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Public to Get Free TV without Gov't Coupon (scam)

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
This full-page ad appeared on the back page of the local paper's business section:

"Public to get free TV without Gov't coupon"

"Universal begins handout of special New TV boxes free to everyone covering a 5yr warranty on the Miracle Clearview TV Box that immediately gives you high quality TV picture,enhanced sound and allows you to receive free channels"

"No Bills: New ClearView TV (tm) receives free channels, no need to pay for cable to get the new digital picture quality and sound"

Basically, the ad says you don't have to get the coupon, they will give you a free box if you pay the $59 and shipping within the next 72 hours.

But" "If you miss this deadline, you will be turned away from claiming this offer and be required to wait for future public announcements if authorized by Universal TechTronics in this or other publications."

Has a picture of two old people who appear so happy the could wet their depends.

This makes me mad. While perfectly legal, its preying on the old and uneducated.

But, for those who are a bit uneasy over this offer:

"BOX CERTIFIED BY: U.S. Department of Commerce National Telecommunication & Information Administration"
post #2 of 31
Agreed! I really dislike the "SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION" printed in a really light small font that the elderly may have a difficult time seeing. I like their official seal indicating the blessing of the NTIA.

I believe this is the same outfit that sells a roll of 25 $1 coins in shiny gold cardboard box for $124.99 -- for a LIMITED TIME! CALL NOW!

Could this company be filing for the coupons and redeeming them using the customer's info?
post #3 of 31
The most abundant commodity is an uninformed consumer.
post #4 of 31
so its free for $60? Duh!
post #5 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdfox18doe View Post

This full-page ad appeared on the back page of the local paper's business section:

"Public to get free TV without Gov't coupon"

"Universal begins handout of special New TV boxes free to everyone covering a 5yr warranty on the Miracle Clearview TV Box that immediately gives you high quality TV picture,enhanced sound and allows you to receive free channels"

"No Bills: New ClearView TV (tm) receives free channels, no need to pay for cable to get the new digital picture quality and sound"

Basically, the ad says you don't have to get the coupon, they will give you a free box if you pay the $59 and shipping within the next 72 hours.

But" "If you miss this deadline, you will be turned away from claiming this offer and be required to wait for future public announcements if authorized by Universal TechTronics in this or other publications."

Has a picture of two old people who appear so happy the could wet their depends.

This makes me mad. While perfectly legal, its preying on the old and uneducated.

But, for those who are a bit uneasy over this offer:

"BOX CERTIFIED BY: U.S. Department of Commerce National Telecommunication & Information Administration"

ABC affiliate WCPO has an investigative story, "Cincinnati Enquirer Free Converter Box Ad".
Quote:


A full page ad from the May 20, 2008 newspaper says the public can get free digital TV without a government coupon....and suggests you sign up for a "Miracle Clear View TV Box." But buyer beware.....The ad claims it's free.... but read the fine print and you learn you have to pay for a 5 year warranty plus shipping. That comes to almost $70. That's not free!
post #6 of 31
I'm surprised the ad didnt also say : "YOU MAY ALREADY BE A WINNER" (wienner).
post #7 of 31
Thread Starter 
Maybe we all should call their toll free number.. tell them what crooks we think the are.. and that they are going to burn in eternity for taking advantage of our senile old granma...
post #8 of 31
I guess they're going for the same demographic as the one who bought that "whole house antenna" that you plugged into a wall socket, or that VHF/UHF set top antenna that was modeled just like a little satellite dish where the ad said that you can get "free channels" with it.
post #9 of 31
What about that little hearing aid type amplifier that says you can listen to TV from across the room with the volume turned way down. It's sure a buyer beware world. I wonder what kind of converter box the clearview is? My guess is it would be total crap.
post #10 of 31
This ad appeared in our local newspaper on June 16, 2008. The ad claims "BOX CERTIFIED BY: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATION & INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION." The box pictured in the ad, Universal Techtronics, is identified in the text as the "Miracle ClearView TV." Neither product is found on the NTIA list of converter boxes.

Might the NTIA have "certified" these boxes as "rejected" so the seller had to unload these through tricks, schemes or devices?

I twice called the phone number in the ad asking about that "CERTIFIED" claim. I was put on hold indefinitely both times.
post #11 of 31
$60 for a Tivax STB-T9 without coupon with 5 yr warranty does not sound so bad. Consider mine just comes with 90 days. But I really doubt if the reseller will still be around for warranty service though.

Are they using their own coupons? Are they getting someone to buy the CECB and turn around and resell them? Definitely fishy.
post #12 of 31
My neighbor just brought this ad over, I don't get the paper. It is really misleading, makes it sound like they are partnering with the govt so you don't need coupons. And that it replaces cable. 5 year warranty, from an outfit that will be in jail in two months. This is almost as bad as the online place that was selling them for $300, they even had the MaxMedia in stock, wink, wink.
post #13 of 31
Quote:


And that it replaces cable. 5 year warranty, from an outfit that will be in jail in two months.

Or flying out of the country on the next plane.
post #14 of 31
Thread Starter 
I gave the ad to our "digital dude"..he's gonna do a story on it..Stay tuned!

http://www.myfoxcharlotte.com/myfox/...t=digital+dude
post #15 of 31
I use some of my time to help out with computer and A/V for the low-income elderly and "independent" living mental disabled. These vultures are now out in full force. They are even physically going after the "independent" living on the transit buses on their way to work. Most the "independent"'s do have limited expenditure credit cards to buy food and the like. The vermen prey on them with, instilling complete terror. They make friends with them over the course of the week, then on friday's they tell them that they like them as friend and first invite them over to play PS3 or the like. The conversation quickly goes to what kind of TV they have. When the "independent" says just a regular TV, the scare pitch starts. They tell them that in February that their TV will go completely dead, but could also blow-up any minute if they don't get a special box right away. For $40 dollars they can help them get that special box. The predators are told by the "independent" that they don't have that kind of mony, just a credit card for buying food, they are told that's ok, can you buy beer and meat with it and sometimes get $5 or $10 dollars with the food, "....sure can....." $10 cash, beer and some porterhouse later, "...wait at the bus stop where we usually meet in the mornings, and I'll be right back with your special box, we don't want your house to burn down because the TV will blow-up, do we......". As low-yield confidence scam you and I think this is, after I heard about this, I found someone actually with a group of about 15 on one of the buses, and I don't know how or why, each of the 15 were allowed to ATM cash withdraw up to $200 per week and the scammer didn't wait till friday, he was hitting them that wednesday morning when I spotted her. The prudy lady confidence to a group of mentals......sure kill for $3000 cash. Glad I was actually able to stop that one, but no telling how many more go on across the country.
post #16 of 31
You should see the telephone poles in Texas, How do they afford the paper/ink/staples???
post #17 of 31
Comparing the illustration in the ad with existing CECBs this appears to be a rebranded Sansonic FTA300. The Sansonic is described in this thread:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1008314

Since the phone agents couldn't or wouldn't identify what box they were selling the ad may just have a representation of a box but the real box may be anything they might buy cheaply.

Since they are not taking coupons and the box is free after charging $60 for the 5 year "warranty," plus shipping and handling, the actual box is of no importance. Perhaps a warranty claim requires sending the box by registered air mail (very expensive) to the factory in China. (One poster in the Sansonic thread commented that there was no warranty information or company contact information included with the Sansonic.)

When I called the phone number in the ad I could hear many agents very busy in the process of taking money from thousands of folks, probably most of whom were elderly.

This company behind the ad, Universal Media Syndicate, runs a variety of promotions.
post #18 of 31
I told my neighbor she could buy a top rated box, she could get two of them, even put the first one on extended warranty --and still pay less than the price of this 5 year warranty that is only as good as the fine print and the seller backing it. Of course, I probably talked her out of giving me her second coupon. ;-)

I saw some BBB warnings online. I wonder why the BBB can't get together and pre-warn consumers, and newspapers. One such warning dated back to February!
post #19 of 31
post #20 of 31
That reminds me of those "full-page ads" I saw a lot last winter where they give you a fireplace for "free" - but the enclosure and mantle for it costs something like $850.00.
post #21 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdfox18doe View Post

I gave the ad to our "digital dude"..he's gonna do a story on it..Stay tuned!

I saw it tonight on the Fox Charlotte 10pm news. The dude's phone conversation with the company rep was priceless.

(approximate wording from memory)

"So this box will turn my TV into an HDTV?"

"Yes."



If I had known it was coming on, I would have saved it on my DVR, but I happened to be using my Zenith DTT901 because of its handy signal meter and the news is (still) only upconverted SD.
post #22 of 31
Thread Starter 
post #23 of 31
Thanks. The eye-rolling was pure entertainment.
post #24 of 31
Surprise. You don't need the coupons to buy a converter box. Really you don't. Just go to Circuit City and buy one. Same price as the ad but you don't have to pay shipping. You can call it free if you want also. They also have many free TVs at CC, only $2000.
post #25 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdfox18doe View Post

Basically, the ad says you don't have to get the coupon, they will give you a free box if you pay the $59 and shipping within the next 72 hours.

What am I missing? Anyone stupid enough to pay $60 for a FREE box gets what they deserve.
post #26 of 31
It is marketing and it all depends how you read it.

Sometimes the word free refers to the tv content. But used frequently in this ad it reinforces the idea the box is free, which is what they want you to focus on. Political (and business) marketing does that all the time, speeches with distinct issues but if you put them into a compound sentence or into adjacent sentences then you have fused the ideas into one.

Also it does read that you are paying for a 5 year warranty, you are getting the box for free (plus shipping) you pay $27 per box for more than two.

I've seen other vendors state that the boxes they were selling were NTIA certified or coupon eligible even though that vendor wasn't accepting coupons, just playing on the confusion of the public on this issue.

Marketing and money making isn't always a nice thing, at least to its victims.
post #27 of 31
Go Digital Dude!
post #28 of 31
post #29 of 31
Thread Starter 
I hope the BBB and the FTC, as well as the NTIA, nail them.
post #30 of 31
Better Business Bureau press release from 6/20/08

BBB Warns of Company Taking Advantage of DTV Confusion by Misleading Consumers
http://us.bbb.org/WWWRoot/SitePage.a...fa916&art=5714

also writeup

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25332559/

claims FTC is investigating

box is Philco tb100HHP

They claim you are purchasing the 5 year warranty and the first two boxes are free, subsequent boxes cost $88 for box.
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