6 On Your Side Answers:Do I have to pay for a sweepstakes prize?

6 On Your Side Answers: Do I have to pay to collect a sweepstakes prize?

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"A lot of times, the prizes you supposedly have won are usually not even the value of the product you actually received," said Jeanie Hoskins at the Better Business Bureau. "A lot of times, the prizes you supposedly have won are usually not even the value of the product you actually received," said Jeanie Hoskins at the Better Business Bureau.

By DON DARE
6 On Your Side Consumer Investigator

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Everyone loves to be a winner.  A recent research poll showed more than half of all American adults entered sweepstakes within the past year.

Most of these contests were run by reputable marketers, but not all.

Bill from Knoxville asks, "I won $5,000 in awards, but have to pay a handling charge to receive my merchandise. What the hitch?"

Capitalizing on the popularity of so-called unrestricted award prizes, be skeptical if you receive a post card like the one that was sent to Bill.

It states more than $5,200 in awards may be awaiting him, plus free merchandise valued from $10 to $50 is being held for delivery.

However, it claims no money is due, except a modest shipping processing and handling charge.

6 On Your Side showed the postcard to Jeanie Hoskins at the Better Business Bureau.

"When it says 'shipping and handling charges,' they don't tell you how much it is. So a lot of times you could be very surprised when it is quite a bit," she warned. "A lot of times, the prizes you supposedly have won are usually not even the value of the product you actually received."

Hoskins suggests throwing away these postcards if you receive one.

There's a big difference between legitimate sweepstakes and fraudulent ones. Prizes in legitimate contests are awarded solely by chance, and contestants don't have to pay a fee.

In fraudulent schemes, however, so-called winners almost always have to dip into their pockets to enter a contest or collect their prize.

Simply remember, if you won something, it's free.


You can see Don Dare's 6 On Your Side Answers every Tuesday and Thursday on 6 News at 4:00.

If you have a question you can send Don an email at ddare@wate.com or call his 6 On Your Side hotline at (865) 633-5974.

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