There isn't a better price than free, and there is no place that is loaded with more for free than the Internet. The only problem is that even when a site advertises it's free, many time's it's not -- and the real price can be steeper than you'd ever want to pay.
That's the warning offered from Todd Drowlette, chairman of MoveThatBlock.com, a new free site for consumer classified, real estate and personals listings. Drowlette said that his research into the consumer-to-consumer advertising space on the Internet revealed a wide variety of practices that exist for the sole purpose of deceiving the consumer.
"We all tend to have faith in the ‘truth in advertising' laws protecting us from bait and switch scams," Drowlette said. "The problem is that the Internet is so saturated with bait and switch sites, the government would never have enough resources to prosecute them all. So, it's really up to the consumer to beware and be aware of the kinds of sites that are out to get their money, get their email addresses or just flat out rip them off."
His tips include:
"Free sites will never ask you for a credit card and they will never ask you to pay any kind of fee up front," Drowlette said. "I feel bad for the people who sign up, click through everything so they can just get their ad posted, only to wake up the next week to find out their email account has been closed because someone hijacked their email address to send spam. Free is not always free if you have to pay for it with your privacy. Read through the ad site before you post on it, and you'll know what you're getting and exactly what your giving in return for it."