Companies that offer free PCs along with their Internet access have caught the attention of state and federal regulators.
Officials at the Federal Trade Commission and the New York and Florida attorneys general offices said the popular marketing tactic raises concerns about full disclosure, especially the boilerplate language that often demands a three-year access contract.
Most participating ISPs offer a payment plan of about $30 per month during a 36-month period. Adding the $10 surcharge to the standard $19.95 monthly access fee, an ISP will bring in $1,078.20 over the life of the contract.
While no formal investigations are confirmed, consumers are urged to read contracts closely and consider whether they want to commit themselves to one dial-up ISP for three years when high-speed broadband services are just arriving.
“Three years from now, this kind of modem-based access may be obsolete,” one official said.
The full story is available at www.newslinx.com.