‘Technical error’ results in multiple Tim Hortons customers thinking they won $10,000 prize

Click to play video: 'Double trouble: A big win, then a loss'
Double trouble: A big win, then a loss
WATCH ABOVE: Coffee giant Tim Hortons is apologizing after it says a glitch unintentionally told consumers they had won a $10,000 prize. In the end, those customers were offered a $50 gift card as a consolation prize. Sean O’Shea reports – Mar 8, 2023

A man from Tillsonburg, Ont., is frustrated with Tim Hortons after the coffee and donut chain mistakenly informed him he won a $10,000 American Express prepaid gift card for the Roll up the Rim contest.

Jeremy McDougall says he received a notification Monday morning on the Tim Hortons app telling him we won the daily jackpot prize after digitally participating in Roll up the Rim.

After the initial high of winning the major prize wore off, McDougall told Global News he became a little concerned that he had yet to receive a confirmation through email after more than 24 hours had passed.

A message from Tim Hortons finally arrived Tuesday evening, but it was not the message McDougall was hoping to see.

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The letter, signed by Markus Sturm, senior vice president and head of digital, loyalty and consumer goods with Tim Hortons, outlines that a technical error had caused an incorrect award message to be sent to him and other customers.

“I felt gutted,” said McDougall. “I’d never won anything like $10,000 in my life.”

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McDougall said even in the short time he and his wife thought they won a significant prize, they had given serious thought to what they would use the money for, including purchasing a new couch and paying off some debt.

McDougall added, “$10,000 is a big chunk of money.”

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As part of Roll up the Rim this year, for every eligible roll revealed, customers are automatically entered into a daily jackpot draw for a $10,000 American Express prepaid gift card.

According to the letter from Sturm, when McDougall was entered into the draw, the glitch caused an incorrect message to be sent saying he had won.

Sturm’s letter indicated a “small subset of Roll up the Rim players” were affected. In responding to questions from Global News, Tim Hortons did not confirm the exact number of players involved.

“We’re already in contact with some of the impacted guests to express our regret for the disappointment caused by this error,” Tim Hortons media relations told Global News.

Tim Hortons did not offer any reason for what caused the technical error.

As part of compensation, McDougall and other affected customers are being sent a $50 Tim Hortons gift card directly to their Tim Rewards account.

“Their compensation was half a per cent of what I was actually supposed to have won,” said McDougall, adding the offer was a big insult. “I have no intentions of taking anything that isn’t the $10,000 (gift card).”

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Nicole Kirk, an Oakville, Ont., resident that has gone through the same thing as McDougall, says she does not want to accept the $50 gift card either.

“It doesn’t really mean anything to me thinking I won $10,000 to now $50,” Kirk told Global News, adding the significant prize would have been life-changing for her.

London-based lawyer Nick Cake says the opportunity for someone like McDougall or Kirk to seek further compensation will likely rest on if there was any “loss” by the customers that got the incorrect message.

“You probably thought, ‘this is great, I can pay off that credit card,’” said Cake. “But you likely haven’t acted on it, so really what is the loss?”

Cake added that this incident could serve as a warning for people participating in something like Roll up the Rim to remember no prize is guaranteed until it is officially verified by the company running the contest.

Still, McDougall says he wants to see Tim Hortons follow through and honour the initial prize notification he and others received.

“I would like to see every single person that got that notification that said they won, to get the compensation of what they won,” said McDougall.

— with files from Sean O’Shea


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