Competition Time – Molly Hackett’s Six Top Tips For Avoiding Legal Issues

Holding promotions on social media platforms can be a brilliantly cost-effective way for a business to market its products or services. It can engage current and new customers, increase brand awareness and sales, and create a “talking point” for your followers. Here Molly Hackett offers her six top tips for avoiding legal issues.


Make sure it is a “prize” or “competition” and genuinely free to enter (to avoid holding an illegal lottery!)

If you are holding a competition, add in a skill or some form of qualification that stops everyone from either entering in the first place or from eventually winning the competition. Any skill selected should not involve guessing the outcome of a race or a football match to ensure it steers clear of being seen as a “regulated activity”.

Entry to a prize draw can be used as an incentive to buy a product or service, but a business that hikes up its prices to reflect the entry will fall foul of consumer law, if it does not give its customer an informed and alternative free route to entry. Thought should be given to your customer journey if using this type of promotion.


Clear and signposted T&Cs

Any terms that apply to your promotion must be clear and accessible at the point of the participant entering the promotion i.e., right by the key promotion terms or the “enter now!” button. The key terms should be covered on the face of the promotion – how to participate, closing dates, the nature and number of prizes, any restrictions and the availability. Don’t bury or small print!


Are you asking for personal data?

Think about your legal basis. If personal details are collected for the purpose of the running the promotion and, without any express consent given otherwise, can only be used within this remit and for no other purpose (such as further marketing!)

If you are wanting to use this data further, this must be clear so the participate can make a free and informed decision to hand this information over. Link in your privacy policy so participants can see how you use and handle their data should they wish.


Intellectual property and user-generated content

Are participants being asked to create their own content to be in with a shot of winning, such as coming up with their best product tag line, idea or design?

If so, you may need to consider any intellectual property rights belonging to the author that could automatically come into play, if you intend to use this in your own marketing or operations going forward.

Brands will very often ensure that any user generated content and intellectual property rights are assigned to the business in the T&Cs, which the participant will accept before taking part.


Social media platforms

Follow, like and tag to win”, “Retweet to win

Each social media platform has its own T&Cs – any restrictions on terms of ownership or use of user generated content need to be considered and complied with before pressing the “Publish” button.

Also, consider the effect of advertising the promotion across several platforms like TikTok, Instagram and Facebook, and how this will influence the audience’s understanding of the promotion. If you are advertising across multiple channels, this should be pointed out to the participate in the promotion.


Picking the winner

Have you thought about how you are picking the winner, and if so, is it fair?

The Advertising Standards Authority’s CAP Code advises the lucky winner must be chosen at random and by the “laws of chance”, by using a random number generator, or alternatively, an independent body.

You should also record and document how the winner is picked, so you can show that they won fair and square.


If you have any questions or require any further advice on this topic, get in touch with our specialist teams today at

[This blog is intended to give general information only and is not intended to apply to specific circumstances. The contents of this blog should not be regarded as legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Readers are advised to seek specific legal advice.]

By Molly Hackett