The Perils of Sweepstakes Rules

A few months ago we did a piece on sweepstakes rules. In it we explained what to look for when perusing the rules. Why? Because not following or misinterpreting the rules can be worse than not winning at all! Take the case of Theodore Scott.

Theodore Scott was just like many people. The lawyer from Decatur, Georgia worked hard and spent long Don't Get Disqualified for not Reading Sweepstakes Rulesdays at the office. He longed to spend more time with his family. Wanting some time away from work he entered the Gold Peak Tea $100,000 Year Away from Work sweepstakes. As Scott progressed through the sweepstakes he had to create a video. This video would be voted on by Gold Peak Tea fans on Facebook. Theodore wanted to win this prize and followed all of the steps.


To Mr. Scott’s surprise he won. His family celebrated. Imagine how you would feel if you won $100,00.00! Theodore could take his year off from work, not have to worry about money and enjoy more time with his family. Life was magical.

A few days later, though, the hard realities of life hit the Scott family. Gold Peak Tea notified Mr. Scott and said that he had violated the contest rules and was therefore disqualified. Gold Peak Tea, a Coca-Cola company, claimed that Scott had used a contest forum to help garner votes for his video. Representatives of the company would not answer calls, but did direct people to a web page statement saying Scott was disqualified for using an contest forum “to inappropriately induce members of the public to vote for his submission, a violation of Official Contest Rules.”

There has been much debate whether this was truly a violation of terms as these contest promoters are looking for people to use social media. As Scott claimed, he was not using bots or fake accounts. The people in this forum, maybe some of you, were real life people. Unfortunately for Mr. Scott, the companies usually win these battles. For this reason it is important that you look at contest and sweepstakes rules when you enter. It is especially important for contest and sweepstakes involving voting, videos etc.


Don’t win your dream sweepstakes only to find out you won’t be eligible for the prize. Remember to always know the rules. The important rules are usually residence and age. For contest and sweepstakes involving more than a name submission you should be extra diligent in reading the sweepstakes rules. While what happen to Mr. Scott may be unfair, it is not uncommon. Read the sweepstakes rules!