Tuesday 19 February 2013

Getting a prize isn't always plain sailing!

I know I'm always nagging you to play fair with promoters and with fellow compers and not to cheat, but occasionally it looks as if a promoter isn't playing fair with anybody!

A case in point - for legal reasons I'm fuddling the details a bit - was a competition that was featured in Grape Vine last year. It was quite obscure and needed a fairly expensive purchase, and had lots of prizes, so I was surprised not to hear of any winners. But then a reader contacted me to say the closing date had been changed to a month later than originally advertised.

A promoter isn't supposed to change a closing date without good reason, but these things do happen sometimes, and if it was still running, that would explain  why I'd not heard of any winners, wouldn't it? Well, no, because even after the later closing date there were still no signs of any winners being announced.

Several people contacted them in various ways, and were constantly fobbed off with replies like "We'll be announcing them next week"  until eventually some of them contacted the Institute of Promotional Marketing who urged the company to get on with making the announcement.

A little while after that a winners list was produced - and yes, there were several Grape Vine readers  on there. Winners were emailed and asked to send in scans of their proof of purchase by email. One reader had an email thanking her for her scan - but then a few days later got a letter in the post saying she had not replied to their original email so would have to forfeit the prize. The letter was signed by the person who had acknowledged her reply.

Once that hiccup was sorted out, very ungraciously, a delivery date was set and winners were notified. But the prizes failed to turn up and the company had to be chased up yet again. When the prize eventually DID arrive, the reader mentioned above wrote to thank them for the prize but said because of the way she had been treated she would not be ordering from the company again.

She was surprised to get an aggressive phone call from the mother of the owner of the company, saying "These prizes weren't cheap, the promotion has cost us a lot of money and you are getting it for free!"

Well.... not exactly free as the winner had bought an expensive qualifier - but what kind of a promoter offers a generous prize structure but then doesn't budget for giving away the prizes? One, it has to be suspected, that wanted to lure people into buying a product to enter but hadn't actually intended to give anything away.

Have you ever had a similar experience? If it ever happens to you, check out my post "When the pleasure of winning turns into a pain" which tells you how to contact the IPM and gives you some tips on helping things to go smoothly.

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