Apprentice Game: Get Rich with Trump*

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.

Krispy Kreme: A Family Vacation for Life*

Krispy Kreme Vacation Sweepstakes t

Sweet. Krispy Kreme is holding a sweepstakes and the top prize is a family vacation for life.  Assuming a 35 year old husband and wife and two kids won, adding up airfare and hotels for the next 40 years would be quite expensive… so what a valuable prize this is.  Or is it?

*MOUSE PRINT: “Ownership one week timeshare at a nationally recognized vacation club based in Orlando, FL and $5000 …”  Alternatively, you can take $15,000 instead of the timeshare and $5000. [Newspaper insert April 2, 2006]

Who would have expected that the prize was really a timeshare? Also, note that airfare is not part of your vacation.  You will surely use up your $5000 pretty quickly on that, and on maintenance fees normally charged on timeshares.  And, unless you always want to vacation in Orlando, there may be extra charges to swap your week for a week in another location.


P.S.  You don’t have to buy a dozen donuts to get a game ticket. You can just ask for one with no purchase necessary.