Advice: Can the Philippines Really Take Advantage of Freebie Sites?

January 6, 2012 at 5:00 pm Advice

The following is a guest post by Nisha Sharma of Freebies365.co.uk. A site dedicated to offering you free stuff.

Freebies are often irresistible for consumers, especially those in the Philippines. Most Filipinos regardless of class, age or income enjoy being given a freebie every now and then. After all, money is often hard to come by in these tough economic times, particularly for ordinary wage-earners.

Business establishments also find that offering freebies is an effective promotional tool to boost sales and product turnover. Giveaways can result from alliances formed between two businesses. For example, one might be a credit card company and the other a restaurant that would offer a freebie to whoever uses the credit card. Both the businesses as well as the consumer can benefit from such an arrangement.

The Internet has become a common medium for the proliferation of freebie sites, which are often prominently displayed in banner ads as consumers browse their favourite sites. Freebies may be anywhere from restaurant food to concert tickets. The consumer is asked to order or try out a product that the site is offering, then the freebie is sent when the user requests it.

Getting freebies from Internet sites can have its pitfalls.  Some items may claim to be free but consumers may incur hidden costs from accessories or add-ons. Another common ploy is to offer a free product trial for a limited time. After the trial period, the consumer is asked whether he wants to continue using the product.  By then, he may feel compelled to agree to whatever is offered. In the end, he may realize that the same product could have been bought at a regular mall shop for much less.

Another thing to watch for are offers that offer freebies only to charge delivery and handling charges for the items. The poor consumer may unexpectedly have to pay a couple of hundred pesos for his so-called freebie.

Another ploy involves offering the freebie in exchange for personal information, such as one’s name, address, educational background and preferences.  The information will be helpful for the site to use for offering other products to the person via e-mail or other telemarketing avenues. Worse yet, the same data may also be collected into a database which can easily be sold to other marketers engaged in selling real estate, credit card services, insurance or other products and services. The consumer will suddenly find himself bombarded with spam email and unwelcome phone calls.

Before taking the plunge to get a freebie from on an online site, Filipinos should first check the site’s reputation through useful sites such as siteadvisor.com or webutation.com. Another way is to read blogs of other people who have tried ordering the freebie. Read and research consumer reviews from independent sites for the product being offered. A significant amount of negative reaction should be considered a red flag.

Consumers should also read the fine print that pops up when an order is being filled out and confirmed. Make sure to understand all the terms and conditions that apply to the offer to prevent any undesirable commitments that may be beyond one’s ability to pay.  Remember the old adage: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

My name is Nisha Sharma, I represent a site called Freebies365.co.uk. A site dedicated to offering you free stuff.

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