How to express something given to a customer for “free in a non-immoral, non-sexual, non-promoting context”?

I’m not sure what English word(s) to use for the German noun “Naturalrabatt” in the case of giving a retail customer a product for free in a non-immoral, non-sexual, non-promoting context.

  • rebate/bonus of kind
  • give-away
  • freebie
  • free goods
  • other?

I was told that “rebate/bonus of kind” might easily be misunderstood as an immoral/indecent proposal by native speakers (is this correct?).

The “give-away” and “freebie” seem to be used in promotion/advertising actions mainly, but the free product is not given for any promotion/advertising reasons in this case.

The “free goods” seems to be unreasonable, because it is mainly used in a duty-free context (afaik), but the free product got nothing to do with any duty/toll in this case.

Well, I’m lost^^

Any ideas?


Matt Эллен, Kitḫ, Kris, here are some more specific reasons/contexts.

Example #1: something between retailer and customer went wrong. Say, the retailer promised to deliver within 2 days, but failed to do so. The retailer wants to compensate/apologize by handing out a free product (but not by money).

Example #2: a customer noticed a bug in the retailer’s web shop and reported it. This unspotted bug made the retailer sporadically lose conversions. The retailer wants to thank/reward by handing out a free product (but not by money).

Example #3: the retailer doesn’t want to work with tier prices. Instead, if a customer buys 10 pieces of a product, he gets a coupon code which can be used to either get a 11th piece of the same product for free, or to get one different product, for free.

In German, all of those three examples qualify as “Naturalrabatt”.

Is there a generic english term covering those three examples, too?


I’m not sure how many people would accept it as an “English” word, but gratis – without reward or consideration. comes to mind.

The more familiar, complimentary is often used the same way. Note that this is an adjective. Actual items are normally named (e.g. – a hotel offers complimentary breakfast), or collectively referred to as complimentary gifts. From the “trader’s” side, such things may also be called corporate/promotional/business gifts/products; the recipients are more likely to call them freebies (or goody bags, which can be much more than candies for kids).

Gratis is more likely to be found in legal contexts (where you also find pro bono, used to describe work lawyers do without direct payment).

Complimentary is mostly used in commercial contexts where a trader provides something free, usually complementing (going together with) something else you’re paying for. Note the different spelling for complimentary (something nice said or given), which many people get mixed up (that’s 420 written instances of “complementary breakfast” written in error).

Source : Link , Question Author : Jürgen Thelen , Answer Author : FumbleFingers

Leave a Comment