A competition shown on a website, www.cornwall-living.co.uk, featured text that stated “Luxury holiday Win a week in Cornwall in June worth up to £1345 Forever Cornwall is offering Cornwall Living readers the opportunity to spend a week in June at any one of its award-winning holiday cottages at Kestle Barton by Frenchman’s Creek on the Helford River. Choose the Farmhouse, Avallen, Mowhay or Howthere barns. Prize redeemable between 29th May and 3rd July inclusive”.
At the bottom of the page were the terms and conditions, which stated “All linen included, with maximum occupancy and other accommodation details as stated on Forever Cornwall website. Subject to availability, the winner is advised to choose accommodation immediately following notification. Refundable £100 security deposit payable. No cash alternative”.
The complainant, who had won the prize but was subsequently offered alternative accommodation, challenged whether the competition had been administered fairly.
Engine House Media Ltd t/a Cornwall Living acknowledged the complaint, but did not provide a substantive response along with any evidence.
The ASA was concerned that Cornwall Living did not provide a response to its enquiries, despite having acknowledged the complaint saying that they were in the process of gathering information.
We understood that the complainant selected a large holiday cottage (“Avallen Barn”), which could occupy eight guests in four bedrooms, on the day that they had won the competition and subsequently received an email from the accommodation provider confirming that a reservation had been made. However, the complainant was later told by Cornwall Living via email that the cottage was no longer available because of “unforeseen circumstances” and was offered a hotel room for two guests for a period of four nights instead of a week (as advertised). We referred to rule 8.15.1 8.15.1 Promoters must award the prizes as described in their marketing communications or reasonable equivalents, normally within 30 days. of the CAP Code, which stated that “Promoters must award the prizes as described in their marketing communications or reasonable equivalents, normally within 30 days”. We considered that a hotel room for a maximum occupancy of two persons for four nights was not equivalent to a seven-night stay at a large holiday cottage that offered four bedrooms for eight-guest occupancy and we therefore, concluded that the competition had not been administered fairly.
The competition breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 8.1 8.1 Promoters are responsible for all aspects and all stages of their promotions. 8.2 8.2 Promoters must conduct their promotions equitably, promptly and efficiently and be seen to deal fairly and honourably with participants and potential participants. Promoters must avoid causing unnecessary disappointment. and 8.15.1 8.15.1 Promoters must award the prizes as described in their marketing communications or reasonable equivalents, normally within 30 days. (Sales Promotions).
The ad must not appear again in their current form. We told Cornwall Living to ensure that prizes in future promotions were awarded, or reasonable equivalents, so as to avoid causing undue disappointment to participants.