This Customer Support Ruling discusses the eligibility of a request for a Periodicals publication that was induced by a premium offer.
A question was raised concerning a publisher’s solicitation for request orders that offered individuals with expired requester subscriptions a chance to win a variety of items if they complete and return the renewal forms to the publisher.
Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) 188.8.131.52, specifies in part, that persons will not be deemed to have requested the publication if their request is induced by a premium offer or by a receipt of material consideration. In order to constitute a legitimate request, it must be clear that the individual requests the publication on its own merits and not as a result of an inducement by a premium offer or by the receipt of material consideration.
In this case, the prizes offered by the publisher related to a sweepstakes entry and were of substantial value. Therefore, the chance to win any of these prizes carried with it a value which would be considered a premium offer or material consideration.
Requests induced by entering a sweepstakes, lottery, or similar arrangement cannot be considered legitimate requests. Publishers should be advised that obtaining a substantial number of orders in this manner will jeopardize their Periodicals mailing privileges if the total number of invalid requests exceeds 50%.
As information, postal personnel asked to determine whether a sweepstakes or lottery offer, etc., is in violation of the lottery statute (18 U.S.C. 1302) should submit a request for a ruling to the Chief Counsel, Consumer Protection, U. S. Postal Service Headquarters, Washington, DC 20260-1147.
Anita J. Bizzotto