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!

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.

How to chase a prize

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.

For example: 
“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.

Missing prize?

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.

Other tips

  • 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!

24 Responses

  1. Andy says:

    Hi Di, My wife won a trip to Australia back in January on the radio (its now May 23rd). We have chased the company up several times and they keep saying they will be in touch to book it. We are a little concerned that on the competition T+C’s t states the holiday needs to be booked by 15th June which doesn’t leave us much time to arrange it. We are also going away to visit Family and I am concerned that we won’t be able to book it in time. Would we have any rights if they insisted we needed to book by the 15th June?

  2. Les Eccles says:

    I won a golf day at the Belfry in a local social club raffle last October and despite numerous attempts to arrange something I still have no clear information regarding when I’m going to get the day out Is there any legal action I can take to ensure I receive my prize? The club are saying they’ve forwarded the details to the brewery but won’t give me any names or contact numbers

    • Di says:

      Do you know who the brewery is? I would phone up their marketing department. Obviously you paid money to the Club to enter this raffle so it’s important that the prize is honoured!

  3. Chris says:

    Hey Di, my situation is kind of complicated. I entered a “like and share” competition on Instagram. The prize is a huge giveaway of skateboarding products from a skate store. The aim of their completion was to raise money for a little girl with cancer, so the t&c’s were to like, share, follow etc. But also to dontate money to a go fund me page, which I did. When it came to the day where they said they would announce the winner, they never announced it. And still haven’t!! Clicking on the hashtags of the post proves that I am literally the only person the entered so I know that I have won. I sent them a message saying that I felt bad because I couldn’t see that anyone else had entered and I only donated 10 pounds. So selflessly I said if I am the winner, I am more than happy for them to sell the goods and donate all the money earned to the go fund me page. This was six days ago and I’ve had no reply, I also messaged on Facebook and they have not even bothered to read my message, even though they are very active on all social media. Their Facebook says “typically replies within minutes” now I am getting very cheesed off that they haven’t even had the decency to reply to me and it’s getting to the point where now I just want everything they’ve advertised because they are clearly ignoring me. What should my next step be? Thanks

    • Di says:

      Hi Chris – sorry for the late reply! Did you hear back from them about this? It’s a rather unusual situation. Can you contact them and suggest they give you part of the prize, and then re-run the competition with better promotion (and give you a few free entries in the draw?) – or you’re considering reporting them to the ASA?

  4. Faeza says:

    I won a prize a year ago and been having patience to receive my prize. The promoters keeps giving me the same story prize was stolen b4 it was sent out and they waiting for more stock so they could deliver it. What do I do now in such instances

  5. Nia Manning says:

    Hi
    I win a competition in work for a dinner service from a supplier called Churchill. Thus was in September.im still waiting for it to arrive! Have chased with the person who put the competition on and she said she would sort it but now she has left the company. I called head office to ask what’s going on and the guy quite fluently said ‘I’ll sort it’ and wanted me off the phone. I had to say ‘don’t you want to take my address down’.
    Just wondering how long I should wait now after this phone call?

    • Di says:

      I would continue to call the guy in Head office – with enough badgering they’ll have to get it sorted, although it’s a huge pain and it does take the shine off a lovely win.

  6. John says:

    Hey I won a competition for a knife over a month ago, I was talking to one other winner from a month ago and he says he hast got his prize (was a mixer) and now it’s been a month since I got my prize (knife) should I just keep waiting???

    • No – just follow the instructions above under the “No prize after 30 days?” heading. Good luck!

      • John says:

        I did that and in reply he’s just said not to worry it ships straight from the manufacturer ( Zwilling Knife Company) so I emailed them and the lady that replied said that they didn’t know the guy, and weren’t aware of the competition what should I do now??

  7. polly powers says:

    Hi Di, how would you go about a prize that hasn’t arrived from a text competition.

    • I’d probably check comping forums and groups to see if anyone else won the same – quite often the prize will come with a letter that has contact details on it, and you could ask them to let you know that info so you could chase the prize! Also google for the details (the code you texted, and the keyword) as you may be able to find T&Cs and the promoters’ postal address, then find their website and a contact email!

      • polly powers says:

        I’ve got the t & c’s but no contact email just promoter name and address, I’m going to try calling them today who do I need to ask for? Marketing @ promotion??

  8. Heidi Craske says:

    I won a prize earlier in the week for tickets to Gardeners World Live. Today was the last day I could receive them as its a Saturday and it finishes tomorrow but they’ve not come. I contacted the promoter but they said they sent them and there’s nothing else they can do. Is there anything I can do, or do I just have to accept I lost out on this one?

    • That’s a tricky one as it sounds like Royal Mail have let you down in this case. I would contact the promoter again and explain your disappointment, and ask if they can keep your details on file for the next Gardeners World Live or is there another event they get promotional tickets for that you could use?

  9. Tracey Peach says:

    I’m sad to say I’m on this trail. I find it very rude that a experienced blogger does not respond to email’s or by social media despite being active on social media & on her blog. I’ve managed to find the company who was supplying the prize in the T&C’s of the comp so have just emailed them. I’m really hoping I don’t have to make a ASA complaint because black marks on people’s blogs can impact on them, but with no contact I am left with little choice if this company does not reply.

  10. sallycollingwood says:

    I won 2nd prize from Royal Central. a childs book, it did not come and I sent several messages, was promised it would come, was also told they lost my email address. Finally they said the 1sy prize had not been claimed so I could have that insted, but guess what, that didn’t come either. I really wondered if they even had a prize to send out, I certainly didn’t received either of them and was very diapoointed. As they were of low value I let it go.

  11. carole hiscock says:

    Have you had any prizes or dealings with a Bag/Jewellery company based in Arizona, but they promote weekly with comps in the UK via various social media sites, especially Facebook. They don’t seem to respond to messages/emails as suggested above. I will probably just not bother but it niggles to see them keep pushing comps and UK people trying to win! True, your tips are helpful, they’re certainly catch my eye and I now have the bug :)x

    • I’m getting more and more suspicious with the companies that run regular Facebook comps, because they get very little out of it (not like getting email addresses via an entry form) and often there’s no winner announced or just something suspicious about the whole thing!

  12. rebecca beesley says:

    good advice Di. I think people can sometimes be all to quick to get angry and upset instead of trying politeness first. My experience is that in most cases the delay is usually a PR agency delay or mis-communication or simply falling off someone’s to-do list so a polite chasing up is usually the best thing to do. x

  13. Adeline M says:

    Great tips Di! I haven’t received a prize I won back in October, but I understand that it was a blog and she has very kindly been trying to sort it!

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