With a friend like that, Margaret Coward sure didn’t need an enemy — the Conception Bay South woman cheerily posted a photo of her prize-winning Tim Hortons’ cup on Facebook and got ripped off.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Coward told The Telegram of losing out on a $100 Tim Card because someone among her 900-plus friends’ list copied the Roll Up the Rim prize-winning personal identification number (PIN) visible in her Facebook photo post and claimed the prize online before Coward could.
Coward was excited about the prize and besides telling some family and friends, she posted the cup photo on Facebook, not realizing Tim Card prizes could be claimed online and all someone else needed was the PIN printed on the exposed lip to register online for the prize.
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It all happened in the span of a half hour, said Coward.
The last time the self-described “Timmie’s girl” coffee fanatic won a bigger than free-coffee prize — a $50 gift card — was two years ago and she’d filled out a form in a store.
This time around, Coward said when she rolled up the winning rim, she called the store about the form and was told it was easier to redeem online.
But when she signed on the Tim Hortons’ site, she couldn’t get her PIN to work and called the toll-free number. She said a customer service rep tried to help her register the PIN and her email address, but it kept coming back as invalid.
When, during the conversation, Coward said she’d posted a photo on Facebook, the rep said she couldn’t be helped, that the prize was redeemed.
In a subsequent call, Coward said Tim Hortons told her it couldn’t give out the email address of the person who claimed the prize because of privacy reasons.
She noticed her total Facebook friends’ count was down by one after the incident, but has no idea who stole the prize.
Coward also pointed out she has privacy settings set up so her post was not public, just among her approved friends and no one among them had shared it.
Coward said she wants to tell her story to warn anyone else who wins a prize what could happen if they are not careful.
“It’s not about getting the $100 card,” Coward said.
“If I had known this, I would not have posted it.
“They went online and entered in my PIN code and attached it to their email and claimed my $100 Tim card. Needless to say I was upset. I feel stupid for posting the pic. However, I didn’t know, along with alot of my other friends, that you can redeem online. I want others to be made aware of the rules.”
Tim Hortons spokeswoman Hailey DeDominicis said in an email response the restaurant chain introduced the PIN code feature to allow winners the chance to collect their $100 Tim Card prize online, as an alternative to mailing in the winning tab.
“As these are unique PIN codes, we do not encourage our guests to post images of their tabs on social media until they have redeemed their prize,” DeDominicis said.