Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  Old  September 17th, 2003, 12:29pm     #1
jennem is offline
jennem
Grand Master Sweeper
 
jennem's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 14,198
I hate Don Jagoda Associates!
They are a promotional company that handles lots of sweepstakes...and I hate them! Or perhaps I only hate "D. Gordon," maybe the rest of them are nice and I have the only incompetent employee.

I won that 1800flowers Marvelous Moms package, that had an ARV of $7,094. I asked for a breakdown, and this is what D. Gordon gave me:
What is the breakdown of the $7,094 ARV by item? I remember it was listed
at the time of the contest, but I can't find it now.
A 4-day/3-night trip for 2 adults to the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa, located in Phoenix, AZ (ARV $1,300.00). Trip includes round trip coach class air transportation on American Airlines from a major airport nearest winner’s home (ARV $2,200.00), a 50 minute Matchut (Aji Massage) at the Aji Spa, Blue Sky Foot Therapy and a Rosemary Citron Hand Treatment, Hejel (Private Fitness Assessment and Personal Program Design), horseback riding through the ancient tribal lands of the Gila River Indian Community. Prize also includes $1,200.00 in ServiceMaster gift certificates (for one year’s worth of Merry Maids cleaning service or other services they provide) for winner (ARV $1,200.00), one year of fresh flowers (Months in Bloomsm for twelve [12] months) provided by 1-800-FLOWERS.COM (one for the winner and one for mother/mother figure) (ARV $493.00/each) and a 14K gold heart necklace from PALMBEACHJEWELRY.com for winner (ARV $700.00).
You will receive a 1099 based upon the ARV in the rules except for the value of the
plane tickets which we will add in after you have traveled and we have the exact amount.
Please notice that even using the $2,200 figure for airfare, it only adds up to $6,386.00, not $7,094.00. I emailed back asking about that, but didn't get an answer. (The spa services are included in the $1300, or they should be, since the hotel itself would only be about $650.)

So I finally booked my tickets, and the airfare was $781. That brings me to a grand total of $4,967.00. I emailed it to D. Gordon, along with the receipts...no answer. Emailed again a week later...no answer. Emailed my contact at 1800flowers a week later, and she is normally very responsive and friendly...no answer.

If I get a 1099 for $7,094.00, life for D. Gordon is going to become extremely unpleasant. And from the vague reply, I have this fear that it's actually going to be $7,875.00, the unjustified ARV PLUS the airline tickets. Because I apparently have the one account executive who flunked second grade math.

Thank goodness I have tons of proof, so I can argue it with the IRS if necessary. But I'd rather avoid that!

I'm in the middle of writing a certified letter. Does anyone know the address for Don Jagoda Associates? I found one in Riviera Beach, FL on the internet, but I'm not sure if it's the only one.
Reply With Quote
  Old  September 18th, 2003, 12:16am     #2
Marie is offline
Marie
Grand Master Sweeper
Senior Editor
 
Marie's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 36,614
Location: PA
http://www.dja.com/Pages/ContactDJAall.html

Careful. We don't want to learn from this. ~ Calvin & Hobbes
Reply With Quote
  Old  September 18th, 2003, 12:25am     #3
honeymom is offline
honeymom
Senior Sweeper

 
Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 889
Don Jagoda is on Long Island in New York - possibly in Westbury or Woodbury.
Reply With Quote
  Old  September 18th, 2003, 11:06am     #4
jennem is offline
jennem
Grand Master Sweeper
 
jennem's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 14,198
Thanks!
Reply With Quote
  Old  September 18th, 2003, 11:20am     #5
tigress2b is offline
tigress2b
Senior Master Sweeper
 
tigress2b's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 9,440
Location: west of chi-town
Be patient
I won a comedy central sweep and they were the promotional company. The person I dealt with was Taylor Gordon. She worked with me for months trying to get my casble internet provider to credit me for one yr free internet. She got it done and because of all the frustration she lowered the value by about half! Just be patient. The nicer you are to them the more they will help you. As you have all the receipts I think it is safe to say that you could file some sort of amended 1099 with receipts adjusting the approximately value to the actual value.

Good Luck and Congrats on the great win!!!
Reply With Quote
  Old  September 18th, 2003, 3:31pm     #6
jennem is offline
jennem
Grand Master Sweeper
 
jennem's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 14,198
I won a trip from Comedy Central a couple of years ago, and they were also very nice and very helpful when it came to adjusting my 1099. Very smoothly and easily done, and everyone was so friendly.

In this case, I'm trying to be really nice and sweet...sent thank you notes, compliment them, etc....but it starts sounding weird when you send the 5th ignored email and then say "thank you so much for being so kind and helpful!"

I know that I can file for an incorrect 1099, but my taxes are going to be complicated enough this year. And it does increase your odds of an audit--the last thing I need! I just don't understand why they won't *answer* me. Even if they'd just say "We're going to put in $7,094 even though we can't justify it," at least I'd have an answer. Being ignored really, really irritates me.

I'm starting to have a funny feeling that they've realized that their original figure was way wrong, but they don't want to change it...but they can't justify it, and they don't want me to have ANYTHING in writing to give to the IRS...so they're never going to reply.
Reply With Quote
  Old  September 18th, 2003, 11:00pm     #7
keithnj973 is offline
keithnj973
Master Sweeper

 
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 1,505
Jennem, I am having the same trouble with them right now. Not responding to a question. I am not impressed. Usually the sponsor is pretty responsive since they don't want the bad press but in your case seems like they are blowing you off too. I do try to think on the Pollyanna side of things and remind myself perhaps this person got very ill and is out of the office, or had a family emergency and is out for an extended period. I know none of that justified the "company" not responding but maybe there is some extenuating circumstance going on that is not readily known to you. Having said that, I know you need to resolve the issue so you need to do whatever you need to to get it done. Let us know how it turns out.
Reply With Quote
  Old  September 18th, 2003, 11:35pm     #8
gcomstock is offline
gcomstock
Grand Master Sweeper
Founding Member
 
gcomstock's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2000
Posts: 13,138
Location: Tustin, California
The non-responsive part...there's no excuse for that, imho. I've made a habit of always asking for a direct-dial number for any contest rep that's called me relative to a prize win (but I have a telephone system that includes unlimited long distance...so that isn't always an option for folks), and asking if they are the one's with whom I'll be dealing throughout the fufillment process.

I've started seeing a clause in rules that is troubling, but reflects the sometimes unfair treatment that "winners" get relative to taxes: (to paraphrase) "entrant agrees to accept sponsor valuation of prizes." The more often that winners push the issue, as you rightfully have Jennem, sponsors and fufillment companies may be asserting this sort of crummy approach to the issue. One of the problems is that many companies have multiple departments and cost/revenue centers...that don't talk to one another very effectively. If the upbeat, sharp dressing marketing folks who create the contests knew that the green eye shade and pocket protector wearing nerds in accounting were trying to stick it to the "winners" (or that the legal department's hired hatchet guys...Don Jagoda et al were doing so) there might be some changes.

Anyway, I think you're right to research and print out quotes for lesser priced versions of your prize...if it won't convince them to revise the 1099...then you may have a much better chance of success if you decide to declare a less-than-1099 income number in your taxes. Also, if all else fails...consider contacting 1800Flowers and asking them to help with the recalcitrant vendor they've hired: they are a public company, and should be pretty shy of bad publicity...
Reply With Quote
  Old  September 19th, 2003, 10:09am     #9
jennem is offline
jennem
Grand Master Sweeper
 
jennem's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 14,198
I should be all good as far as the IRS is concerned. I have all the prices of the items printed out. But more importantly, I have the email from Don Jagoda Associates listing the ARVs of each prize element...that list that does NOT add up to $7,094. So I have it in writing that they're not giving me anywhere near $7,094 in prizes.

So even if I agreed to accept the sponsor's valuation of the prize, the sponsor valued the prize at way less than the original arbitrary number.

I do have a phone number at 1800flowers, and I could probably get one at Don Jagoda. But I've been handling it all by email and snailmail for one reason--I want a reply in WRITING. If I call, they can tell me whatever they want and then do something differently, and I have no proof.

I sent out certified letters yesterday, with copies cc:ed to 1800flowers.com. 1800flowers is usually a very responsive company--they just sent me a large gift certificate for making a small error with a flower delivery that was another part of my prize. If I haven't heard back in another week or two, I'm going to start by calling them first.
Reply With Quote
  Old  September 19th, 2003, 10:46am     #10
phoebe is offline
phoebe
Senior Sweeper
 
phoebe's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 923
Location: Far, Far Away
I went through the same thing with a big prize last year. You can look up everything you need to know on the IRS website... and YES, you can submit all of your receipts, etc along with your tax return and claim only the "reasonable" value...By my research last year, I took off $14,000 of the arv... so don't give up! I wish you the best...
now for a deep breath!
Reply With Quote
  Old  September 24th, 2003, 4:48pm     #11
jennem is offline
jennem
Grand Master Sweeper
 
jennem's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 14,198
FINALLY got an answer. Danielle Gordon at Don Jagoda called and left a very irritated message on my voicemail, saying she’d gotten my registered letter (no mention of the emails). She said that they issue the 1099 at the end of the year (yeah, I’m aware of that) and that they usually do not give out the information that I’m requesting until then (huh? the ARV is a secret?). But since I have “a need for it” (my accountant wants to change my withholding), she’ll go ahead and tell me that the figures I sent were OK. But she’s "doing me a big favor" by talking to me before the end of the year.

Once again, totally vague, and she wouldn’t mention the numbers exactly, and she wouldn’t answer in writing. Meaning I THINK she’s referring to the $5,000 figure, but who really knows? And there’s nothing that I can use as proof if I need to change the number on my tax return. I’m at least going to transcribe the exact message.

What is wrong with this woman? Why is the ARV such a big unholy secret until February? I do NOT like people who play games with me!

I’ve never had this issue with a contest sponsor…including my previous contact at Don Jagoda. They’re usually so nice!
Reply With Quote
  Old  October 5th, 2003, 3:47pm     #12
lbz1947 is offline
lbz1947
Senior Sweeper

 
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 619
Hi Jennem:
I have a problem, different issue with Don Jagoda. Their physical addrss is 100 Marcus Dr. Melville, NY 11775. My emails when I get them answered from them is from a Taylor Gordon &
a Lauren Gordon. I was given a number to call directly Lauren Gordon at 1-800-872-8893. Left
a message I guess on her voice mail, never heard back.

LOL

Linda
Reply With Quote
  Old  October 5th, 2003, 6:46pm     #13
tigress2b is offline
tigress2b
Senior Master Sweeper
 
tigress2b's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 9,440
Location: west of chi-town
lbz197 The address I have for them is the same as you listed in Melville, NY. The telephone number is also the same 800 872 8893. They also have a fax number which is 631 454 1834. Perhaps you could send a fax to them. I worked with Taylor Gordon. I hope that both of you get these issues resolved quickly. This is suppose to be fun and exciting not work! Please post any updates if you get a chance.

Thanks,
SWEEP ON!!!!
Reply With Quote
  Old  October 5th, 2003, 8:48pm     #14
jennem is offline
jennem
Grand Master Sweeper
 
jennem's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 14,198
Quote:
Originally Posted by lbz1947
Hi Jennem:
I have a problem, different issue with Don Jagoda. Their physical addrss is 100 Marcus Dr. Melville, NY 11775. My emails when I get them answered from them is from a Taylor Gordon &
a Lauren Gordon. I was given a number to call directly Lauren Gordon at 1-800-872-8893. Left
a message I guess on her voice mail, never heard back.

LOL

Linda
I found that sending a certified letter to DJA, and sending a copy to the sweeps sponsor, was the only way to get a response.
Reply With Quote
  Old  October 6th, 2003, 3:13am     #15
LastLaugh is offline
LastLaugh
Gone Camping
 
LastLaugh's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 28,244
Location: gone camping
the various Gordons are probably psuedonym's used by various employee's when dealing with sweepstakes winners. IRS regulations in regard to sweepstakes prize valuation are based on the true market value of the prize. Even if the rules state "entrant agrees to accept sponsor valuation of prizes." I would still send the IRS documentation of the true market value of the prizes and base my taxes on that. from that point on let the IRS come to a determination of whether the sweeps company is trying to defraud the IRS by claiming more than the prizes true worth.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 5:33am.