Taco Bell denying prizes in PS Vita promotion, blames hackers

A cross-promotion between Taco Bell and PlayStation Vita looks to have ended on a sour note, with up to 300 confirmed winners being denied their prize despite receiving written confirmation of their free PS Vita.

The giveaway, entitled Unlock the Box, was launched last month and promised a free PS Vita to Taco Bell customers who submitted a contest code online and received a winning messages stating, “Congratulations, you won. … No really, we’re not kidding.”

Turns out, Taco Bell was kidding. Kind of. When it came time to collect on their free PS Vitas, a number of Unlock the Box contest winners were met with an email denouncing their entry as invalid instead. In statement to CBS, Taco Bell explained it was unable to meet the contest demand due to an abundance of bad entries, saying, "We have learned that during a short period of time on January 30th, some people entering our Unlock the Box promotion erroneously received a message suggesting they had won a PlayStation Vita, pending verification...After a thorough investigation, and an additional review by the independent company administering the promotion, it was confirmed that these entrants viewed these messages as a result of others who attempted to gain illegal entry and defraud the system."

Not surprisingly, legitimate winners are still fuming over the food chain's refusal to make good on its written promises. And while Taco Bell told CBS it did not feel legally required to give a PS Vita to everyone who received the winning message, it would be entering the 300-odd faux-winners into a second drawing for two more systems in the week of March 18. So at least a couple of those unfortunate souls will win the item they were told was coming to them. Too bad for the hundreds of others.

Matt Bradford wrote news and features here at GamesRadar+ until 2016. Since then he's gone on to work with the Guinness World Records, acting as writer and researcher for the annual Gamer's Edition series of books, and has worked as an editor, technical writer, and voice actor. Matt is now a freelance journalist and editor, generating copy across a multitude of industries.