Contests and Promotions, from Life in the USA: The Complete Guide for Immigrants and Americans

Life in the USA is a complete guide to American life for immigrants and Americans. All materials on this site Copyright © Elliot Essman 2014. All rights reserved.    Home    Back    next

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Life in the USA
Public Services II
Consumer Issues

Contests and Promotions
Contests, sweepstakes and promotions are widespread in the United States. They are not lotteries, which require you to pay something to enter. You can often enter contests sponsored by major consumer goods organizations by filling out entry blanks in supermarkets. The companies fund these contests in order to advertise their products. Large distributors of magazine subscriptions frequently send contest forms in the mail, combined with advertising offers. These contests are reputable, although the chance of winning usually is so small that it isn't worth spending the money on a stamp (you get better odds at a gambling casino or race track). Local schools, churches and civic organizations also conduct contests and raffles to raise money.

Some contests are deceptive. Aggressive sellers of vacation homes use contest order blanks with photos of glamorous prizes just to get your name, address and telephone number. They will follow with a sophisticated, high-pressure sales pitch. Contests or notifications that you have “won a prize” are also used as the basis for individual swindles and confidence games. Be careful with contests.

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