Sunday, June 03, 2012

Digital Scams Never End

Few things get me as upset as an advertisement for a product or service that is nothing more than a scam, but the copy or narration for the ad is written in such a way that everything in it is essentially true.  A few weeks back there was a two page color ad in the Sunday supplement to the Cincinnati Enquirer for a new way to get rid of cable or satellite television services and “those costly monthly bills” and still get “over 900 programs” including weather reports, movies, sports and children’s programming.

The ad went on to announce that a NASA scientist had developed this breakthrough in technology that allowed the reception of free channels by connecting this device to any digital TV.  There were copious color pictures of an assembly line filling orders and various testimonials from satisfied customers.  Was this just too good to be true?

You may have already guessed that this ad was for a TV antenna.  That’s right, it may have been made to look more contemporary but it was a set top antenna.  The cost for this miracle device including postage and shipping is some $60.  This same antenna can be purchased from Radio Shack for about $15.

I read the ad several times and there was nothing that was untrue.  Even the NASA scientist’s design could be true if he made the antenna structure a bit different from older models.  So what is a consumer to do?  Today there are so many devices that come to market with features that only a few years ago would have been impossible.  Some, like the magicJack, actually function as promised; other products, like the antenna described above or gold plated HDMI cables, are a rip off.

My suggestion is to stay away of any product that requires advertising copy more lengthy than a novel.   An ad for products featuring Amish craftsmen involved in the manufacture of high tech heaters is another dead give away.  And of course any ad that gives a specific time to call the 800 number based on your zip code is a big red flag.

By the way, you can improve the rabbit ears reception by adding a small sheet of aluminum foil.  That discovery did not require a NASA scientist.


Post a Comment

<< Home