I hosted a giveaway before Christmas for Wonky Tonky Company. A well-known brand that I personally use, trust and love. I was ecstatic when Wonky Tonky Company asked me to host a giveaway on its' behalf. It was logical that I accepted. I immediately went to work on the giveaway since I was flying out of town for the holidays. Nothing can be simpler than that right? Well, not really. The giveaway ended as scheduled. Winner was chosen. Flew off to vacation. Weeks passed. The winner never received the prize. Winner started emailing me non-stop demanding for her prize while I was on vacation. Yes, it ruined a portion of my happy vacation if you must know! What to do? Sensible action was of course, to follow-up with Wonky Tonky Company in spite of my annoyance. I emailed them several times. Weeks went by. No response. I even emailed one of their alleged PR whose name was provided to me by another influential blogger-friend who worked with this person before and who likewise, was fully aware of my dilemma, but zip, nil, nada! My email went unheard. No word up to this day...
Winner continued to email me relentlessly. I had no plausible reason to give but be honest about the whole situation. I had no other way of getting in touch with Wonky Tonky Company besides the email address I have of them. Like I said, I trusted this brand. In desperation, I went and searched for Wonky Tonky Company account on twitter and found it. I tweeted Wonky Tonky Company many times before I finally got a response ~ only to be told to email them on the same email I ALREADY HAVE AND NOT GETTING ANY IMMEDIATE RESPONSE FROM! What irony!
To make the story short. After weeks of trying to get Wonky Tonky Company's attention, I finally got some response. I was told they were going to take care of the issue with a promise of sending the prize item that following week and that "to trust them, they're on top of it". I was relieved. I forwarded the email to winner to assure her. THAT week came and gone. No prize. Winner again emailed me already beyond annoyed. I forwarded her email to Wonky Tonky Company. That was two weeks ago and also the last time I've heard from winner ~ *crossing my fingers and toes* as I write this. And if you guess I will never work with Wonky Tonky Company again after this ~ you are quite right! It really is a shame. I still like their products but can't help feel a tinge of irritation now every time I see their name on their product labels and in media. How can a prominent company be so self-incriminating and unreliable?
Don't get caught in the same mess!
- Include a disclaimer - protect yourself from unnecessary headache for any giveaway, either personal or sponsored by adding a clear statement that you are not responsible for any lost, damaged or unreceived sponsored prizes and that by entering the giveaway, entrants releases you from all liabilities. It's totally not your fault that sponsor decided to flake out on you!
- Giveaway Guidelines - a firm guideline on the contest rules should be stated to eliminate possible cheaters and establish fair selection of winners without disgruntled entrants who did not win, start questioning your method of selection.
- Demand for a Contact Person - It is ALWAYS sensible to have one human point of contact rather than a generic "XYZ's social media team" before agreeing to do the giveaway. When things go wrong, you at least know "someone" within the "team" to escalate the issues to - hoping of course, this person is also reliable. Better than nothing though.
- Signed Agreement - If you think fit, drew up your own simple but concise agreement that states what is expected between you and responsible party. This is beneficial especially with companies you're working with for the first time. You can further protect yourself by including a "Failure to Comply" fee to compensate for your time and effort put into hosting a giveaway in their behalf, alongside covering the cost of the prize if you opt to personally send unreceived prize because you value your integrity and they don't. You can use echosign to get signatures done digitally.
- Share your Experience - Forewarn peers to ensure they don't encounter the same pitfall with brands whose social media etiquettes are not reputable. You're not only protecting yourself but others as well. Brands like these don't have the right to waste anyone else's time and effort and jeopardize their integrity just because they think they can. We don't deserve that!
If you are a blogger/Reviewer with similar experience, I would love to hear your story and know what you did about it. Will you work with the same brand again? Share your story. You may just be saving someone from a possible disaster!
- Forward All Emails - To ensure that giveaway winner is in the loop and knows that you're doing all the best you can to resolve an issue with giveaway sponsor, take the initiative to forward email transactions you have with sponsor to affected winner. If winner chooses, give them full access to personally contact sponsor.
- Blog about it - If the situation is so bad that the whole world needs to know. It is your right to reveal the guilty party. Ensuring that of course, you do it objectively.
Note: Wonky Tonky Company is not the real name for this company but this company is very real. Just as real as this horrific experience I had with them.
Link your Giveaway Nightmares, Horror or even ridiculously comedic stories here and inform others:
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