You're Breaking The Law And It's Serious

22.10.13


Dress - Line & Dot via ModCloth  //  Shirt - F21  //  Necklace - I forgot  //  Boots - Call It Spring  //  Tights - HUE

*This post will be aimed at bloggers specifically. Apologies*

Ignorance is not a legal excuse.  The giveaways we blogger run are legally called sweepstakes.  That's the category they fall under, and daily I see tweets from bloggers promoting their giveaways and when I visit their site it's yet another illegal giveaway that could have them facing fines or other legal penalties.  Please I beg you, please become more educated.  If you participate in a group giveaway by donating a prize etc. but didn't organize it, you are still liable.

I'll tell you the dead giveaway *pardon the pun* that it is illegal:  mandatory entries.  Legally a sweepstakes can not have purchase necessary entries, and under the law, the requirement of liking/following/leaving a comment  etc. *basically use of your time* constitutes a 'purchase necessary' or consideration entry, and that places you in the illegal lottery catergory.  Therefore, if you see mandatory entries, chances are other laws are also being broken.

For instance, in Canada in addition to the no mandatory entries law, you must include a skill testing mathematical question as one of the entries.  That's why you'll see on my giveaways the option to enter by answering 5+5=  *or something similar*  It has to be skill testing and it has to be included as part of the no purchase necessary entry options.

Weird, I know, but I'm not here to question the law right now, I'm here to plead with you to please educate yourself because a blog and giveaway is not worth getting fined or facing fraud charges.  Please, please, educate yourself as to the laws and the the risks you face.

It took me a few months of research and education to become confident enough to start offering sweepstakes on my site again.  Being educated makes me know that I'm not going to faces charges because of my blog.

Please read your federal laws. 

*Update:  Upon further investigation, I've learned that anyone who enters these giveaways runs the risk of facing illegal gambling charges!*

24 thoughts:

  1. That's a great article. I don't know all the rules myself and I had been hearing about this off and on for a while. I run a direct sales business and the team I'm on had been discussing this topic briefly at our last meeting. Thanks for sharing and I'll pass it on!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. Yeah, I feel that people are taking a huge risk with some of these giveaways. I just wish people would protect themselves and their sites.

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  2. I'm still surprised that so many bloggers are not running their giveaways properly, because it seems like there's been quite a bit of education and publicity recently over the actual laws involved. I still don't have the full picture, but I know enough to recognize when someone is doing something blatantly illegal...and for now I just choose not to host any giveaways or participate in any.

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    1. That's probably a good call. Unless you've researched and you're confident, it's probably better to err on the side of caution.

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  3. this is why I don't do giveaways on my blog ever anymore.

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  4. okay so i haven't been online in a while and i'm totally just catching up on your blog so sorry for all the comments you'll receive right now from me! haha

    also thanks for this giveaway heads up. i totally had no idea! i haven't gotten to a point where i have even thought about hosting giveaways but it's still good to know the law. i would have never even thought about it honestly if it weren't for this post!

    also in other news, i love that dress on you! looks so good!

    --Leeds
    at this volume

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, it's important to get educated and a lot of bloggers are really exposing themselves.

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  5. Thanks for this Jo! I am JUST about to host the first "give-away" on my site (www.glutendairyfreedom.com) and I'm reading this JUST in time! I'll be sure to follow the guidelines to the best of my ability, and if I may bug you before I post to get your expert opinion, I'd be very grateful! (and cook you dinner!)
    Cheers!

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  6. Hmmm... this is so interesting! I had no idea that those type of giveaways were illegal. I don't do giveaways (my blog is really small) but I've always wondered about these type of things. I just more thought it was weird that people make you "follow" them to enter a giveaway - I try not to participate in those. Anyway, now my mind is kind of blow. Seriously, thanks for sharing.

    Oh and I love that dress!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. To clarify it's okay to have those entries as options, just not mandatory, and as long as you state clearly that those entries are not necessary to qualify to win. It's a tricky thing, that's why it's important to get educated.

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  7. hi Joanna! I found this post very informative. I didn't know half of this. I also loved how you worded it. Very assertive of you and well done. It isn't always easy stating a firm point without stepping on toes. You did it very well.

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    1. Thanks. And if I can't step on toes on my own blog space, where can I do it right ? ;)

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  8. Really interesting. I just play at blogging, but often feel I should get 'serious' and do this sort of thing. You've helped cement my dedication to just having a small, personal, non-giveaway, non-sponsor kind of blog (lost in the ether in other words, ha ha). Thanks.

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    1. Oh I would never write this to discourage you from running a giveaway. I just want to encourage everyone to understand the laws so as not to put themselves in any sort of jeopardy.

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  9. I've tried so many times to educate other bloggers on their 50+ mandatory entries & how it's illegal & most respond with something catty or bitchy- like I'm butting in & don't know what I'm talking about. Glad to see I'm not the only one concerned about this. I've had to drop out from a few group giveaways because the blogger hosting it refused to remove the mandatory entries & other nonsense. So annoying.

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    1. OMG!! Yes! I've had the same thing. And I fully believe in karma, one day that illegal giveaway will cost them a criminal record, legal fees and possibly jail time. The follwers are SOOOOOOO not worth the risk!!

      Stand strong!

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    2. lol @ you thinking that bloggers will start getting criminal records/legal fees/possible jail time.

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    3. Actually, the idea that they will face fines is not ridiculous - especially as they enter the realm of business when they take payment and products for giveaways. And the fine is a result of a fraud charge which by it's very nature creates a criminal record. Just as a parking ticket creates a police record that stays on your file.

      Even if you think it's improbable, the fact is that it's still breaking the law and is it really worth the risk? Especially when it's so easy to do it legally without any risk to you or your readers?

      It's laziness to do it illegally, because you don't want to educate yourself.

      Delete
  10. It's pretty simple to do one easy entry on the giveaway. I don't see why that isn't a more common practice.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Exactly. That's the thing that troubles me, is that it's easy to do. So really it's just laziness about not getting educated. Because once you do, it's easy to run it legally.

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  11. I actually didn't know this, thank you!

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    1. Many people don't and it's rather unfortunate. I'm glad I could help!

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Let me know your thoughts!

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