Prizes draws and competitions made easy with our quick guide to comping terminology...

Q) What is the difference between a prize draw and a competition?

Prize draws do not involve any skill or judgment to enter, and should not discriminate any member of the public from entering. If a prize draw states that you have to purchase an item to enter, there may also be an address to write to, to enter for free (a No Purchase Necessary route). However, a change in the law in 2008 means that this is no longer a legal requirement, unless you are a resident of Northern Ireland.

competition includes an element of skill, i.e. a question, a tie-breaker slogan, a poem etc. By their nature they are narrowing the amount of people who are able to enter, and increasing YOUR chance of winning.

Q) What does ‘n&a’ stand for?

A) Name and address. Most postal and telephone prize draws and competitions will ask you to provide this information.

Q) When the competition rules state ‘ send your details to…’ what exactly does ‘details’ mean?

If a competition simply says ‘send you details’, I would send my name, address and phone number or email address (choose whichever you are most comfortable with). You can also include ‘Age over 18’ if appropriate - such as for alcoholic prizes or holidays. The reason I add my telephone number or email is so that there is a quick way to contact me, especially if the prize has time limits on it, e.g. tickets for a concert that week.

Q) What does ‘NPN’ stand for?

No Purchase Necessary. Previously, all competition promotors were required to provide a no purchase nessary route to enter their prize draws: ie, if you had to buy a packet of crisps to make your entry, then there would also be the option of sending a letter to a specified address in order to enter without making a purchase. However, a change in the law in 2008 means that promotors are no longer required to offer this facility, but may still opt to do so. Always check the promotion's terms and conditions for details.

This law does not extend to Northern Ireland, where promotors must offer a NPN route on all prize draws and competitions.

Q) When competition entries state that you can enter AIOE, what does this mean?

AIOE stands for All In One Envelope. When a promoter is running more than one competition at a time (say there are 6 competitions in one magazine, all with the same address to send your entries to) you may be able to send all of your separate postcards (as long as they are clearly marked as to which competition you entering) together in just one envelope, to save on time and stamps. Not all promoters offer AIOE entry routes, so check the terms and conditions carefully so as not to invalidate your entry.

Q) What is a ‘Qualifier’

A) A ‘Qualifier’ is the term used to describe a purchase that you need to make in order to enter the competition, which will need to be attached to your entry. This is usually a receipt (as proof of purchase) or could be tokens from promotional packaging. When a competition asks for a proof of purchase, less people are going to enter- that means more chances of winning!

Q) What is an ‘Order of Merit competition’

A) When you enter an ‘Order of Merit’ competition you are asked to put a list of items or features in the correct order, or the order that the judges deem to be most favourable. Examples of this are: putting in order what you believe are Devon’s best qualities from a list of 10 (i.e. cream teas, coastline, national parks e.t.c) and placing the features of a particular car in order of importance.

Sometimes the prize will only be given out if the entrant gets all the list of features in the correct order yet different promoters will see 8 out of 10 in the correct order as good enough to give away the first prize. Read the terms and conditions to establish this.

For more prize draws head to our Competitions page