I have to admit, in this economy and with laptop prices still fairly high, these free laptop programs seem more and more appeasing. You’ve probably seen ads everywhere from the internet banner to ones even on the television or radio. So, the real question, well besides “How do I get one?” is why are these companies spending excessive amounts of advertising money to give you a free laptop. Well, the first thing that comes to mind is that they’re a “scam,” which in technicality, they are not. Rather, they take advantage of you and deceive you into thinking that you’re receiving a free laptop, when, indeed, there are several strings attached.
A Business’ Purpose Is To Make Money
Don’t ever forget this. This is where the phrase, “It’s too good to be true,” stems from. The real explanation of this is that if a deal seems too good to be true, then it probably is too good to be true. Companies, even if they’re non-profits, are still businesses whose main goal it is to make money. So, under this assumption let’s take a look at the different ways these programs can cheat you.
Subscription Sign Ups
This is the main way you get “cheated”. You’re usually asked to sign up for several for several subscriptions, all of which, either cost money if you don’t cancel them, or cost money which you don’t perceive to be a lot. For example they may say $15/month, but the fine print may read “Lasts 60 months.” The second method is to sign up for a promotion. This can be anyway from tutorials, to magazines. Either way, you’re looking at paying thousands of dollars over time. By the time all is said and done, you will most likely pay more money.
This is basically the same as subscription sign ups, except they ask you to get your friends/family/random people on the street to sign up for the subscriptions. Probably not the best idea if you want to keep your friends and family.
A lot of these programs take your personal information, such as addresses, names, interests, email, etc. And why, you ask, is this any use to them? The simple answer is marketing. To a lot of marketing companies, information about your address, email, phone number, etc coupled with several of your interests can lead to a lot of junk mail and offers. In fact, those details could be worth more than $1000, or the worth of a laptop. So, beware, and avoid giving out those details if you don’t want to live in a sea of junk mail and advertisements.
As you can see from the above statements, I would try and avoid using these free laptop programs. Sure, you may end up with a laptop in the end, but probably at a significant cost and hassle to yourself. In fact, in the end it may be cheaper and easier to go out and buy one. I know the word “free” is tempting, but let’s be honest, nothing is truly free anymore.