The Ethics Of Selling Sweepstakes Prizes

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One of the most contentious aspects of the sweepstakes and contest hobby is the controversy of selling prize wins. Those who’ve been playing the games for a while know already that winning stuff you don’t need, like or want is normal. Sponsors often run giveaways with many levels and types of prizes, and it’s common to win one of the prizes you didn’t want, while entering for the prize or prizes you did want.

Then there’s the choice that many make to enter to win prizes that you don’t want with the sole intention of selling the prize. Is it ethical? Is it allowed? This question has started many a brawl at sweepstakes forum boards in years past. It infuriates some people, and they can be very vocal about what other people do.

I have personally sold many of the things I won, and got a very good price for electronics and other things. I probably entered to win the prize because it was of some interest to me at entry time. Once it arrived, I decided I would rather have money than this gadget.

In other cases, I sold or traded prize wins with members at sweepstakes boards and got something more suitable for me. Several times I used my prize wins, and then sold them as used on eBay or Craig’s List. Unethical, you say?

Sponsors run sweepstakes knowing in advance that winners often sell prizes. They’re okay, or at least resigned to that. I know of only one incident where a sponsor asked the entrant to agree the prize would not be sold as a condition for entry, yet if they broke this agreement what could they do about it? After gifting the prize, it’s the winner’s property to use or dispose of as they see fit.

Vacations: Not For Sale

Vacation wins cannot be sold, and must be forfeited if the winner cannot use the trip. I heard about sponsors allowing trip wins to be transferred a couple of times. The winner was unable to go on the trip and was permitted to give it to a relative. On another occasion, a winner was able to give it to a worthy person at a sweepstakes site. These exceptions were okayed in advance by the sponsor, of course.

Prizes that should be sold

There’s a whole different category of prizes that really, must and can be sold usually are by winners: prizes in the humongous win category. In case you don’t know, people win expensive, cars, homes. I even once saw a private jet as the prize.

Few people could use a private jet or pay the taxes on an expensive house win. Smart people hang a “For Sale” sign immediately, or else they could get into serious trouble with the taxman. There’s also maintenance and insurance involved when you have a large, expensive prize.

The story of a DIY Dream House winner that tried to hang onto his home, and got into serious financial trouble, was in the news a few years ago. I doubt anybody would begrudge a winner who sells his win under these conditions. Why should selling smaller prizes be any different?

Do you agree, or should people enter for only those things they could use?

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