Freecharge: Free Stuff, Yay! But Wait… the Fine Print October 30, 2014 views: 1422 Who would’ve thought even phone and DTH recharges could pay. Freecharge, an iOS and Android app I tried out after watching the ad, is designed for that. But don’t take the name literally even though deals on prepaid and postpaid payments can match or even exceed payment value.There are no free lunches here, even when they come disguised as offers and discounts. Well, sure there’s free stuff but let me explain. I recharged my Vodafone account for the minimum charge value of Rs. 10. That made me eligible for offers under various categories, like food, entertainment, store, care, travel and clothing. Partners include Dominos, Flipkart, eBay, Myntra, Yatra, GoIbibo, RedBus, McDonald’s, Haldiram’s, Saavn, Adda, First Cry, O2 Spa, to list a few. Now, I could avail offers that were free or some that were available to me if I paid Rs. 1, 10 or 100 extra. I selected the free Dominos offer for a Chocolava Cake worth Rs. 50. I received the coupon code in my mailbox immediately after recharging my phone. A Rs. 50 deal on a Rs. 10 recharge. Not bad? That’s, of course, till I read the fine print 4 days later. The Terms and Conditions tell me the Chocolava Cake is complementary with a purchase of over Rs. 350 on the Dominos website. So translated, it means I spend Rs.10 for a recharge so I can spend another Rs.350 for a 50 rupee chocolate cake. No thanks! Though, I congratulate Freecharge on speedy transaction and easy navigation, especially when the anticipation of free cake for 10 bucks needs the added speed for the headiness that accompanies instant gratification. Once you make the payment through your debit or credit card, it is credited to your account that minute. The offers and discounts remain the same for all kinds of recharges – whether it’s Rs. 10 or Rs. 1,000, so low value recharges – like what I made – are especially beneficial if you intend to follow them up with another purchase. Most offers expire within 30 days. Moving on to the other offer category, where you have to pay an additional amount to avail the deal. I could have paid Re. 1 or Rs. 5 over my recharge amount, and become eligible for discounts on my pizzeria, Flipkart, Myntra or spa bills. But those are tricky initially and useless eventually. Sample this – one coupon says Free, Pay Rs. 100 and a Rs. 1,000 discount on an international round-trip, all in one place. What the mind registers is ‘Free’ and Pay 100 to get a Rs. 1,000 discount. Exciting stuff! But really, we’re talking Rs. 1,000 off on an international round-trip. 1000 points to Freecharge for the suggestion, however! That’s the stuff of online deal machines anyway, but to be fair Freecharge can prove to be relatively generous to low-value buyers who are strategically using the app for discounts on specific sites and are not simply being swipe-happy at the ring of the word ‘Free’. List of recharges you can do through Freecharge – Vodafone, Aircel, Airtel, BSNL, Idea, Indicom Walky, Loop mobile, MTNL Delhi, MTNL Mumbai, MTS, Reliance CDMA, Reliance GSM, T24, Tata Docomo, Unicor, Videocon Mobile, Virgin CDMA and Virgin GSM, TataSky, DishTV, VideoconD2H, Airtel Digital TV. More information on the Freecharge website. What do you think of Freecharge and deal sites in general? Tell us in the comments section. You may also like to watch our Consumer Expert’s review of Pennyful.in, a cashback website.