Enter a contest? You may get a bill instead of a prize

Posted at 6:58 PM, Jul 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-20 21:58:44-04

"Free" is one of the most powerful words used in sales.

Who doesn't stop to look at "Buy 2, get one FREE" signs?

And it happens, even though we know FREE rarely is free.

Bob Notton found that out as he entered a contest for a new free grill.

It came from Popular Mechanics, a magazine he receives.

But instead of winning, Bob ended up with a subscription to Esquire magazine.

It's something he doesn't want and didn't come for free.

Bob says it came with a $15 bill.

It turns out the grill giveaway is part of a Hearst Magazines promotion.

And it's totally legal.

If Bob had read the fine print carefully, he would have seen by entering the contest, he agreed to a trial subscription that he could cancel or opt out of.

It's another reminder to read the fine print on any entry or contract you sign.

The Federal Trade Commission warns that more often than not, you will not win these contests.

Instead, by entering, you will get more promotional mail, telemarketing calls, or spam email.

Click here to find out more about avoiding sweepstakes and contest scams.

Check out the latest scams we're seeing. Sign up for our monthly email newsletter by clicking here.

Need my help? Call the Assistance League of Phoenix volunteers at 1-855-323-1515. You can also send me an email or a video email where you attach a video explaining the problem.

And you can reach me on Twitter, "like" the Let Joe Know Facebook page and tell me about it there.

AND WE NEED YOUR HELP!  If you want to be a volunteer and help other consumers, let me know.