Read the fine print

                               Read the fine print

                                                                        Read the fine print

                                                                                                                                    Read the fine print
                                                                                                                                                                    Read the fine print

Read the fine print–yeh sure.

How many times have I heard that but what a pain–who really does that apart from speed-reading lawyers? I may as well be told, “You might have some important mail, but it’s across that broken glass, on the far side of that morass, and in the base of that bear pit in the mauled postie’s backpack.”

Something 4 nothing
You see, I get this email that offers a free shot at winning an iPhone. I don’t know or care if it’s an old-stock 3 or a 4S; it’s free and it’s in. My LG kp200 is a hand-me-down that’s cryptic to read in broad daylight because of glare, and as for the screen size, well, my watch face has more real estate.

This is only our first date–don’t be so pushy
So, I’m filling out the questionnaire wondering if the iPhone will be good enough that I won’t need to buy the Kindle Fire I have planned for myself this Christmas. But as these things usually go, I soon realise I’m giving them more required info about myself than I recently provided the Australian Insurance Commission on a motor vehicle accident report.

Arr, the hidden agenda
Self preservation prevails. I open the Terms and Conditions link, and practice my rusty skimming technique borne from the years of scarifying over uni reading lists.  And there, in item 21 is the proverbial ‘devil in the fine print.’

“21. By participating in the promotion, an Entrant also acknowledgesthat a further primary purpose for collection of the Entrant’s personal information by the Promoter is to enable the Promoter to use the information to assist the Promoter in improving goods and services and to contact the Entrant in the future with information on special offers or to provide the Entrant with marketing materials via any medium including mail, email, telephone and commercial electronic messages (SMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multimedia Message Service), IM (Instant Messaging) and email) or any other form of electronic, emerging, digital or conventional communications channel whether existing now or in the future. The Promoter may share information with its Australian related companies or promotional partners who may contact the Entrant with special offers in this way. By entering the promotion, an Entrant acknowledges and agrees that the Promoter may use the Entrant’s personal information in the manner set out in this condition. ” [Bold and underline emphasis added.]

Yanhin: flickr

The sting
Here we see one of the methods that telemarketing uses to circumvent the Do Not Call Register. For if I am on the Register, I’ve just given this company (and any of its related or promotional associates) an exemption from the Register’s controls, as they apply to me. There are many email offers like this one; for instance, signing up for a chance to win a department store gift card can also have you signing up for “warm calls.”

The warm call
A warm call is an industry euphemism for cold calling a person with whom the company has had prior contact. Yes, that contact could have been, as simple or as little as, your innocent entry in a competition. Of course you readily provide your phone number for them to be able to ring you when you win–right?

Participate in these comps if you want, but go in with your eyes open and your specs on.

If you’ve had a fine-print experience that impacts upon phone usage–and phone soliciting–I’d like to hear it.

Cheers Jimmy

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