How a ‘free’ gift voucher can prove an expensive headache 46

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Have you ever clicked on something online and later wished you hadn’t? I have. And I’m still regretting my decision to click on a link promising me a free voucher because it has proved a very annoying mistake.

Like so many things in life, it started off innocuously enough. A free offer popped up on my Facebook feed saying if you answered a question correctly you could win a voucher for several hundred dollars to spend at a department store. Some quick online research showed the end reward was legitimate, not a scam.

“I can answer that question, easy-peasy,” I thought.

I did – correctly. That’s when things started to go off the rails.

After congratulating me for getting the answer right, I was invited to apply for my free voucher, which included asking for my name, age, email and phone number.

I then had to click through dozens of questions such as: Do your own your own house? Are you planning an overseas holiday? Do you have life insurance?

It was obviously a marketing ploy so I ticked yes to only a couple of questions, thinking I would keep the computer happy enough so I could get my voucher, but I wouldn’t end up being bombarded by calls and emails.

Eventually I made it through the maze of questions and received an email telling me how to claim my voucher.

But in the past few days my phone and email have been running hot with several tenacious telemarketers trying to sell me stuff that I did not think I expressed an interest in. So much, in fact, that I have had to put my phone on silent at work.

The Facebook site where I originally clicked on the link didn’t seem to have any complaints on it from people who had won vouchers, so I still don’t know if I accidentally clicked yes on a couple of extra boxes (making the calls my own fault) or if it’s just overenthusiastic marketing.

Either way, it’s one “free” offer that has proven very expensive in terms of annoyance. Hopefully the pleasure of redeeming the voucher will make up for that.

Let’s talk: What about you? Have you ever clicked on a free offer that you later wished you hadn’t? Have you ever redeemed such an offer and actually been happy with the results?


This writer has chosen to remain anonymous.

  1. Always remember nothing in life is for free, there is always a cost, when you fill out these forms you allow yourself to be spammed, by answering personal questions, you yourself are giving them an outlet to target you. Many of these websites sell the information to telemarketing companies. They make money from your information with little or no reward for you

  2. Sorry although some of these offers may spark interest in them you should know by the questions that follow NOT TO ANSWER ANY OF THEM. Lately I have been inundated with offers for the new iPhone 6s for $1 dollar and although the offer looks legitimate, I’m very suspicious and the best advice I would give is to contact Apple to confirm the validity of them, and please remember nothing in life is free of charge, you will pay for it one way or another.

    2 REPLY
    • Yes I was tempted too but after Googling I discovered it is indeed a scam. You end up signing up to something that costs nearly $50 and then you are (they say) in a competition that MAY win you an iPhone.

    • Trish, I think lots of people are getting that offer. I didn’t take it because the site had something on it about “trial period” and as I have had a “free” trial period before with makeup, I stopped myself immediately. I “won” a “prize” of some skin care and it arrived but then I discovered that the company intended to take $189 every two months out of my credit card (I paid $1 for postage you see) every after. I kicked up a terrific fuss. I roared the marketing company up, I told the skin care company what for and generally created mayhem. They took me off the list and I haven’t had any further nonsense. That taught me a lesson though, and I will never accept a “prize” again. So I am not accepting the iPhone either, because they are just as likely to charge me hundreds of dollars later on.

  3. I was on a “Women Freebies” site and clicked for free garcinia. First mistake. A credit card was needed for p&p. Duh! Second mistake. The stuff arrived. A month later another one – and of course my credit card was charged. I called and cancelled – no problems – and contacted the website I originally visited. “Oh no,” they said. “You must have clicked on an advertisement. We have no control over that.”
    Fair enough. Never visiting THAT site again. Later discovered that my sister and a friend had the same problem. Have had emails but no phone calls. Made me even more careful! !

    1 REPLY
    • I’ve never read a good comment about “Women Freebies”, only negative ones. To be avoided at all costs. I’ve blocked them.

  4. Your not alone on this one I don’t enter things online anymore that have a questioner attached you never see any winners on them the phone calls drove me mad even though I pushed the not interested button

  5. I get these offers in my email all the time, I delete them. I also get lots of dating offers on Zoost, which I have never opened. Maybe I should, there might be a rich good looking man begging for my attention, right?

    5 REPLY
    • When you get unwanted e-mails, instead of deleting them mark them as spam and they will stop.

    • Oh really, lol. I’ll do that, my inbox is ridiculously full every day. Thanks Trish!

    • Your welcome Sue, you may get e-mails of a similar type however each time you mark them as spam the same thing will happen, just tick the check box on the left side of your screen.

    • Well done Sue, now they should automatically be filtered into the spam folder but don’t forget to empty it daily or weekly.

  6. Started to enter into one of these, then found a list of services I had to sign into, from electricity to insurance. So got out quick!

  7. I did this but took my time to say no to everything. Must have made one mistake & did receive one phone call which I fixed quickly. But received my vouchers to the value of $50 & enjoyed them

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