Lifestyle Personal Finance The Frugal Handbook

TFH #18: Terms & Conditions Apply

Every day, we are bombarded with advertisements about sales and promotions trying to get us to make a purchase or sign up for a membership.

And if there’s anything that these advertisements have in common, it’s an attractive headline.

While all of these promotions often seem like great deals on the surface, chances are that the majority of them aren’t as amazing as they sound.

Usually, these campaigns come with a catch, which is usually criteria that are considerably difficult for the average person to fulfil.

This may be in the form of large spending requirements, multiple conditions that are highly restrictive, etc.

You know what they say – if it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably too good to be true.

However, every once in a while, there will come along a promotion that is indeed a great deal, even if it sounds too good to be true.

That is, promotions where an attractive reward is reasonably attainable.

But if we get so accustomed to assuming that all of these amazing promotions are bogus, we’ll end up missing out on the few that are legit.

And no one – especially me – wants to miss out on a great deal.

That’s why it’s helpful and important to read the fine print, ie the terms & conditions (T&Cs), of any promotion or deal that you come across before taking part in them.

The T&Cs of a promotion contains all the essential information that governs the campaign, so reading it will allow you to gauge whether a promotion is as good as it sounds or if it’s too far out of reach.

I’m sure that 99% of people don’t enjoy reading through text-filled documents like T&Cs, but the good news is that you don’t have to go through the entire thing.

Usually, you’ll only need to read the points about the promotion mechanics and conditions, and you can skim over the rest.

Plus, the more often you read through these documents, the faster you’ll be able to sieve through them because you’ll be more familiar with which points you should be able to ignore.

By putting in the effort to read through the T&Cs before taking part in a campaign, you’ll find out for yourself what are the clauses or criteria that one would need to take note of, which is usually not shared when it is being promoted.

And if you end up deciding to take part in the promotion, you’d already be familiar with the mechanics and can take the necessary steps to ensure that you fulfil all of the criteria to be eligible for the reward.

Conversely, if you don’t read the T&Cs and decide to take part in a promotion, there’s a good chance that you won’t end up being eligible for the advertised reward.

This is usually because you failed to meet 1 or 2 obscure conditions, which means you went through the effort for nothing.

Even worse, you may have blown your chance to be eligible for future promotions as well, which is usually the case for membership-based or new joiner-based rewards like credit card signup rewards.

Personally, being familiar with the T&Cs of promotions has helped me ensure that I receive the reward as advertised, and has even helped me settle disputes regarding the eligiblity and fulfilment of the reward.

So, even though reading T&Cs may be a chore, it’s well worth the effort if you really want to receive your due reward, and it’s something I always make sure to do.

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