The are plenty of scams promoted in the backwaters of local radio and late-night TV ads. Most tend to focus on one ripoff at a time; after all, why complicate the message by asking listeners to choose how they want to get fleeced. But a tip from a viewer alerted TV reporter John Matarese to what may be a new trend: Bundling three worthless offers to create one colossally bad deal.
According to the viewer, the radio ad from a company called “Nelson Research” (which apparently chose the name so that listeners would mishear it as “Nielsen”) offered $2,000 worth of grocery coupons. A call to the advertiser, however, resulted in a demand for a credit card number, and an admission of a $3 shipping charge — plus more fees down the road. The viewer took a pass, and alerted Matarese, who had a producer sign up. Turns out that shipping charge was just the start of a long list of fees, tied to three separate products.
The grocery coupons came from GrocerySavers.com, and required a $2 shipping fee for each $10 batch of coupons. The other two deals were even better. The “US Patriot” card brought with it a monthly fee of $19, and a second “discount” card, the Liberty Fun Pass, was another $19 a month. Before getting a single discount, cardholders are out $400 a year, unless they cancel during a 14-day trial.
We think Matarese is being a little too kind when he says these offers aren’t scams because they hew to the letter of the law. If you really want to save money using grocery coupons, follow the advice of super-shoppers like Kathy Spencer — and stay away from sc*ms like Nelson Research.
(Photo: Editor B)