Pyramid scheme.  A new car at no cost.  Two publ. Descriptions. "Referral plan." $100 for each buyer,  $50 for each of their recruits.  US, 1956.

Published: Arlington Heights Herald (Arlington, Heights, Illinois), Aug. 30, 1956, p. 27., WEST COAT NEW CAR GYP GIMMICK REACHES CHICAGO
[Would you like a new car at no cost to you?" is the latest sales pitch in the automobile field. ¶ Nothing could be further form the truth says Carl Dalke, manager of the automobile division of the Chicago Better Business Bureau. ¶ Recipients of this "no cost" automobile must either pay cash or sign the usual time contract with promissory notes for the company's price of the car. ¶ This new selling gimmick, which was started on the west coast, has now reached Chicago. It is described as a referral plan, in which the purchaser, on the promise of $100 and $50 commissions, provides names of other prospective buyers. ¶ Actually this scheme , while masquerading as a sure fire deal to get a brand new car at no cost, is little more than if not the same as - the old chain letter scheme. ¶ Here's the pitch: "How would you like to have a new 'Whirlwind' Automobile at no cost to you by working on an advertising program. I can't explain the deal to you, but if you are interested I'll turn in your name for an interview. I have my car and as long as I do a little work on the program, my car costs me nothing You can do the same thing." ¶ Naturally anyone would like a new car at 'no cost,' but don't get roped in on this deal, says Dalke. In theory, the deal sounds possible. All you have to do is turn in a name of a potential buyer. If he buys you get $100 commission and he starts a new chain by turning in other names. If they buy you are supposed to get an additional $50 commission from their purchase. ¶ It sounds most alluring. The only trouble is that, as with all chain promotions, it is mathematically impossible to complete the chain. ¶ Even if every adult in Chicago bought a 'Whirlwind,' all participants could not earn these commissions because there would be no one left to buy. Most participants will be stuck with the full price. ¶ When submitted to the United States post office department, office of the solicitor, the Chicago Better Business Bureau was advised: The plan is regarded as an endless chain scheme, the operation of which conflicts with the postal lottery and fraud laws. All matter pertaining to the plan would be nonmailable. If you are approached on this deal, don't forget that you have to sign a contract and oblige yourself for all the regular payments if you don't pay cash, and that your chances of earning a new car under this referral plan may be 1 in 50. Most purchasers will be stuck with the full price

Entered by DWV, Aug. 16, 2014.


The Paper Chain Letter Archive - contents        Chain Letter Evolution

Published: The Montana Standard (Butte, Montana)
, Sept.. 16, 1956., p. 6.  FOREWARNED.  
[The Better Business Bureau warns of a new gyp applying the chain-letter technique to supposedly free new cars. ¶ Promoters seeking to foist this one on car dealers and the public make this offer: You contract for a new car at say, $2,400. You supply names of six good prospects. You get a credit of $100 for every one who also contracts. Each of them supplies six names. You get a $50 credit for each of them who buys. Which means you're dependent on 42 people. And so is each of them - since they get the same "free car" deal. ¶ And so it goes in geometric progression - the kind which was supposed to make chainletters lucrative years back, but never did. ¶ What happens is that the chains break early and often, a lot of people contract for cars they can't afford, the suede-shoe boys move on to new territory.]