Following the revelations about the You Say, We Pay competition that featured on Channel 4’s Richard and Judy program, ICTSTIS, the regulatory body for premium rate telecommunications, has imposed a £150,000 fine on Eckoh Ltd, the provider of the service. The ajudication arose after it was discovered that viewers were encouraged to enter the You Say, We Pay competition after the potential winners had already been selected.
The full ajudication can be read at ICSTIS whilst a response to the fine has also been published online by Eckoh Ltd.
Eckoh’s response explains how the competition worked: The competition started at 5pm and concluded just before 5.45pm. “Eckoh selected 24 participants (in four tranches of six) randomly from those who had called and answered the question correctly and passed these names on to the production company, Cactus. Cactus would then select a winner and telephone them back to validate their details before they were heard on air. In practice, all 24 names had usually been sent to Cactus by about 5.15pm. However, the lines would still be open for another 20 minutes or so”.
They also claim that they discovered the problem, but the production company failed to take appropriate action: “despite the seriousness of the issue and Eckoh following up on this on two further occasions, Eckoh was unsuccessful in having the issue resolved”!
For those of you wanting to read more about the scale of the scandal then The Telegraph provides some very interesting reading. According to the report up to 2.6million calls will need to be refunded – and that accounts for almost half of all entries made to the competition!
ICSTIS are now considering referring the case to Ofcom. Ofcom recently imposed a £300,000 fine on Five regarding irregularities involving their Brainteaser competition, and if they get involved in this case a much higher fine could be served on Channel 4.