Welcome to the ultimate guide to competition terms and conditions.
If you’re planning to run a competition, contest or giveaway, you may be wondering if – and why – you need terms and conditions (commonly referred to as T&Cs or Ts&Cs).
In this guide, we’re going to cover:
What are competition terms and conditions?
Competition terms and conditions (or T&Cs) are a set of terms, conditions and clauses that set out the official rules of your competition.
By submitting an entry (and usually checking an ‘I agree to the terms and conditions’ box) entrants are essentially entering into a contract or agreement to be bound by and obey the rules set out in the terms and conditions for the competition.
An example entry form with the ‘I agree to the terms and conditions’ checkbox from a client competition.
Do I need terms and conditions for a competition?
Yes. Every competition needs to have a set of competition terms and conditions.
Not only is having a set of comprehensive terms and conditions for your contest considered legal best practice; but T&Cs are also required by both state/territory licensing bodies and social media platforms.
Terms and conditions are required for a competition regardless of whether you’re running a game of chance or a game of skill.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS PROTECT YOUR ENTRANTS
The primary purpose of competition terms and conditions is to protect consumers (or entrants). By having a set of T&Cs in place, a business or promoter is bound by those terms and must run and manage the competition in compliance with those terms.
That means, for example, a business is legally obliged to deliver a prize exactly as stated in the terms and conditions. If a brand new car is being advertised as a prize, a clapped-out, second-hand bomb can’t be substituted in its place.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS PROTECT YOUR BUSINESS
The main benefit of a solid set of terms and conditions for businesses, is the protection they offer from difficult winners, or as we in the competition world affectionately dub them – prize pigs.
Just as a promoter is bound by terms and conditions, a prize winner is too. If, for example, your prize is a $1,000 spa package and you have a ‘not redeemable or exchangeable for cash’ clause, your winner cannot demand a cash sum instead of the prize.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS ARE REQUIRED BY LICENSING BODIES
In Australia (and similarly around the world), state licensing bodies require businesses to have a set of terms and conditions (or competition rules) in place in order to comply with the laws in that state or territory.
Some states and territories require a licence, permit and/or authority to run a competition that’s open to its residents. If required, in order to apply for or lodge a licence, permit or authority application, most states and territories will require you to submit a copy of your terms and conditions as part of the application process.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS ARE REQUIRED BY SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS
Having a set of ‘official rules’ or competition T&Cs is also a requirement set out by social media sites and apps if you want to leverage their platform to run or promote your competition.
Not only does this protect their users, but most platforms will also require your entrants to release the platform from any liability as a result of entering a competition run or promoted on their platform; thereby protecting the social media site itself from any legal action if the competition goes sideways.
Your contest or giveaway terms and conditions are the perfect place to include this liability release.
A screenshot of Facebook’s Pages, Groups and Events Policies showing a liability release is required for promotions on Facebook.
What should I include in my competition terms and conditions?
A good set of competition terms and conditions should always include clauses that cover or address the following:
- Who can enter the competition
- How and where people can enter your competition
- How many entries are permitted per person
- Important competition dates and times
- The prize details, value and inclusions
- When, where and how the prize(s) will be drawn
- When and how prize winner(s) will be notified
- How long prize winner(s) have to claim their prize(s)
- Details of the redraw process (if applicable)
- Where the prize winner(s) will be announced
- Applicable liability releases
- Details of the promotion and the promoter
- Any licence, permit and/or authority numbers
These inclusions are required not only to comply with laws and regulations in your state, territory or country, but also in order to be granted the applicable licences, permits and/or authorities to run a competition, contest or giveaway.
OrigamiGlobe’s competition terms and conditions template covers all of the above clauses.
Invest in a reusable, lawyer-written terms and conditions template.
We’ve paid the expensive legal fees to draft a comprehensive set of terms and conditions so you don’t have to. Grab your competition T&Cs template for a fraction of the cost.
How, when and where do I use competition terms and conditions?
Your terms and conditions need to be clearly stated on competition promotion material and readily available to potential entrants at all times throughout your competition or contest.
Typically, for clients, we’ll use terms and conditions in two main ways.
UPLOADING COMPETITION T&CS TO A URL
Using our competition terms and conditions template, we’ll create a set of T&Cs for a competition.
Then, depending on client preference, we’ll either upload the terms and conditions as a PDF to the files or media section of the client’s website, which gives us a URL that will look something like company.com/uploads/date/competition-name-terms-and-conditions.pdf
We can then link directly to this PDF in all promotional material and from the competition landing page.
Alternatively, some clients like to create a new page on their website and upload the terms and conditions as text. If this is the case, we simply use the URL of this page to refer people to the full T&Cs in our promotional material.
CREATING A ‘SHORT VERSION’ OF THE T&CS
Our terms and conditions template is three pages long.
That’s far too long to paste into a social media post promoting your competition and it’s definitely not advised to paste the whole T&C text document to your competition landing page either.
So you’re going to need a short and sweet version.
This is the exact version we use for clients, mainly on competition landing pages and social media, in order to communicate the most crucial terms and conditions for the competition and refer entrants to the full T&Cs.
Open to [who can enter] only. Commences [open date] and closes [close date]. Total prize pool is valued at [$X] and is not transferable or exchangeable and cannot be taken as cash. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, [social media platforms]. Promoter’s decision is final. Full T&Cs available at [URL].
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Where can I get competition terms and conditions?
OrigamiGlobe has a lawyer-written, comprehensive set of terms and conditions that we use for all of our client competition that covers all of the key inclusions listed in this blog post.
You can purchase a copy of our competition terms and conditions template here.
We used Australia’s Best Law Firm, Legalite (no, literally, they have won the award two years in a row!) to put together our competition terms and conditions and offer it to you for a fraction of the cost we paid, to help make keeping your competition legal, affordable.
If you have an usual competition or require specialist terms and conditions for your competition, contest or giveaway, we highly encourage you to contact Legalite for fixed fee legal documents.
If you’re based overseas, we’d recommend using DLA Piper’s awesome ‘Prize Promotions Around the World’ resource, which not only tells you the legal requirements for running a competition in any country in the world (and it’s free!) they’ll also give you the details of local lawyers in that country, to help you navigate the legals and put together terms and conditions tailored to your country.
I hope you’ve found our ultimate guide to competition terms and conditions useful and it answered all of your competition T&Cs questions from why you need them to how to use them in your competition, contest or giveaway. If it didn’t, feel free to get in touch and ask me anything about competition terms and conditions.
If you found this guide useful, you may find our free competition strategy session useful too! Book in a free 20 minute chat with competition nerd and giveaway guru Suki van K here, or contact OrigamiGlobe with any other enquiries.