Lottery winner loses ticket in the mail

Sue Burgess had a little more than bad luck when she won the lottery but was unable to claim her prize. She told local media that the certified letter she sent to the Florida Lottery’s headquarters to claim her prize got lost in the mail.

She won $1,000 in a second chance drawing on July 29. But said officials told her “no ticket, no prize”

The second chance lottery prize gives winners limited time to turn in a ticket to claim the prize. Their options are to either put the ticket in a drop box at a local lottery office, which were not then open to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic, or mail them to the headquarters.

The tracking information shows the ticket arrived at a Tallahassee post office at 7:12 a.m. on Aug. 12. But the online tracking shows the ticket was never delivered to the lottery office.

When Burgess called, lottery officials told her that without a ticket, the prize would go to an alternate winner.

Burgess said there was a one-week time frame to submit the ticket, but she missed an email about being a winner and by the time the office called her, she only had days to get the ticket post-marked.

“That’s why you chose certified mail,” Burgess said. “With COVID, I understand the mail is a little bit slow. But for safety sake, certified mail usually has priority.”

Lottery officials told WFLA the claim was never received at the headquarters.

The claims department told Burgess to contact the postal service to find out what happened to the letter. The postal service said they are investigating what happened.

In a statement to the station, the postal service offered an apology to Burgess for any “inconvenience.”

If the package arrives, lottery officials told the station they would bend the rules and pay Burgess the $1,000 if it was postmarked by the original deadline.

“Ms. Burgess’ situation is an unusual circumstance and, to our knowledge, no other winner has experienced a similar issue,” the lottery said.