Beware of ‘scratch and win’ promotions
The federal government’s Competition Bureau is warning consumers to be careful with direct mail promotions that involve scratch-and-win cards sent directly to Canadian households. Lucky recipients of these cards (they should be called “scratch-and-pay”) who uncover “winning symbols” or a combination of symbols are asked to call a 1-900 number to claim their prize. Of course, any 1-900 call involves a toll, which can end up costing you a lot of money to discover that you’ve won a dubious prize.
Take some simple precautions before you pick up the phone and run up your bill:
- Remember that all callers to these 1-900 telephone numbers are automatically charged on their next telephone bill.
- Read the entire card very carefully to determine the nature and value of the prizes and the chances of winning each advertised prize. While the card may have a list of prizes with a list of winning symbols beside it, callers often find that the prizes may not be listed in the same order as the applicable winning symbols.
- Check the cost of the call as shown on the card and decide if it is worth responding.
The Competition Bureau examines complaints of misleading advertising. If you think you’ve been misled (who hasn’t?) call them (toll free) at 1-800-348-5358.