Woman says Facebook friend stole her Tim Hortons prize

Barb Sweet
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With a friend like that, Margaret Coward sure didn’t need an enemy. When the Newfoundland woman cheerily posted a photo of her prize-winning Tim Hortons’ cup on Facebook, she got ripped off.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Coward told TC Media of losing out on a $100 Tim Card. 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, who lives in Conception Bay South, was excited about the prize and besides telling some family and friends, she posted the cup photo on Facebook. She did not realize Tim prizes could be claimed online and all someone else needed was the PIN printed on the exposed lip to register online for the prize.

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.

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. Margaret Coward

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.

Organizations: Tim Hortons

Geographic location: Conception Bay

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Recent comments

  • Sam Crow
    February 23, 2016 - 12:08

    900 friends....yeah right. If you really want to know who your true friends are on Facebook, indicate that you are moving on Sat and you need some help. See how many of the 900 friends actually show up.

  • MM Rosebud Skate
    February 23, 2016 - 11:29

    Bane Facebook!

  • RG
    February 23, 2016 - 11:05

    To everybody saying Tim's should reimburse her or cancel the card, why should they? They have no way of knowing for sure if she's telling the truth. For all we know, she found the cup on the ground after the prize was already claimed? She made a mistake and is paying for it now. It sucks but it's a lesson learned. (Assuming everything she says is true)

  • Malpeque Mariner
    February 23, 2016 - 10:13

    So, are you telling me that Tim Hortons wouldn't give her the one hundred dollars that she was ripped off? I absolutely hate Tim Hortons!!!! Terrible coffee! Overpriced! and Roll up the Rim to lose.

    • Observer
      February 23, 2016 - 11:57

      She lost it because she was foolish enough to post it on-line. Sorta' like saying "Hey - I gotta' a $100 bill! It's on the dashboard of my unlocked car..." Having said that, even if she doesn't get the prize, Tim's should be able to cancel the card so the theif doesn't get it either. But really, the rest of your rant is pointless: you don't like the coffee? You think it's over-priced? Then don't go there. She does like the coffee. Settle down!

    • joe blow
      February 23, 2016 - 13:44

      Why would they give her the money? Tim Hortons created a contest where some lucky winner could redeem a prize with a pin code...that was done. Its her fault that she posted the winning pin.

  • Aaron
    February 23, 2016 - 09:41

    Maybe she should consider trimming her friends list. Nobody has 900 close friends. Just because you met somebody somewhere or are a friend of a friend, don't add people you don't actually know or things like this can happen :p. Also... posting the PIN? Common...

  • Carmen Young-McGrattan
    February 23, 2016 - 08:32

    why can't Tims cancel the card and when the holder tries to use it, they will be charged with Theft... and give this nice/honest lady a New Card !!!! don't tell me it can't be done!

    • joe blow
      February 23, 2016 - 13:43

      Its not Tim Horton's job to verify who is the rightful owner. As long as you have the pin...you can claim your prize. Unfortunate for the woman, but she shouldn't have posted it online...she could have simply stated she won without posting a picture!

  • TheTruth
    February 23, 2016 - 08:21

    Why do we feel everything needs to be shared to the world on social media? In my opinion it's the woman's own fault. People are too willing to share everything without thinking about the consequences. I highly doubt that all 900 people in her friends list are actual true friends. I weeded out the "hey i met you once and never talked to you again" friends ages ago. I hope she learned an important lesson in privacy, humility and that we don't need to yell from the mountain tops every time something happens to us.