Back in September 2017 the website Win The House Of Your Dreams joined the throng of home competitions online. The prize, Reve House, is located on the banks of The River Thames at Caversham, Berkshire and at the time of the competition was valued at £3,500,000. To enter the competition, entrants needed to pay a hefty £25 plus 25p admin fee then go on to ‘spot the ball’. The competition ended on 28th March 2018 without enough tickets being sold to award the house as a prize.
Of all the win a house competitions we’ve covered, Reve House was the only one that completely went off radar without announcing a winner. Their website went offline, their Facebook page closed down and Twitter updates stopped. There were announcements regarding winners or the status of the competition. We understand that the owners had some kind of health emergency around the end of the competition but beyond that details are pretty scant. Unfortunately the details remain scant despite Reve House this week becoming the subject of an Advertising Standards ruling. One complainant challenged – based on a Twitter advert – whether “the promotion had been conducted fairly; and the ads were misleading because they omitted the significant conditions or information” That information referred to a 25p transaction fee and the prize that’s awarded if not enough tickets are sold.
Spot The Ball
In terms of the conduct of the promotion ASA actually found for Reve House. They concluded that “the judging process for the Spot the Ball competition” was acceptable and not in breach of The Code. Interestingly the complainant said they disagreed with the judge’s location of the ball. This means that the owners of Reve House must have released this information as well as announce who won? We’d have liked ASA to reveal this information as part of their ruling assessment! Even better it’d be nice if Reve House published their results! Reve House did come under fire due to their admin charge and the cash prize alternative. As entrants had no choice with respect to the admin charge, Reve House should have advertised the ticket price as £25.25. Therefore their ad was misleading. Similarly, ASA agreed that Reve House’s adverts focused on the house as the prize and that entrants could win it regardless of ticket sales. ASA concluded that “the cash alternative condition was not sufficiently prominent to alter that impression” and upheld this part of the complaint.
Slap On The Wrist
Unfortunately for disgruntled entrants Reve House’s owners got a slap on the wrist. They were told to make sure “future ads stated all significant conditions sufficiently prominently and that they awarded the prize described in the ad, or a reasonable equivalent”. Given that the property is now for sale with an estate agent we suspect the owners won’t be taking the competition route again. So, despite ASA’s ruling, we’re none the wise about just how unsuccessful the Reve House competition was. We do know that they failed to sell enough tickets but there’s no indication of numbers, prizes or winners. ASA may have upheld complaints against Reve House, but they’ve not filled in the gaps of this particular house competition mystery.