That Amazon gift card in your mailbox isn’t what it seems

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – What appears to be a free Amazon gift card is showing up in mailboxes, but it’s not what it seems.

At first glance, it looks like a pretty good deal. With Christmas coming, you could use a $100 gift card. 

CBS 17 Consumer investigator Steve Sbraccia showed the card to several Raleigh residents including Robert Roundtree asking what he thought it was. 

“It’s an Amazon Gift Card. That’s what it says,” he replied. 

Meanwhile, Chris Malhereck was puzzled by the card. 

“It looks like a gift card, but it says it’s not a gift card,” he said.  “I don’t know what it is.” 

The card also offers a $1-million grand prize, as well as prizes of a 7-day cruise,  a Samsung tablet or 65-inch Curve TV. 

“There’s probably a catch to it,” said Malhereck. 

There is a catch. It’s a gray dot about the size of a quarter on the front of the card. It’s a scratch-off dot. 

Once you scratch off the covering, you check and see if the covered number matches the number printed on the card. If it does, you call a phone number printed on the card. 

That takes you to call center where they ask for things like your name, address, email address, and telephone number – all things valuable to a telemarketer. That’s because it’s really a marketing tool. 

The card was developed by a promotional company hired by a local business to get clients to come their establishment. 

“There’s a lot of fine print on the back,” said Roundtree. 

It’s that fine print that explains what it’s all about. Here are some highlights of those terms and conditions.. 

  • To redeem the gift card, you must show up at the business that’s doing the promotion–and the business will determine the worth of the Amazon card which could be anything from $5 to $100
  • Amazon is not a partner or a sponsor of the promotion 
  • The promotion began in August of 2017 and will run until August 2022 
  • There is no guarantee the million-dollar grand prize will be awarded 

After Sbraccia read all the fine print to Robert Roundtree his reaction was, “OK…I’m out!!!” 

If you get one of those cards and you feel like you want to take part in an advertising promotion knowing all these restrictions and conditions— go right ahead. 

But for our part, we’ll just toss the card in the recycle bin. 

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