DirectBuy Solicitation Disguised As Important Letter From Microsoft

Yuriy received an exciting letter in the mail: the return address had the Microsoft logo, and the letter informed him that he had won either a netbook or an Android tablet — all he had to do was call a toll-free number to claim his prize. But if you look at the fine print, a few things stick out: first, he’d have to pay a small fee to claim his prize. And the giveaway wasn’t sponsored by Microsoft at all: his local DirectBuy warehouse had sent out the letters.

Yes, that DirectBuy, the wholesale shopping club that sells memberships with high-pressure tactics and, incidentally, might some furniture and home improvement supplies at unimpressive discounts.

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I received a letter today with a large Microsoft logo on the front and nothing else (see attached scan). Inside was another large Microsoft logo and a message informing me that I had won a “new laptop/netbook computer complete with new Microsoft software” and a phone number to call. Additionally, there was another much smaller piece of paper, on the back of which was some very fine print. Between telling me that “certain restrictions apply” and that I would have to pay a “fee”, it mentions that the promotion isn’t affiliated with Microsoft. I showed the letter to a few people and their reaction was “Microsoft is probably going to try and sell you stuff”; none realized that the whole thing was a scam from another company.

People, and Microsoft, should be made aware of this.

Don’t fall for the bait: this is most likely a way to get you in the door to listen to a high-pressure sales pitch for a membership costing around $5,000. According to a 2007 Consumer Reports investigation, that membership doesn’t even get you particularly good deals. Save your pennies and your time and buy a netbook instead.

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