National Competition & Survey Entrants Register – is it a scam?
Have you received a letter from the National Competition & Survey Entrants Register?
These letters are posted out occasionally to people who’ve entered a prize draw or survey, and in doing so, have given the promoter permission to pass their entry details on to an affiliated or ‘third party’ company, in this case the NC&SER. Unfortunately this isn’t unusual in the world of online competitions – many websites make revenue from selling on details of their prize draw and survey entrants, with the option to opt out usually hidden in the small print.
The company behind the National Competition & Survey Entrants Register is Wye Valley Promotions – in the past they’ve sent similar controverisial mailings out under the names Unclaimed Prize Register and The Prize Directory.
The personalised letter may state that you completed a telephone survey, or that you entered ‘a previous promotion’ (see examples below received by two of my blog readers). Rather excitingly, it says you have a chance to win between £25 and £20,000 cash – but only if your unique entry number on the letter matches one of the assigned winning numbers.
To find out which numbers are assigned to the prizes, you’re invited to call a premium rate number at a cost of £1.50 a minute for a maximum of 6 minutes – costing up to £9. Alternatively, you can text to find out, and receive six return messages at £1.50 each (£9 total). If you’re a winner, you’ll get a claim code and will need to post off the form on the reverse of the letter in order to claim your prize.
I dread to think how many people, excited by the prospect of winning a cash prize, actually make this expensive phone call to find out they’ve won absolutely zilch!
So, is it a scam?
Although the letter certainly is written in a way that could mislead vulnerable people into thinking they’ve already won a prize, it’s not really a scam. The 6021 prizes are available to be won, and no doubt a handful will be won – but we have no idea how many thousands of letters were sent out, and therefore what the chance of winning is. And of course, most of the winners will be the smaller £25 prize too (and that will actually be £15.35 after you subtract the £9 you spent on the phone call and 65p on a stamp!)
How to find out if you’ve won without paying £9 for a call
Like many prize promotions where you’re invited to pay for an expensive call, or buy an expensive raffle entry ticket (eg. the current trend for ‘win a house’ promotions), there’s a ‘free’ postal route offered, although it’s time consuming, and will still cost you three stamps.
To apply by post for a claim code, rather than making a phone call or sending a text, send your unique ID number from the letter to: NC&SER, PO Box 224, Herefordshire HR9 9FN, including a stamped self-addressed envelope. BUT be prepared to wait 28 days to receive a claim code, which you’ll then need to return to NC&SER by post. What a faff!
Are winners names publicised?
You can see lists of previous winners on their website – plus you can actually send off for a full winners list by sending a large, stamped (£1), self-addressed envelope to Department WR, PO Box 224, Herefordshire HR9 9FN.
Opting out from further correspondence
The small print on the letter gives you a postal method (surprise surprise!) to opt out from further communications – but after a bit of research I discovered you can do this for free online at www.wyevalleypromotions.co.uk/mps – and my advice would be to do this right away, before you get any more mail from them. If you’re frustrated about receiving the letter and would like to know how on earth they got your details in the first place, you can also write off to the same PO Box address (enclosing – you guessed it! – a stamped, self addressed envelope).
Personally, if I received a letter like this I would opt out of further communications immediately and then chuck it into the recycling, rather than wasting time posting my details off!
Finally, don’t forget that you can enter thousands of fantastic free competitions and prize draws in the UK without spending any money on stamps or phone calls, or giving your details to third parties. Check my list of trustworthy competition websites and my beginners guide to comping to find out more.