You’ve thought of an amazing promotion. You’ve advertised, had tons of entries and picked a winner to receive the fabulous prize you’re giving away. Annnnnnd, they don’t want it. What do you do?
While it might seem easy to say goodbye and move on to another winner who will love your prize the way a winner should, there are some things to consider first.
Are there special circumstances? Sometimes winners can’t accept a prize due to a special circumstance, like a physical disability, a sick family member or a military obligation. In cases like this, you may opt to consider awarding a substitute prize – maybe cash to help ease the financial burdens of medical care or an alternate trip that would accommodate physical limitations.
While you are not legally obligated to award the prize if it is declined, you may want to consider how working with the winner could create an awesome promotional opportunity for your brand (while doing something really awesome for someone who needs it).
Are there eligibility issues? Whether there is an issue or not, we always recommend fully vetting your winners. If they are complaining about the prize, and there is a matter of eligibility, you can disqualify them as per the official rules.
But, if there are no eligibility issues and they are still complaining, you’ll want to determine if there is a special circumstance (as noted above) or if they’re just being difficult (as noted below).
Are they just being difficult? Believe it or not, people enter, win and subsequently complain about the entire process all the time. There are a couple of ways to handle this type of winner; (a) work with them in the interest of a positive PR experience for you; (b) give them the option to formally decline the prize and move on to another winner.
Just remember, while it’s perfectly legal to move on to another winner if a person refuses to accept the prize, it may not always be the best strategy to keep a positive promotional advertising experience. It’s also important to note that winner situations like these are tricky and may require help to navigate. You may need help in crafting an email response or ensuring that what you want to do is in fact legal based upon the particular issue you’re experiencing.