Some jewelry ads that we’ve been receiving lately have us wondering. One mail offer promises to send us a free jade ring. However, that is “free” with an asterisk — once you read the fine print you realize that the company also charges a $3.99 shipping and handling charge.
In addition, you must join the equivalent of a “jewel of the month” club. According to the accompanying papers, by “subscribing” to this service, every month you receive another ring. If you don’t immediately return the ring, the company will charge $39.99 (plus the $4.00 shipping) to your credit card.
Another, even more curious ad that keeps popping up on our on-line service talks about a “$1,000,000 diamond giveaway,” with a grand prize of a $25,000 three-carat diamond necklace. The ad also claims that every one who clicks on the site is guaranteed to win “a free diamond reward.” However, again it is not really “free” — because this time there is a “$4.99” shipping charge.
And actually, even the “guarantee” is qualified— it’s only available to the first 47,000 or so people who respond. We wonder if there’s even that many people out there who don’t realize that there is no such thing as a free lunch — or a free diamond.