Clark On TV

The Internet is overflowing with freebies

Clark Howard, WSB-TV consumer adviser

If there’s one thing that Clark Howard likes, it’s free stuff.

Let’s start with the newspaper, the thing that many people begin their day with. Cancel your subscription and read it online. In fact, you can read newspapers from all over the country online at no charge. Magazines like Time and Newsweek are also free.

It’s fun to see what you can get for free over the Internet. One consumer has a collection of freebies that includes coffee, cat food, dog food, shampoo and make-up. But are these things really free?

Says Jane Kolodinsky, of the American Council on Consumer Interests, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Every time consumers get something free from the Web, they are also paying with something — their privacy. Filling in your name, address, e-mail and even a phone number gives the company all it needs to bombard you with offers. And this information might even be shared with other companies. But if you’re okay with that, then go for it!

If you want one-stop freebie shopping, there are a few great sites to check out. Totally Free Stuff, and Ju$t Free $tuff are a few that search the Web for freebies.

But sometimes, you get what you paid for. “Once I got an envelope with one broken mint in it. To say the least, I was a little disappointed with that one,” says Lee Seats. If you order freebies, be ready to wait. Some of the product samples have a delivery time of 4 to 12 weeks!