Back in March, Shamus Fitzsimons closed their Win Your Dream Home competition. When we wrote our review of this competition we noted that the promoter didn’t indicate the values of expenses and marketing fees to be taken before determining the cash value. Fitzsimons may have been wise to look at these concerns because 6 months on ASA have ruled on this particular win a house raffle.
According to the ruling, two complainants raised issues regarding the value of the cash prize, the clarity that a cash prize was to be offered if there were insufficient ticket sales and that the prize draw was not administered fairly. The first two points we find a little odd! If insufficient tickets aren’t sold then a cash prize based on ticket sales is awarded not a cash prize based on the value of the property! Secondly the cash prize award in the event of insufficient ticket sales was in the terms – we know because we wrote about it.
However, ASA have a different take on things. They upheld all complaints against Win Your Dream Home, although the fact that they didn’t respond to ASA’s enquiries may not have helped their position. ASA suggested that based on the content of the homepage, entrants would expect to win a dream home regardless of the number of tickets sold. As ASA had no communication from Win Your Dream Home they were unable to determine what prize was awarded.
Justifiable Grounds For Complaint
Having the cash alternative if not enough ticket sales are sold is useful in the terms of a win a home competition. However, ASA weren’t happy that Win Your Dream Home “did not explicitly and prominently state that a substitute cash prize applied if an insufficient number of tickets was sold”. If you’re thinking of running a house raffle in the future then make sure your small print is visible!
Finally, and the point we think is a fair complaint, ASA upheld that the prize draw was not administered fairly. According to ASA, Win Your Dream have not demonstrated that the prizes were awarded. According to The CAP Code promoters “should not give consumers justifiable grounds for complaint”. Win Your Dream Home shut their website and social media pages – and didn’t offer sufficient communication regarding the winner, tickets sold or prize value. One comment on our site simply reads “[it] feels like there has been a lot of people scammed by the promoter of this competition”.
Not Dealt Fairly Or Honurably With Participants
The ruling of ASA was that they “told Win Your Dream Home to ensure in future promotions that they awarded the prizes as described in their marketing communications or reasonable equivalents”. However, it’s unlikely that Win Your Dream Home or Shamus Fitzsimons will run a similar promotion again. And this is where there’s a problem for entrants! They’ve all paid good money to enter a promotion that’s been ruled as being run unfairly. However, the promoter gets a letter saying “don’t do it again” and that’s it. Is that entirely fair?
As is, no one is any the wiser how the competition actually faired? The fact that the promoter chose not to respond to the ASA investigation doesn’t help. So we will never know many tickets were sold, who won and how much. Yet surely ASA must be able to demand this information and if it’s not forthcoming have more teeth to bare? A little telling off isn’t going to change the Win Your Dream Home situation nor will it put off other home rafflers for taking the same approach.