THE BUZZ: It’s easy to imagine how excited many people were when they found out they’d be winning a free PlayStation Vita via the recent Taco Bell promotion. Unfortunately, those winners may never receive the prize they were promised.
EGM’s TAKE: It sounded like a great deal: Go to Taco Bell, get a hearty lunch for $5, and then get the chance to win a Vita. Well, except for the part about actually eating the food you’re given—I can’t say I’m a huge fan of Taco Bell. But a free PlayStation Vita? I’m always up for that!
Except—a wrinkle has been thrown into all of that fun. Word has come out that a number of people who entered their codes and were told that they had won and now being told that they did not, in fact, win.
“Congratulations, you won. … No really, we’re not kidding,” Taco Bell’s site told visitors who entered winning codes. Unfortunately, it seems that they were in fact kidding. So why are winners suddenly being told that their winning codes are now invalid?
According to a CBS report in Sacramento, California, Taco Bell is now saying that “someone” tampered with their contest, which in turn made it so that too many people won. However, it won’t be just the people who tampered with the system who get punished—it’ll also be legitimate winners as well.
Any of those winners who have now been rejected will still have a chance to win a free Vita—just via a drawing that they will automatically be entered into. While it’s nice that they’ll still have a chance, going from being told you’ll be getting one of these hot new handheld gaming system absolutely free, to being told you’ll probably end up with absolutely nothing, has to be a pretty terrible feeling.
Here’s the official response from Taco Bell on the matter. What I’m wondering is how many people are now finding themselves being told that their wins were invalid. If it’s a small number, then Taco Bell’s parent company should just pony up the money to get those people Vitas. If it’s a much larger group—then we could be looking at a serious amount of backlash from this move.
“We have learned that during a short period of time on January 30th, some people entering our Unlock the Box promotion erroneously received a message suggesting they had won a PlayStation® Vita, pending verification. After a thorough investigation, and an additional review by the independent company administering the promotion, it was confirmed that these entrants viewed these messages as a result of others who attempted to gain illegal entry and defraud the system. Unfortunately, during this time period some saw a confirmation screen but were not valid winners. Taco Bell designed this sweepstakes to be fun for our consumers and we know that there are some disappointed fans. We are therefore giving those consumers who viewed erroneous messages a second chance to win by automatically entering them into a separate drawing to win a PS Vita. All winners will be notified and their names posted the week after the end of the promotion. The issue that occurred on January 30th has been resolved and the Unlock the Box promotion will continue to run through March 11, 2012.”
Source: CBS Sacramento