You live in Tennessee and are perusing your local grocery store for the perfect Thanksgiving turkey and bottle of wine to pair. While navigating the small and often inadequate wine selection of your local grocery store you see the following collar resting neatly on a bottle of red:
Wow! Can this be?! With the purchase of two bottles of wine, after following the required steps, you will receive $8.00 off of the price of the turkey of your choice! Yes, mail-in-rebates (MIRs) such as this are lawful in Tennessee, provided that certain requirements are met.
There isn’t much in our Tennessee Code Annotated to guide us here, but luckily our Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission has promulgated a very detailed rule to fill in the gaps and provide industry members with guidance.
TABC Rule 0100-06-.03(14) tells us that “[c]ontest prizes, premium offers, sweepstakes, and like items may be offered by industry members or any representative thereof – e.g. third party marketing entities –
directly to consumers at point-of-sale, via neck hangers (on or in caps, cap liners, corks, containers, labels, cartons, cases, or other materials which come with a purchased alcohol beverage) and other point-of-sale advertising (e.g., tear pads that are part of shelf talkers and case cards), through newspapers or magazines, and through the internet, mobile/other electronic communication devices and communications via social media, flyers, and by direct mail in conjunction with combination packaging. Retailers for on-premise consumption may participate in such programs.”
A MIR may also be offered through a mailer or online marketing program which meets the all of the appropriate legal requirements. The catch for MIRs and other types of manufacturer consumer promotions is that bars and restaurants may not participate in this type of promotion and the off-premise retailer may not offer the refund at the point of sale as a “cents-off” coupon. The refund can only be redeemable by a consumer’s mailing or transmitting of the rebate request directly to the manufacturer, supplier, importer, non-resident seller, non-manufacturer non-resident seller, distiller, winery, or an authorized redemption agent. Lastly, and it should go without saying, no coupon may be redeemed or refund sent to any person who is under the age of 21.
Happy Thanksgiving shopping!
Last modified: November 25, 2019