The Hershey Co. is facing criticism from a consumer advocate and former Massachusetts assistant attorney general for possible violation of state and federal laws in conjunction with a new sweepstakes it is offering on packs of Reese’s peanut butter cups, according to an Associated Press news report.
The on-package promotion tells consumers they could win $25,000 and that details on the promotion were found inside the package, which Edgar Dworsky — who also runs a consumer advocacy web site — contests forces consumers to purchase and open the package to find out that no purchase is necessary to enter the sweepstakes. Sweepstakes, the news report says, are primarily governed by state laws and require the “no purchase necessary” caveat — if purchase is required, that makes the contest a “lottery,” thus subject to different rules.
Hershey said earlier this week that its web site contains full details on the sweepstakes and that some packages have QR codes with a link for consumers to get the additional details on the promotion. It also stated that in-store displays included details on how to enter the sweepstakes without making any purchase.
Dworsky claimed some candy displays in California, Virginia and Washington contained no such details. An AP reporter in Michigan also claimed that a package purchased did not have a QR code no any information on in-store signage.
Dworsky believes the products should be recalled and the packaging fixed to fall in line with a true sweepstakes and make the rules of “no purchase necessary” absolutely clear to consumers.