August 20, 2018
The ASA has published an advice note setting out four top tips to ensure compliance when running a prize promotion:
- plan ahead: promotions should be planned carefully ensuring time and resources at every stage to administer it fairly and effectively in order to avoid encountering problems during the promotion or giving consumers justifiable grounds for complaint. Thought must be given to any possible risks, such as technical issues affecting entries or being unable to supply the prize, and how they can be mitigated;
- include all significant conditions and link to the rest: include all of the significant conditions for the promotion in the marketing. The significant conditions will differ depending on the promotion, but normally include a clear explanation of how to participate, closing dates, the nature and number of prizes or gifts, any restrictions and availability. Any other terms and conditions should be clearly signposted in the marketing so they are available to consumers before or at the time of entry. They need to be easily accessible and remain accessible throughout the promotion. These may include (but are not limited to): restrictions on the number of entries; whether there is a cash alternative to a prize; and how and when winners and results will be announced;
- do not change the Ts&Cs: changing the terms and conditions after the promotion has started is usually likely to disadvantage those who entered on the original terms and cause unnecessary disappointment. If changes cannot be avoided, they should only be made in the most exceptional circumstances and only if the changes would not have originally influenced someone’s decision to participate. Creating and enforcing terms and conditions in retrospect is unacceptable, even in instances of abuse. Closing dates in particular should not be changed unless there are unavoidable reasons outside of the operator’s control AND not changing the date would be unfair to those who sought to participate within the original terms, or those participants would not be disadvantaged by the change; and
- award the prize: always award the prize as described in the marketing or a reasonable equivalent. The prize must be described accurately and a contingency put in place for selecting a replacement winner if need be. Alternative prizes must be genuinely reasonable equivalents to the original prize. Refusing to award a prize is only acceptable if none of the participants met the qualifying criteria set out clearly in the marketing copy as well as in the Ts&Cs. Withholding the prize, or indeed extending the closing date, solely because the promotion did not attract enough entries is not acceptable.
To read the ASA’s advice note in full, click here.