Infomercial products are a $100-billion a year business. If you've bought an "As-Seen-On-TV" wonder only to be mega-disappointed, check out this next report.
Consumer Reports looks behind the marketing of these products-plus puts several to the test.
Consumer Reports says infomercials are designed to pump up the dopamine levels in your brain, according to marketing experts. And that can stimulate your impulse to buy.
Kim Kleeman of Consumer Reports says, "That's why infomercials and testimonials flying at you, and they say 'order in three minutes' because your dopamine levels drop in about five to six minutes.
Consumer Reports routinely tests infomercial products like the Ab Circle Pro.
"The fastest, easiest way to have the flat washboard abs," according to the infomercial.
Panelists gave the $200 device a whirl.
Alex Willen of Consumer Reports says, "Following the Ab Circle Pro's strict diet plan will definitely help you lose weight. But the three-minute exercise routine, not so much."
Turns out the workout is about the same as going on a brisk three-minute walk.
Consumer Reports also tested the Slap Chop.
Testers chopped nuts, onions, carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms, and even chocolate.
But it turns out the Slap Chop doesn't chop evenly. And the harder vegetables took 20 slaps or more!
Up next, the Snuggie.
Pat Slaven of Consumer Reports says, "We tested the Snuggie by washing it 10 times looking for shrinkage, pilling, and also lint. Pills are these fuzzy little balls, and between them is bare fabric."
And in 10 washes, lots of lint came off two Snuggies.
Plus its one-size-fits-all claim hardly stands up.
So the next time you see an infomercial product you really want to buy, resist the urge for at least 10 minutes! That'll give your dopamine levels a chance to return to normal.
Consumer Reports did find a couple of infomercial products that did pretty well in tests. For one, the Magic Jack that lets you make and receive calls via the Internet.
It plugs into your computer via a USB cable. Not only does it work well, the Magic Jack costs a fraction of what similar services like Skype and Vonage VOIP charge.
Another product that did well in tests-the $10 Ped Egg. It's designed to remove calluses and dead skin from your feet, and overall it worked better than a pumice stone.