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Free Android Tablet Offer? BBB Says 'Watch Out!'

The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) is alerting the public to mailings inviting people to participate in a marketing study.

The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) is alerting the public to mailings inviting people to participate in a marketing study.

For their participation, they are told, they will "pick up a free Android Table Computer." BBB is warning consumers that this offer has hit other markets and BBB of Central Ohio recently discovered that these offers are often linked to subsidiary companies which attempt to get consumers to join travel clubs that may cost thousands of dollars.

The mailings in this case are being issued by a firm called Apex Market Exploration, which claims an address in downtown Minneapolis. The BBB has learned the address on file for the company is a full-service executive suite that can be leased on either a short or long-term basis. The webmaster for Apex's website is Dudley Media Group, located in Nevada. The BBB of Southern Nevada maintains the BBB Business Review for that company - www.bbb.org/southern-nevada/business-reviews/online-publications/dudley-media-group-in-las-vegas-nv-90025344 online.

"As with any unsolicited offers that sound too good to be true, BBB advises caution," said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota. "There are a lot of unknowns here and the idea of getting something for nothing generally always comes with strings attached."

Apex Market Exploration's mailing asks people to complete a simple, nine-question survey - which is enclosed with the letter - after they have "received and tested [the] Android Tablet." However, the tablet is not included. The letter also claims people are under no obligation to pay, purchase or subscribe to anything to receive the tablet. It's also alleged there is no cost for shipping and handling.

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Despite these claims, BBB research has determined that a similar offer - one with the same basic survey and also with ties to Dudley Media Group - hit the Tampa Bay area last May. A news report from that region found consumers were reporting they were not receiving the tablets they were promised. In that same news report, a marketing professor reviewed the survey and found it unlikely that a manufacturer would give away a tablet which costs $100 to $300 just for answering nine basic questions.

"There are other curious aspects to this offer," said Badgerow in a news release. "If the company is located here in Minnesota, why was the letter a consumer received postmarked Dallas, Texas?"

The BBB recently secret-shopped Apex Market Exploration and a company representative indicated the free tablet offer is connected to Elite Access Network in Louisiana. The BBB of Louisiana is reporting that company is also tied to Dudley Media Group.

The BBB will continue to try to learn more about Apex Market Exploration. Consumers are encouraged to research companies at bbb.org and reminded that it's always a good idea to ask a lot of questions and be clear on all of the terms of any offer - solicited or unsolicited - they receive.

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