An eBay user took to the community to express concerns and frustration over a recent experience with an eBay Motors contest on Instagram.
EBay Motors ran a picture contest on Instagram which claimed that ten grand prize winners would each win $10,000 worth of auto parts from eBay Motors.
My wife was one of those grand prize winners. We were so excited.
That was about three months ago. She was contacted by aBay, told she was one of the grand prize winners and that she would receive the one part listed in her submission-worth maybe $1,000.
The rules very clearly stated that if the selected part was of a value less than $10,000 the winner would be able to select additional parts up to the total stated value of the prize-$10,000.
The documentation she signed said the prize was worth $10,000, the contest advertising clearly states it’s a $10,000 prize and the rules of their contest say the prize is $10,000 yet eBay has refused to honor their own contest rules.
They added additional details, stating at least one other winner also did not receive the $10,000 value of the prize and pointing to a possible reason - fine print that gives eBay sole discretion.
The names of the winners were posted online, and one of them actually found my wife on Facebook. He's getting a pair of headlights worth a couple hundred bucks!! If anything he's madder than I am.
The contest said it was for a total of $100,000 ($10,000 for each of ten winners).
All the advertising said the winner would receive $10,000 in parts, the rules they sent her clearly state that if the part selected is worth less than $10,000 the winner will be able to select additional parts that add up to $10,000. The document the originally sent my wife said the prize was worth $10,000. So they contact her and say they will ship her one part worth maybe $1,000.
But they have five weasel words in the rules that get them off the hook legally "at the sponsors sole discretion".
Basically, they lied in the advertising, the rules, the legal document she signed and then "at their sole discretion" told us all the other words in the rules mean nothing, because it's at their discretion.
It looks like eBay partnered with Prize Logic for this sweepstakes and the terms and conditions do include that "at the sponsor's sole discretion" language (emphasis mine).
Prizes (10): The prize is a car part from eBay Motors valued up to $10,000. For a list of available parts visit https://www.ebay.com/g/mygarage and
The ARV of each prize is up to $10,000. If selected car part is under $10,000, winner will be able to select additional car parts up to $10,000 in total value, based on availability and in Sponsors sole discretion.
If all selected car parts are under $10,000 winner will not receive the
difference in value. If selected car part(s) is no longer available, winner will receive a gift card for the value of the part selected, as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion.
No exchanges or returns will be allowed once parts are selected. There will be ten (10) prizes available in this Sweepstakes.
Prize Logic has a 1.95/5 customer rating on the Better Business Bureau with many complaints about not receiving prizes.
While it certainly seems within eBay's prerogative to exercise their discretion in this situation, I can understand why winners would be disappointed.
If the goal of such sweepstakes competitions is to gain positive PR and further CEO Jamie Iannone's strategy to win over high value buyers in the focus verticals, disgruntled winners left feeling ripped off does not seem like a rousing success.