The success of win a house competitions over the last year has seen the emergence of a number of platforms hoping to cash in on the interest in property raffles. These services help home owners get involved in raffles without them needing to worry about setting up their own websites. Prize Villas was such a service but rather than looking towards The UK they turned their sights on the overseas market. After all who wouldn’t want to try and win a holiday home in Spain or Italy?
Business Is No Longer Viable
Sadly after just a year online Prize Villas have announced they’re closing their service. All open competitions have been removed from the site and all that is left is an announcement explaining the situation. Prize Villas state that the decision to close is “mainly due to the very recent failure of our card payment processor ipaytotal”. They then go on to say that as they don’t have another payment processor “we have had to take the difficult decision to close the business as it has become no longer viable in either the short or long term”.
Payment Platform Problems
A quick look at iPayTotal and you discover that they’ve closed down. On their website they explain that “unfortunately, due to the current scenario, the running of iPayTotal has been difficult. As a regrettable outcome, we have shut down our company”. We looked up iPayTotal on Companies House and noted that they were given compulsory liquidation towards the end of 2020. Without all the details we’re summising that monies owed to Prize Villas from paying customers may not have reached them causing financial issues for themselves?
Getting A Refund From Prize Villas
But what about the customers who have paid for entries for Win My City Centre Apartment in Naples, Win Our Apartment in South Tenerife, Win a Stunning Lakeside Home in Northern Italy and Win a 4 Bed Villa in Estepona? Prize Villas advises those that who have paid via credit or debit card to “request a chargeback on the transaction to purchase the competition tickets”. Everyone else should contact the site and a refund will be arranged. Hopefully everyone who has paid for tickets gets all their monies returned as soon as possible.
What About The Winners?
One thing we don’t know is whether the winners of 4 Bed Villa In Tenerife and Villa In Fanabe received their cash prizes. The latter closed at the end of April whilst the former in February – both well after the compulsory liquidation of iPayTotal. Whilst we know that winners were selected for the competitions we don’t recall seeing any publicity. At time of writing it does seem that either Prize Villas have removed all their social media content. Hopefully both winners received their cash prizes as that at least will mean a positive for Prize Villas’ venture into property competitions.
Overseas Property Raffles Are Not Easy
Offering a UK property in a raffle is a tough challenge, but move the prize to Spain or Italy and the challenge becomes a lot tougher. Looking back on comments on Loquax about the respective competitions and payment issues crop up a number of times. That obviously didn’t help the platform’s cause and a utilised service going under – especially the one taking the finances – is out of the company’s control. Even so, ticket sales of 20K and 30K for their first competition were way off the required targets. We have no idea how the other four competitions were going but they were hardly marketed, advertised or featured on social media and these – or lack of these – will have played a role in the viablity of the platform.