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A DTV Converter Box Scam

Considering the state of consumer understanding around the DTV transition, this (via DSLReports) was probably inevitable:

In newspaper ads the Universal TechTronics “has been offering two free digital-to-analog converter boxes (a previous version of this post said analog-to-digital), without the hassle of applying for those government coupons. All you need to do is buy a five-year warranty at $59 for each of the Miracle ClearView TV boxes, which according to the ad is, ‘a real steal.’”

Indeed, as the story goes on to note, “steal” is the operative word:

The ads are “a bait-and-switch tactic that prey on consumers’ lack of knowledge” about the conversion, the Better Business Bureau said in a recent warning. The group noted that, including shipping and handling, each box ends up costing significantly more than if you used a $40 government coupon for any of several converter box models that sell for from $49 to $59. If ordered within 72 hours of the ad’s publication, the box costs $68.30 (including shipping), according to the company. After 72 hours, the total goes up to $97.30.

I bet this is only the beginning of the shenanigans.