'As Seen on TV' requires research.


A reader's ongoing saga of trying to find someplace, anyplace, to fix a broken "As Seen on TV'' product is a reminder of issues with that category of goods.

In the early days of promoting what were then non-mainstream products, over-the-top pitches made them known nationwide. Today, you can buy some "As Seen on TV'' products in stores, but much how these gizmos are sold has stayed the same as when Ron Popeil (Ronco) was hawking his Veg-O-Matic and Pocket Fisherman.

"As Seen on TV'' products tend to be marketed with a certain kitschy flair that sets them apart from traditional products. Pitches to buy them by phone or online can also be filled with traps. That includes add-ons, upgrades and offers for a second item "free.'' That comes with an asterisk about added shipping and handling charges, which can equal the price of the "free'' item.

That leads to a key rule of purchasing these products: Be sure to sort out how much the product is really going to cost before buying. So really do your homework.

From WaxVac (ear wax cleaner) to ShamWow (a cloth that holds a lot of liquid), you need to check out what people who bought the products have said about them. Forget the people in the commercials who are...

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