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A lot of smaller companies skip the terms and conditions (sometimes referred to as T&Cs) when running a competition – especially if they don’t have an in-house legal eagle to write them. Terms and conditions are often seen as too complicated, too expensive and too much effort, but did you know that they’re designed as much to protect you and your business as they are to protect your entrants?

Here are 10 reasons why you need terms and conditions for your next competition.

1. To manage expectations.

When you have a clear set of terms and conditions, your entrants know exactly when your competition opens, how many entries they’re allowed, exactly what they have to do to enter, when the competition will close and how and when the winner will be determined and announced.

2. To help you deal with difficult entrants.

If you have an iron-clad set of terms and conditions, difficult entrants and winners are easily dealt with by pointing them to the relevant clause, term or condition, no arguing that you’re being biased or ‘unfair’.

3. So you don’t get ripped off.

This one may seem like it’s the wrong way around, but if you don’t have a ‘not exchangeable for cash’ clause in your terms and conditions for example and you state your prize is worth $3,500 – what’s to stop your winner demanding cash value instead?

You may think it won’t happen, but if you’re unlucky enough to draw a prize pig as your winner, I guarantee you it’s the first question they’ll ask. Unfortunately I speak from experience on this one.

4. They avoid unnecessary questions.

If written correctly, your terms and conditions should be so watertight that they answer all questions your entrants may have – how do they enter, where do they enter, when do they find out if they’re the lucky winner? A clear set of terms save your already overflowing inbox from unnecessary questions.

5. To cover your behind on social media.

Did you know a condition of having a page on Facebook and running a promotion on it is that you must release Facebook from any and all liability? They even give you a handy copy-paste sentence to use. Your terms and conditions are a perfect place to put this disclaimer.

6. To create trust.

How many times have you seen a competition on social media that looks just a little on the dodgy side? I see so many of those ‘last minute business class flight cancellation – comment below for a chance to win the seat!’. These are 100% fake (I used to work in travel, tickets like these are almost always non transferrable) and you can search the whole internet but you won’t find a set of legit terms and conditions for competitions like these in sight.

If you have terms and conditions it shows your customer your competition is serious and you’re not trying to rip them off.

7. They’re a legal requirement.

If you are running a game of chance, you may need to apply for permits. If you apply for permits, it’s a legal requirement when applying, that you submit a copy of your terms and conditions. To ensure you don’t delay your permit and the start of your competition, make sure your terms and conditions are ready in advance.

If you need a hand preparing your terms and conditions, we can help.

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8. You avoid the hefty costs for overseas winners.

How many of you state who your competition is open to? One simple sentence can save you hefty postage costs to a winner in Antarctica or an awkward situation where you have to let your winner know you can’t provide your service in Timbuktu: ‘This competition is open to Australian residents only.’

9. You have a process in place for a redraw.

You would assume your winner would be just as excited as you are about your competition, but occasionally the lucky winner is AWOL when you try to contact them to let them know they’ve won. By having terms and conditions that clearly state the timeframe in which to claim the prize and what will happen if they don’t, you’re fully covered for every eventuality.

10. You have permission to contact your entrants again for more opportunities to create leads.

Once your competition is over and you’ve got 2,000 new email addresses, your terms and conditions clearly state that these email addresses may be used for marketing purposes, giving you permission to contact them with future offers and announcements whilst being compliant with spam laws.

BONUS: They don’t have to be as expensive or difficult as you think.

As you can see, having a crystal clear set of terms and conditions is vital to running a smooth competition and protecting your business. We know how tight your marketing budget is, but we also want to make sure your business is covered, so we put together an affordable, comprehensive competition terms and conditions template that’s completely reusable for each competition you run.

So what do good competition terms and conditions include?

A good set of competition terms and conditions should include clauses addressing the following aspects of your competition:

  • Who the competition is open to and who is eligible to win.
  • Who the competition excludes – for example employees and immediate family.
  • The dates of the competition including open and close date.
  • What individuals must to do enter the competition – the entry process.
  • Details of the prize and its value.
  • Details of when and how the winner will be drawn.
  • How and where the winner will be notified.
  • The time period in which the winner must redeem their prize.
  • The details of the company or individual running the competition including their ABN (usually you and any other parties involved)
  • The licence number (if applicable)

You may also wish to include clauses for…

  • Additional costs the winner may incur as a result of taking the prize (e.g. travel).
  • Whether or not your prize is redeemable for cash.
  • Whether or not your prize is exchangeable or transferable.
  • Details of how data collected as a result of the competition may be used by your company (you may wish to include a link to your privacy policy)
  • Details of any intellectual property claims you make to entries
  • Any information on liability releases including releasing social media channels from liability.

Contrary to popular belief, terms and conditions don’t exist just to make you pull your hair out and make your business life a misery; they’re actually just as useful to you as they are to your entrants and can actually save you a hell of a lot of time, money, arguments and stress in the long run.

To save you time and money (because who doesn’t need extra time or money?!) we’ve paid the lawyer for you and created an extremely comprehensive set of terms and conditions to cover you for the most common competition clauses – at a tiny fraction of the cost!