Business development · 22 February 2018

Prize draw politics: Can you disqualify a winner for a lack of excitement?

A prize draw must be conducted in line with Advertising Standards Authority rules

A prize draw can be an effective marketing tool for a small business. But can you withhold a prize from the winner because they didn’t express the enthusiasm you expected? Grid Law founder David Walker answers one reader’s dilemma.

Question

I attended a bridal show where many of the businesses were holding prize draws. I went up to one booth that was holding a competition for a free wedding photography package. I just had to write my name email and phone number on a slip of paper and put it in the box. I also made an appointment to meet with the photographer because I liked her work.

I made the appointment with the photographer before I ever knew anything about winning the prize. The next day she called me and told me I won the free wedding photography.

Well, about a week later we met for the appointment I had previously scheduled. She actually forgot about our meeting and showed up late, so I was not overly excited.

The next day after the meeting, she texted me to say she was giving the wedding package to someone else because I was not excited enough. This really frustrated me.

There were no terms and conditions you had to sign to put your name in, or any other requirements. Can she just decide to deny the fact that I was the winner?

Answer

Thank you for your question.

This is a prize draw so it must be conducted in accordance with the Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA’s) CAP Code.

The Cap Code clearly states that the promoter is only allowed to withhold a prize if the participant has not met the qualifying criteria clearly set out in the rules of the promotion.

As there was no rule sheet, there were no specific criteria under which the prize could be withheld. So, the photographers should not have withheld the prize from you for any reason. Doing so is a breach of the CAP Code.

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Prize draw

 

How to run a successful (and legal) promotional prize draw

David Walker explains how a promotional prize draw can be an effective part of a small company’s marketing strategy.

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To resolve this issue, you first need to speak with or write to the photographer and explain the situation. You can explain that she was late for the appointment which you found frustrating, which is why you appeared not to be excited.

Hopefully this will lead to your prize being reinstated.

If it doesn’t, you can report the photographer to the ASA. They will investigate the matter and may suggest a way of resolving this matter.

If this still doesn’t lead to a resolution you are happy with, you have the option to commence legal action for the cost of the wedding photography. If the value of the package is under the small claims limit of £10,000 the procedure is very simple.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

David Walker is the founder of Grid Law, a firm which first targeted the motorsport industry – advising on sponsorship deals, new contracts and building of personal brands. He has now expanded his remit to include entrepreneurs, aiding with contract law, dispute resolution and protecting and defending intellectual property rights.

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