer policy when it comes to Kohl’s Cash. Of course, that doesn’t excuse the company for continually making exaggerated savings claims on items that are almost always on sale.

Kohl’s Cash is a bonus that shoppers get when they reach certain spending thresholds. Think of it like a merchandise credit. For their big upcoming Black Friday sale, for instance, for every $50 you spend (after all discounts), you will earn $15 in Kohl’s Cash that is good toward future purchases.

Kohl's Cash

Maybe you are like MrConsumer and sometimes just fall short of making the $50 threshold because the item you are buying is unfortunately priced at $49.99. You are in luck, however, because of a little-known policy at Kohl’s.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Kohl's Cash Policy

So, don’t think you have to add a filler item to your cart when the basket total is just shy of $50. Kudos to Kohl’s.

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