How to chase up a prize
Winning a prize in a competition or prize draw should be an exciting, magical experience. But what about when weeks go by, and there’s no contact from the promoter and still no sign of your fantastic prize? This post offers a few suggestions on contacting the promoter and ensuring you receive your prize!
You’ll also find lots of advice on contacting promoters and the ASA in my 2021 post How to complain about a competition.
In the UK a promoter should attempt to deliver your prize within 30 days of your winning notification (see the CAP Code 8.15.1). If the expected delivery date will be beyond 30 days, that should be made clear in the promotion T&Cs (see the CAP Code 8.28.3). But generally, if you win a prize that’s not time-critical, you should expect to get it within a month.
No prize after 30 days?
If it’s been more than a month, contact the promoter and ask politely when you might expect to receive the prize. Do this in reply to a winning message or email, so the promoter has a reference to what you’re chasing.
“Hello! It’s been over a month since I won a hairdryer in your fantastic competition, and I was wondering when I should expect to receive my prize please?”
Add urgency by mentioning a forthcoming event:
“I was really hoping to get my prize voucher in time for my Mum’s birthday next month, could you let me know when I should receive it please?”
No response to private messages?
Try tweeting. Public disappointment needs to be nipped in the bud, and it’s likely you’ll get a quick response if the social media team are on the ball:
“@Argos I’m really looking forward to receiving my Nutribullet, could you tell me when I should expect it please? It’s been over a month since I won!”
If it was a Facebook competition, find the original post and comment on your winning notification, tagging the page:
“I’ve not received my prize yet @Argos, can you tell me when I’ll get it please? Really looking forward to it!”
No response to tweets and Facebook comments?
Check the rules/T&Cs of the promotion if you can find them – there’s sometimes a contact email address there. Search for the company’s phone number online. You may be passed from one department to another, but persevere until you get contact details for – or speak to – the relevant person (usually in the marketing department). Sometimes the problem might be that the original person dealing with the prize has left the company, or there’s been a misunderstanding between a promoter/PR and the company posting out the prize!
Still no luck?
Try threatening the company – politely – with an ASA complaint. Get contact details for the Head of Marketing, the Customer Complaints department – or even the Managing Director, if it’s a smaller company. Contact them via email or by a recorded delivery letter.
“I’ve been chasing up this prize for 3 months now with no success – I’m afraid if I don’t receive it within the next 7 days, I’ll be filing a report with the Advertising Standards Authority. I’m terribly disappointed and this has taken the shine off a lovely prize.”
If this still doesn’t work, then you should submit a complaint to the ASA.
What about when you know a prize has been sent, but it doesn’t arrive? If it’s any comfort, I’ve been comping for 19 years, averaging 100+ prizes a year, and there’s only ever been two prizes I didn’t receive – a mystery prize from Costa Coffee and a pair of FA Cup tickets. Several other prizes went missing, but were resupplied by kind promoters. Get in touch by replying to the original winning email, message or tweet:
“I’m so sorry to bother you, but I’ve still not received my prize in the post. Do you have a tracking number for it so I can investigate?”
High value prizes should be sent via tracked post, so the promoter can investigate and claim for the loss. For smaller prizes though, you have to hope the promoter is nice enough to send another one! And what if the original prize then shows up, after you’ve received a replacement? Well, I usually let the promoter know – and then give the spare prize away on my blog or to a charity raffle.
Prize arrived after the event?
Time-critical prizes are things like gig tickets, festival tickets, event tickets and sports tickets and unfortunately, these are regularly sent out a day or two before the event. If you receive a prize too late to use it, get in touch and tell them how disappointed you are – it’s worth a try!
“I was delighted to win a pair of tickets to see Alvin and the Chipmunks but unfortunately, they arrived on the day of the premiere and it was too late for me to arrange the trip to London. I’m so disappointed to let the family down – are there any more opportunities for me to see the film?”
Some sympathetic promoters will sort you out with a prize to say sorry. I once missed out on Reading Festival tickets (they arrived on the Saturday of the festival!) but the promoter sorted me out free tickets for the following year instead.
- Use a prize spreadsheet to track wins – you can see at a glance what prizes you haven’t received, and what date you won them.
- It can be hard to remember because you’re excited, but always take down a name and number if you get a WTC (winning telephone call).
- If you’re waiting for a prize from a blog giveaway, remember that most bloggers are busy parents, not paid to host giveaways and sometimes at the mercy of a badly organised PR company. Ask the blogger if you can help out by going directly to the PR to chase your prize.
- If it’s tickets or a time-critical prize, get it sent to your workplace to ensure someone is there to sign for it.
Try not to get stressed or angry when chasing up a prize. We’re all rather too quick to jump onto social media to complain, but in many cases it’s just a misunderstanding or stock problem that’s holding up your delivery. Be patient, and do what you can to sort the problem efficiently and politely behind closed doors. And when you do get your prize – shout about it!