It used to be said that "the big print giveth and the fine print taketh away." But now marketers don't hide anything. Take these examples:
"We'll take your TurboTax fees out of your federal refund for free. You'll need to buy TurboTax Premium Service for $39.95 to get this payment method."
Please define "free." As a window ad on the radio says, "What is the true cost of free?"
(Ironically enough, I had no federal refund. Instead, I owed money. Talk about PedestrianTax.)
Dutch Glow (and a Hundred Other As-Seen-On-TV come-ons):
"Buy 1 Bottle of Dutch Glow for $10 plus $7.95 S&P and get a Bonus bottle of Dutch Glow, just pay separate $7.95 S&P. As a special Bonus, you will also get a FREE Jumbo Micro Fiber Polishing Cloth. Tax will apply to all NY orders. A $2.00 web surcharge fee will be applied to all orders."
Let's see, for the claimed price of $10 you get--nothing. But for $27.90 you can get two bottles and a microfiber cloth.
Harbor Freight 10-inch Miter Saw
With a super coupon, I got a great deal on a miter saw. The "Regular Price" is listed at $199, but the saw is never for sale at that price, Instead, the regular sale price was listed at $119.99, which is closer to being the true "Regular Price." But the saw shows up on sale brochures for less, and if you can find the right "super coupon," you can own one of these for $82,82.
But wait. There is one little problem. The 10-inch Miter Saw does not include a blade. That's a minimum of $11 to $20 more before the saw will actually work. The box does not mention that the blade is extra.
What's exploitative about this claim?
"We'll send you a bottle of Miracle Liquid Product absolutely free. Just pay shipping and processing."
"Now you can get a 30-day supply of Vitamin Vital Vim and Vigor FREE of charge. Have your credit card ready."