Winning a contest or sweepstakes is one of the greatest feelings in the world, except when the time comes to collect your prize money. More often than not, prize money takes forever to get, but there are a few things you can do to speed along the process.
Here’s a look at a few ways to get fast payment on prize money you’ve won from a college, radio station, or other source.
1. Find out the tax reporting scheme of the contest. They may need to wait until the end or beginning of a certain quarter to give you your prize money; if this is the case, there’s not too much that you can really do, and nine times out of ten there was a condition written in to the entry form of the contest that stipulated that you’d have to wait. However, once you find out when the prize money release date is, you can begin calling the people running the contest, giveaway, etc. if your money is more than a week late past the prospective pay date.
2. Call several people. To get your money as quickly as possible, you’re going to have to call a few people, for instance the person who’d arranged the contest, giveaway, etc. and maybe the general manager of the company or institution that owes you. If several institutions sponsored the prize, call all of them. Try to be a bit of a pain, as that’s what gets things moving, sadly enough. With that being said, don’t call more than twice a day, or you could be accused of harassment.
3. If you get no response, talk to the newspaper. Newspapers are cheaper than lawyers, and they’re usually more effective when you’re trying to track down some prize money that you’re owed. Email a local news station, either print or TV media, and tell them your story–feel free to copy your contact that owes you money on the email, too. You might also give them a call to explain the situation. Local news stations in particular are very interested in little-man-gets-a-raw-deal type stories, and many local news stations have a consumer report department that’s ideal for getting your problem out there.
4. Use the Internet. You can also post a blog or comments on the website of any place that owes you prize money, telling everyone about the bum deal you’ve gotten. As soon the institution that owes you hears that the word’s out, they’ll get to the bottom of the problem and pay you in a hurry to prevent a PR disaster.
Have you had a bad experience trying to get prize money? Tell your story in the comments section below.