Sunday 8 December 2013

What to do when a prize doesn't arrive - and how to prove you won.

About eighteen months ago, I blogged about what to do when  a prize doesn't arrive. It's very disappointing when you are eagerly awaiting something and it fails to turn up.

Most of what I wrote before still applies, so I'm not going to write it all out again - just follow the link and read my advice.

However the way of contacting the Institute of Promotional Marketing has changed - they now have a simple form to fill in on their site. You can use this form if you find a badly run competition, too, even if you aren't a winner. And you no longer need to worry about whether to also contact the Advertising Standards Authority - the IPM will do so on your behalf.

Of course, it always helps if you can prove that you are a winner! That means making sure you keep all correspondence about your win. And the most important thing is to make sure you always keep proof that you have won. (Not just in the fear that something may go wrong - you might want to thank the promoter, share the news with your friends or brighten up a losing streak by looking back over past wins)
  • If you get a letter KEEP IT. If there is no return address on the letter, check to see if there is one on the envelope - often printed on the back flap.
  • If you get an email, SAVE IT somewhere it won't be deleted. I move all my winning emails into a special folder I keep just for that purpose, and I never delete them until I have received my prize, made sure all is well with it and thanked the promoter.
  • If you get a text message STORE IT somewhere it can't be deleted, either on your phone or by emailing it to yourself.
  • If you get a phone call TAKE THE CALLER'S NAME AND NUMBER, Simply dialling 1471 after the call doesn't always help  - the call may be from a withheld number or may be the switchboard of a large organisation where they won't know who called you.
  • If you get an online notification, for instance a message on Facebook or Twitter, or a pop-up on a website to say you have won an instant prize, TAKE A SCREEN GRAB. You'll need to find out how to do this on the device you are using. On a PC hit the PrtScr key, which saves it into your computer's memory, then paste it into a document where you can save it. I generally save it into a Word document, setting the page to Landscape and dragging the image out to fill the page. I choose Word because it's so easy to email to people but you could use an image editing programme - anywhere you can store it safely. On an iPad, hold the sleep/wake button down while briefly pressing the Home button. This takes a photo which it will save into your photo stream - I generally then email it to myself so I can store it with my winning emails.
There will inevitably be times when you can't get hold of any contact details at all. In that case try to find the original details of the competition where there may well be some contact details. Don't forget that if you were a Grape Vine subscriber at September 1st, I still have details (where they are still valid) of every competition I covered in the magazine, and save them until 12 months after the closing date.

A couple of tips that might help you get your prize:
  • Don't be aggressive. Being polite pays, even if the person you are in discussions with doesn't do the same! Most of the time there will have been a genuine glitch in the system or loss in the post, so don't immediately assume you were never going to get the prize.
  • Don't be impatient. It can take 4-6 weeks from notification to a prize arriving. The prizes are not usually sitting waiting to be sent out; there are lots of links in the chain and people have to notify others, who have to pass a message on to others, and so on. This is especially the case with most competitions on blogs. The blogger herself (and it seems to be far more often a "her" than a "him") will never see the prize - she has to pass your details on to a PT, who is dealing with a promotions agency, who is dealing with the business providing the prize. It can take AGES, and unfortunately if anyone in the chain lets the blogger down,  they don't have the leverage that a big business would have in order to persuade the promoter to give you your prize.


  1. I have contacted them after failure to receive any contact from baumatic
    I won in September, but the company went into administration the day I won.
    I have had one contact in October on facebook - to say I would get my prize after the sale of the company went through - but have heard nothing since. :( Looks like I may not get this one, but thank you - I have tried :)

    1. I hope you manage to get it. Unfortunately compers are at the bottom of the pile when it comes to creditors, but if anybody can get you your prize it will be the IPM


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