Surely it's not meant to bamboozle - that would of course be reprehensible and probably illegal.
But the offer Royal Canin, the French manufacturer and supplier of dog food, is currently making, is hardly one either owners or their pets will drool over.
Added to that, there are also the hoops you have to jump through ("virtually" speaking) to take up the company's not-so generous promotional offer.
At first sight it all seems innocent enough. And that of course should be the clear sign that there's more to it than meets the proverbial eye.
That bright yellow sticker on the four-kilogramme bag of puppy biscuits offering three vouchers worth €24 seems to suggest there's a great saving to be made.
In fact, if you do the sums, Royal Canin would appear to be giving away the next four-kilogramme bag you buy (retail price €22, give or take the odd centime) and some money off the purchase after that.
Because, of course, all is not what it seems.
There's the very small print to read on the package - whose terms only become apparent when you log on to the company's site http://www.monchiot.royalcanin.fr/index.html to register, as required.
First up you're asked to complete an application form with your name, address and email.
Whoa - that online method of sending you unwanted (is there any other sort) junk mail.
Give Royal Canin its due though. It allows you to choose not to accept emails with other promotional offers.
Read the rules and regulations (does anyone - ever, really?), complete the promotional code (which you can find on the package) and move on to the next step.
Once there you're asked how many animals - dogs and cats - you have.
Wasn't this supposed to be about getting money off a bag of puppy biscuits?
After all the name of the site suggest as much. http://www.monchiot.royalcanin.fr/index.html. Doesn't it?
Enter the age, sex, date of birth, breed and whether neutered.
You can have up to three dogs and/or cats (for their records and to market better their products probably) and if you don't have another animal apart from the one you've registered, you have to say as much. It's a required field.
Confirm your info.
The next page is one from which you can print your collector's card - and that's the point at which you realise that the conditions you didn't read properly on the package - mainly because they're written in the smallest of typeface - are all there repeated in glaring black and white.
All you have to do is:
Print the collector's card and attach in the appropriate place the following;
1). The receipt from the shop for the original purchase.
2). That yellow sticker from the package - into a space roughly 10 times smaller than the size of the sticker. Oh well. What the heck.
3). The barcode from the package. Scissors please!
Once you've assembled your Blue Peter project, you send the whole thing off to the address given and within three weeks you'll be sent your vouchers.
But "ta da". Here's the catch.
The three vouchers are worth €8 each (hey, Royal Canin can do maths) and may only be used - ONE AT A TIME - on an individual bag of...get this...15 kilogrammes. Recommended retail price €62.99.
So in other words to take full advantage of that fabulous €24 saving, you first have to fork out €188.97.
And that folks, is a "promotional offer", the likes of which you simply cannot fail to resist - n'est-ce pas?
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