Promotional competitions expired but still luring in sales

I recently bought 2 chocolate bars from United Petrol station because the attached advertisement on the stand said I could win a prize- some free petrol or a car.It said correctly that petrol vouchers were won at 5 per day so I thought the chances were fairly good. When I looked it up to enter online - I found that it’s all finished - entries closed last year in 2016. This is hardly worth filing a refund request but the profits/sales they make from this expired advertising would be large even considering that the bars are sold at a discount.
There was no competition information on the wrapper at all. Is it fair that consumers have to read the fine print even when queuing to pay for petrol or should retailers take down the misleading signs when a prize competition is over? A very small personal loss but multiply this by 500,000 odd consumers… I still feel ripped off.


How annoying @paulcg3. Whether it’s a case of lazy merchandising or a deliberate attempt to make a misrepresentation, it’s against the rules (there is guidance on most state and territory trading sites). If you go past this place again you could raise it with the manager - as you say, over the course of time the numbers build up.


It seems that all sorts of retailers break rules because they know that no regulators are roaming to inspect them. The manager would probably rarely visit as cheap labour operate 24 hrs convenience/petrol store. They are often stuck at the till and don’t bother to write price tickets or signs for their hot food- you have get staff to scan each individually to find out what they’ll cost you. The store is my local in Warragul but why do consumers and Choice have to make retailers etc. responsible - shouldn’t government bodies have enough inspectors to keep them in line?


It depends on how one perceives government. One side thinks government should protect us, and the other is convinced we should protect ourselves but window dressing is important. The latter gets lots of votes.

Oh, the freedom to be deceived and ripped off… And the freedom to make profit via deception. The nanny state needs nanny to get home quickly as the naughty brats are stealing toys and all the biscuits.!:stuck_out_tongue:

I lived in a small country town and often saw competitions on wrappers (not on signs) which, on inspection, had expired. This was “new” stock, so can only surmise that distributors sent excess to the back blocks rather than higher volume city locations. The other is that it had a discounted wholesale price to move old stock. Regardless, it meant the product was many months less than “fresh”. Winning wasn’t a motivator for me as I realised most would be expired, or had prizes I could not redeem eg gift card for personal shopping only when the nearest store is 16hrs drive away.

As for inspectors - we can note the breach - take it up with the store, chain, regulatory authorities and keep them honest. Rather than increase tax to pay for an army of shop inspectors, mobilise consumers.


If you wish to purchase something then do it because

  1. You need it
  2. You like that particular brand/model
    If you are swayed by the remote possibility of winning a gift then you have been manipulated and you never really needed the item in the first place.

One would have expected the petrol station to remove the holder outlining the competition at the closing date…otherwise it is deceptive to anyone making a purchase at the shop.

I never enter promotional competitions as it invariably results in unwanted contact from marketers or what I consider spam (unsolicited emails from the company or others)…both often outined in the competition T&Cs if one takes time to read them.

One also often doesn’t know if prizes were actually won either.

You mentioned wrappers…I have noticed (purely for interest) that many competitions may only run for a few months whereby the products shelf life may be many months more than the closing date for the competition. Many of fhe wrapper labelled competition products are then sold at a discount after the competion closes…which is good rather than the product becoming a waste.


It’s not easy to complain in a convenience/ petrol station when there’s a que of people in a hurry to pay for their petrol. The staff don’t really care.
In this instance the wrappers were not specially marked in any way so I would have relied on the reciept (which I was not offered at checkout) as well as product (barcode?)number . The product was fresh enough but the prize aspect missing. I guess the store manager might remove the sign if I complain but is it easy to report to a body that can fine or punish in some way? It’s Cadbury via another company (possibly Mendolez) that run the comp.

mikebribie, that would be fair enough(the manipulation etc.) if they provided what was advertised after I paid for it. As it turned out,it went beyond manipulation to false advertising.

I’ve removed outdated/irrelevant signs from displays in a couple of stores, and handed them in to a staff member.
I figure, someone needs to do it.

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Haha, good on you. I thought of drawing a white line through the right part of the sign. But I don’t want to get thrown out. Politely handing in the signs makes it seem like they should thank you, hehe.

Sounds sneaky. Let the ACCC know.

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I personally would “read the fine print even when queuing to pay for petrol”, if the competition was the only reason I intended to buy the thing.

Yes, it’s a good idea. I’m not sure there was any info about expiry dates available as the wrappers weren’t labeled for the competition and I only found details by googling the United petrol name and the choc bar name. The sign had no details of dates either except 5 prizes per day, $100 petrol vouchers etc. One doesn’t always have their detective suspicions at 100% . I go there for cheap petrol but they don’t even bother putting price tickets on their hot food- you have to scan at the register to find the price.:unamused: Incidentally I saw an article about them price gouging on petrol too so perhaps a bad business all round.
Ps. To claim prizes you needed two wrappers and receipt. I wasn’t given a receipt ,lol.

I was hungry and thought the odds of winning were reasonable - 5prizes
given per day. Unfortunately my low blood sugar meant that my defences were down . I gave it careful consideration or so I thought. The convenience of convenience stores can be very inconvenient at times. (considering they often have no toilets)

In June I received a birthday card with a $5 Scratchy card inside. On examination there was the usual scratch and win section but it also had a promotion as an extra advert for a chance to win seats in the 2016 AFL Grand final.
Now I must admit I thought that was a bit much in June 2017. I returned the ticket to the newsagent where it was purchased stating that this seemed a bit old.
The explanation was that the regular prizes did not expire I asked for a replacement but he did say scratch it first you never know and indeed it won $10. He simply did not understand that my view was what if I won the tickets to a game that was long over.

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I returned to the store ready to photograph the offending promotional display. Unfortunately a new promotion has replaced it. I told the shop attendant how I was mislead and he laughed until I told him I didn’t think it was funny when I had spent my money due to false advertising. He became quieter and more respectfully mumbled something vaguely apologetic. I had no proof so walked out. Not sure there’s a point telling the ACCC without proof in hand.

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Late October 2017 I bought a packet of Oreo Original biscuits from my local supermarket. It was in a promotional position in their cardboard boxes. I saw “Dunk for Your Chance to Win”. That wasn’t my reason for buying, it was because they were on special at $0.99. At home I read the fine print. The biscuits were manufactured 11 Jan 2017, the competition started in February & finished in March, they were still for sale in October, the use-by date was Jan 2018. The promotional position (on a separate stand near the end of an aisle) may have been for their “special” price, but the competition notice was equally prominent - and they were 10 month old biscuits. I didn’t take it up with the management, after all it is the manufacturer who obviously provided too many packets, way beyond what they could sell in 2 months, and their distribution centre who I suspect send their older product to country stores.


I would say that is why they were on special…end of promotion period and the store getting rid of old stock cheaply.

It is also important to look at any promotional labeling prior to purchase if one is making a purchase decision based on the promotion.