How A Georgia Teacher Won $10,000 By Reading The Fine Print

Always read the fine print.

Always read the fine print. We’ve all heard that before, but how many of us actually do it?

It turns out she had at least one, and it had made her $10,000.

Squaremouth, based in St. Petersburg, started hiding the instructions for winning the prize in the policy documents for every Tin Leg travel insurance policy it sold in Feb. 2019.

The corporation planned to conduct the contest for a year, assuming that no one would notice the part on page seven of the roughly 4,000-word document headlined “pays to read” nestled between legal clauses. The aim was to contribute $10,000 to charity at the end of the year if it went unreported.

They didn’t count on Donelan Andrews, a 59-year-old high school teacher. The self-described “nerd” who insists on reading the conditions, whether it’s a digital software user agreement like the ones most of us skim over before checking the box, or a $400 travel insurance policy like the one she bought through Squaremouth the same day the contest started.

Andrews sat down to read her policy immediately away after printing it, and stapled it together. She quickly came across a passage that stated: “In an effort to highlight the importance of reviewing policy documents, we launched Pays to Read, a contest that rewards the individual who reads their policy information from start to finish. If you are reading this within the contest period … and are the first to contact us, you may be awarded the Pays to Read contest Grand Prize of ten thousand dollars.”

The policy then gave Andrews an email address to contact in order to claim the prize, which he promptly did. The next day, she received a call informing her that she had won the $10,000 prize. The event has been running for nearly 23 hours.

Squaremouth said Andrews was the first to contact them about the promotion, 23 hours after it began and after 73 policies detailing the $10,000 prize had been issued.

Andrews, who is about to retire, said she planned to use the prize money to pay for her 35th wedding anniversary trip to Scotland. Squaremouth awarded an additional $5,000 to each of the two high schools where Andrews works to upgrade their media centres, as well as $10,000 to the children’s literacy organisation Reading is Fundamental, in recognition of her fast claim of the reward.