Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Taco Bell PSVita Sweeps Scam

Taco Bell is currently running a promotion entitled "Unlock the Box". They are instantly giving away 5000 Playstation Vita's. All you have to do purchase one of there $5.00 meal boxes, and then enter the code on the box at either or via text message. You are then informed if you won or not. This is not the case for several winners on January 30th, 2012, including myself.

I purchased one of there meal boxes Jan 30th on the way home from work. Later that evening I entered my code and was presented with a page stating "Congratulations! You WON! (pending verification) No really, we're not kidding." Winners were supposed to receive an email within 3 days verifying their win and asking which of 3 game choices they wanted shipped with their prize. Three days came and went with no email. Upon searching I found I was not the only one in this situation and found this group, Taco Bell (No Email) Winner Group. Several events happened over the coarse of the past 3 weeks. Calls were made and emails were sent with little to no reply other than "We'll get back to you in 2-3 days". They never did. Then on Feb 13th, some people finally received an answer.

We have received your inquiry and determined that you are not a valid winner. This was determined by checking the information (i.e. code, email address, cell phone, name, etc.) you gave us with your inquiry to the data in our system's records.
The decisions of the judges are final.

This baffled several members of the Facebook group, especially those who had entered by Text Message and had the winning message directly from Taco Bell still on their phones

Note: This is not my phone, but a pic from the Facebook group.

After more phone calls people who received this letter were told it was sent out in error, and some were even told they should of gotten the winning email.

During all of this news sites were contacted. Articles were written. A segment even aired on a local CBS affiliate in Sacramento, Ca.

The above segment aired on Feb 21, 2012. The following day a mass email was sent out to everyone who had given their information as Jan 30th winners to Taco Bell. The email stated,

Thank you again for contacting Taco Bell regarding your entry in the Unlock the Box Promotion and voicing your concern.  A thorough investigation was initiated since our last contact with you.

We learned that during a period of time on January 30, 2012 some people entering the promotion erroneously viewed 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 or accessed them directly as a result of technical issues created by outside attempts by others to gain illegal entry and defraud the system.  Unfortunately, these entrants were not valid winners. 

Taco Bell designed this sweepstakes to be fun for consumers and knows you are a disappointed fan.  We are therefore giving you and other consumers who may have viewed these erroneous messages on January 30 an additional chance to win.  You will be automatically entered into a separate drawing to win a PlayStation Vita.  The drawing will take place on March 21, 2012.  All winners will be notified directly by the week of March 27, 2012

Thank you for your understanding and participation. The issue that occurred on January 30 has been resolved and the Unlock the Box promotion will continue to run through March 11, 2012.


Ventura Associates
They say some how people using bot programs to enter random codes to try and win a Vita for the user of the bot, somehow caused random people to get winning screens when they really didn't win. I don't see the logic in that. The only way I can figure someone could cause tons of random people to get these screens is if someone hacked their system. But their own F.A.Q.s says they were not hacked. If someone knows how this could happen besides hacking, please elaborate.

So from beginning to end, Taco Bell told us we were winners. Then accidentally told some us we were not winners. Then back to we are winners, and now telling us all we are really not winners. Oh, but to make it up they are going to have a random drawing for a couple of Vita's.

Of coarse this is just one of the problems they have had with this promotion. Taco Bell's own Facebook page there is daily mention of people buying the box and then being told their code has already been used. There is iPhone/Android game you can play and win a Vita as well. Some people have received winning messages only to get the message that they must be connected to the internet to submit the form despite being connected via 3G or WiFi. The promotion agency in charge of this sweepstakes, Ventura Associates, has done a poor job of handling this from the start.

So that's whats happened up until now. Whats your take on the situation. Is Taco Bell in the right? Or should people who entered a legitimate code, and even have proof (I kept my box), that got a winning screen be awarded the prize they thought they won?


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