Area of Law: Consumer Law
Answer # 803
Promotional contests and drawsRegion: Ontario Answer # 803
The federal Competition Act has specific requirements for disclosure in any promotional contest. The rules of the contest must be easily available to the consumer and disclose the number and value of prizes. The rules must tell you the chances of winning. Also, since gambling via lotteries is only allowed by governments, contests will usually offer a “no purchase required” method of entry and require that potential winners answer a skill-testing question.
A new provision in the competition law forbids businesses from sending so-called “deceptive prize notifications.” In these schemes, consumers receive a notice that suggests he or she has already won a prize. The “sting” in this scam comes when the “winner” must pay money or incur a cost to collect the prize. A business can avoid prosecution under this provision by consulting a lawyer and making specific written disclosures to consumers.
More information about the Competition Act and the law regarding promotional contests can be found from the federal Competition Bureau.
For more information about your rights as a consumer, visit Consumer Protection Ontario.
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