ASA Non-broadcast Adjudication: Call Alliance Services Hotline Ltd
Call Alliance Services Hotline Ltd
73 Clapham Common Northside
20 August 2003
Objection to a scratchcard promotion. The card stated "THE MAGIC HOUR ... TOP PRIZE £9,000 Plus Jackpot £1500 cash, Sony Digital TV, Sony Stereo, £1000 Vouchers, Diamond Jewellery & Watches ...". A scratched off panel beneath the list of prizes stated "CONGRATULATIONS You are a LEVEL 4 winner to claim CALL NOW ... Your prize has a value at least 10 times the cost of the call ...". Smallprint at the bottom of the card stated "Calls cost £1 a min ... No purchase necessary ...". The complainant:
1. objected that the scratchcard did not to state how many of each of the listed prizes or gifts were available;
2. challenged whether the claim "CONGRATULATIONS You are LEVEL 4 winner" misleadingly implied the recipient had won a major prize and
3. challenged whether the claim "Your prize has a value at least 10 times the cost of the call" could be substantiated, because he believed the prize referred to was the vouchers and that the restrictions on the use of the vouchers made a direct comparison misleading.
The Authority challenged:
4. the promoters'' failure to state clearly on each card the full name and address of their business in a form that could be retained by consumers and
5. whether the claim "CONGRATULATIONS You are LEVEL 4 winner" misleadingly implied the recipients were luckier than they were, because it believed that all or most participants would be level 4 winners and would receive the vouchers.
CAP Code (Edition 11)
The promoters said they had discussed the matter with the Independent Committee for the Supervision of Standards of Telephone Information Services (ICSTIS) and would make requested changes. They did not explain the changes they intended to make.
1. Complaint upheld
The Authority considered that, because it did not state how many of each of the listed prizes or gifts were available, the scratchcard was misleading. It told the promoters to ensure that information was included in future similar promotions.
2. Complaint upheld
The Authority considered that the leaflet implied several prize levels and, because the leaflet did not state which prizes or gifts fell into the various levels and because it considered that most participants in the promotion were likely to receive a gift of vouchers, the leaflet could mislead recipients into believing they had won a major prize. The Authority was concerned that the promotion did not distinguish between prizes and gifts. It reminded the promoters that the distinction between prizes and gifts should always be clear to consumers and that gifts offered to all or most participants in a promotion should not be described as prizes. The Authority told the promoters not to repeat the claim.
3. Complaint upheld
In the absence of evidence in its support, the Authority considered that the promoters had not justified the claim. The Authority asked the promoters not to make the claim, or a similar claim, in future unless they could demonstrate its accuracy.
The Authority considered that the failure of the promoters to state on the card the full name and address of their business, in a form that could be retained by consumer, was a breach of the Codes. It told the promoters to make sure that that information was stated clearly, in a retainable form, on similar cards in future.
Because it was likely that most participants in the promotion would receive a gift, not a prize, the Authority considered that the claim "CONGRATULATIONS you are a LEVEL 4 winner" misleadingly implied that those participants were luckier than they were. The Authority told the promoters not to state or imply in future promotions that recipients who were awarded gifts, as opposed to those who had won prizes, were lucky.
The Authority was concerned that the promoters had not responded in detail to its enquiries and reminded them of their obligations in that respect. The Authority understood from ICSTIS that it had recently upheld complaints about the promoters and that they had been fined and access was barred to three similar premium rate services for a period of six months.
The Authority advised the promoters to take advice from the Committee of Advertising Practice Copy Advice team before distributing future promotions.