Have you received an email off Boots today saying that you’ve won a trip to Barcelona? If you are and you’ve already packed your sunglasses and sun cream then we have some very bad news for you – you haven’t won – and neither have the many other folk who received the same email. Look on Loquax, other competition forums and Facebook and you’ll find a few gutted, some irate and other philosophical compers who won’t be heading off to the Catalonian Capital.
Boots, we understand, have sent an apology email to all people effected and they are posting the following as a standard response to comments:
Due to a technical error an email was sent to some of our customers saying that they had won a competition for a trip to Barcelona. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case and I would like to say how sorry I am for the disappointment this has caused you. Many thanks!
Despite this there are the usual calls from some quarters for an investigation by Trading Standards, The IPM, Watchdog and The A Team (if no one else can help, and if you can find them). Actually we made The A Team up! Whilst we can understand the frustration winning emails followed by no you haven’t won emails can cause – it’s important to remember that mistakes can and do happen.
The IPM may well investigate but for the most part will report back that there was a technical hitch. ASA may get involved, but again they’ll report that there was a technical hitch and maybe tell Boots to ensure that they don’t do it again. In other words if you’re expecting any recourse towards Boots for this episode then we think it’s unlikely. It may well be The IPM and ASA don’t even take an interest as a “sorry we screwed up” email has been sent out – i.e Boots have acknowledged the error.
If you are disappointed by the situation then word an email to the Boots PR team and explain to them your disappointment. Be polite, firm but fair. The fact is promoters do occasionally make a blunder – it’s how they atone for their error that’s key. Of course a promoter that repeats the same error should expect The A Team to turn up at any moment.
We do understand some folks will be genuinely annoyed by this blunder by Boots. However, our point is that other than a polite but firm “I’m not happy” email to them there’s actually little accountability. In some ways that is bad – when errors are made there’s no one on hand to say “that was wrong” – on the other hand the free reign competitions and prize promotions have within law (i.e. they’re not regulated) means we have a vast array of comps to choose from.