“As Seen on TV” Up Selling & More Fake Checks

Remember the last time you saw an As Seen on TV ad? In the beginning it looks like a good offer at a reasonable price… then they start throwing more bonuses at you, and sometime even double the offer and then cut the price in half again! How in the world do these As Seen on TV offers make any money? Besides the mass amount and cheap production, most infomercials are making money on their customers through data collection, extra s&h costs, up selling and third party advertisements sent out with products.

I recently ordered a new product from the As Seen on TV line, Crazy Critters. My dog loves to rip apart her stuffed animal toys, so Crazy Critters is supposed to be somewhat indestructible. Our dog Foxy managed to break one of the squeakers in the first day, but the animal is still in tact and she loves it.

You can see the Crazy Critters landing page below. It states that you get one Crazy Critter Fox for $10, then the Raccoon is free (plus S&H). The shipping and handling is where they get you and make some extra money. It’s $6.99 for the first Crazy Critter, and $6.99 for the additional free plush ordered. I ended up ordering the Fox and Raccoon and the total came to $25.66, still a good deal in my book.

Next is all of the fun promotional spam they send along with your shipment. It really wasn’t much, but it’s good to know what’s being sent out and how companies market their products. You can see the assortment of goodies below.

Most of the collection is pretty harmless. Another up sell for Crazy Critters, another for a cheap diamond ring, but the killer is another one of those fake checks (like we saw with Snuggie) that gets you stuck on a rebill offer. What looks like a $10.00 rebate check, actually gets you a paid membership to American Leisure for $98.95 a year… automatically hitting the credit card you used to buy your original product (Crazy Critters in this case). On the back of the check you will notice how they spell out “eighty-nine dollars and ninety-five cents” so it is less obvious.

Granted it comes down to the consumer to read everything they receive and sign, but how many seniors ordering this stuff for their kids could easily fall for this. It’s a bit shady, but it might be performing well enough for As Seen on TV and other distributors to continue offering very low priced products, then making money off these promotional mailings. If only 10% (which is very high) of the people receiving these fake checks actually sent them in, that would bring in more business than the actual products they are shipping out. If the FTC and industry is going to come down hard on rebill offers, shouldn’t these fake checks fall under the same category?

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  1. Great post. I found this one a little while back and thought the exact same thing. It's crazy what some of these people are getting away with. Some of them should be shot.

  2. These types of marketing strategies exist whether we like it or not, despite being evil. However, I can almost guarantee you that people will start to catch on and the business's success will start to go down. This is why you must always be honest with your customers, and stay away from the dark side of advertising.

  3. Yeh, another example of scams. I am tempted to say that in any industry we are always going to find this type of activity, but… The truth is that it is us bloggers, and other figures who speak to the public that have to continually point things like this out to people, or the scammers will expand their operations.

    It reminds me of the guys on the corners who really work hard, moving from car to car begging for money, when the same creative energy could go into making something valuable for others for probably a similar amount of money.

  4. I love getting these in the mail. You cash the check, wait until the trial kit arrives(you get 30 days to cancel), and then cancel. You made $10 for about 5 minutes of total work. Then a lot of times when you call to cancel they try and retain you…."well we will send you another $10 and give you 60 more days to try it"… another free $10 yes! These people are absolute snakes for basically betting that you will forget to cancel, but if you aren't a slouch about it you can get some free cash.

  5. when society loose honesty, we see everything you wrote about in your post filling everything , the FTC issued some new rules to control these hassles , although I do not think it will stop it as the bad guys exist and will be there everyday

    It's a part of being a human (bad & good )

    Ahmed Moheildeen

  6. That sounds like a clever idea, Mike Chiasson, but how do you know they will give you the credit? I've bought from shadier As Seen on TV company that offered free outdoor lights with shipping then later charged me a $100 membership without my permission. They cancelled my unapproved membership but only gave a portion of a credit back. Moral of my story? Buy outdoor lights from Home Depot. 😉

  7. Sooner or later people will realize and not fall for the trick but before that the culprits might have made a fortune enough to retire 🙁

  8. Some of these tactics don't surprise me, I mean the up-sells are a great idea because those people already bought the product so yeah.. they are naturally inclined to buy more as you know. But I will admit the Check offer is pretty nasty and down right dirty of them to do on Innocent people, who don't even know what they are getting themselves into. I am surprised it hasn't been targeted yet by the FTC.

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