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Tim Hortons customers subject to 'technical error' incorrectly saying they'd won $10K

TORONTO — Some Tim Hortons customers who were told they had won $10,000 from the coffee chain's popular Roll Up To Win contest are now being notified that the prize message was a glitch.
A Tim Hortons cup is shown in Toronto on Thursday, February 3, 2017. Tim Hortons say a technical error caused some customers using the restaurant's app to receive an incorrect award message during the first day of its Roll Up To Win contest. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

TORONTO — Some Tim Hortons customers who were told they had won $10,000 from the coffee chain's popular Roll Up To Win contest are now being notified that the prize message was a glitch.

The coffee and doughnut chain said Wednesday that for a few hours on Monday — the contest's first day — a "small subset" of players were incorrectly notified that they'd won the company's jackpot draw, a $10,000 daily prize meant to be awarded to one person per day.

The company added that it has offered a $50 gift card as compensation to players who received the erroneous award notice and is in the process of contacting the false winners "to express our regret for the disappointment caused by this error."

Moncton paramedic Luc Massé was among those who thought they had won a big prize only to be informed of the technical issue. 

He has yet to be offered a $50 gift card as an apology and feels it's not a fair offer.

"A company like Tim Hortons is recognized as a nationwide brand that people love and cherish. Everybody waits every year for this, Roll up the Rim To Win... and then the first day this happens," he said.

"It kind of leaves a bad taste in your mouth, so to speak. Glitch or not, it shows that I won and I'd like them to honour it."

Massé, who said he stops by Tims for a coffee most days he's at work, believed he won a $10,000 American Express prepaid card on Monday, when he logged onto the app after reaching his paramedic base.

Tim Hortons' annual spring prize contest — once called Roll up the Rim To Win — went fully digital in 2021, swapping out printed messages under rolled up coffee rims for scanning a loyalty card or app.

Customers now scan the Tim Hortons app on their smartphone at the time of purchase to earn a "roll" that could reveal a prize like "free doughnut," or scan a loyalty card and later log into the contest's website to see the rolls and prizes they've earned.

After Massé's winner notification appeared, the app froze, but not before he managed to take a screenshot he sent to his wife, saying 'How's your Monday morning going? Here's mine."

His colleagues were just as excited.

"I was like, 'oh my God, I think I won' and then I showed them the message and they were like, 'holy, I think you did."

Massé contacted the Tim Hortons location he had bought his coffee at that day, who directed him to customer service number, where someone told me "it was a technical glitch and there's nothing you could do."

He's disappointed with the response and admits it might affect how often he visits.

"Tim Horton is my coffee. It's my go-to place for coffee, especially when I work, but honestly I haven't been since Monday," he said.

"Will I go again? It's a possibility. How long in between? I have no idea."

The technical glitch Massé experienced comes after Tim Hortons reached a proposed settlement last year in multiple class action lawsuits alleging the restaurant's mobile app violated customer privacy.

As a consolation, the restaurant offered a free coffee and doughnut to affected users.

— With files from Brett Bundale in Halifax

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 8, 2023.

Companies in this story: (TSX:QSR)

Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press

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