Do promoters have to publish winners’ names?
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find out who won competitions and prize draws, with lots of promoters failing to make official announcements, leaving us wondering if there really was a prize to be won!
With so many scams about, it’s no wonder people get suspicious when a company refuses to say who won their prize promotion – but if they don’t tell you, they could get into trouble with the Advertising Standards Authority.
In the UK, all prize promotions must follow the CAP Code, which states:
Promoters must either publish or make available on request the name and county of major prizewinners and, if applicable, their winning entries except in the limited circumstances where promoters are subject to a legal requirement never to publish such information. Promoters must obtain consent to such publicity from all competition entrants at the time of entry. Prizewinners must not be compromised by the publication of excessive personal information.
What does this actually mean?
- ‘…publish or make available on request’
Promoters don’t have to publish winners’ names, but if you ask them who won, they do have to tell you – that could be a public response (eg. a tweet), or privately (eg. a direct message). Some promoters might even ask you to post them a stamped self-addressed envelope for the winners list!
- ‘…major prizewinners‘
Major refers to the top prizes in a promotion, rather than the value of the prizes.
- ‘…winning entries’
For example, a winning tweet, photograph, video or tiebreaker answer.
- ‘…limited circumstances where promoters are subject to a legal requirement never to publish such information’
The only current exception is NS&I (Premium Bonds), who cannot name winners.
- ‘Promoters must obtain consent to such publicity from all competition entrants at the time of entry’
The promoter’s terms & conditions must state that the winner’s name and county will be made available on request.
- ‘Prizewinners must not be compromised by the publication of excessive personal information. ‘
Although the winner’s name and country must be made available on request, the promoter must not share excessive information – for example, email address or phone number.
Promoters are expected to provide winners’ names for transparency and to provide public accountability – essentially, to prove their promotion was genuine, with a real winner!
Some promoters may claim they can’t share winners’ names because of their responsibility to the Data Protection Act, but this isn’t the case (see the ASA ruling against Superdrug). To make sure they are compliant with both the CAP Code and the Data Protection Act 1988, promoters should ensure their T&Cs state clearly that winners’ full names and counties will be made available upon request. Then, simply by entering the promotion, the winner has agreed to this and there will be no issues with sharing their name.
Tips for finding winners
- On social media, try a Twitter search using the competition hashtag and the word ‘Congratulations’ or ‘winner’ to see if the winner has been announced or tweeted.
- If you enter a promotion where PromoVeritas have selected the winners, you can find winners lists published at www.promowinners.com – simply search for the company or product.
- Reply to a competition tweet or message the promoter to ask who the winner was.
- If you’ve entered a competition and don’t want to spoil your chance of winning by chasing the promoter for a winner’s name, ask a friend to contact them.
- Send a recorded delivery letter or email directly to the promoter, reminding them of their responsibility to comply with the CAP Code and asking for the winner’s details.
- If you still have no luck, make a complaint to the ASA.
Be polite with your communication, and don’t chase the promoter for winners’ details until at least 28 days after the closing date (unless it was stated in T&Cs that the winner would be announced by a set date). In some cases, promoters may allow 28 days for their first winner to respond. If there’s no response, they will contact a second winner and give them 28 days to respond… and so on. In the case of multiple winners, a promoter usually waits to hear back from all of them before a winners list is published. Sometimes it can take a LONG time for promoters to get confirmation from all winners, so be patient!
Do you know of any promoters who have been particularly stubborn and need a nudge to announce winners?
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