Reader’s Digest, What Are You Doing?

The Reader’s Digest Association (Canada) Ltd. (RD) publishes contests on a regular basis, ranging from monthly $5,000 draws to car giveaways and many more. Currently they have a contest “Reader’s Digest 71st National Sweepstakes” where a selected few, actually only 8 percent of Ontario area households, are chosen and have a chance at winning the Grand Prize of $500,000.00, Multi-Prize Draw of $105,000.00, Super Bonus of $50,000.00, Cash On Demand of $33,750.00 and a $5,000.00 monthly prize. There are also other prizes available in this contest.

This “RD” contest first caught my eye when my boyfriend (we’ll call him Bert from now on) received two envelopes by snail mail at our home. When he opened them he immediately queried “is this is a scam?” I took the contents of both envelops and told him that I would read the contest details and would let him know if this was indeed a “scam” or not.

The first envelope contained a letter stating “Notice of selection for ‘Bert’. Potential finalist to win an instant $500,000.00 in the third and last stage of the 71st National Sweepstakes” and was full of reasons why he should NOT throw his chance of winning half a mill out. It even goes as far as using examples of actual people who threw away their chance of winning. “Some people, like Mrs. Abbatt of Notre-Dame-de-Grace, Quebec, let their Prize Draw Number sit on a mantelpiece or in a kitchen drawer until time runs out… a mistake that cost her $32,500.00!” They “changed her details to preserve her anonymity and to spare her embarrassment.” At the end of the letter it mentions that he will be receiving a second letter shortly, which will contain his 6 digit “Prize Draw” number.

The second envelope, which I might note was addressed to Bert, was much larger and arrived on the same day as the first envelope. This letter contained a cover letter addressed to someone else (we’ll call this fellow “Ernie”), a Reader’s Digest Finance letter confirming that TD Canada Trust has guaranteed and placed a reserve to cover payment of all the prizes in the Contest, a letter containing the previously mentioned “Prize Draw” number which also lists the prizes that he is eligible to win, four cheque specimens (pre-print ballots with Ernie’s name) attached to some documents describing what to do to enter the contest and why he should not delay in entering, and finally two reply envelopes, one YES and one NO. The entry process is simple enough, all you have to do is place the cheques into the YES envelope, apply sufficient postage and mail it. If you do not want to participate then send the cheques in the NO envelope or just don’t respond.

At this point I am going to mention to you some of my issues with this Contest:

1. Bert does not enter contests nor does he subscribe to “RD”, so “RD” must have purchased his name for their direct mailing. There is nothing illegal about this, however, it just doesn’t sit well with people like Bert who instantly think contests like these are scams.
2. The contents of the second envelope were clearly mixed up. This I would say is a big “no no”. Bert received Ernie’s personal information, specifically his mailing address and his contest entries. This is a clear violation of the Ernie’s privacy.

3. Other than the “Excerpts from Reader’s Digest 71st National Sweepstakes” I was unable to find the complete Official Contest Rules, not in any of the literature that Bert received, nor online.

Now, if this isn’t enough to make you want to run away while screaming “GET IT TOGETHER READER’S DIGEST!”, then this next point will.

This morning I received an e-mail from “RD” regarding “Win a Honda Accord”. I was a little intrigued, not by the contest itself but because of the recent “RD” events with Bert. So I clicked the link in my e-mail to enter the contest.


This image you see is what appeared on my screen. HMMMMM…? I thought. What does this have to do with winning a car? (By the way, this is where I was able to access the “Excerpts from Reader’s Digest 71st National Sweepstakes”.) Being naturally curious at this point, I decided to proceed. The next page that came up was “Real Life is Real Funny”. What this page displayed was the “Real Life is Real Funny” book for a discounted price. I clicked Continue.


Here is where it became interesting, if I purchase the so-called real funny book I will automatically enter into the “Win a Honda Accord” contest. I was not willing to purchase a book that I would most definitely not find funny, for the chance of winning a car.


WHAT?? Now we are back to the 71st National Sweeps again. I am beginning to feel dizzy. I fill out my information and click “NO”.


Now to end my little (or, should I say, long) tale, I have to say this; Reader’s Digest’s 71st National Sweepstake seems to be a legitimate contest but I have quite a few problems with their direct mail deployments, contest rules and entry processes. Consumers in this day in age do not want to be solicited by mail, go through hoops to enter a contest or have to purchase something to potentially win a prize. “RD” needs to move into the 21 century when it comes to the way they run their contests.

And to answer your question Bert, no, I don’t think this is a scam.

*All quotations and references were taken from The Reader’s Digest 71st National Sweepstakes mailings, website and Excerpts from Reader’s Digest 71st National Sweepstakes.


29 Responses to Reader’s Digest, What Are You Doing?

  1. Ashley says:

    I’ve received almost the EXACT same letters but with a bit of difference. I’ve emailed Readers Digest to see what they have to say about this. I myself, believe it’s a scam. Not only have I never entered any contests or had anything to do with Readers Digest before, but they spelt my name wrong, close, but wrong.

  2. rakesh says:

    hi sir ,i am rakesh rk from kerala ,i reseved a letter for you and its matter is you are win honda accord car . i dontknow sir , pleace call me .9995341446

  3. mrs. salpy Estepanian says:

    to whom it may concern.
    everytime i recieve a sweepstakes entry form fro you ,i can’t sleep for days ,because i feel a dilema, i can’t afford to purchase the product they are offereing because i’m handicapped and have 0 income ,i can’t afford to buy anything but what if i purchased and won the sweepstake?,by nature i have a positive attitude ..but my financial situation doesn’t permit me to overspend by taking advantage of family members !!! its enough that i’m your magazine subscriber , i love to read and because i can’t work ,i have lots of time to read .

  4. I got a card from readers digest web site I cannot find it can you please help the code for bonus eligibility is 99313 thabk you Betty

    • mrs. salpy Estepanian says:

      since childhood my father taught me that reading is good for the soul and peace of mind ,since then i love to read ,now i enjoy reading readers digest magazine,i’m 48 but like a child i eagerly wait for my copy every month and enjoy reading the whole magazine even the comercials !!!thank you for publishing it and i wish you good luck and prosperity and happy holidays .

  5. janelle colp says:

    I got a card from the readers digest web site today I am entering this access
    code for bonus eligibility. The number is 99313.

    Thank you, I have been a customer since 1960’s.

  6. mrs. salpy Estepanian says:

    over the years since i became a readers digest subscriber, i recieve sweepstakes entry documents , i always return the documents as asked for a chance to win a sweepstakes but i found out that there is always a catch behind entering the sweepstakes…the subscriber has to purchase a book or CD collection , being handicapped i can’t work therefore i have 0 income and can’t afford to purchase anything …its over my already existing budget that i’m a readers digest subscriber..i have to cut corners to pay for it because i’m home alone and i love to read to pass my time.i appreciate it if you enter the subscribers in the sweepstakes without somehow pushing them to purchase something ,probably most subscribers have financial difficulties like myself .

  7. Mildred Cory says:

    I have great difficulty getting on site to enter codes !!

  8. top sweepstakes…

    […]Reader’s Digest, What Are You Doing? « Enter To Win[…]…

  9. I am having difficulty getting into web site for my access code of 88942 for the extra $1,000.00 on the monthly $5,000.00 payout prize -please help – thank you

    • mrs. salpy Estepanian says:

      thank you for giving me a chance to enter the sweepstakes, may God bless you ,have a nice day

    • mrs. salpy Estepanian says:

      thank you, please send my winnings cheque to
      mrs. salpy Estepanian
      11535 Guertin street
      montreal, Qc. H4J 1V2

  10. Hi There! I;m sending your post card back to get the 1000 a montth

    • mrs. salpy Estepanian says:

      thank you, please send my winnings cheque to my mailing address mrs. salpy Estepanian
      11535 Guertin street
      montreal, Qc. H4J 1V2

  11. kornelius ens Apt. 204 1880 henderson winnipeg ,mb r2g1p2 says:

    please send my winnings,cheqes to my mailing address mr. kornelius ens . I’m rather internnet ignorant ,I don’t know how to get anywhere with the incomplete instructions on the internet and I hate to miss out on this opportunity. pleas accesscode for bonus eligibility is: 88942

  12. derrick says:


  13. how do get in to enter my number for to winme tom tom

    • mrs. salpy Estepanian says:

      hello, thank you for considering my name into the winning draws, i really appreciate it ,may God bless you ,because being handicapped ,i don’t have any income so i can really use the money , thank you again ,have a nice blessed day
      october 24,2012

  14. Phil Frigon says:

    i have enter my I hope I win phil frigon

  15. Diane Fraser says:

    Nov 20 I got a card from readersdigest/caaccess Icannot find where to put in my bonus number which is 88942, code for bonus elegibility is 99313. This has been an aggravating process to say the least.

  16. maureen deugau says:

    am having a hard time getting on to the website for the 74th sweepstakes my number is 88942 – I would appreciate you putting it forth and then e-mail me that it is done – thank you

  17. Hi sorry to intrude but I really I am with readers’digest in being customer purchase orders as I like. Something that I realized that everyone is a code in what I and forwarding the same mine what you can win this in a car and come over more price. I find if you are just using us to blackmail or is business? eh I never won or recieved good news of a good prize Madden I want to feel that is finally am happy to be winning with readers’Digest. and 2 years and I have always inclined to purchase that is not obligation for my will to decide to purchase. but I want to be a winning payout 5000.00 monthy if possible be so thanks. for love readers’digest best friends. of Gabby Lopez ……… you get the laughter of all the truth but yourselves so we offer, thanks again

  18. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d most certainly donate to this excellent blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed
    to my Google account. I look forward to brand new updates and will share this website
    with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

  19. Heya this is kind of of off topic but I was wondering if
    blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML.
    I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding experience so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  20. ken wilder says:

    for some reason I have been taken off the list for the 5,000 monthly draw. can you tell me why?

  21. i have a code here it is Au72HRS 1.what do i do now

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