Tuesday, February 14, 2006

LA House Raffle Extends Ticket Sales Deadline!

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A few weeks back we told you about a series of House Raffles that have popped up in Southern California during the housing boom. And we even pondered what their fate might be as we blink frantically in anticipation of the bubble pop.

Well, now it appears that at least one raffle has been unable to sell all its tickets before the initial deadline. As a result, it's extended the ticket selling period and the grand-prize drawing date, an action that might upset some people who already forked over $150 for a chance to win a million-dollar home in Oak Park, a suburb of Los Angeles. The contest promises not to sell more than 18,000 tickets. No change there. But some players might have rather seen raffle organizers take the financial hit for low sales volume and, as a result, improved the odds for all loyal raffle participants.

Not so fast, folks.

Remember, in California these are "charity" raffles. Charities need to sell those tickets in order to realize their fundraising goals. So, it's no surprise to me that The Conejo Jewish Day School house raffle is still in play.

A phone call to 1-866-Win1Home, the contest number, has revealed that ticket sales have been extended until the end of April.

Some might be confused to read of the deadline change, especially if they read only the first part of the raffle rules, which state in part:
"Raffle tickets are $150 each, payable to 'CJDS Raffle.' Tickets will not be sold after 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, January 31. 2006. Tickets may sell out prior to that time. A maximum of 18,000 tickets will be sold. Any purchase requests received with payment after 18,000 have been sold or after 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, January 31, 2006 will be returned. No other refunds are available. Only one eligible person may be entered in the raffle per ticket sold. If the name of more than one person is submitted with a ticket purchase, and that ticket is selected as a winning ticket, then the person named first will be deemed the holder of record of that ticket and declared the winner. Division of prize by a group purchasing a ticket in common shall be to the sole responsibility of the person named as the holder of record of that ticket, should that ticket be selected as a winner. Purchases of raffle tickets are not tax deductible contributions."

Reading that makes it understandable as to how some might think something fishy is going on. However, the rules are longer than just that one paragraph. They must be read completely. Do so and you will find that way down at the bottom of the "prizes" section of the rules there's a sentence that states: "At the option of CJDS, the end date of the raffle may be extended for up to three, one-month periods."

Raffle organizers are doing just that by extending sales until the end of April, according to operators at the 1-866-Win1Home number.

Of course, ignorance of the rules is no excuse. If you play, you got to read them all the way to the end (even if a lot of people never do). However, it does seem a little confusing for something at the end of the rules to contradict the prior, seemingly definitive statement that said: "Tickets will not be sold after 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, January 31. 2006."

Aside from all that, it is curious that, as the housing market slows down, this one raffle appears to be having trouble moving tickets. Makes you wonder what's going on with the others. It's a curious matter that, hopefully, some slick reporter will explain in the weeks ahead.

Any readers competing in this particular raffle? Would love to hear your thoughts on all this.

— The Boy in the Big Housing Bubble