Fathead Scam

JerseySenior Analyst IOctober 30, 2008

Blasting on my TV this afternoon was a commercial for Fathead, the poster-like items featuring sports stars, celebrities, and superheroes, etc. At the end of the commercial, viewers were instructed to pay a visit to the company's website and enter the special codeword "SACK" to earn a chance at winning a free Fathead.

Well, I moseyed on over to fathead.com and entered that keyword into the on-site search engine. After all, Fatheads sell for a good hundred bucks, and a free Fathead is a free Fathead. The search took me to a registration page that asked for some basic personal info—name, email address, the usual—and briefly stated the rules and format of the contest.

Basically, it was a Wheel-of-Fortune style game, in which an on-screen wheel would appear with different prizes on various points of the wheel. The contestant receives two spins (two clicks) and wins whatever prize was listed when the wheel would stop.

Some prizes included free shipping, a discount, and, of course, the big one: a free $100 Fathead. There were also one or two spots that read "sorry," implying no prize would be won if the wheel stopped on that particular spot.

So I spun. Round and round the wheel spun, until it began to slow down. And then, amazingly, the wheel stopped on none other than...THE FREE FATHEAD!!! But as I let out a quick cry of joy, the unthinkable occurred. After stopping on the grand prize the wheel continued moving again, conveniently stopping one space over, on the spot marked "sorry," no prize.

I know what I saw. I didn't just miss the prize. I won the prize, and then the wheel, as if programmed to do so, moved to the next spot. It didn't make the canned clicking noise that it made when it turned normally. This was programmed by the site. It is impossible to win the grand prize.

But hey, I'm not one to judge based on one faulty turn. Maybe the wheel ALWAYS moves one spot after it stops. Maybe that's just how it works. So I took my second spin.

This time it stopped on "free shipping," and you know what? It didn't roll to the next space. No, it stayed put, like it should. Sure, you can win free shipping. Just not the grand prize.

I then went and re-entered, because I couldn't believe what I'd seen. I used a different name, email address, and home address, and got myself another two spins. First spin: "sorry" no prize. The wheel stayed put and didn't move to the next space, which would have earned me some sort of prize.

So I spun again. And what do you know—it landed on the free Fathead again! This time, I held back the cheer and kept my fingers crossed. Sure enough, after stopping on the spot, it rolled again! I got no prize! This ONLY happens when the wheel lands on the grand prize!

It's impossible to win, and this is a huge scam. Sure, you can win some other prizes. It's not impossible to win free shipping obviously, and I bet you can win some of the other prizes too. But the grand prize? Think you can get a free Fathead? No chance. The wheel is not allowed to stop there and if it does, it'll roll off the space.

You cannot win.

This is called false advertising. I know that I will never, ever buy a Fathead. Not that I was ever tempted to buy one in the first place (I mean, they're cool, but not worth their hefty price tag), but now I'm completely turned off by the idea. What a bunch of jerks.