Scam Prizes

Those wonderful and expensive prizes you see in “sweep states” contests sent to you in the mail, or described to you by a telemarketer are just pipe dreams.  Here is an example of a telemarketing sales pitch with a “so-called” promotional product.

The scammer on the phone says they have picked you and only 10 other people to take part in this special sales promotional program.  The product is a 10-foot boat with an outboard motor that can seat six to seven people.  telemarketer says the company needs to get some of their boats in the hands of consumers before they can start their sales advertising campaign.  you take part in this boat promotion and let them take pictures and use statements from you in the advertising of the product they will give you the 10-foot speedboat and outboard motor for free.  You do have to pay the shipping costs.  The shipping is $150.

Here’s what you get for your $150; one inflatable 10-foot raft, with a small battery powered outboard engine for a model boat.  The motor will not work with the raft.  Total cost of the inflatable raft and model engine is about $8. Shipping costs is about $3, so you paid $150 for something that is worth $11.

Lets look at some of the other prizes that are offered by telemarketers pitching time-share projects or contest mailers.

Vacation packages:  Claimed value $100’s of dollars, wholesale value $5. These vacations do not included transportation, and only two nights at a rather cheap hotel.  Plus you must book 60-days in advance and you will be lucky to get the hotel to give you a confirmed reservation.  Many times on these packages your bookings will be cancelled and you must rebook.  This can happen several times.  I am told by telemarketers that about 90% of the vacation packages are not used.

Here are some other prizes:
Three-Piece Luggage:  Claimed Value, $70,  Wholesale Value $10.
35-mm Camera:  Claimed Value, $79, Wholesale Value $ 1.
Seiko Sports   Claimed Value, $80,  Wholesale Value $ 6.
Bar-B-Q or   Claimed Value, $45,  Wholesale Value $ 7.

Another item that is sold in magazines and flyers is a “professional” sewing machine for just $29.95 plus shipping of $9.95. They advertise that they have an overstock of these special sewing machines.  This so called “Professional” sewing machine is a small plastic machine less than a foot long and about four inches high, that might be able to sew on a button, but don’t count on it.  The give away here is the price, and the cost of shipping.  You cannot ship a full size or even a travel size sewing machine for $9.95. The total wholesale value of this machine is about $7, and shipping is about $4  If you buy this product you have paid $49.85 for something that costs with shipping $11.

But what about those contests or telemarketers who say you will get guaranteed cash or a guaranteed real diamond ring?
Here is what you get:  For the cash prize it will range from a penny to a buck, but it is cash just like they said.  And for the real diamond ring, you get a chip of a diamond that is just a little bit bigger than dust, and it cannot be sized in carats.

Most of the prizes offered by telemarketers to come to a sales pitch are not worth the gasoline it will take to get there.  Remember no sales organization could stay in business if they really gave away $100 prizes by the thousands to get people to their sales pitches.

Filed July 2002, some informational research came from For more information visit