Conducting a Background Check on a Winner — Is It Necessary?
This week’s blog on running a background check was contributed by one of our Account Supervisors, Cheryl Thornton.
From time to time the topic of running a background check on a winner is discussed with our clients. There are number of factors to consider before determining if a background check is applicable for a promotion. We guide our clients by asking what their goals or needs are, along with the nature and value of their prize or prizes. For example, if they include a meet and greet with a celebrity, an on-field experience at major sporting events, a million dollar check, or marketing plans to promote the winners to the media, a background check is highly recommended. It is important that you engage a professional investigative agency and comply with the specific regulations concerning background checks.
Once it is determined that a background check is needed prior to the start of the promotion, then specific language is needed to be included within the Official Rules. The language should be very clear and precise so that a consumer understands that a background check is required and the ramifications explained in detail in the event of an unfavorable report. The consumer must be aware of this stipulation prior to entering the sweepstakes. Once the drawing is conducted and potential winners are ready to be notified, additional forms are needed to send along with the standard affidavits, etc. to the potential winners as you need written consent from them in order to conduct the background check.
So now you are wondering what happens once the background checks are completed and results known. Well, if the results are favorable then a Sponsor proceeds with their plans to promote the winner or winners. If, on the other hand, it is not a favorable report, then it would depend on what is disclosed in the Official Rules. If the rules state that the Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any Entrant based on the results of such background check, then the potential winner may be disqualified. If the rules are not specific then the Sponsor can still award the prize but not promote the winner or winners. In either case, you want to know who is representing your brand and avoid any unnecessary bad press.
Marden-Kane works with several professional investigative agencies in the United States, and one that also conducts background checks for international winners. If you need our help to run a background check or draft Official Rules, please contact us. We are here to help you with your promotional needs.
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