Using Return Address Labels on Mail-in Sweepstakes Entries

This question is about using return address labels on sweepstakes entries you send through the mail.

Tom asks:

I send out a lot of “snail-mail” entries.  I was thinking today that 99% of all the entries that I have ever sent out did not come back “undeliverable”. My question is this:  If this is the case, do you think it is necessary to put a “return address label” on the left corner of the envelope since there is a 99% chance that the envelope will be delivered plus the address is already written down on the “card/piece of paper” inside the envelope? I am about to run out of address labels and have thought about just not using them.

My reply:

Well, I think you answered your own question. If you have already tested it out and found that most entries didn’t come back to you then I would think you could stop using return address labels if you really didn’t want to use them. You will, however, want to make sure that a sweepstakes doesn’t require a return address label though. Just read the sweepstakes carefully. Some do require it and if they do you will usually see something like this in the official rules

“Mail received without a verifiable and legible return address may not be accepted at Sponsor’s sole discretion.”

If they don’t have that line in the official sweepstakes rules it is probably safe to send out your entries without a return address label.

Why would you use a return address label on a sweepstakes entry?

You would use a return address label on an entry if:

A: the official rules state that you need to use it or you could get disqualified as shown above, or

B: you want to make sure your entries are getting to their destination.

An example: in the case of the Rite Aid sweepstakes many entries were getting returned because some readers were sending more than one entry per day. If they had not gotten their entries back they would have kept sending them in large lots everyday without knowing something was wrong. The return address label came in handy in this case.

Another example: If a sweepstakes address is printed incorrectly in the rules for some reason and entries come back to you saying the box was closed or the address is incorrect, you would then know to either contact the judging agency about the address problem or stop sending more entries.

Disclosure: this sweepstakes listing may contain an affiliate or tracking link but we do not use referral links. Read about our policies for more details.

New This Week:


  1. Sorry if this is a silly question, but do you mean that generally a return address is often needed, or that if someone hand writes the return address that is against the rules? Just trying to clarify as to whether some contests specifically say the return address has to be a label and not hand-written. Again, sorry if that is a silly question; being relatively new to mail-in sweeps I am still a little nervous there will be some rule I overlook and disqualify myself over.

    • Aiyana, no, some people like to use return address labels instead of writing the return address by hand so this question was about using return address labels. You can definitely handwrite the address if you want and no, I haven’t seen rules that ever require a return address label over a hand written return address.

Leave a Comment or Your Referral Link to Get Extra Entries