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Hampering Your Efforts

, , , , | Working | January 20, 2022

We won a raffle prize through my work (hosted by a third party). We won a medium hamper, full of posh preserves and things. It’s not something we will make use of, but we can regift it or sell it on and buy something we do want.

It is months before the prizes can be claimed, and after several attempts at calling the claim line, I finally get through.

Me: “Hi. I won a prize in [raffle] some months ago. I was told to call to claim.”

Woman: “Okay, what is your unique prize number?”

Me: “[Number]; it should be a hamper.”

Woman: “Hmm, okay. Has anyone contacted you about this yet?”

Me: “No, just this letter on how to claim.”

Woman: “Well, some of the prizes have changed. We no longer have the hampers available. We are offering a holiday in its place. How does that sound?”

Me: “Not great, to be honest. A holiday isn’t the same as a hamper. Are there any other options?”

Woman: *Shocked* “Oh, well, no, I don’t think so. Don’t you want to hear the details of the holiday?”

Me: “No, not really. Is there a cash alternative?”

Woman: “I don’t think so. Could you hold, please?”

We already have our holidays planned for the year. I don’t have much more time off I can take or spare cash to pay for the inevitable extra costs these holidays will bring.

Woman: “I’m sorry. I have asked and we do state that there are no cash alternatives.”

Me: “And where do you state that you can change the prizes as you please without notifying people?”

Woman: “Could you hold, please?”

We went through rounds of holding and escalations. They keep telling me that they could only offer variations of a (cheap, two-person, two-day, self-catering) holiday. But I maintained that this wasn’t a suitable alternative and wasn’t advertised when I bought the ticket or won the prize.

It went back and forth until they gave me an ultimatum: take the holiday or a refund on the raffle ticket (£5). So, I was being offered a holiday I couldn’t use… or £5. I thanked them and refused both.

Luckily, my work has free legal coverage, and a quick letter from them to the company was all it took to get a cash alternative of the hamper, plus a little more. I wonder how many people got scammed as they didn’t want to go through the hassle.

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