Valley man learns the hard way to read the fine print

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PHOENIX - A Valley man pulled in to get gas and ended up signing on to get his windshield fixed with the promise of free groceries in return.

But was it an offer too good to be true?

"$300 free gas or groceries," the offer said.

That's what started it all and John Bowers said he heard an offer he just couldn't refuse.

He was getting gas at the station near his house when he was approached about getting a chip in his windshield fixed.

Bowers said he was told that if he signed on with shear image he would receive free gas or groceries

Bowers and his wife have two young daughters and are living paycheck to paycheck, of course they couldn't wait to get those free groceries and instead they got grocery vouchers.

The program requires that every month, Bowers has to buy $100 worth of groceries to get a $25 dollar gift card.

3 On Your Side wanted to know if Powers was sold a bad bill of goods so we sent our producer to one of the gas stations in Phoenix where Shear Auto Glass works.

Within minutes of an employee seeing a chip in her windshield, here's what she was told:

"If you want to get that replaced I can hook you up with $300 in groceries, I actually have the gas card right here, I'll even give you a free oil change."

After our undercover producer pressed the sales guy for more details, he did reveal the catch.

"Its $300 in free gas you choose any gas station, save your receipts, send them in each month they send you cash back," the employee said.

Consumer advocate Phyllis Rowe said they hear a lot of complaints about the auto glass industry.

"Whenever they are offered anything for free, they should be a little suspicious," Rowe said.

For Bowers, that advice comes too little too late.

He'll have to use the vouchers to get his free groceries, $25 at a time.

The message here is to ask questions and read the fine print. If you do that, a lot of these programs can definitely work to your advantage. Again we didn't find that Shear Auto Glass did anything wrong, but the general manager told me on the phone they will work harder to explain to customers exactly how these incentive programs work.