Have you noticed the newspaper advertising for a free cell phone, created especially for seniors?
The full-page ad offers a ClarityLife C900 brand cell-phone free. However, people calling the number listed in the ad report quickly being led into a high-pressure sales pitch. Callers soon learn the free phone will cost about $200.
The advertising says when you receive the phone, you get 100 minutes free to use for 60 days, after which you can reload the minutes – it does not say at what price the reloaded minutes will be. It also has a return policy in fine print that says the phone must be returned in near perfect condition within 10 days.
The company behind the pitch, Comptek, is affiliated with Brilliant Built Technologies in Canton, Ohio. The company has an F rating with Better Business Bureau for the following reasons: Length of time business has operated; 34 serious complaints filed against business; advertising issues found by BBB; and the business has failed to resolve underlying causes of a pattern of complaints. Brilliant Built Technologies is also behind the often complained about Clear Cast digital indoor TV antenna.
If you’re in need of an easy-to-use cell phone, you have options. You can buy a similar phone designed specifically for seniors directly from Clarity, the BBB Accredited manufacturer, for $99 (clarityproducts.com). Then, go to a local AT&T or T-Mobile store to activate service. Or, visit a local retailer and let the person at the counter know you need a simple cell phone with a large, bright screen and big buttons.
Bottom line: Do your research at bbb.org before calling the phone number in a full-page newspaper ad.