Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 59.1. Trade and Commerce
Chapter 31. Prizes and Gifts Act

§ 59.1-417. Representation of eligibility to win or to receive a prize, gift or item of value.

A. No person shall, in connection with the sale or lease or solicitation for sale or lease of goods, property or service, represent that another person has a chance to win or to receive a prize, gift or item of value without clearly and conspicuously disclosing on whose behalf the contest or promotion is conducted, as well as all material conditions which a participant must satisfy. In an oral solicitation all material conditions shall be disclosed prior to requesting the consumer to enter into the sale or lease. Additionally, in any written material covered by this section, each of the following shall be clearly and prominently disclosed (i) immediately adjacent to the first identification of the prize, gift or item of value to which it relates or (ii) in a separate section entitled "Consumer Disclosure" which title shall be printed in no less than ten-point bold face type and which section shall contain only a description of the prize, gift or item of value and the disclosures outlined in subdivisions 1, 2 and 3 of this subsection:

1. The actual retail value of each item or prize, which for purposes of this section shall be (i) the price at which substantial sales of the item were made in the area in which the offer was received within the last ninety days or (ii) the actual cost of the item of value, gift or prize to the person on whose behalf the contest or promotion is conducted plus no more than 700 percent, but in no case shall it exceed such person's good faith estimate of the appraised retail value;

2. The actual number of each item, gift or prize to be awarded; and

3. The odds of receiving each item, gift or prize.

B. All disclosures required by this chapter to be in writing shall comply with the following:

1. All dollar values shall be stated in arabic numerals and be preceded by a dollar sign ($).

2. The number of each item, gift or prize to be awarded and the odds of receiving each item, gift or prize shall be stated in arabic numerals and shall be written in a manner which is clear and understandable.

C. It shall be unlawful to notify a person that he will receive a gift, prize or item of value that has as a condition of receiving the gift, prize or item of value the requirement that he pay any money, or purchase, lease or rent any goods or services, unless there shall have been clearly and conspicuously disclosed the nature of the charges to be incurred, including, but not limited to, any shipping charge and handling charges. Such disclosure shall be given (i) on the face of any written materials or (ii) prior to requesting or inviting the person to enter into the sale or lease in any oral notification.

D. The provisions of this section shall not apply where to be eligible:

1. Participants are asked only to complete and mail, or deposit at a local retail commercial establishment, an entry blank obtainable locally or by mail, or to call in their entry by telephone; or

2. Participants are never required to listen to a sales presentation and never requested or required to pay any sum of money for any merchandise, service or item of value.

E. Nothing in this section shall create any liability for acts by the publisher, owner, agent or employee of a newspaper, periodical, radio station, television station, cable-television system or other advertising medium arising out of the publication or dissemination of any advertisement or promotion governed by this section, when the publisher, owner, agent or employee did not know that the advertisement or promotion violated the requirements of this section.

F. Every solicitation that seeks to induce its recipient to call a pay-per-call service telephone number to receive any information about a prize, gift, or item of value shall (i) conform to the provisions of this section, and (ii) disclose the total cost of the pay-per-call service immediately adjacent to the pay-per-call service telephone number. In written materials, this disclosure shall be in ten-point bold-faced type. All solicitations delivered through the electronic media shall contain the disclosures in such size, duration, or volume so as to be clearly readable or audible to the recipient.

1989, c. 689; 1991, c. 154.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.