Q&As

We have run a prize promotion. What happens if we cannot contact the winner(s)?

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Produced in partnership with Helen Hart of Institute of Promotional Marketing
Published on LexisPSL on 08/04/2019

The following TMT Q&A produced in partnership with Helen Hart of Institute of Promotional Marketing provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • We have run a prize promotion. What happens if we cannot contact the winner(s)?

We have run a prize promotion. What happens if we cannot contact the winner(s)?

This is a surprisingly common problem for promoters. When people fill out online competition forms, they do not necessarily provide accurate contact details or may later decide they no longer want the prize and so fail to respond. The Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) main concern in these circumstances is that promoters have made all reasonable efforts to contact the winner(s) and do not withhold or reallocate prizes unfairly.

The UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (CAP Code) includes some general principles which apply to sales promotions, as well as more detailed provisions about winners and ensuring prizes are distributed. The Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) has also provided guidance.

Rules 8.1 and 8.2 of the CAP Code state that promoters are responsible for all stages of their promotions and that they must conduct their promotions equitably, promptly and efficiently and be seen to deal fairly and honourably with participants and potential participants. Promoters must avoid causing unnecessary disappointment.

The terms and conditions of a prize promotion must include information on how and when winners will be notified of results (rule 8.28.4).

A complaint about a tweet promoting a competition was upheld by the ASA because there were no full terms and conditions, and it was not made clear to consumers how

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