One of our readers received in the mail an offer for a sewing machine. All she had to do was send $12.87 to the company, Sweepstakes U.S.A. in Garnerville, N.Y.

The card said the sewing machine had just arrived in the company's upstate New York and central Connecticut distribution warehouse and was ready for immediate and insured delivery.Our reader wondered if this offer was legitimate.

As best we can determine, the offer is legitimate. But you must keep in mind the cliche we so often quote: You get what you pay for.

In this case you ain't paying for a Singer and, lady, you ain't gettin' a Singer. The sewing machine in question is hand-held, battery-operated and plastic.

According to the Better Business Bureau in Paramus, N.J., it has received complaints about delivery delays or delays for refunds after customers have returned the merchandise and asked for their money back. The company has rectified those complaints.