Tips for buying infomercial products

/ Source: The Associated Press

Whether it's to tighten your tummy, remove dead skin from your feet, give your hair a boost or find use for a towel that supposedly holds 12 times its weight in liquid, you may feel tempted by energetic pitchmen peddling such products via late-night infomercials.

But buyer beware, says Consumer Reports magazine, which recently tested a roundup of 15 infomercial products and found some disappointments. The $19.95 Slap Chop diced foods unevenly, while the PedEgg, a pedicure device that costs $9.99, did a good job removing calluses but left a mess.

Still, there are some good offers. The Magic Jack, a voice over Internet Protocol device that costs $39.95, has a clear connection and is a great deal, the magazine said.

Tired of buying as-seen-on-TV products that aren't worth the price?

Here are five Consumer Reports' tips for avoiding infomercial buyer's remorse:

Pause 10 minutes before making a purchase
The excited pace of the commercials boosts dopamine levels, so once they return to normal you'll be feeling less impulsive — and less likely to buy something you don't need.

Consider other options
The item may seem like the perfect solution to a common problem, maybe even genius. But often they are simple ideas that can easily be duplicated, or aren't even necessary. Soaking a pan in hot water overnight with dish soap may be just as effective as using the Grease Bullet cleaning tablets.

Listen for true "value" clues
When a pitchman cites a $40 value, then says he'll give you two for one, that means the value is probably much less.

Calculate the real price
Make sure you factor in the shipping and handling charges. Sometimes those charges are nearly as much as the item itself.

Say no to add-ons
Those "operators standing by" will likely pitch additional products, accessories and refills — before you know whether the product even works.