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BBB warns of deceptive digital TV converter box ad

An Ohio company engaged in a national advertising campaign that promises free channels, services and TV converter boxes is taking advantage of the public's lack of knowledge about the upcoming switch to digital television signals, the Better Business Bureau said Monday.

A Better Business Bureau investigation found that the company, Universal TechTronics, which also operates under the name Heat Surge LLC, is selling 5-year warranties for $59 that must be purchased with their "free" digital converter box. When shipping and handling fees are added, the total cost of the converter boxes approaches $100, the bureau said.

The bureau said it believes these are the same converter boxes you can buy in electronic stores using a $40 coupon the federal government is providing to help consumers pay for the boxes. With the coupons, the total cost to consumers should be about $20 per box.