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So... I won a Surface 2! But Microsoft won't let me have it

CrippsCorner

Well-Known Member
Don't know if you guys were aware of the Remix Project competition... where you had to make a Vine related to the Surface and music etc. anyway yesterday I got a DM on Twitter, a winner!
(not just me mind, there was 500 to give out)

Here's the problem... although never stated during the entry stage, Microsoft now says I cannot claim it because I don't have a US address
(I'm in the UK) now obviously this is very upsetting, and I'm trying to find a way round it. I've found a company called Borderlinx that will give me a US address and then ship it out to me, albeit with the extortionate cost of about $165.

Has anyone got any other ideas to help me? I only have 4 days to respond, otherwise they give it to someone else. I was even thinking of basically putting it up for auction on here (that's a Surface 2 + Remix Cover) as tbh I'd just take the money. But I'm not sure if this would be against the forum rules?

What a load of crap though huh? They sell Surface 2 here so why can't they just send me one from the distribution centres in the UK? Very poor form Microsoft... especially using something worldwide like Twitter for this.
 

oion

Well-Known Member
Don't know if you guys were aware of the Remix Project competition... where you had to make a Vine related to the Surface and music etc. anyway yesterday I got a DM on Twitter, a winner!
(not just me mind, there was 500 to give out)

Here's the problem... although never stated during the entry stage, Microsoft now says I cannot claim it because I don't have a US address
(I'm in the UK) now obviously this is very upsetting, and I'm trying to find a way round it. I've found a company called Borderlinx that will give me a US address and then ship it out to me, albeit with the extortionate cost of about $165.

Has anyone got any other ideas to help me? I only have 4 days to respond, otherwise they give it to someone else. I was even thinking of basically putting it up for auction on here (that's a Surface 2 + Remix Cover) as tbh I'd just take the money. But I'm not sure if this would be against the forum rules?

What a load of crap though huh? They sell Surface 2 here so why can't they just send me one from the distribution centres in the UK? Very poor form Microsoft... especially using something worldwide like Twitter for this.
First some commentary about contest restrictions. This has to do with international laws that vary from country to country, including gambling and consumer protection laws, taxes, etc. Companies will always limit their global audience with these contests in the legal fine print because they don't want to deal with the exorbitant red tape (so this restriction isn't limited to U.S. companies, as non-U.S. companies do the same). From what I remember in a long debate under a different context, these contest laws get particularly messy with physical and monetary prizes. This heady legal stuff tends to get boiled down to the phrase "void where prohibited," though usually there's wording "valid only in---" as well, which makes a whole lot more sense to me.

That said, I checked out the Remix website for the fine print, because every contest has fine print--at least when run legitimately. From the main Surface Remix page, under "Remix to win" (Enter now), there is a Rules section that contains the "void where blah blah" terminology. I don't know UK laws about this, but that may directly apply despite being an umbrella statement.

Then from the "Are you the one?" page, at the very bottom, there is:
*No purchase necessary. Open to residents of the 50 US (+D.C). 13+. Promotion ends 10/24/13. See Official Rules for details.
Leading from that statement, there's a nearby PDF link to the Official Rules that was last revised October 9, 2013:
1. Eligibility: Microsoft Surface Remix Project Twitter Contest (the "Contest") is open only to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia who are at least thirteen (13) years old at the time of entry and who did not purchase any equipment for the purposes of entering this Contest. Employees of Microsoft Corporation, POP, Inc., ePrize, Inc., and any of their parent and affiliate companies as well as the immediate family (spouse, parents, siblings and children) and household members of each such employee are not eligible. The Contest is subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations and is void where prohibited.
Unfortunately, the legal rules on the actual entry page itself is not clear to the average reader at all, but it's very clear on the "Are you the one" page in two places.

As for resolution. A "proxy" service that ships overseas is certainly feasible, though I don't know of any legitimate U.S.->global ones because I've only used a middleman service from Japan->U.S. Have you asked your friends if they have relatives in the U.S.? It's a complete pain in the ass, I understand, but I expect Microsoft has an iron-clad position in this case since the restrictions were placed somewhere on the contest pages. It looks terrible in terms of publicity, but Microsoft definitely isn't the only one to fall back on these legal terms, and law > PR. Until there's a worldwide government and legal body in place, these things won't change.

What I would have changed in MS' shoes is place the "plain English" legal restrictions, which were stuck in the PDF, on the Rules/FAQ section of the actual entry page, and the asterisk footnote on every single contest webpage. You could complain about the placement and wording on their Twitter and Facebook as a matter of PR, but you're still going to have to figure out something else to get it, I'm afraid. :(


Edit to add: Having used overseas proxy services before, I can tell you the combination of service and shipping fees is definitely expensive. Any smart proxy service will use a fully insured, expedited shipping method with tracking, and since we're talking air shipment overeas, that jacks things up quite a bit, on top of the necessary service fees in the first place. The Surface 2 may be only worth $450, or you could think of it as a heavily discounted purchase and resell it in the UK later.
 
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Arizona Willie

Active Member
Well it is very clear that the contest was only open to residents of the U.S.A. and the District of Columbia.

So, in the first place he cannot possibly win a contest he was not eligible for and since he does not live in the U.S.A. or the District of Columbia he was NOT eligible to win the contest.

He has no gripe coming at all.
 

oion

Well-Known Member
Well it is very clear that the contest was only open to residents of the U.S.A. and the District of Columbia.

So, in the first place he cannot possibly win a contest he was not eligible for and since he does not live in the U.S.A. or the District of Columbia he was NOT eligible to win the contest.

He has no gripe coming at all.
Since I never tried to see the actual entry form itself (I'd expect more fine print there), really the only possible issue is where the legal statements were placed. I agree that Microsoft is not ultimately at fault here, though others who happen by and know nothing about how international law plays into this will think that MS is being mean/unreasonable/something. These situations happen all the time now and are unfortunate byproducts of the digital age, nothing more and nothing less.
 
OP
CrippsCorner

CrippsCorner

Well-Known Member
At the end of the day it would have been very simple to state on the competition website that it was open to US residents only, I don't know why they had to hide it so hard. They accepted my entry and personally direct messaged me on Twitter telling me I'd won despite the fact it says on my Twitter page that I'm from the UK. Either way you look at, it's just plain lazy from Microsoft, and now they have a disappointed user... I'm sure I can't be the only one.
 

oion

Well-Known Member
At the end of the day it would have been very simple to state on the competition website that it was open to US residents only, I don't know why they had to hide it so hard. They accepted my entry and personally direct messaged me on Twitter telling me I'd won despite the fact it says on my Twitter page that I'm from the UK. Either way you look at, it's just plain lazy from Microsoft, and now they have a disappointed user... I'm sure I can't be the only one.
They did state it somewhere on the competition website, but because all the legal disclaimers are daunting and people actively ignore them even when they're obvious (seriously), the modus operandi is to use the "footer fine print" approach and rely on "caveat emptor" (well, another term but I'm not remembering the right one). I wish companies wouldn't do that, but that's how things are, so everyone should get in the habit of looking down there. :/

However, to restate what Arizona Willie meant: The fact that MS, knowing you're overseas, is giving you the opportunity to get your prize by your own resources even though you weren't qualified to enter and win in the first place--is actually generous.

The lazy part I would agree with is that they should have required a form-formatted U.S. mailing address upon the point of entry. That would've solved a lot of headaches.
 

beman39

New Member
wow that really sucks! don't have any relatives/friends that live in the states that can help you out? if I lived in the states I would help you out, but I don't so I can't LOL
 
OP
CrippsCorner

CrippsCorner

Well-Known Member
They did state it somewhere on the competition website, but because all the legal disclaimers are daunting and people actively ignore them even when they're obvious (seriously), the modus operandi is to use the "footer fine print" approach and rely on "caveat emptor" (well, another term but I'm not remembering the right one). I wish companies wouldn't do that, but that's how things are, so everyone should get in the habit of looking down there. :/

However, to restate what Arizona Willie meant: The fact that MS, knowing you're overseas, is giving you the opportunity to get your prize by your own resources even though you weren't qualified to enter and win in the first place--is actually generous.

The lazy part I would agree with is that they should have required a form-formatted U.S. mailing address upon the point of entry. That would've solved a lot of headaches.
Microsoft haven't given me any opportunity to get my prize by other methods, this is all off my own back. I've tried making contact with the very Surface account on Twitter that sent me my DM but they won't respond to any of my queries. Most unhelpful tbh. I don't even know if they would allow using a forwarding address as it shows I'm not a 'legal resident' of America as they put it... a reply either way would be nice.
 
OP
CrippsCorner

CrippsCorner

Well-Known Member
Well I managed to get in contact with an old friend in Washington so have entered her details. It says 8-10 weeks for delivery so lets just see what happens... wish me luck!
 

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