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May 8, 2006

Apprentice Game: Get Rich with Trump*

Filed under: Sweepstakes — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:31 am

Get Rich with Trump smallIf you are addicted to NBC’s Apprentice, you may be eager to try to win $10,000 by predicting which wannabe should be fired by the end of the show each week. To that end,the program created a “Get Rich with Trump” game inviting you to text message the letter of the loser to a particular number while the show is on the air.  They then hold a drawing amongst all entries, and one lucky person wins $10,000.

*MOUSE PRINT: What is not orally disclosed during each presentation of the game promo are two key facts in the mouse print:  (1) each text message you send costs 99 cents plus any text messages charges levied by your cell company, and (2) you can play the game for free by visiting  [Oral disclosure is only made during the first promo of the evening, and not during the subsequent three other ones. NBC Apprentice, May 1, 8, 2006]

Under state and federal law, a company cannot charge a price for the chance of a prize (the definition of a “lottery”) unless they also offer a “no purchase necessary” means of entry.  That is why NBC offers the web option, but certainly does not disclose its availability prominently.

The fee to play the game probably will come as a surprise to many people who call in, since in most presentations of the promotion, there is no oral disclosure of the price.  The newness of text messaging services poses a problem for existing laws, like the FTC’s “Pay Per Call” rule.  Those requirements which mandate oral disclosure of the price of a call were designed primarily for calls to 900 numbers.  It may be time to update the rules to include text messaging services as well.

“Get Rich with Trump” is more likely to make its promoters rich(er) rather than you.

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  1. I have no interest in defending the show but it must have been disclosed on the show as I was aware of the charge for text messaging and also the ability to do it with no cost on line.

    Comment by Sylvia Lambert — May 8, 2006 @ 12:18 pm
  2. Yes, I remember seeing the blurb to enter before commercials of the Apprentice. Not interested in entering because of the millions of viewers who purportedly watch the show, I did not pay close attention to Trump’s sweepstakes blurb. But, I do know that NBC’s Deal or No Deal has the same kind of Sweepstakes promotion going on – at least in the beginning of when the show aired, the announcer actually said you can enter for free by going ontghe website and then of course I had to track the fine print in the seconds that followed for the web address. Because Deal or No Deal did a fair job in at least announced the option I was alert

    Comment by allison donovan — May 10, 2006 @ 1:47 am
  3. Deal or No Deal does the same thing

    Comment by EAA — May 11, 2006 @ 1:12 am
  4. I knew about the charges and about how to do it for free.
    My brain immediately caught on to the fact that they are
    probably making a boat load more than the $10K they’re giving
    away. I don’t like the misleading nature of only disclosing
    the charges the first time, they should be required to announce
    it all the time – what if someone begins watching after the
    first airing, they would have no idea – unless they’re like the
    growing number of skeptics out there – who know there’s nothing
    for free!!

    Comment by Kimberly Rabideau — May 12, 2006 @ 2:30 pm
  5. Does this mean I can run a lottery if I give a option to enter for free.
    How about an internet lottery $.99 to enter via the internet and free with mail-in form.
    Who’s going to bother mailing a form.

    Plus NBC doesn’t disclose who is in charge of picking the winner.
    A possible great scam!
    I could do well!

    Comment by Robert Redstone — September 26, 2006 @ 9:33 am
  6. NBC does disclose who will pick the winner, you need to read the full rules.
    Those rules can be found on-line, as you cannot possibly have all of it printed on a television screen.

    Comment by peter — September 26, 2006 @ 4:12 pm
  7. I think the real trick may be how they allow access to the Web site. I tried to log on to enter because I was dubious about the “free entry” option. Sure enough, with 15 solid minutes of trying to enter I couldn’t get my form to submit.

    Comment by Bryan — September 26, 2006 @ 5:20 pm
  8. I sincerely do have a “real” beef about these Internet Sweepstakes/contests.
    Since i actually run FIREFOX web browser, i do NOT have Java Script Enabled..thus not having access to some of these “contests” such as with the Maxwell House Coffee…& a couple of other ones, Including teh Coke promotion & as well as numerous others that employe Macromedias “Flash”
    it would be nice if they would offer other web options other than using flash, which is a SERIOUS security issue in & itself…i can only assume that NBC also employed MM’s flash with the above named “Sweepstakes” back in May which was indeed during those wonderful “sweeps” viewing period…gotta hook ya with sort of damn “contest” Ugh…
    ( /. reader too!) 😉

    Comment by Randall...... — September 26, 2006 @ 6:10 pm
  9. There is still a trick that hasn’t really been mentioned. I have watched Deal or No Deal many times, so I know how their system was set up. You could enter up to ten times, choosing a single case from 1 to 6, so you would need to enter at least SIX times just for a guaranteed (slim) chance to win, as only one of the six cases contained the prize money. That’s six bucks minimum plus carrier charges. Judging from the Get Rich with Trump photo above, the system appears to be similar, except you need to enter EIGHT times for ONE guaranteed chance for a prize. There goes at least nine dollars if you don’t have a text messaging plan.

    Now, on Deal or No Deal, they ran the promo to enter just before every commercial break, and during the first one, the announcer did say that you could enter online for free, and there was a line of text above all the rules with the website address. However, for the rest of the show, that was never announced vocally agaihon, and I believe that the website address was also dropped from the fine print too, but I’m a little fuzzy on that part.

    Needless to say, these people never got a dime from me! 😛 I would love to see some numbers on how many people entered and how they entered, but that won’t happen anytime soon. I can also confirm the problems entering online, as for one whole show of Deal or No Deal, the site kept saying that we can only enter during a show, and to please come back later.

    Comment by Matt L — October 7, 2006 @ 10:13 pm
  10. The show air’s at diffrent times, depending on the time zone. If the show aired first in the east, then a winner would already have been selected by the time it aired on the west. Free Money!

    Comment by JOHN D — October 26, 2006 @ 9:57 pm
  11. hey all. Last night i sent a text message to Get Rich With Trump and i
    picked the right contender. at the end of the show my state and city was
    displayed as a winner. i read all the rules and regulation on the website but
    i cannot seem to find out if i am the real winner. On the NBC site under
    the rules it has this link to go and check all the winners
    as you all may see clicking this link gives me no info. Now, i am a little
    suspicious weather this is a scam or not? anybody knows how i can find out
    the names of the winners from last night? thank you

    Comment by George — March 5, 2007 @ 11:16 am

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