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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Watchdog upholds complaints and finds new problem with house raffle

A company which promotes property raffles have been told that it cannot repeat certain elements of its advertisements on Facebook and on its website 

This follows two complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority about the £5 a ticket raffle promotion.

The controversy surrounds a Facebook post and website for Raffle House, seen in November last year and featuring the text “Have you checked out our new play then pay process? Increase your chances to win today, risk free!”.

The website boasted the heading “A £5 ticket to your dream home” and featured a table where visitors could select the number of tickets they wished to purchase and enter the promotion, followed by an image and description of a house. 

Two complainants to the ASA challenged whether the promotion was fairly administered, because the method of entry was changed during the promotion. On top of that, the ASA itself challenged whether the absence of a prominent closing date in the Facebook advertisement was in breach of its advertising code.

In response to the ASA investigation, the firm behind the scheme - Raffle House Ltd - said it email customers in November informing them of updates which included a change in their payment process where consumers could now pay for their ticket to be entered in to the prize draw after they had answered a multiple-choice question correctly. 

Previously, consumers would have to purchase a ticket before answering the multiple-choice question and only correct answers would be entered in to the draw. 

Raffle House Ltd also informed customers that they had all been rewarded a free entry to the property competition as well as being entered into a cash-prize giveaway. Both were awarded to all account holders who had created an account with Raffle House before the change in the method of entry.

Raffle House Ltd told the ASA that this created a fair and equitable environment for those customers affected by the change and would avoid any disappointment. The firm admitted it had previously received a number of complaints about their process regarding the “pay before play” model and the timed question and that warranted an exceptional circumstance which prompted the change in entry method.

The company also confirmed to the ASA that the Facebook post did not have any closing date; it suggested to the ASA that its Facebook followers were already customers who were aware of the closing date. 

The company’s website already included a prominent closing date.

However, the ASA upheld both complaints.

The authority said that the change in terms and conditions would be unfair to those who entered under the original terms; in turn, after the changes were made, new entrants were being treated unfairly because previous entrants under the previous terms and conditions were given free entry into the draw.

“We therefore concluded that the promotion had not been administered fairly” says the ASA. 

In addition, the authority makes it clear that all marketing communications or other material referring to promotions must communicate all applicable significant conditions, including a prominent closing date if applicable.

And the ASA adds in this morning’s statement: “We also became aware during the course of the investigation that the closing date had been extended from June 2018 to June 2019, which we considered to be a further breach of the CAP Code.”

In conclusion, the authority says: “We told Raffle House Ltd not to make further changes to the entry method of the promotion and to ensure that in future their promotions were administered fairly and that their ads for promotions included all significant terms and conditions, including a prominent closing date.”

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