Cohoes man says digital antenna is a rip-off

Posted at: 05/15/2013 6:16 PM | Updated at: 05/15/2013 6:30 PM
By: Beth Wurtmann

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COHOES - "This is one of the channels and you can see it doesn't come in good at all," said Gene Franco, as he worked his TV remote control.

Gene only gets two TV channels. That's a far cry from the hundreds of shows he expected to get when he ordered a digital antenna, after seeing a newspaper advertisement for 'Free TV.'

"I figured I'm getting over a hundred shows for free, I'm going to buy it and I'm sure a lot of other people are saying the same thing," he said.

What caught Gene's attention was the headline, promising free TV with no monthly bills. For 49-dollars, it said you'll get a sleek micro antenna device called "Clear Cast" that will pull in free channels without cable, satellite or Internet connections.

And the ad said the federal government is requiring networks to offer the free signals.

"They're advertising the government is making all these companies that put out digital give it for free. So they're making you think it's a government thing and you're going to get all these stations. And you don't,"  Gene added.

According to the ad, the product will work for consumers in certain area codes, who are urged to call right away or risk paying double when the price goes up.

Gene said no matter what he tried, the antenna only got two channels. When he called the Ohio-based company, he said he was eventually offered a full refund for 63-dollars which included taxes and shipping.

But he wanted to warn others not to buy it.

"I'm mad, they're ripping people off and it's not right," he said.

NewsChannel 13 asked the Ohio company that makes clear cast about Gene's complaint. A spokesperson with Arthur Middleton Capital Holdings, Inc. sent this response:

We have thousands of satisfied customers and it’s our goal to make sure that everyone who buys a Clear-Cast is 100% satisfied. Clear-Cast pulls in up to 53 over-the-air broadcast channels for free, but in some rural areas it may pick up less. That’s why we stand behind our product with a full 30 day money back guarantee. If any customer buys a Clear-Cast and is not happy with the free channels they receive, we’ll refund their money, no questions asked. We also QC Clear-Cast very closely so it’s unlikely that it’s a manufacturer problem. Sometimes it’s as simple as moving the location of the Clear-Cast and performing another channel scan to pick up the free channels available over-the-air in any particular area. We also have trained Customer Service and Technical Support agents free of charge to troubleshoot problems for all our customers.        

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