Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Google AdWords free trial - not so free

In my copy of PC Pro this month a leaflet dropped out offering a free £50 trial of Google AdWords. Although I had never really considered advertising for this blog before I thought if it's free I could give it a go, mainly as a test to see how effective £50 worth of advertising this way could be. I am a bit sceptical as to its value for something like this and certainly would not pay anything without evidence that it was worth it.

In the small print at the bottom of the flyer it states:

A £5 account activation fee or equivalent credit deduction required, depending on your preferred billing options.

Fair enough I thought. Seeing as I do not intend to actually spend any money and just want to do the "FREE" trial (you know, the one that is mentioned four times in capital letters on the leaflet) then I will just choose the billing method that avoids the £5 charge.

Oh, no apparently.

All four of the billing options (postpay direct debit, postpay credit/debit card, prepay direct debit, prepay credit/debit card) that I went through had this little snippet at the bottom:

Your account will be charged a non-refundable GBP £5.00 activation fee upon continuing.

along with this description:

Google charges a one-time activation fee to ensure that our advertisers are committed to creating well-targeted advertisements. The fee also helps cover the costs associated with creating, maintaining, and, if applicable, cancelling an account. The activation fee is non-refundable, even if an account is open only for a short time.

So it isn't really a FREE trial. It's a trial that costs you £5 no matter which payment method you use. And the small print in the leaflet is totally misleading in this respect. They should be clear about this in their advertising.

When companies try to sucker me in by pretending things are free when they are not then they really annoy me and make me unlikely on a point of principle ever to use the service.

I think that rule will apply here.


Kalvis Jansons said...

I agree that the wording is totally wrong. This sort of thing is happening more and more, and it really should be stopped. Free should mean there is something that is totally payment free, and nothing else.

Anonymous said...

We took advantage of the FREE offer and then were stung with automatic debits once the free offer expired, the ad simply rolled on!

Thankfully we picked up on it but not before we had lost $158!

I would not have imagined a company like Google would be so underhand.

Nanabeams said...

Thanks for the post. I got one of those in the mail and thought maybe advertising my blog would be a good idea. I don't wanna be suckered into paying for anything though. :/ Sneaky sneaky google.. shame on you! I went to the look it tells you to go to and it doesn't even work. So very shady.