Sweepstakes offer not illegal, but still raises concerns

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A quick glance at a sweepstakes showing up in mailboxes could make you think you're the winner of over $1 million.

It's from the Award Notification Commission in Kansas City, Kansas. While the offer says you don't have to pay anything to participate in the sweepstakes, it does ask for a fee for what it calls a "Premium Offer." The offer isn't illegal, but Postal Inspector Michael Romano says it's raised plenty of concerns.

"It doesn't meet the statute of being a criminal offense. That doesn't make it a good idea, but the company operates within the limits of the law," he explains.

The offer uses phrases like, "no purchase necessary, purchase will not increase chance of winning." The mailing also, states you could win, if your numbers matched a set of pre-selected winning numbers.

Romano says this is a case of reading the fine print. He says interact with the company, and find out what the offer is before moving forward. We tried to track this company down, to get a response. We also wanted to know if anyone had ever won any money. There was no phone number, just a PO Box and an email address provided by the Better Business Bureau. We emailed and never got a response. The BBB says consumers should not reply to the offer.

The company, which the BBB says also goes by the name of Next Gen, has an "F" rating with the organization. There are complaints about advertising and sales issues, to problems with products and services. Inspector Romano says investigators in Kansas also did some digging, but again, found that everything appears to be legitimate. He says if you choose to send in your money, know what you're getting into.

"In a lot of situations, when you are paying that money, you are absolutely enrolling in something different than just a chance to win additional money. You may be investing in something that is gearing you towards another offer completely outside of the sweepstakes," he explains.

If you are not sure about an offer, it's probably best not to get involved. If you are going to give up your money, do your research and make sure it's money you can afford to lose.

Helpful links:

Copyright 2014 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved