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?