Selling competition prizes

Whenever the topic of selling prizes is raised on social media, all hell breaks loose. There are CAPITAL LETTERS, angry comments, links to eBay and often, entire conversations are deleted. But the topic is an interesting one, so I decided to investigate the selling habits of compers via an anonymous survey which I shared across social media and my newsletter. 585 people took the time to complete it, and this post reveals the results.

The Stats

First of all, this chart gives an idea of how successful the compers surveyed are:

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 13.41.20

And how many of them have sold prizes…

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 12.03.35

So, two thirds of compers surveyed have sold a prize. Of those, 22% have entered a competition with the intention of selling on that prize if they won. 

10% of compers have sold more than 5 prizes in the last 12 months.

Survey respondents had sold prizes:

  • in a compers group or forum (16%)
  • to a friend or family member (21%)
  • on eBay or Gumtree (45%)

But it wasn’t all about selling. Many had:

  • given prizes away to a charity shop or homeless refuge.
  • swapped with a comper for another prize.
  • offered for free on a forum or group – particularly for tickets that would otherwise go to waste!

What kind of prizes do people sell?

  • 42% have sold an electrical prize or gadget
  • 22% have sold beauty products or clothes
  • 16% have sold festival or event tickets

What people had to say on the subject…

Comments showed that the majority of compers don’t mind people selling on prizes, but most are uncomfortable if selling was always the intention. Disgusting, selfish, unfair, disgraceful, unethical, greedy, immoral… were just a few of the strong words used to describe the act of selling on prizes!

On the other hand, people thought that selling prizes can “put food in the cupboard, clothes on our backs and heat the house!” and many agreed that “it is absolutely no one else’s business what a person does with a prize” and that “we should never judge the circumstances of others.” In many cases, the prizes being sold on were runners up prizes, or not exactly what was expected!

If you enter competitions, it’s better to win the things you do need, rather than have the hassle of selling on prizes you don’t need! Before you enter, take a moment to think – do you really want the prize? Will you ever wear it? Will you actually use it? Can you get the time off work? Check dates and restrictions before entering for tickets, events and holidays – if you can’t go, don’t enter!

Your opinion:

“I have never sold tickets if I have been unable to make it. I’d rather give them away than for there to be an empty seat. It’s not fair on the performers.”

“I think it is disrespectful to the company to enter a competition with the intention to sell on”

Selling big prizes

When a company like Fairy or Tena Lady offers a hundred dishwashers or iPads in a prize draw, who can blame people for entering with the intention to sell on the prize – particularly if the chance of winning is high! High value prizes have huge appeal to the masses and in most cases, they’re easy to sell on. The buyer gets a bargain, and the seller gets the cash for something they really need. It’s a win-win situation, and promoters must be aware that not every winner will want to keep the prize!

Your opinion:

“If you win the prize fairly, then you are entitled to do whatever you want with it. I will enter for high value prizes with the full intention to sell if I win.”

“I’m relaxed about selling prizes. It often gives an opportunity for a non winner to acquire a prize at low cost.”

“I won an expensive bicycle – I sold it for £1000 and paid for a holiday. The bike was worth over £1500 – the guy who bought it was ecstatic at the saving he made!”

Selling unique prizes

When a brand puts a lot of effort into providing a unique or interesting prize (eg. holidays, event tickets, unique experiences or memorabilia) it can be rather disrespectful to the promoter and the other entrants to enter if you don’t want or can’t use the prize. Particularly when there are thousands of other competitions for prizes you do want! I was interviewed last month on BBC Humberside and the presenter recounted a story of when they gave away a prize to a delighted winner on air, only to spot it on eBay soon afterwards. He told me they felt upset and annoyed that the prize was sold on straight away.

Your opinion:

“I am massively against those who enter for any old prize, particularly quirky and personal ones, to sell on – there are people who would be delighted beyond the financial value to win say, something signed, or a unique experience, and I feel it’s mean spirited to enter for that kind of prize with the sole intention of flogging it!”

“Recently there was a competition for signed items from a very niche band that I’ve loved for 20 years, I would have had a (very) good chance normally and it would have been a dream prize, but no, it was won by a ‘enter everything’ comper and sold to a rich fan on eBay.”

“I keep my eyes out for comps with prizes that would be suitable for my work. I couldn’t count the number of times I find HUNDREDS of people who have entered competitions to win something like… a diagnostic tool. A very specific tool. For one purpose only; and which very few of the people who entered will know what is, how it’s used, or even what it’s used for. But they still enter. What about that ONE single entrant who does know what it is, how to use etc? And this is the crucial point… this person who actually needs that prize. Is that right, dare I say moral, that they should be denied the chance of winning, because of the ‘greed’ or need to feed an obsession of the other entrants?”

Buting1

  • 17% had bought a prize from a fellow comper, the majority of purchases were tickets and vouchers.
  • 38% of respondents are in a Facebook Swaps Group

My experiences

I’ve sold prizes in the past – mainly when I was younger. Why? Because I wanted to travel the world – to Canada, Sri Lanka, Cambodia – and it was expensive. When I was 23 I won a guitar signed by Noel Gallagher, which I admired for a year before deciding to sell at auction for a massive £1600. That paid for a 3 week backpacking trip to America.  These days I focus on winning things I want or need. If I see a competition for a prize I have no interest in, I don’t enter. I share it so everyone else can have a go!

I’ve also been delighted to pick up unwanted prizes from other compers – Homebase vouchers, weekend breaks and more – at a bargain price.

Like many of the survey respondents, I think selling gadgets or vouchers is OK – but it does makes me uncomfortable to see people selling on rare prizes. I think that shows a lack of respect for the promoter – think how they will feel, hours after you post your gushing ‘Wow, I can’t wait to go to the BRITs!’ response on Facebook, to see your tickets being offered for sale online. They might decide never to bother running another prize promotion again – can you imagine the horror?

Conclusions

This topic is definitely a controversial one, but my survey results suggest that only a small handful of people are completely against selling prizes. The majority of compers think that unless the T&Cs state you can’t transfer or sell on your prize, it’s your right to do what you want with it. But if you do decide to sell, don’t shout it from the rooftops – be discreet. There are a few bitter people out there who enjoy nothing more than reporting prize sales to promoters – and though the promoters themselves don’t usually mind, it could be an embarrassing situation to explain yourself out of!

From the hundreds of comments, it sounds like you’d love to see compers minding their own business and concentrating on their own comping agenda – focusing on prizes they want, skipping prizes they don’t want, and enjoying the hobby without getting stressed out about what others are doing. There will always be a few compers giving the hobby a bad name – the ones who who enter everything (twice!), the ones who cheat, the ones who run 20 Twitter accounts – but the majority of us are generous, supportive and enthusiastic. We treat promoters and other compers with respect, and enjoy every moment of the hobby. So let’s put our gripes to one side and get winning!

And finally, I think this quote sums up the attitude of most respondents…

“There are far more important things to worry about in the world than what someone else is doing with a prize they won!”

Have you ever sold or bought a competition prize? How was the experience? Leave a comment to let me know!

23 Responses

  1. Chris says:

    So let’s say you win a prize and the T&C forbid selling it. For the sake of argument, it’s a car. You keep it and look after it for ten years but then are ready to upgrade. Are you still bound by the original clause forbidding selling it – for example, trading it in as part exchange for a new car? Can you dispose of it at your local scrap yard? Or do you have to keep it for all eternity, taxed, insured and MOT’d, just to comply with the clause of a long-forgotten competition by a sponsor who may have gone out of business by then?

  2. Sallyanne Metcalfe says:

    I forgot to do the survey, Bertie has scarlet fever boo….but I have always followed your guide of only entering competitions you want to win. It’s interesting that people do enter with the intention to sell, not sure that is good comping but the reasons balance it a little. I recently won a massive £800 spa break, the suite alone was £500 a night. I could go so gave it to my brother and his partner as with two little girls they would never have the money to splurge on such a prize (I’m the same). They loved it! My choice would be to give it away to family members and failing that I would give it to our local special care baby unit who looked after Bertie so well when he arrived early. Interesting read though thanks Di!

  3. Emma Tustian says:

    Interesting. I agree that entering to sell on a prize intentionally is annoying. It’s not something I’d do because it isn’t fair to those who really want that prize. I have sold one high value prize. I was entering with the aim of winning the 1st or 3rd prize. I ended up with 2nd, and an electric bike I was never going to use and neither would family or friends. So it got sold and the person was really pleased. Otherwise the only ones I’d sell would be those I’d either already used, or had held onto and then decluttered having never used them.

  4. emmasfabulous says:

    Great post Di 🙂 I only really enter for things that I want, but I’ve done the odd swap or sell of runners-up prizes or if I’m really skint. The main ones I’ve sold were a gorgeous laptop worth nearly 2k that I sold for 1k. We were given notice to quit our house 5 weeks before we were off on a Florida win so we needed the spending money for a deposit. That win was a blessing (still mourn the laptop though). Then last year I won a UK holiday from a postcard comp, I didn’t know the terms as saw it on Compers weekly. They wouldn’t budge on not using in school holidays so I sold it to a fellow comper who needed a break. I then used the cash to buy a Merlin pass from another comper who had won one already & needed spending money for their M&M holiday win so everyone was happy. I find it strange when people seem to sell everything. I’d find it really tough to let go of all my prizes. I suppose you can’t judge, some might really need the money.

  5. Leanne Perrett says:

    i enter only prizes i want or can gift to family and friends if i can go away for holidays i dont enter them i once won a prize of cinema tickets to a special one off showing of lost boys in a park on a big screen but due to not being able to go told the promoter thank you but please redraw them and give to the next person i felt at least then they would get used i have no problems with people selling items as long as its for a reasonable reason i have sold alot of items but only after i had them and enjoyed them a while lol thanks for the insight 🙂

  6. Irene Wright says:

    Yes I have sold some festival tickets but also I have declined a prize. When I entered both comps I thought I could use the prize but circumstances change and I wasn’t able to use the prizes so one I sold & the other I declined. The chap at the end of the ‘phone was ‘gobsmacked’ that I declined to go to a seaside resort down south for one night with festival tickets but it wasn’t financially viable for just one night. Some other comper would have enjoyed it though.

  7. stoolballgirl says:

    I’ve been comping for over 30 years and have only sold a handful of prizes in that time – beauty goods, iPhone. I’m not against it per say and would definitely sell a high value prize if I could use the money for something I’d prefer such as a holiday. The buyer would get a brand new item at a discount price (often half price) so it’s a win win situation. However, I wouldn’t attempt to sell a “rare” or “specially put together” prize – as you say the promoter would have made a special effort to make it a unique experience. Usually, I pass unwanted smaller prizes onto friends or charities, or share tickets, meals etc with friends and family. It’s lovely to be able to treat people!

  8. Andrea Horner says:

    I tend to only enter competitions for things I want or vouchers/cash. I may sell a prize if I won a runner’s up prize and not the first prize I was hoping for. I always read the T&C’s for holidays though especially as my 3 girls are older teenagers but we still have to abide by school holidays, so in many cases we don’t qualify for the standard 2 adult/2children competition prize. I also enter to win for family members, my niece who is a single parent has two young children so I always have her in mind too. Yesterday I won an iwatch which was fabulous news only to realise that all 3 of my girls would love the prize!!! Keeping that one for myself to save arguments!! Only been comping seriously since about November so am very happy with that.

  9. Katy says:

    I firmly believe its your possession to do with as you wish. My much longed for Ipad was reluctantly sold at Xmas to pay for a new cooker and I have won runners up prizes of cinema tickets that I live HOURS from and can’t feasibly use.
    I have also benefited from buying prizes and have saved loads of money on amazing shows and days out. Ive donated, gifted and swapped and I think any benefit a prize has is up to you!!

  10. julia linsley says:

    Interesting I have gained from others giving away tickets to events that they cannot make and pass to my daughters I have in turn sold on festival tickets I could not use despite thinking my girls would use them when I entered! I have also given away free tickets to events to friends family and friends of family.I do not know about how people have a conscience as cheats ( maybe another survey Di !) in running multiple accounts to enter to make a living out of comping – I just want it to be a distraction and fun and to make friends within my hobby.. I do not like that some may report others – I applaud those who donate prizes

  11. madminx1 says:

    Interesting survey, I personally have never sold any prize but have given a few away. I have enjoyed everything I have ever won and done some different things because of my hobby I look on any wins as a ‘bonus’ and treat it as such.

  12. Lorna Holland says:

    Very interesting to see other’s opinions on this!

  13. Joanne Welsh says:

    It’s all very true. It only just occurred to me today actually, that entering for prizes that you could give to charity could be a really good thing. Where I work every year they collect weekly for the local food bank and at xmas they do the same with gifts, and a lot of people can’t afford to buy extra to donate, but actually, if i win a prize that could be donated, I think it’s a really good thing.

    Thanks for the post, it’s interesting to see how people think

  14. Tracey says:

    great article, thanks

  15. Tina Deacon says:

    Wow very interesting to read thanks Di

  16. Aoao says:

    Good read…thanks Di!

  17. Julie Feathers says:

    interesting reading Di Thanks

  18. Alix Smith says:

    Really interesting survey Di – thanks for doing this!

  19. Justine Edwards says:

    Well written Di ,

  20. Yvette Morgan says:

    Wow lots of over 10k winners 🙂 x

  21. Clare Duiker says:

    A great and thought-provoking article. Thanks for posting x

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