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There is a difference between Contests and Sweepstakes

Contests and Sweepstakes, what is the difference? Contests usually require skill or merit.

Contests

There is a variety of Contests such as puzzles, games or other contests in which prizes are awarded based on skill and merit not on chance like a Sweepstakes or lotto. Contestants might be required to write something, paint a picture, solve a puzzle or answer questions correctly to win.  Contests are definitely more challenging.

Unlike sweepstakes, skilled contests may legally require contestants to buy something or make a payment or donation to enter.

It’s important to recognize that many consumers are deceptively lured into playing skill contests by easy ways to enter. Once they’ve sent their money and become “hooked,” the questions get harder and the entry fees get steeper. Entrants in these contests rarely receive anything for their money and effort. There are several consumer laws that help protect consumers against fraudulent sweepstakes and prize offers promoted through the mail or by phone.

Telemarketers frequently use sweepstakes and prize contests to sell magazines or other goods and services. These telemarketers make an initial contact with consumers through “cold calls” or take calls from consumers who are responding to a solicitation they received by snail mail or email. There are rules to help protect consumers from fraudulent telemarketers who use prize promotions as a lure. In every telemarketing call that involved a prize promotion, the law requires telemarketers to tell you the following:

The odds of winning a prize Contests. If the odds can’t be determined in advance, the promoter must tell you the factors used to calculate the odds. You do not have to pay a fee or buy something to win a prize or participate in Contests. If you ask, how to participate in the contest without buying or paying anything. They must clearly state an answer. The above can be confusing because you with Contests sometimes there a is a small fee just to enter. What you’ll have to pay or the conditions you’ll have to meet to receive or redeem a prize.

The rule for telemarketing sales is it prohibits telemarketers from misrepresenting any of the facts, as well as the nature or value of the prizes. It requires telemarketers who call you to pitch a prize promotion to tell you before they describe the prize. You do not have to buy or pay anything to enter. Also, it will not affect your chances of winning.

Contests

Snail Mail Contests

Many Contests arrive by mail in letter or postcard from that instructs the consumer to respond by return mail or phone to enter a contest or collect a prize.

There is a deceptive mail prevention and enforcement act for Contests that helps protect consumers against fraudulent Contest promotions sent through the mail.

The law prohibits:

* Claims that you’re a winner unless you’ve actually won a prize.
* Requirements that you buy something to enter the contest or to receive future contest mailings.
* The mailing of fake checks that don’t clearly state that they are non-negotiable and have no cash value.
* Seals, names or terms that implies that they are affiliated or endorsed by the federal government.

Skilled Contests
Skilled Contest are covered by the deceptive mail prevention and enforcement act. The law requires the sponsors to describe the following clearly:

The terms, rules and conditions of the contest. How many winners. Odds of the contest. What you must achieve to win the grand prize. Time frame for the contest. Name of the contest’s sponsor. The address where you can reach the sponsor to request that your name be removed from the mailing list.

Another way to protect yourself is to request hat your name be removed from mail and telephone solicitation lists. The federal government has created the national “Do Not Call Registry” That will reduce the telemarketing calls you receive. Visit donotcall.govto register. You will receive fewer telemarketing calls within 30 days of registering your number. That number will stay in the registry for five years. After five years you will be able to renew your registration.

Contest

The telemarketing sales rule also requires telemarketers to keep a “do not call” list of consumers who have asked not to be called again. If a telemarketer who calls anyone on the list is illegal subject to a hefty fine. The same is applied to snail mail.

Another way to reduce mail and telephone solicitations is to contact the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) to request that your name be placed on its “do not call,” “do not mail” and “do not email” lists. You can contact them at dmaconsumers.org .

Good Luck,

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