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.]