HGTV’s “Mortgage Madness” says it wants to give someone $50,000 to pay off his or her mortgage. The award is coming once every week in March with winners announced at the end of the month. But you don't even need a mortgage to qualify.
The only qualification for entering the contest is that you be 21 years of age and not affiliated with the network. There are no requirements for actually having a mortgage, or even owning a home. Read the rules here.
If you read the press releases or watch the commercials on the contest, you would think the contest was only for those people with outstanding mortgages. For instance:
"Who couldn't use some help paying their mortgage?" said Denise Conroy-Galley, senior vice president of marketing and creative services at HGTV in this press release. "Now watching HGTV not only pays off with great ideas and inspiration, but it also may ease your mortgage burden for at least a year."
Or it could just make you $50,000 richer.
HGTV seems to be a little disingenuous in their promotion of this contest. The commercials, press releases and news write-ups about this contest all say it is for people who need help with their mortgage, but that just isn’t true.
Emily Yarborough, PR manager at HGTV, confirmed that those that enter the contest do not need a mortgage, and once winners receive the cash they can spend it on whatever they want. She has yet to get back to me on why HGTV chose not to limit the contest to people who had mortgages.
The names of the winners will be announced March 30. HGTV usually does on-camera specials with the winners of their contests, so it will be interesting to see them bring the check to an apartment should their winner be a renter, or to someone who lives in a completely paid off house that chatters excitedly about how they are going to use it to go on a killer vacation.