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.
First of all, this chart gives an idea of how successful the compers surveyed are:
And how many of them have sold prizes…
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!
“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!
“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.
“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?”
- 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
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.
But of course there’s also the competitions where you enter hoping to win one prize, and then end up winning a different one! I remember entering to win a runners up prize of a bluetooth speaker, but I ended up winning the top prize of a TV which my friend happily bought from me.
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?
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!