Free TV ... not so much
An alert from the Better Business Bureau:
BBB Warns of Company Taking Advantage of DTV Confusion by Misleading Consumers
Nationwide Advertising Campaign Falsely Promises Free TV and Free DTV Converter Boxes
BBB is alerting consumers to beware of a misleading advertising campaign by an Ohio-based company called Universal TechTronics. Ads are running across the U.S. promising free television channels, services and digital TV converter boxes, but are really a bait and switch tactic that prey on consumers’ lack of knowledge about digital TV conversion requirements.
A BBB investigation found that Universal TechTronics is peddling “five-year warranties” for $59 that must be purchased with their “free” digital TV converter boxes. With shipping and handling fees rolled in, the total cost per box is nearly $100. BBB believes that these are the same boxes consumers can buy in electronics retail stores across the country using $40 U.S. government coupons that make the total cost to consumers about $20 per box.
“The bottom line is that these ads confuse and mislead consumers,” said Carol Odell, BBB of Southern Colorado Executive Director. “Unfortunately consumers who do respond may find that not only will they not receive free products and services as implied by the ads, but they will end up paying more than they would have by taking advantage of the really good deal being offered through the DTV coupon program.”
Universal TechTronics’ ads imply that their converter boxes are free and will provide free channel reception, similar to the type of services consumers receive through cable or satellite providers. Ads state, “No Bills: New ClearView TV receives free channels, no need to pay for cable to get the new digital picture quality and sound,” and “Public to Get Free TV Without Gov't Coupon!” Additionally, the ads use the term “Miracle ClearView TV” to disguise the product and further deceive consumers.