A prize draw, seen on 12 February 2018 on the website https://winabode.com, offered entrants the opportunity to win a £700,000 house in London. The entry fee stated "£2.00*". The asterisk linked to text further down the page which stated "Please note that because we are unlikely to reach the necessary target of £700,000, we will most likely offer a cash alternative as per our Ts and Cs".
The complainant, who understood that the cash alternative was disproportionate to the value of the property, challenged whether the competition had been administered fairly.
Win Abode Ltd said that they sought legal advice on their terms and conditions, that these terms and conditions were made clear throughout the promotion and that they included the offer of a cash alternative in the event that they did not generate enough funds for the grand prize.
Win Abode said that they sold £120,000 worth of tickets, that the prize draw took place within 30 days of the competition closing and that it was administered in accordance with the law of chance, under the supervision of an independent observer. They said that details of the winners were published on their website.
The ASA noted that both Win Abode's name and much of their website were centred on the prospect of winning the prize of a property. We noted that the competition page gave significant detail on the property's location, the local landmarks and the local hotspots. We also noted the inclusion of the text "*Please note that because we are unlikely to reach the necessary target of £700,000, we will most likely offer a cash alternative as per our Ts and Cs".
We considered that the prominence of and detail given to the grand prize was likely to give consumers the impression that the winner would receive the property, no matter how many tickets were sold, and that the cash alternative condition was not sufficiently prominent to alter that impression. Whilst we acknowledged that £120,000 was raised and that the winner won over £100,000, this was not a reasonable equivalent to the prize of the £700,000 property. For that reason, we considered that Win Abode had not awarded the prize as described in the ad, or a reasonable equivalent, and that the promotion was likely to have caused unnecessary disappointment.
The ad breached CAP Code Edition 12 rule 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. (Promotional marketing).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Win Abode Ltd to ensure in future that they award prizes as described in their ads, or reasonable equivalents.