Image found here via Google Images.One of the things I have learned in my recent experience as a blogger, product reviewer, and giveaway host is that readers really do take the time to enter contests and giveaways. Readers invest their own time to comment, tweet, post links on Facebook, tell their friends and family about all these amazing products, and promote these products and companies. They help grow small businesses, increase their fan base, and basically tout how wonderful these businesses are.
Barring postal strikes (Canada Post, please return services to the masses! I miss receiving my mail) and the occasional delay in getting prizes out to contest winners, I have had an amazing experience working with all the companies that have been so great in sponsoring contests and giveaways. I love all the companies I've worked with and believe in their products. I have been fortunate to have no complaints whatsoever...except for one recent incident.
Of course, I am not going to publicly name this business or say anything slanderous about anyone. That is not how I am and I don't believe in publicly dissing anyone. It's just that when so many people have taken the time to enter a contest and help promote one's business, one would think that the prize would be honoured.
The contest winner was announced, I got the winner and the sponsor in touch via e-mail and Facebook. A prize was to be shipped out and the winner was very happy and excited. Weeks passed, and nada. Nothing. E-mail messages were left without replies, and the winner asked me if I could look into it. I followed up with the sponsor, and still no word. Finally, the sponsor said that she had been busy. Then she had e-mail issues. I gave her the benefit of the doubt and followed up, making sure things were still good with the winner's prize. Yes, all was good.
Weeks followed, and still no prize. Once again, the winner contacted the sponsor. The sponsor had lost the winner's mailing address and choices for her prize. She would send it as soon as possible.
A few more weeks and still nothing. The winner contacted the sponsor again. She asked me to follow up once more. Nothing. No acknowledgement of the messages we had sent. It came to a point where I felt uncomfortable and as if we were harassing or hounding the sponsor and it should not have to be that way.
The winner got fed up (ummm...that's a very mild way of putting it!) and sent a final message to the sponsor, stating that it was fine and that she no longer wanted the prize. I felt awful that the winner had given the time to enter the contest and had not received her prize. I even offered to send her some chocolate from the Island as a token of my appreciation for even entering the contest. I felt awful that she had to experience that whole ordeal.
Needless to say, both the winner and I have "unliked" (Ha! Shouldn't it be "disliked"?!?) the sponsor's page on Facebook and will never ever be making any purchases from this sponsor. Not only did the not honouring the prize part leave a bad taste in our mouths, but the customer service was horrible. Wait. There was no customer service!
On the flip side, I realize it is a lot of work to be a mompreneur and to run a small business. I understand that sponsoring giveaways requires one to spend money in order to build a fan base or increase sales. I know that many moms who run businesses have full time families and a zillion other things to do.
All I am saying is that if you approach someone to run a review and giveaway, please honour your word and send the winner of your contest his/her prize. They enter these giveaways in good faith. They invest their time and show interest in your products and services. These are people who are possibly future customers. Is this the way one treats their customers?
*Edited to add: We have recently learned that the sponsor has had numerous complaints similar to ours by people who have made purchases from her. A) She hadn't replied to messages from buyers, B) Many people hadn't received their products (which they had paid for!), C) Many people have just said to forget it and send them their refunds, etc...