Reveal Magazine Threaten Compers Over Prize Admin Error

Posted on: July 15th, 2009 by Jason 20 Comments

Every comper hopes for a surprise Lucky Winning Envelope (LWE) dropping through their door each morning, but a different kind of postal surprise revealed itself to a number of compers recently, thanks to Reveal Magazine. They all received a letter explaining “due to an administrative error” a cheque was sent to them representing the value of a prize they’d recently won and that the cheque needed to be repaid.

That in itself seems a bit harsh, but the real insult comes further on in the letter with a threat of legal action if the repayment isn’t made.

The National Magazine Company will consider appropriate legal action and you should be aware that if you ignore this letter and/or we do not receive payment by July 24th 2009 we will take further legal action which may increase your liability for our costs of pursuing such action.

Now we know times are hard and sending out several £50 cheques that shouldn’t have gone out is a costly mistake, but the error is Reveal Magazine’s and the demand they’ve issued is nothing short of a disgrace. They’re dealing with their readers not businesses that haven’t paid their invoices.

The situation has left a number of compers very annoyed and obviously threatened by the nature of the letter.

We’re astonished by this situation, and in our 12 years of being involved in competitions have never heard of any company making legal threats over a prize error. Mistakes do happen, but is it worth alienating your readers by making legal threats against them?

We think not!

Of course you could argue that the compers should pay back the admin error, perhaps as an act of good faith, although in equally good faith Reveal Magazine could write this off as a bad mistake and try and reclaim some good PR. That said, Reveal may want to read about a Barclay’s employee who recently was allowed to keep a cheque issued to her due to an administrative error (This is Money).

The judge found that the error was her employer and she was allowed to keep the money!

The good news is that dialogue is ongoing between The National Magazine Company and the compers involved. Loquax also understands that The ISP have been notified. Let’s hope that this issue can be resolved as soon as possible.

We’ll keep you informed of any progress via the blog!

In the mean time why not let us know your views on this – would you pay back the money? Are Reveal in the right or should they just write this off as a mistake?

Join The Conversation

  • luckman

    I was one of those who received a letter, but the cheque that they sent me was stopped. I did email the editor but have no reply. I phoned and spoke to Janelle at Reveal who apologized and said that this was entirely their fault and something which would not be happening again.
    Like the others I did find the letter distressing and it makes you wonder how they could do something like this to their readers
    I hope that everyone else gets it resolved also

  • nicolefrenzy

    complete joke i also heard that some people have got bank charges due to them stopping the payment if that was me i would not let it rest and i would take them to court for my crazy bank charges

    nuff said!!!

  • misslucky

    no way should they pay the money back, its Reveals error not the winners. Reveal are out of order to send letters like that to people, I shall not be buying Reveal Magazine in the future, Im horrified that they have done this!!

  • jasmin49

    all the “winners” should get together and take them to court for undue stress and causing hardship and go to the papers. £50 is a lot to some people. Im not sure how much the cheques were for but the magazine can afford to put the bill as good will. Doing this will cause them more harm than good, and so it should, its disgusting. I wouldnt pay it back, im sure any judge with common sense will laugh at them, BUT saying that judges are a law to themselves.

  • muffy0

    This is DISGUSTING! Don’t let them get away with it!

  • manikally

    I don’t think they should pay it back. It’s the magazine’s fault and they should just swallow it, don’t they make enough from the magazine sales anyway?

  • lexie

    If they pursue this perhaps compers should boycott the magazine. Without the readers they would be out of business and they should be made to realise this.

  • jearund

    I think seeing as the mistake was Reveal’s they should let them keep the money. You can’t give a prize with one hand and then demand it back!

  • chickybeak

    I would have thought it would cost them more in legal fees to recover the money than the value of the “prize” itself-and I am not sure the courts would agree that they had any right to the money back if the wording of the original letter was that the recipient had won a price. I think its awfully mean-spirited too.

  • suroben

    I would be more inclined to write and ask for compensation for stress incurred due to their threatening attitude than pay them back.
    It was their error and if it had been realised immediately and a letter of apology requesting repayment sent within a few days my feelings might have been different, but after all this time it’s ridiculous for them to expect cheques in the post immediately.

  • SuperBob

    Surely, when the cheque arrived it was accompanied by a letter saying they had won? Ergo, they HAD won and the prize was rightfully theirs. I hope this costs Reveal a mint in lost circulation!

  • TEJ1968

    there was no winners letter-Reveal have admitted this is a major flaw in their system. if they send you a prize you just get a cheque and a printed sheet that says Reveal Win.
    and if you win a goody bag you just get a jiffy with the items , but they at least do put a compliment slip in so you know where it has come from(which is more than can be said for lots of other companies.
    If i was a promotor i would want the winner to know where the prize was from.
    Personally i will never buy Reveal magazine again and i have told them so.

  • canyonroad78

    Disgraceful. I hope they don’t get away with this farce.

  • Rodent

    I wonder how many of these letters were sent out, it must have been substantial surely for them to want the money back otherwise given their turnover it would not have been worthwhile trying to reclaim it back. At any even it is disgraceful, stressful and very bad practice.

  • TEJ1968

    according to someone else who had received one of these letters they are apparently trying to claim 20 x £50 (hope they think its worth upsetting their readers)

  • penz

    I also received one of these letters 10 minutes before going on holiday last Friday. It is extremely formal and threatening. I called Janette straight away to inform her that I would look at it when I returned and contact the ISP.

    I came back today to a letter apologising for the severity of the tone as they were under the impression that I had already been informed.

    To tell you the truth I can’t really understand the original letter as it says the cheque was sent as well as a prize. If this is the case I never received the original prize. I sent an email asking her for issue number and the original prize I won plus tracking number to chase it up with Royal Mail.

  • penz

    I received this email from Janelle yesterday

    I now understand that the person responsible for sending out a prize to yourself left the company and as a result the prize was never dispatched.

    Because of this mistkae on our part, please ignore our two previous letters requesting a refund of the cheque of £50. We will not be contacting you regarding this matter again.

    My sincere apologees for our mistake!


  • mrpshelley

    Update- they gave me a date when the £50 chq was issued and cashed, I have had a. copy of a £50 chq I paid into my ISA at the time and it has turned out to be a premium bond win. I will have to now check my current account and savings account but I have no intention of paying it back until I prove that I have had it.

  • TEJ1968

    i have spoken to Janelle at Reveal today and it seems they are now doing “nothing” in respect of claiming the prize back. I did ask if it was being confirmed in writing or if an apology would be sent out….her reply was “nothing means nothing we will not be doing anything”
    Very pleased i am not paying the £50 back but do think their customer service skills could do with some level of improvement, a basic apology would not go amiss.

  • Naomi17

    I agree its unforgiviable