BROADCAST DATE : Feb 13, 2009

How Not To Win $500,000

Who doesn't want to win $500,000? That’s why so many Canadians are playing the Reader’s Digest sweepstakes. But now some of those people feel confused by the sweepstakes' marketing.

The letters from Reader’s Digest use language like “completed cash release confirmation,” “cash guaranteed for award…” and “a prize reference code.” And the envelopes are stamped with words like “urgent,” “reply immediately,” “don’t delay!” The sweepstakes mailings come with brochures, advertising products for sale — like CD’s, books and DVD’s.

Now, you don’t have to buy the products to play the sweepstakes, but some Canadians have been confused and spent thousands, thinking they're days away from winning the big prize.

As Erica Johnson reveals, the U.S. has cracked down on the sweepstakes' marketing, but in Canada, it’s business as usual.