Terms and conditions (also known as T&Cs) can literally be the make or break of your competition, so why would you trust a free competition terms and conditions template to protect your business from a social media storm – or worse – prize pigs?!
We all know why we need competition terms and conditions, which may be what prompted you to open up Google and search for a template, but did you know that not all competition terms and conditions templates are created equal? In this post we’re going to delve into why those free contest competition T&Cs templates might not protect your business after all.
Free templates are often not written by lawyers.
There’s a whole host of free contest terms and conditions templates out there, which will save you money of course, but not necessarily save your business when the proverbial hits the fan.
Why? Because more often than not, these free T&Cs templates are not written by legal professionals. Often, they are written by marketers or companies with apps designed to help you run competitions.
Any legal professional who has been through years of education, further years of training and has specialist knowledge in competition, promotion and/or business law will have the knowledge and skills to create a document to protect your business when running a competition – knowledge and skills they will not lightly give away for free.
WHY SHOULD YOU CARE
If it’s not written by a legal professional, it’s likely written by someone who doesn’t necessarily understand the law. Which means your legals might not be as watertight as you thought.
Let’s look at an example. Have you ever actually read the 20-50 competition terms and conditions and clauses you agree to when you enter a competition? Probably not… right?
It may come as a surprise, but there are people out there who scour competition terms and conditions documents specifically looking for flaws and loop holes.
The simple mistake of forgetting a ‘not exchangeable for cash’ clause could mean the difference of giving up hours of your time for a coaching session prize and a prize pig demanding the $3,000 cash equivalent; which, could potentially cost you money you never accounted for – or worse still, could cost you your business.
Free templates don’t take into account the quirks of your competition.
Every competition, just like every business, is unique.
You may have an entry method that’s different from the norm, or be giving away a prize that comes with certain caveats and conditions that need to be met – either way, your first priority should be protecting your business when running such a competition.
A simple example of this is if you’re running a competition with a prize that must be redeemed or collected in person. If you don’t stipulate that the winner must live in a certain area to be eligible or that the prize must be redeemed in-store and you pick a winner who lives in Timbuktu, they have every right to the prize and you may just find yourself paying more than you budgeted for postage…
WE’RE NOT PERFECT
Even our lawyer-written competition terms and conditions template isn’t going to be a perfect fit for every business and every competition (I know right, shock horror, we’re not perfect either!)
… Which is exactly why we have a team of lawyers on standby, specially trained and all over competition legals, ready to craft a custom set of contest terms and conditions especially for your business.
Free templates may not address specific laws of your state/territory/country.
Did you know that in Canada, for example, pure games of chance are illegal under the Criminal Code? Adding in a skill question such as a multi-part maths question can turn an illegal game of chance into a game of mixed chance and skill and is therefore legal.
It doesn’t have to be this complicated…
Many free competition terms and conditions templates are country-specific or are written by people and companies with no knowledge (or need for knowledge) of competition regulations and laws outside of the country in which they reside.
DON’T GET CAUGHT OUT
Using a free competition rules template from the UK if your company is based in the US (I mean, for a start, the spelling will be all kinds of wrong…) can mean that your contest is illegal and leave you open to hefty fines and even prison time in some jurisdictions.
Seek local legal advice for the countries your competition is open to, or get in touch with us and our legal team for a custom terms and conditions template for your competition.
Enjoying this post?
There’s a lot more where that came from! Subscribe to our monthly newsletter for more practical tips, tricks and how tos.
Free templates most likely won’t comply with the dreaded GDPR regulations.
Ah GDPR, remember that time your inbox was full of emails from companies you didn’t even know you were subscribed to telling you they’ve updated their privacy policies to be GDPR compliant?
Creating a set of GDPR compliant competition terms and conditions definitely requires a legal professional. When we were asked to run a Europe-wide competition for a client, the first thing we did was pay our lawyers to create a set of legally-compliant T&Cs to ensure our client was fully covered under and compliant with GDPR laws and regulations.
WHAT’S THE RISK
You might be thinking you’re safe if you’re not based in the EU, but the laws are there to protect citizens and residents of the EU, which means if you have clients in Europe, your competition needs to be compliant regardless of where your business is based.
A non GDPR compliant competition runs the risk of a penalty of €10 million, or 2% of your worldwide annual revenue in the previous financial year – whichever is higher. I don’t know many small to medium businesses that can afford a breach for the sake of the cost of a GDPR compliant competition terms and conditions template, do you?
You may be thinking this article is a little dramatic, worst-case-scenario fear-mongering, but the sad truth is we’ve had prize pig winners who have straight away demanded the cash equivalent and we’ve done the hours of research to find out country specific legal requirements such as Canada needing a skill-question as part of the entry method to be legal… but more importantly, we’ve paid bona fide legal professionals with extensive experience to create a competition and giveaway terms and conditions template designed to protect your business.
If you want to grab a set of our lawyer-written and approved competition terms and conditions, you can do so here. Otherwise, if you have a curly question or quirky competition you need a custom set of terms and conditions for, get in touch...