by Structured Settlement Watchdog®
Seneca One Finance is sponsoring a sweepstakes offering the chance to win one of 3 money prizes, if you share with them the details of your structured settlement. The contest opened November 1, 2014 and ends ironically on April Fool's Day 2015.
The rules for the Bethesda,MD company's sponsored sweepstakes say that "NO PURCHASE, PAYMENT, OR ASSIGNMENT TRANSACTION ("TRANSACTION") NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. ENTERING INTO A TRANSACTION WITH SPONSOR OR ITS AFFILIATES DOES NOT IMPROVE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING.
However you must be over 18 and be receiving payments from a structured settlement to be eligible.
So the Seneca One Finance 'structured settlement sweepstakes' appears to be a great big lead generation scheme dressed as a sweepstakes. If you enter and you have no intention of selling your structured settlement, prepare to be called. The official rules state that 'By entering, unless you opt-out, you will be automatically opted in to Sponsor's email and direct mail database, all of which you can unsubscribe from at any time.
Has Seneca One Finance demonstrated that it is looking out for your best interest? If your settlement agreement contains a confidentiality clause, you could be in hot water if you supply a copy of the settlement agreement to Seneca One, or anyone, or any company, who/which is not authorized under that settlement agreement fro the purpose of the sweepstakes. Based on my years of experience I would say it's highly unlikely that sending a copy of the confidential settlement agreement to a sweepstakes sponsor, or for the purposes of participating in any other "game of chance" would be permissible under the typical settlement agreement's confidentiality clause.
Prepare for the Deluge of Calls and Postcards and a Less Private Life
Here is what the Seneca One sweepstakes says :
"11.PUBLICITY: Except in Tennessee, and where prohibited by law, by accepting a prize, winners (or winners' parent/legal guardian, if winner is a minor) grant permission for Sponsor and those acting under its authority to use their name, and address (city and state), photograph, voice and/or likeness, for advertising and/or publicity purposes, in any and all media (including posting on Web Site) now known or hereinafter invented without territorial or time limitations and without further notice to and without additional compensation. If you are selected as a winner, your information may also be included in a publicly-available winner's list".
If You Win, Taxes Take a Big Cut and you're on a Calling and Mailing List
Taxes could take as much as 35-40% of what you win from the sweepstakes and the rest of it could be used to pay legal fees and damages if you are deemed to have violated the confidentiality clause in the settlement agreement. And of course you will be left with the phone calls and postcards.
Insurers, Defense Attorneys and Plaintiff Attorneys Need to Sharpen Their Confidentiality Clauses
It is now forseeable that companies such as Seneca One use the sweepstakes method of generating leads. After all, Greg Macek, a Vice President, Digital Strategy at Marketing Resources, Inc. in Chicago, recently registered 3 domain names including structuredsettlementsweepstakes.com=, the URL used for the Seneca One sweepstakes.
Consider adding a specific reference to sweepstakes or broader language to cover this new phenomenon when negotiating confidentiality clauses in settlement agreements.