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Competitions: Are they genuine or are they fake?

You need to report fake comps to ASA. I have found very few false ones, there has been the odd prize that failed to turn up over the 5 years I bothered with them but it really was a drop in the ocean and certainly wasn’t anything to lose sleep over.

It is not how much the prize is, it is feeling of being cheated. You enter the competition in good faith, hoping that you are lucky enough to win. If you are not, some one else may be lucky.
I must say most of the advertising agency do exactly what they said on the T&C. Unfortunately quite a few have not been honest and did what they promised. When I challenge them, they just said they have contacted the winners but the winners have not replied therefore they cannot tell me the names.
I don’t mind not being the winners but I do like to know that the advertising agencies are playing fair, Unfortunately not all of them are honest, they were given a job to do i.e. running a competition and give out the prizes but they ended up in keeping the prizes.

You need to report fake comps to ASA. I have found very few false ones, there has been the odd prize that failed to turn up over the 5 years I bothered with them but it really was a drop in the ocean and certainly wasn’t anything to lose sleep over.

Unfortunately I cannot prove it. Sometimes it is obvious because they cannot produce the winner’s name!! Especially when it is an on going competition. Every month I asked who the winner is, all they say is, if you are a winner, we will email you, but they were never able to give me one single name, not even a name that they have made up e.g. Joe Block.

You need to report fake comps to ASA. I have found very few false ones, there has been the odd prize that failed to turn up over the 5 years I bothered with them but it really was a drop in the ocean and certainly wasn’t anything to lose sleep over.

Last Edited by unknown at 08 Aug 21:21

Never give information to anyone that would enable them to either steal your identity or indeed set up a false identity using your name. I have seen it too many times before I retired with victims all over the world.

London
I won one competition last year. They will not send me the prize until I email them a utility bill with my name and address. Some of the competitions running currently do say they will ask for proof of ID if win. So I am so afraid to use a fake name just in case they don’t give me the prize if I win.

No need to give a fake name or address all the time but there is no reason why anyone would want your date of birth. As to sending a utility bill, unless the prize was something I really wanted and I knew the company, I would pass on that, or contact the PR people for clarification. For me that is just too much of a risk. For example, how do you know you were the winner? Maybe that is what they said to everyone that entered.

Sorry to sound so cautious but I used to work in the credit card industry and you learn to think like a crook in order to protect the business.

Last Edited by unknown at 08 Aug 19:24

I won one competition last year. They will not send me the prize until I email them a utility bill with my name and address. Some of the competitions running currently do say they will ask for proof of ID if win. So I am so afraid to use a fake name just in case they don’t give me the prize if I win.

Last Edited by unknown at 08 Aug 19:14

People stealing your ID sounds scary. If you don’t use real name and address, how do they send the prize to you. Some competitions even ask for a proof of your ID like a utility bill with you name and address on before they will give out the prize. How do you get round this?

If you have a friendly neighbour you can, with their agreement, use their address not your own. No-one should ask for proof of your ID just to enter a comp and I wouldn’t go anywhere near a comp that did. If you have won and you are confident you know who you are dealing with then OK but it seems a bit over the top.

Another tip; set up an email address just for comps. You will get emails galore as a result of entering so best not to have them clogging up your real email address.

If the company is in the UK and you believe they have broken their published rules you can try the Trading Standards people or the Advertising Standards Authority. Trouble with the ASA is that they have few standards and little authority. I once complained to them about a competition in an M&S magazine where a two week holiday to Mauritius was won using a slogan almost identical to the one we had used but had ten words where the rules said ‘less than ten words’. M&S told the ASA they meant to say ‘ten words or less’ and it was a typing error for which the apologised. That was it – we expected a small gift voucher or a couple of bottles of wine. Fortunately for us the Sunday Times took over and M&S ended up forking out a second £6k for our two week holiday to Mauritius

One word of warning on online competitions. Unless you have to, do not give your real address and never give your real date of birth. If people get your name, address and date of birth they can open online bank accounts which can then be used for fraud or money laundering. We know, it’s happened to us. You may not lose any money but there is some effort involved in protecting your identity and making sure it doesn’t affect your credit rating.

Lucky you. It happened to me a few of times before. They closed the competition early. They closed the website before the closing date so that nobody can send in any more entry. I wrote in to complain. A few of them wrote back and said "you can still enter by send your entry in to us by email". One put the competition straight back on the website again. I won each one of them. Not quite as good as your 6K holiday in Mauritius, I got a holiday in Spain, A Michelin star meal in London and a lunch in London. So sometimes it is worth challenging them.
People stealing your ID sounds scary. If you don’t use real name and address, how do they send the prize to you. Some competitions even ask for a proof of your ID like a utility bill with you name and address on before they will give out the prize. How do you get round this?

Last Edited by unknown at 08 Aug 18:46
I only ever enter competitions where I would like to win the prize!

How would you know whether they are going to give Out the prize. They may not give out any prizes. People who entered just keep thinking that they have not been lucky, but in actual fact, nobody is luck because nothing have been given out.

If I am not in, I won’t win! If they never hand out a prize, then I wouldn’t know anyway.

Perhaps that is why I never win anything!!! Although maybe I do…..

Bexhill on Sea, East Sussex

If the company is in the UK and you believe they have broken their published rules you can try the Trading Standards people or the Advertising Standards Authority. Trouble with the ASA is that they have few standards and little authority. I once complained to them about a competition in an M&S magazine where a two week holiday to Mauritius was won using a slogan almost identical to the one we had used but had ten words where the rules said ‘less than ten words’. M&S told the ASA they meant to say ‘ten words or less’ and it was a typing error for which the apologised. That was it – we expected a small gift voucher or a couple of bottles of wine. Fortunately for us the Sunday Times took over and M&S ended up forking out a second £6k for our two week holiday to Mauritius

One word of warning on online competitions. Unless you have to, do not give your real address and never give your real date of birth. If people get your name, address and date of birth they can open online bank accounts which can then be used for fraud or money laundering. We know, it’s happened to us. You may not lose any money but there is some effort involved in protecting your identity and making sure it doesn’t affect your credit rating.

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