(This will make more sense if you you read Part 1!)
Of course, life doesn’t always run smoothly and sometimes prizes don’t get shipped or get lost in the post.. I do follow up, if that happens, by email, but sometimes things just don’t show. If this happens to you – you’ve waited the 4-6 weeks or so, and no happy package in the mail, here’s what I do to follow up. (If it wasn't a blog contest, skip to step 3!)
- I first email the blogger who ran the giveaway, including the ‘you’re a winner’ email, and explain that you have been waiting for the prize but it hasn’t come. Be polite. Be patient. Be understanding. The blogger, after all, usually isn’t the one who sends the prize out –it’s usually the sponsor who is responsible for shipping. So she has to get in touch with the sponsor, wait to hear back, get back to you… and she’s got other stuff going on in her life.
- If you don’t hear back within a week or so, drop her another quick note. Say you’re just following up. Be nice.
- If you still don’t hear back, try contacting the company that sponsored the giveaway (if there is one). Look for the email address of Customer Care, or PR on their website. Include your previous emails with the blogger. Explain the situation. If you have a blog, you might want to mention that you’d be happy to review the product (if it comes!) on your blog (only if you’re actually going to). Again, be nice.
Here are some of my disappointments from 2009 – things I won that never came:
- I won some Japanese fabrics from Lovely Little Handmades back in February that didn’t come. I was pretty excited about the fabric because I do love sewing. I am pretty sure Kerri was shipping them herself, and if they got lost in the mail I can totally understand not wanting to get more fabric and pay again for shipping.
- I won a Bazzle Big Bib from Mommy’s Quiet Time in April. Stefanie (the blogger) was so nice and kept re-contacting the company, who promised to send it out asap, but… it never came. Eventually I felt like it wasn’t worth bothering Stefanie any more – it wasn’t her fault – and just gave up.
- I won a Kleen Kanteen from Dexter’s Super Savvy Mommy in April, but when I sent my address in response to the ‘you won!’ email, I got the message that the company wasn’t shipping to Canada. The giveaway rules didn’t exclude Canada (or I wouldn’t have entered, obviously). That was a little disappointing.
- I won an audio book at A Novel Bookworm in June, from Hachette audio, which never came. I did follow up but with no result. I was looking forward to that because I listen to audio books at work all the time.
- Also in June, I won three items from Womb to Bloom (one through the forums, two in a live giveaway event): a Sweet Pea baby hat, PSI band, and a hospital maternity gown. None of which ever came. I did try following up with the forum moderators, who at first assured me they would look into it and also said they’d send them out personally, but I still didn’t receive anything and they stopped responding to my (very polite and patient) messages. A triple disappointment!
- In June again, I won Posh Pads (nursing pads) from A Kindred Spirit’s Thoughts. I got to the point of contacting one of the company owners, who told me that they have trouble shipping to Canada as “things get lost” (in my experience, mainly, they don’t… international shipping, as a business owner who ships frequently, and as a recipient, has been incredibly reliable). She said they were sent the first time, she said she’d send another set, but… nothing came.
- A Clene changing mat from Bellaziza’s Favourite Things. Again not the fault of the blogger, this just never came from the sponsor. I wasn't even sure who the sponsor was so it was hard to follow up (the product links led to the Amazon page).
I just want to mention that although I was disappointed in not receiving these prizes, I don't hold the bloggers responsible. No hard feelings! The sponsors are generally the ones who didn't come through for me, and whether things really did get lost in the post, or just didn't get sent, I would have hoped that they would have responded positively to my messages and followed through. I know prizes aren't a company's first priority. But if you're going to sponsor a contest (and get the word of mouth promotion from that), you should be prepared to hold up your end. A happy winner spreads the word - I know I do on my blog!
And if any of these sponsors should end up reading this - get in touch! I'd love to take you off the 'naughty' list and let my readers know that you did come through!
Meanwhile I do have one more long-term prize that finally showed up - I won an Expectees shirt at Things Moms Like in July, and it finally came in December, after several emails. It's cute. (And I am certainly hoping that 'practice makes pregnant' so that I can wear it with pride!)
Ultimately, out of 113 contests won, I didn’t receive 8 prizes. It’s not so bad.
Have you ever been left hanging by a prize not received?