Prize offerings

February 7, 2012

I’m a member of several organizations, some paid, some not. I’m a registered customer with several websites (e.g. Amazon).

Some organizations pride themselves on being ‘international’ — they actively encourage members from outside the US/Canada, they use ‘international’ in their promotional material, and they ‘talk the talk’.

But when it comes to it, ‘international’ really has no meaning for them.

Amazon, for example, has offers, prizes, deals, and promotions that are only available to US citizens, and/or those with a US address (in some cases, only the continental US states) and credit card number. Yet they send out blanket emails, promos etc. to ALL their customers advising them of these deals. It’s only when you read the (very) fine print that you find out that, despite getting the offer, you’re excluded from participating or taking advantage of the deal. I’m not picking on Amazon here — many companies do the same thing.

So it was with surprise that I saw that STC (Society for Technical Communication) was trying to entice members who haven’t renewed yet with an entry to a prize draw to win an HDTV with Blu-ray player:

I was curious. I’m not interested in winning this prize (or in renewing my membership), but now I was curious to see how a supposedly ‘international’ organization was going to treat their non US/Canadian members with such a prize. STC sure don’t have a good track record to date in how they treat their international members, in my opinion, which is the main reason I won’t be renewing.

So I looked further. There is no fine print to tell me if this offer is only available to US/Canadian members, or if it’s available to the entire membership. Clicking the link just took me to the ‘benefits of renewal’ web page with no information about this prize. Where are the ‘terms and conditions’ for this prize on their website?

I have a lot of unanswered questions about this ‘prize’:

  • Is entry to the prize draw available to ALL renewing members, no matter where they live?
  • If so, and if a non US/Canadian member wins the prize, will STC pay for the (substantial) international shipping charges, customs charges, import duties and taxes?
  • Will STC pay for the electricity transformer/adaptors needed to use these appliances outside the US/Canada? Every country has different voltages and pin connectors (e.g. you plug a 110V appliance from the US into the Australian 240V electricity system with just an adaptor and without a transformer and you’re likely to fry the appliance).
  • Will STC substitute the prize if it is won by someone who lives in a region of the world without high definition television?

Yet another ‘bright idea’ from someone within STC to attract back members, whereas all they are doing is confirming — yet again — they they AREN’T an international organization, despite promoting that they are.


  1. You raise a really good point! Did you try contacting the STC? I’d love to know their response!

  2. Thanks for the suggestion, Joan, but I won’t bother. After 10 years or more of offering suggestions to STC about their international presence (some requested from STC, some not), I’ve now given up the fight. They can say they are international in all their promotional material, but the reality is that they are there for their US members only. And maybe their Canadian cousins.

    Their jobs database is North American, their insurance discounts are for North American (US?) members only, their webinars are on at times that suit their North American audience but that rarely suit the rest of the world, and so it goes…


  3. I hear you! I tried once to get the Girl Scout organization to stop a local equestrian farm from advertising “girl scouting” after I had to take them to small claims court for the troop…sometimes trying to get an organization see the light is impossible!

    :-))) joan

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: