I just finished doing a write up on my website about certain tv products marketed on an infomercial that for all practical purposes is a scam. It got me thinking about how infomercials work. What are some of their tactics? How do they suck people in with promises they almost never come through with?

I made it a point over the next several days to watch some infomercials and see some common tricks of the trade. Here is what I found.

First, they always use beautiful people. This is their biggest selling point. The people giving the information about product XYZ are never average. They are always above average looking to super model type actors/actresses telling you that if you buy their product you can look just like them. That’s when your emotions kick in. Your brain is saying “its too good to be true, these people are getting paid to say this.” But your figurative heart is saying ” but this time they could be telling the truth and if they are this will solve my problem and I can be in the same situation as the beautiful people I see on my television.” And then you just have to give it a try. You rationalize that you can’t afford not to.

Second, infomercials always get you to think that there is a minimal monetary investment involved. You are getting something bellow market price. If Widget XYZ usually costs ten dollars at the store then you are getting it from them for three dollars if you call the number on the television screen. This is usually quite the opposite; these companies pay millions of dollars in advertising costs to even get on television and would never make a dime if they sold the product for what they said. They accomplish getting you to believe you are getting a great deal by two ways. First, splitting the usually ridiculous amount in monthly installments, or second, charging outrageous “shipping fees” and or somethings complemented by “processing fees.” Nowadays, most charge both. These are non refundable for the most part. A hundred dollar piece of cheap imported plastic sounds little a better when you say “four installments of $24.99,” and with that they’ll even throw in “a gift”. Or they market that cheap piece of foreign plastic at $24.95 with $19.95 shipping an freight accompanied with a $19.95 one time processing fee. What a great deal!

Third, every infomercial want to get you to act now. They may give you some price incentive that will disappear in several minutes or may tell you that “quantities are limited.” Many times they have that beautiful person, as explained before, just flat out tell you that if you want to look like them you have to pick up the phone, now. They do not want their prospective customer to think about it. They do not want you to actually mull it over in your mind. You might find out you are getting ripped off. No, they want you to act now. Don’t wait before its too late.

Infomercials have gotten many people. Millions to be exact. If I look back at my life I can honestly say that I have fallen victim to at least one infomercial product in my life. To be honest, some are not scams. I hate to be a the person to label everything one way without any exceptions. Some are not scams. But rarely do they deliver as advertised. Many times the product on the infomercial is offering you gold when in reality its silver or more often bronze. Still a precious metal..but not gold.

Take some time and think the next time you are tempted to by something from a commercial on television. Think about the pros and the cons. Go online and check out the reviews. If it is really that good people will talk about it.