I’m sure that at one time or another we’ve all gotten fliers in the mail from some credit card company or car dealer trying to sell us their product. They usually try and catch your eye will a banner headline that goes something like this.

You Are Pre-Approved For (insert product name here) For XXX Amount Line Of Credit At

The Low Low Low Interest Rate Of X Percent!

Act Now! Offer Expires in 10 Days!

Then somewhere else in the flier, in tiny tiny tiny print you’ll see the following:

Subject to approval

Sounds a bit deceiving doesn’t it?

So, who are the major offenders when companies offer you one thing but then turn around and take it away?

Let’s start with our friends in the banking and credit card industry. They offer initial low rates on things such as mortgages and interest rates but then later state that these are in effect for a trial period only. After a given period, these rates will usually skyrocket up to twenty or twenty five percent for credit cards. When it comes to those infamous adjustable rate or interest only loans on mortgages, home owners eventually can’t afford the increase in the amount of their monthly payments and the threat of foreclosure looms on the horizon.

Don’t believe me? Here in the States foreclosures are at an all time thanks to the whole subprime debacle. Banks are now losing their shirts on the deals they originally made and people are abandoning their homes in record numbers.

That’s not to say that the potential homeowner bears no responsibility. That’s a subject for another node at another time.

Next, let’s take a look at the telecommunication industry. I don’t have a cell phone but from what I hear from many of my friends they were suckered into believing that the service that was being provided was too good to be true. Unlimited minutes, text messaging, no dropped calls, those were the things that they were licking their chops at. But somewhere in the fie print they were informed of usage fees, roaming charges, initiation fees, deactivation fees and all of a sudden the deal they thought they had turned into something quite different.

Dare I mention car dealers and their friends in the auto repair industry? Don’t get me wrong, some are quite reputable but c’mon. When’s the last time you walked out of either feeling like you got the better end of the bargain. What’s advertised isn’t what’s being sold and it’s all there in the fine print if only you could read it and make sense of it. We've all seen the ads on television where the disclaimer at the bottom is in such small print and flies by so fast that even the highest of hi-def televsions wouldn't make a bit of difference.

How about department stores? You get these coupons in the mail offering you staggering discounts on merchandise and when you haul your ass to the store you find out the offer excludes just about every product the store has on the shelf. It’s right there in the fine print that would take a magnifying glass to read on the back of the coupon.

Warranties and rebates are another subject entirely. I don’t think I’ve ever had a product under warranty where the warranty covered what actually went wrong. But it’s all buried in the fine print.

As for rebates, many times the terms and conditions stated in the fine print are so indecipherable and complex that it takes a rocket scientist to figure them out.

As always, Caveat Emptor

Disclaimer

I, BORGO, TAKE NO RESONSIBILITY FOR THE ACCURACY OF THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS ARTICLE. AS A MATTER OF FACT, I MADE MOST OF IT UP WHILE UNDER THE CALMING INFLUENCE OF A SIX PACK OF BUDWEISER AND A BOTTLE OF JACK DANIELS. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK! VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. OFFER NOT VALID IN MOST STATES AND SUBJECT TO FITS OF WHIMSY ON MY PART.