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IAT Customer Service

International Awards Treasury tries to answer all queries sent by customers whether on the sweepstakes or about any merchandise. Here are some pointers on how our Customer Service works.
• Respect for our customers, both internal and external, and through the consistency of our response to our customers.
• Responses are sent primarily by mail and increasingly through email. We try to answer every email within 48 hours, and every letter within one business week.
• Customer Service staff are fully trained and supported during their three month training process. Working as a team, management maintains an environment that encourages questions and the sharing of unique customer trends and issues as they arise.
• Activities include the processing of customer issues and inquiries, generating hundreds of response letters daily. We routinely send our customers copies of our Official Rules and Regulations and Privacy Policy as requested.
• Personal Information received from customers is always handled in compliance with our Privacy Policy. All staff are trained in protecting customer information.
• All customer service procedures are in accordance with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents (PIPED) Act of Canada, which demands some of the highest levels of personal information and privacy protection in the world.
• Daily work is audited to ensure consistent and accurate handling of issues. Staff training is ongoing and constantly evolving to meet market needs. Any complex and/or potentially serious customer issues are immediately escalated via the Department Head.
• Customer information and feedback is viewed throughout our company as one of the most valuable tools available to enhance the products and the services we offer. We welcome comments regarding the quality of our products or suggestions for new products.
• Additionally, our Customer Service Department is dedicated to addressing customer comments and concerns with efficiency, warmth and professionalism.
• The ultimate goal of the IAT Customer Service Team is to be a leader in the areas of customer relationship, quality of response and compliance in the direct mail industry.
Should you have any questions or comments for IAT, please contact Customer Service at: http://www.international-awards-treasury.com/ or you can post them here.

Publishers Clearing House

international-orange-web.jpgRun conjointly in Canada and the USA, Publishers Clearing House began in 1953 by Harold and LuEster Mertz and their daughter Joyce Mertz-Gilmore. Mertz had worked for Look magazine and thought of a better way of packaging magazine subscriptions together and selling them for a lower rate. Publishers Clearing House (PCH), which is in Long Island, NY, was not necessarily the first direct marketing company to use sweepstakes, as Reader’s Digest began theirs first, but it was one of the earlier ones.

 With present-day revenue in the hundreds of millions, PCH began its sweepstakes in 1967 and has given away over $200 million in prizes over the years.  The combining of sweepstakes with magazine subscriptions made them the largest magazine distributor. By the 1980s PCH was not only doing magazine subscriptions but had expanded their product line to offer such things as collectibles, home entertainment (CDs, movies, etc.), personal and household items.

 They are known for the PCH Prize Patrol where employees travel to the winning recipients’ locale and record the awarding of the sweepstakes prize with balloons, champagne, flowers and a big check. Upon the passing of the Mertz family over 50% of the company’s revenue now benefit such foundations as the New York Botanical Garden Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the National Audubon Society and the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Association.

 In 1999 PCH went online as well, and in 2006 purchased the internet search engine Blingo. Blingo allows people to search the internet as they would on one of the other search engines but it also gives users a chance to win prizes instantly.

 In the 90s PCH, along with Time Inc., Reader’s Digest and American Family Publishers came under government regulatory scrutiny and had to meet compliance regulations that required them to provide disclosures clearly indicating that buying products did not enhance one’s chances of winning. It was also mandatory to make more evident the chances of winning and that a purchase was not required to enter a sweepstakes. Such compliance regulations vary from country to country but in all cases one does not have to pay to enter a sweepstakes. A customer only pays for the merchandise they want. Always reading the sweepstakes rules and regulations is a good way to know what you’re entitled to.

http://www.publishersclearinghouse.com/

http://www.pch.com/Canada/
 

international-orange-web.jpgAs part of good customer relations IAT respects and protects the privacy of its customers. Information is collected and retained only for: 

  • the purpose for which it was collected, unless the individual consents to any other use (i.e., credit information for that merchandise transaction only; then the information is destroyed through a secure waste disposal facility) 
  • as long as necessary to satisfy the purposes of conducting our business.

The name, title, business address or telephone number of an employee of an organization is considered publicly accessible. Personal information includes any factual or subjective details, recorded or not, about an identifiable individual.

The following are just some of the types of personal information:

  • age, name, ID numbers, income, ethnic origin, blood type
  • opinions, evaluations, comments, social status, disciplinary actions
  • employee files, credit records, loan records, medical records, deeds, titles, identification cards, legal documents

It may seem odd to mention some of these items in regards to free sweepstakes entries or the purchasing of jewellery and other items through IAT’s marketing. However, in the course of reading and processing customer letters, Customer Service encounters a variety of information volunteered by customers. Some details are sent in the form of personal handwritten or typed letters, and emails may include comments regarding a customer’s physical health, mental state or financial status. As well, a customer may also volunteer highly personal comments on other aspects of their private lives. Documents in the form of birth certificates, financial statements, photographs and identification from driver’s licenses to credit cards are sometimes sent along with a purchase. If you purchase something through mail you only need to send name and delivery address, and the payment in the form of a cheque, money order (cashier’s cheque) or a credit card number and expiry date (not the credit card).

Personal information in the wrong hands could cause a host of problems for the person who sent them, such as:

• credit card charges
• bank account withdrawals
• selling of property
• burglary of home or other known premises
• identity theft
• criminal activities under the stolen name
• illegal purchases

The customer’s information is treated with the utmost discretion and respect. Customer service destroys in a secure manner letters and other items of a nonreturnable nature that are sent in. Credit cards, other identifications cards, deeds to land, etc. are returned to the customer immediately with a letter warning of the dangers of sending out such information.

Always be cautious, read carefully and don’t send more than you need to.

international-orange-web.jpgThese are the simple steps to knowing if you have won an IAT sweepstakes.
1. First you must send back your signed registration form before the draw date. If your address has changed or will by the date of the draw, please indicate that.
2. On the draw date, IAT lawyers, open the sealed, preselected number. If that number belongs to someone who registered, then they will receive a phone call. If the number was not registered, the lawyers will draw subsequent numbers from all registered entries until a winner is found. In all cases, we will try to contact the winner by phone first and let them know they’ve won.
3. A cover letter is then couriered with a separate testimonial/skill testing question page attached.
4. The skill testing question/testimonial is answered by the winner, witnessed and then mailed back.
5. The next steps will be legal requirements. IAT executives may fly to meet the winner and present the cheque in a gala ceremony in order to celebrate, or they may fly the winner to our corporate head office to receive the prize. 

With Richard Anthony, our 2006 winner, the executive flew to the UK to meet Mr. Anthony and his wife. A lovely celebration was held in a historic castle where the presentation of the cheque was made. 
 

Past Winners 2003

In 2003 the sweepstakes prizes were more numerous but of smaller cash values. In all, nineteen people won. In most cases the prize was for an item such as a stereo or TV, or the equivalent cash value. Most people elected to take the cash prize.

The winners came from several countries, only where the sweepstakes were allowed to be played. Each country has different rules and regulations in regards to direct marketing and the use of sweepstakes, and IAT works to meet compliance for the countries in which it sponsors sweepstakes.

George SchueleinAlexander StanimirovicHerbert MichelsMartin Froscher

Above (L to R): Herbert Michels, Alexander Stanimirovic, George Schuehlein, Martin Froscher

Herbert Michels and Alexander Stanimirovic of Germany each won € 1,500. George Schuehlein of Germany won € 2,500. Martin Froscher of Germany won € 5,000, and Catherine Thompson of Australia won $10,000. Each person was delighted to hear of their winnings. Sometimes people can’t believe their good luck but IAT works hard through its lawyers to find the winners and give them their winnings.

It’s important to note that these people only won because they returned their registration forms. If you don’t register by mailing back the signed form, then you cannot be entered in the draw. This is how all sweepstakes work and no one can win before they register, nor can others register for them. Stay tuned for more winners in future articles.

international-orange-web.jpgThe origin of ‘lot’ comes from the Teutonic hleut, which referred to a pebble cast to make a decision during disputes or for dividing property. It may also have come from the Italian word lotteria, which pertained to one’s destiny or fate.

The drawing or casting of lots was often used in biblical references for everything from choosing a sacrificial goat (or even person) to picking someone to fill a position. The priesthood would often use lots for determining the decisions of God. As well, either god-directed or human divisions of land were decided by lots. The lots themselves could be straw, bones, sticks or stones. Religions from Islam to North American Indians used lots to determine one’s destiny.

During the 16th century in Genoa five people of the 90 citizens were chosen by lots for members of the senate. People began to place bets, choosing which five they thought would be picked. The person with the closest number of right guesses won the lottery. Florence held the first lottery that awarded cash prizes in 1530 to raise money for public works. Called La Lotto de Firenze, it also was a number lottery. Venice then formed the first government monopoly, with Florence, Milan, Rome and Turin following suit.

At the same time, Lo Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia began. A form of bingo, it had numbers laid on a grid. Lotteria Italia is played today around October-November and is based on this game of centuries past. From the time of the Roman Empire to the 21st century, Italy has loved its games of chance.

Why the Fee?

international-orange-web.jpgWe’ve been asked why we charge a fee to enter our sweepstakes. This comes from a long tradition in direct marketing of charging fees for products. We attempt to be as clear and straightforward as possible when marketing our merchandise.

First, there is no charge to enter the IAT sweepstakes—ever! Entry is free. Just fill out the registration form and send it back. If you win, you pay nothing. We award you the prize.

Second, we sometimes use the word ‘fee’ in our brochures but this is meant as the ‘purchase price’ or ‘cost’ for the promotional product. Only if you choose to buy the jewellery or some other promotional item do you pay this fee. You can send back the filled out entry form and your order at the same time. You only pay for the jewellery. Or, if you only want to enter the sweepstakes, you can just send the entry form.

Always make sure you read the rules and regulations before you enter any sweepstakes or lottery. You will note that all IAT rules say: NO PURCHASE OR CHARGE IS NECESSARY IN ORDER TO ENTER, NOR WILL A PURCHASE INCREASE ODDS OF WINNING.

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