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$25,000 promotion from Reese's may be in violation of sweepstakes laws

The issue was first reported by a consumer advocate who worked in government in Massachusetts and is behind the website Consumer World.
$25,000 promotion from Reese's may be in violation of sweepstakes laws
Posted at 6:20 PM, Oct 16, 2023

A $25,000 contest from Reese's may be in violation of U.S. sweepstakes law. 

The contest, which ends in January 2024, offers players the chance to win $25,000 in athletic scholarships, and says there is no athletic ability required to participate. The Hershey Company, owner of Reese's, says "it’s not really a scholarship. It's just straight-up cash."

A consumer advocate who is a former assistant attorney general from Massachusetts flagged the possible issue. Edgar Dworsky is the person behind the website Consumer World.

Dworsky noticed that consumers would not be made aware that there is no purchase necessary until they buy the peanut butter cups and open the package to read the small print inside of the wrapper. 

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According to U.S. sweepstakes laws, there is a requirement that companies make the consumer aware that there is no purchase necessary to participate.

Agencies including the Federal Communications Commission, the U.S. Postal Service and the Federal Trade Commission take part in enforcing sweepstakes laws in the United States, and the FTC specifically has laws that focus on what is known as deceptive or unfair acts. 

Dworsky said, “You never have to pay to play. All these packages should be recalled," the AP reported. 

On the Hershey Land website, it says "No purchase necessary," and says "Other limitations and restrictions apply."

Dworsky has been reporting on consumer issues and "shrinkflation," which he calls sneaky price increases in which products and packaging are manipulated in a way to cause consumers to receive less for the money they pay to purchase products. 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index found that grocery prices have spiked by 20%  in the last two years. That coupled with shrinkflation has put a real strain on consumer bank accounts.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated with the removal of a line that stated Dworsky acknowledged that a Reese's candy display he saw did say that there was "no purchase necessary." Dworsky said that was not the case, adding that a spot-check of displays in Massachusetts, Virginia, Washington state, and California did not have signs about "no purchase necessary." 

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