DAYTON, OHIO, June 16, 2010 - Your Better Business Bureau advises you beware of advertising claiming you can receive a free laptop. These offers coming from businesses located in Canada are luring Miami Valley residents.
OhioFreeLaptop.com, allegedly located in Ontario, Canada, and Brand Giveway Centre, allegedly located in Vancouver, BC, are advertising free laptops through local radio advertisements. People have found once they visit the Web sites there are fees and other offers you must sign up for to receive these laptops, which are supposed to be free.
OhioFreeLaptop.com makes the claim “Select A Free Laptop Participation Required. Click For Details.” However, it doesn’t immediately say you have to complete a total of 13 sponsor offers. In this case, 17 of the 25 sample sponsor offers require payments. According to the BBB Code of Advertising, whenever a price is mentioned in advertising, any extra charges should also be disclosed in immediate conjunction with the price (e.g., delivery, installation, assembly, excise tax, postage and handling). Not only do you have to sign up for sponsor offers, you’re also required to meet eligibility requirements, take a rewards bonus survey and then follow redemption instructions. The company currently doesn’t have a rating with your BBB because your BBB doesn’t have sufficient information on the company to issue a rating.
Brand Giveway Centre offers a variety of prizes to win, including several gift cards and free laptops. The company Web sites are www.brandgivewaycentre.com and www.getfreelaptop.info. The company makes the claim “Complete Requirements and Receive A Free Gift of Your Choice!” Similar to OhioFreeLaptop.com, this violates the BBB Code of Advertising because it also requires you to meet eligibility requirements, complete a rewards bonus survey, participate in a total of 13 sponsor offers and then follow redemption instructions. But, it doesn’t immediately inform you fees are associated with some of the sponsor offers. Once again, this company doesn’t have a BBB rating because of a lack of information regarding the company.
When considering signing up for free items, your BBB recommends you:
Do your research. Check the company’s reliability report with your BBB. Visit www.bbb.org or call (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301.
Don’t fall for empty promises. The company might claim to offer a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee, but there may not be a way to contact it if you’re dissatisfied.
Read the fine print. Always read the requirements before you enter information on the site to receive the advertised products. Contact the company if you have any questions before continuing.
Be wary of red flags, for instance, if there’s a lack of company information or the business location is out of the country.
Report the bad guys. If you feel you were ripped off, file a complaint with your BBB.
These ads sound like good ways to receive free laptops, but hidden fees and requirements may cause you more of a headache than the laptops are worth.
About Your BBB Serving Dayton and the Miami Valley
Your BBB, the leader in advancing marketplace trust, is an unbiased nonprofit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. Your BBB provides objective advice, free business BBB Reliability ReportsTM and charity BBB Wise Giving ReportsTM, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, your BBB also offers complaint and dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses when there is difference in viewpoints. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, 125 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada, evaluating and monitoring more than four million local and national businesses and charities. Please visit www.bbb.org for more information about your BBB.