On Your Side: Beware of Infomercials

By: Jeff Anderson Email
By: Jeff Anderson Email

News 12 at 6, July 30, 2008

AIKEN -- "Act now and we'll throw in an extra set" or "get it all for $19.95"; you've all seen plenty of ads with those kinds of words. And chances are you've been tempted by one. But you may want to be careful when buying them.

One of those products you may have seen on television is The Awesome Auger. It looks pretty great on TV, but Jerry Love says it's not so awesome at all.

Jerry has always loved spending time in his yard. "I do a lot of gardening. I grow tomatoes, eggplant, okra now," he said while wandering through his garden.

So when he saw a recent ad on television pitching a product that might make things easier on him in the yard, he jumped on it.

"It seemed like something that would help me garden a bit," he said.

It's called the Awesome Auger. It's supposed to attach to a drill and help you break up dirt easier when you are planting.

You know how it goes, you get the auger, another auger and a drill for $19.95 and you pay shipping and handling. But Jerry said the shipping and the handling turned out to be the catch.

"$36 dollars," he told us is what he paid.

Almost twice the cost of the set itself. Jerry tested the auger and the drill out. At first, it seemed to be getting through the dirt.

Then something happened.

Jerry: "Look. Look. Quick!"
Reporter: "What is that?"
Jerry: "Smoke!"

It was hard to see on camera, but the drill actually started to smoke while it was in use.

And, Jerry isn't the only one to have problems. A quick Internet search turns up a litany of complaints.

Jerry's one of them and he says buyer beware.

This is not the only complaint we've received on this product. In fact, we got another one last week.

We did attempt to contact the company that sells these, but our multiple phone calls were never picked up.

Here are some tips on buying from infomercials we got from the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs:

1) Be sure to check the return policy. If purchasing via phone, make sure you ask all the questions. If online, it should be clearly stated.

2) Determine if the 30 day return window (or whatever it may be) begins at the date of purchase or at the date you receive the product.

3) Ask what is meant by "Money Back Guaranteed."

4) If paying by credit card, monitor your account very carefully.

5) Some credit card companies - American Express, for one - are really good about helping the customer return/refund a purchase made through an infomercial if the customer asks.

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