ASA Adjudication on The Number UK Ltd
The Number UK Ltd t/a
153-155 Regent Street
4 April 2012
Internet (sales promotion)
Number of complaints:
A competition called 'TacheOff', in support of the men's health charity Movember, ran in November 2011 on a social network website. It required participants to submit a photograph of someone wearing a moustache for the chance to win an iPad.
The complainant challenged whether the competition had been administered fairly after she had been disqualified.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
The Number UK Ltd (The Number) stated that the complainant had been disqualified from the promotion because her facebook profile contained information which gave rise to a reasonable suspicion that she was participating in a vote-swapping syndicate in order to canvass votes for her entry. They believed that the complainant's profile had been created exclusively for the purpose of entering various competitions. The Number said the complainant had been disqualified therefore because they suspected that she had engaged in activity they considered unfair to the other participants and contrary to the core values of the 118118 community.
The Number also stated that although it was standard practice for them to communicate their terms and conditions for all promotions, on this occasion, due to an oversight, they did not do so. They said that when they launched the promotion they initially intended to raise money for The Movember Foundation by agreeing to donate £1 for every photograph posted, to a maximum of £10,000. They said they subsequently decided to offer a prize of an iPad as an additional incentive, but at this stage omitted to post the terms and conditions.
The Number confirmed that they were fully aware of the requirements of the Code and would take steps to ensure that all future promotions were accompanied with the relevant terms and conditions and that these clearly outlined any criteria that might be used to disqualify participants.
The ASA noted that the complainant was disqualified from the promotion because The Number suspected that she had been engaged in activity they considered unfair to the other participants and contrary to the core values of the 118118 community.
We noted that Code rule 8.2 stated that, "... Promoters must avoid causing unnecessary disappointment", rule 8.17 stated that promoters "must communicate all applicable significant conditions" and rule 8.28 stated that "Participants must be able to retain conditions or easily access them throughout the promotion".
We considered that canvassing for votes was commonplace on social media sites and would not necessarily be considered unfair by all participants. We considered that if The Number intended to disqualify participants based on such activity, this should have been made clear in accompanying terms and conditions, in order to avoid disappointment. We also noted that the complainant denied being involved in vote-swapping activities and that The Number had not submitted evidence to support their suspicions.
Because the promoters had not taken reasonable steps to avoid disappointment, such as outlining what would be considered 'fair' participation, we concluded that the promotion had been administered unfairly and had breached the Code.
The promotion breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 8.2 (Sales promotions), 8.14 (Administration), 8.17.1 (Significant conditions for promotions) and 8.28 (Prize promotions).
We told The Number to ensure that they include accompanying terms and conditions in future promotions.