Open Letter to Bill Pulte

Dear Bill:

You’ve made it clear to your peers that I’m one of the few that you will NOT unblock, under any circumstances, “anytime soon.” I’m writing this open letter to you as I know you still get to read what I put out.

 

Your “Twitter Philanthropy” has blown up in a manner that you did not originally intend.  It started off nice, people loved you and you had stress-free days with your wife enjoying the new-found popularity. Today it seems like one big mess where you spend more time tweeting about taking people to court, protecting your private information, and performing damage control from within while using social media.

What a mess!

Bill, here’s the deal:  I have a strong feeling that if you were to just admit a few things, the community would slow down in their vocal distaste for you and allow certain aspects to fall back into the norm.  They say “Happy Wife, Happy Life.”

 

Here’s my moment of honesty: I’m actually empathetic to your situation. It was my account that posted the original sweepstakes rules link while explaining that what you’re doing is not actually considered philanthropy. (This isn’t anything you don’t already know). Your initial gut reaction was to quickly remove the entire webpage to a new link on the domain.  (Kind of like the “shell game”), but as I also pointed out, Google caches all results and the old page was and is still viewable. From there, the entire Twitter army jumped in and they caught on.  Immediately upon removing and replacing your “sweepstakes rules” webpage, you then threatened to sue us all, no doubt out of anger.  Again, I’m empathetic to that. 

 

So let’s hear your moment of honesty: Someone tricked you. You didn’t know it. You’re young, you’re not as well involved in the business world, (in terms of Corporate and Social Responsibility, we know you’re successful) and you got tangled into something you weren’t prepared for.  It happens to the best of us and that’s how we gain the experience.  

 

The best-of-the-best will tell you that “Sweepstakes and Contests are NOT Philanthropy.” You’re NOT supposed to ask people to “do anything” in order to receive money and good welfare from you. This isn’t rocket science and you should’ve known better, but what’s done is done and its time to clean the issue up. You should also probably know (if no one has told you) that you’re NOT supposed to ask people to “do anything” in order to win a sweepstakes.  (You’ve confused “Sweepstakes” with a “Contest”). This probably falls back to the reasoning that you lacked this experience.  

 

It seems you may be new to twitter as a whole. Going forward, people do NOT need to follow you in order for you to send them a Direct Message. So there’s no need for that requirement at it’s core.  It’s reasonable that you have them click the heart and like the post in order for you to gather the names of the random winners.  That’s realistic, but anything in excess of that, violates State Laws for a “Sweepstakes” and you are now running a “Contest.” (Tremendous difference.)

 

Let’s quickly talk about “Vets” and “SSI / Govt Benefit Recipients” for a moment. The philanthropy that you exercised by leaving electronic financial trails to “winners” risks the benefits that they receive. SNAP/Medicaid/TANF/WIC/SSI etc. I couldn’t imagine taking those benefits away from people!

 

Admit that you had no idea that you could jeopardize the Government Benefits of millions of people, who collect SSI as an example, by trying to help. You’re not a charity, you’re a human being leaving money in documented electronic trails.  While $500 may “feel good” to someone who collects SSI and is in need, it will NOT “feel good” when they lose or offset a monthly payment later on down that road. Or worse, jeopardize their Medicaid Insurance!

 

Come on, Bill, HOW WOULD YOU FEEL if that happened?  Be honest, you MUST have some decency from within. You’d feel horrible knowing that you set back a person who receives SSI by just attempting to use philanthropy to improve their life.  This is where your lack of experience kicks in. It wasn’t intentional, correct?

 

Now let’s focus on the cars you’re “giving away” and examine the requirements that are right in your own “Sweepstakes Rules.”  You can’t possibly believe that adding those burdens listed in your rulesare helpful to people “in need” right?  It’s not logical.  You’ve outlined the rules yourself on Pulte.org.

 

“If the prize contains a vehicle lease, the following additional prize conditions apply: Winner must take delivery of vehicle from dealership designated by Sponsor. Prize will consist of fully subsidized payments for the term of the number of month lease included in the Post. Winner must enter into a lease agreement with the dealership/company and adhere to all terms and conditions of that agreement. “

 

And

 

Prize is fully subsidized payments for the term number of the lease…”

 

The sponsor will be making the payments on the lease.  Who is the “Sponsor” Bill? It’s NOT you correct? 

 

“Winner must enter into a lease agreement with the dealership/company and adhere to all terms and conditions of that agreement. “

 

Congrats, you’ve just put someone in financial hardship, into a credit binding lease agreement. Think about that.

 

Winner is responsible for routine maintenance of the vehicle and is responsible to insure the vehicle as required by the terms of the lease agreement.”

 

Don’t miss an oil change or a tune up… (remember these are people in need of financial help).  Leases tend to require full Liability, Comprehensive, & Collision Insurance. Most poor people don’t finance or lease cars, this is one of the main reasons, its an extra $300 a month sometimes.

 

Winner will also be responsible for mileage in excess of the lease allotted miles per year at the rate stated in the lease agreement, and assumes full responsibility for damage to the vehicle, excess wear and tear charges, and other liabilities at lease end as specified in the lease agreement.

 

Now, this is a big one, mileage rates on leases go anywhere from .10 to .20 a mile over the limit.  Drive 20k miles over the limit, you owe $400! In this situation alone, it’s NOT Philanthropy, it’s the reverse, unsuspecting people in need of financial help are picking up financial burdens they never wanted in the first place. This is one of the many reasons they don’t purchase, finance, or lease brand new vehicles. The taxes due the local state are too much alone, nonetheless the new budget they must prepare for cost of ownership.

 

Bill, the bottom line is, just admit this was a marketing initiative gone wrong. You never intended to harm anyone.  If you did harm anyone by misleading them with fraudulent info, leave it to those people to decide if they’d like to take you to court, seek justice via broken sweepstakes laws in each of the 50 states, or just “let it go and move on.”  You should hope for the latter as you’ve put yourself in quite a situation.  You should also know that “threatening frivolous lawsuits” can make you liable for being sued in many states (and you’ve done just that.)

 

Chalk it up to inexperience and being taken advantage of (by your “Sponsor”) and apologize to the world. Maybe do not admit any guilt, but definitely apologize.  Cease and Desist your fraudulent activity under the guise of philanthropy and move on.  The people may let you do just that… I know I would.

 

-James Tylee

@OfficialJtylee on Twitter.

  

James Tylee is currently committed to Distributed Ledger Performance Rights Organization. Also known as DLPRO, this group combines the use of Blockchain Technology with radio performance auditing when broadcasts occur and are streamed online. The goals are to fill the gap in value amongst recording artists globally and is currently the only project available that supports any and all Performance Rights Organizations via Plug N’ Play methodology. This ecosystem includes a cryptocurrency that will compensates artists and performers across the world. All artists are compensated regardless of individual membership to their respective Performance Rights Organization.