Outrage and terror have plagued Taco Bell's "Unlock the $5 Buck Box" contest, a contest which claims that there is a winner of a PS Vita every 15 minutes. Some who have entered in codes for a chance to win and who have been told that they won have not been getting what's coming to them. How could this be?!
The premise is simple, text the code found on the $5 "food" box or enter it online for a chance to win a Vita. Although this task is quite simple and easy, it appears that the folks eating at Taco Bell are in for more than what they bargained for. Could this be a glitch, user error, or plain highway robbery just to earn a quick buck… or five?
A few of our readers on Facebook and many of Kotaku's have claimed that they have entered codes for the Vita and when the screen flashed "Congratulations" notifying them of their win, they later received e-mails stating their codes were invalid. Even with proof of screenshots, Taco Bell just isn't having it. Anyone who has found the excitement of winning something as extravagant as a Vita may now understand how disappointed the turned away winners are feeling.
That specific "Congratulations" webpage has since been taken down since anyone who had access to the URL found it quite easy to "win" a PS Vita. According to PS3 Blog, an anonymous reader submitted a message to the blog stating that he found a easy hack into Taco Bell's website to win a Vita.
"When I first visited the site, I noticed it was purely HTML based meaning the URL can just be repeatedly used over and over. So I went out and paid my friend who works at Taco Bell to grab me a couple of codes. It did not take long for me to win one. I simply saved the URL extension of the winners pages and text messaged it to a friend of mine in a different state to see if it will load.. and guess what.. it did. Filling up the submission form and clicking SUBMIT only gave us errors, but when we entered a used code, it somehow validated the SUBMIT button and it submitted easily."
It seems like a few bad apples may have ruined a good thing for everyone else. If A = B and B=C then if this user from PS3 Blog tried to cheat his way into winning a Vita then he may have screwed over legit winners, assuming that some of these complaints are actually from legit winners. When PS3 Blog responded to this user he stated that Taco Bell underestimated the power of gamers and that this contest had "Gameboy" level security.
Since these events transpired and earned media attention, Taco Bell has not been very responsive to anyone who has messaged the company arguing that they have "won" a Vita, but they did have time to send out the following message:
"We have received your inquiry and determined that you are not a valid winner. This was determined by checking the information (i.e. code, email address, cell phone, name, etc.) you gave us with your inquiry to the data in our system’s records.
Please note that ANY ATTEMPT TO UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS PROMOTION AND SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS AND WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO SEEK DAMAGES FOR SUCH ACTIONS TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW.
The decisions of the judges are final.
We verify all winning entries and contact the lucky winners. Nearly all of the calls we've received about discrepancies have been from people who had the URL for the winner's page but who did NOT have winning entries. We are continuing to work with our customer service teams to insure that all real winners receive their PlayStation Vitas."
Taco Bell also told Kotaku that those who have called to complain did not in fact have legit codes and only the loop hole URL. For anyone who may have had a real winning code, it is quite unfortunate that these events had to occur.
Anyone who wishes to acquire a PS Vita outside of the Taco Bell contest can snag one on February 22 on its release.
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