You may often see advertisements for inexpensive computers, perhaps for even as low as $199. You may even run across ads for free computers. However, rarely does anything come free. There could be conditions and restrictions in the fine print that may end up costing you. 

What Should I Look out For?

Many times, these types of offers will require that you get a "bundled" Internet service contract. This could last a long time (e.g., 3 or 4 years). They may promise that if you sign up for the service, you can get a large rebate on the purchase of the computer. However, these offers may not be as inexpensive as they may appear. Details about the rebate and the Internet service may be hard to find.   

What Kinds of Costs Might I End Up Paying?

There are many costs that you might end up paying when you agree to buy a "low cost" PC:

  • Up-Front Costs: You will probably have to pay the full cost of the computer up-front. You would then have to send in the rebate yourself. Be aware that when applying for a rebate, you will have to send in documentation of the sale and apply in writing. You should also be wary of rebates that only allow you to spend rebates on the manufacturer or retailer's products. 
  • Internet Access: When you buy a computer with an Internet service offer, you may end up actually paying more. If you are required to sign up for the Internet service, you may end up paying more than $1,000 over three years. You also may have to pay a penalty if you wish to cancel the service.
  • Other Costs: You should make sure that the other computer components (e.g., a monitor) that you want are included in the PC offer. Otherwise, you may end up paying for them separately. 

If you believe you have been misled into purchasing a "low cost" PC, you should contact the Federal Trade Commission. 

Do I Need a Lawyer for My PC Offer Scam Problem?

If you have lost a substantial amount of money to PC offer scams, you may wish to contact an experienced consumer protection lawyer. An attorney can help you determine if you were misled, and may be able to recover damages for you.