Online retailer entertainment retailer, Zavvi has been told not to run a competition again in “its current form” by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), after the winners were denied their prize as the retailer told them they had “responded too late”.
The prize draw offered customers who paid with Mastercard between 19 September and 31 October, the chance to win a trip to Disneyland Paris. The competition’s winner complained to the ASA in the belief that its code had been breached when they were denied their prize.
Zavvi told the ASA the terms of the competition read: “The winners will be contacted by email. The winners need to confirm that they are eligible and able to accept within the 24 hour period from when the email is sent. If a winner does not contact us within this time period, we reserve the right to choose another winner at random from all other eligible entries.”
The retailer said its notification email reiterated the need for the winner to reply within 24 hours and added that they would sometimes call or send follow-up emails to winners who were unresponsive, however it said that it would “not definitely do so”. Zavvi told the ASA that the prize had been awarded to another customer.
The ASA said the Code of Advertising Practice (CAP) stated that “equitably, promptly and efficiently and deal fairly and honourably with participants and potential participants” and added that retailers should avoid “unnecessary disappointment” with competition.
The regulator said that as there was a number of reasons as to why the winner wouldn’t be able to check their emails, and so it considered that the rule was “significant information likely to affect their understanding of the promotion” which it said should “have been prominently stated in the ad”.
As Zavvi had not stated the 24 hour reply rule, the ASA said it felt the competition had “not been dealt with fairly”. The regulator concluded that the advert had breached CAP code, with the ASA telling Zavvi that “the promotion must not be run again in its current form”. The ASA also said the retailer must “ensure that future promotions that included terms that resulted in forfeiture of a prize if the winner failed to respond within a certain time period”.