The fine print is frequently not fine

So I was getting my mail yesterday, and I got one of those offers guaranteeing me two prizes, if all I'd do is saunter into a car dealership in my area and show them my "Notice of Intent to Award Prize."

Now I know that I'm not about to really win a prize, or not in the way that I hope. I know this isn't a good deal. I know it instinctively, without even giving this piece of paper a second glance, just like we all do. But just for laughs, I thought I'd give this a real look. After all, while I'm sure almost everyone reading this wouldn't fall for this sort of thing, some people must, and probably either young and not yet jaded adults, or folks who are feeling a little desperate and thinking, "Maybe my ship has finally come in..."

If these forms didn't occasionally draw someone in, they wouldn't send them.

My prizes, if I would want to go into see my friendly neighborhood Chevrolet dealer, would be two of:

  • a 3 day/2 night resort getaway (retail value: $500)

  • a $2,500 instant scratch ticket

  • a home theater system (retail value: $500)

  • a $1,000 instant scratch ticket

  • $10,000 cash

Ooooh. Now that does sound nice, doesn't it? And since they put in capital letters GUARANTEED WINNER OF AT LEAST TWO (2) PRIZES and even said, "this is NOT a joke, prank or gimmick," I really did feel like this worth studying. I mean, honestly, even if there's a catch, they must be serious on some level.

So I looked at the fine print.