Have you ever heard the words, “Congratulations, you’re a winner,” only to find out it was too good to be true? A couple of months ago, a company called to let me know that we had won one free month of their service. According to this company, our website would receive top ranking with all the major search engines for one month at no cost to us. The representative claimed that every time someone performed a google search or any other internet search using the words, “Bible study,” our website would appear on the first page of the results listing.
Well, I wasn’t buying it. “What’s the catch,” I asked, “What do you mean by free?” She answered, “You’ll receive our service at no charge for one month; and then at the end of the free month period, someone will call and ask if you’d like to keep our service. If you choose to keep it, then and only then will you be billed for our service.” To which I responded, “So, you’re telling me it’s absolutely free for one month.” “That’s correct,” she answered. At this point, I began thinking about how this could increase our Big Picture of the Bible book sales. I also thought about the fact that she did NOT ask for our credit card information. After pondering everything over in my mind, I finally said, “Listen, I’d better not end up with a bill for this month or any other month.” To which she responded, “You will not be billed. You’ve won one month’s worth of free service.” I finally said, “Okay, I’ll take my free month!”
The sales pitch was fast, it was furious, and it was anything but free. Believe it or not, the charges for this service appeared on my phone bill. Yes—That’s right. I said my phone bill. This company had contracted with my local phone company to bill their “so-called” customers for them. I promptly called the search engine optimization company and accused them of misrepresentation. They refused to remove the charges saying I was supposed to call them to cancel the service and not the other way around. So, I called my local phone company, explained everything to them, and they immediately reversed the charges.
What’s the moral to this story? It is this: When it’s too good to be true, beware! The Holy Spirit is trying to tell you something!! I’m reminded of Proverbs 15:22 which says, “Plans go wrong for lack of advice.” Perhaps I should have taken time to get advice from the Better Business Bureau—Or—Better yet, I should have taken time to pray and ask God for His advice. He would have surely reminded me of all the times I’ve actually echoed the words, “Nothing in this world is free.”
Lorna Daniels Nichols