Question: Moving and Sweepstakes Entries - What Happens to Sweepstakes Entries If I Move?
I just found out that I'm going to be moving soon. Will I lose all of my hard work from entering sweepstakes? What happens to prizes if my address changes between the time I enter and the time I win?
Answer: Moving can be hard on sweepstakes entry. I all of your hard work won't be lost when you move, but it is possible that you could miss out on a prize. It depends on how the sponsor handles notifying you. For example:
Sweepstakes Notifications by Email or TelephoneMany sponsors will contact you by email or telephone before awarding the prize, which gives you the chance to tell them about your new address. Sponsors also want to make sure that their prizes reach you, so it's common that they'll verify your address before shipping a prize.
Notifications or Prizes Sent by Postal MailOther sponsors will send the prize or the affidavit by postal mail. This is why it's very important that you get your change of address form into your local post office in a timely manner. If you have a forwarding address on file, your prize or your win notification will show up at your new address. If you're not receiving mail at your new address as expected, it's a good idea to contact the post office and verify that your change of address form was processed properly.
Prize Notifications Sent by Delivery ServicesThe problem comes when the sponsor uses delivery services like UPS or FedEx. As far as I know, there is no way to leave a forwarding address for these companies, so they would not be able to reach you. It's possible that even in this case, however, the sponsor would realize there's a problem when the item is returned to them, and try to get in touch by phone or email.
How to Make Prize Delivery After a Move Go More Smoothly
- Submit a Change of Address Form:
Make sure you submit the change of address form to your post office in a timely manner. Note that you can submit a change of address form online at the USPS website.
- Use Your New Address ASAP:
Start using the new address for your sweepstakes entries as soon as you can receive mail at the new address. The sooner your entries have the new address, the less chance of missing out on prizes.
- Update Your Profiles:
Some sweepstakes allow you to edit your profile, keeping your current information up-to-date. Be sure to pay attention to this option while you're sweeping, and update your information as appropriate.
- Be Proactive:
If you've been contacted about a win but haven't received the prize yet, try to get in touch with the sweepstakes sponsor and let them know about the change.
- Rent a P.O. Box?
Consider using a post office box with sweepstakes that accept P.O. Boxes for addresses until the transition is over.
- Be Nice to the New Owners/Renters:
Carolyn Wilman, the Contest Queen, wrote in with this tip: "Be nice to the people that have bought your house or renting your apartment. When we moved, I left a note welcoming them to the home. I also left a bottle of wine and a corkscrew along with a couple of inexpensive glasses, plus names and phone numbers for all the best take-out places in the city. I left them our new contact information, too, along with a bunch of forwarding address labels." The new owners responded by forwarding mail and deliveries that had been sent to the old address. This is a great way to ensure that prizes make their way to you after you move.