Win A Mega Home was the subject of a series of complaints over tweets and radio ads highlighting the competition in December 2018.
The radio ads declared that the winner of the draw ‒ for which tickets cost £25, with entrants also needing to answer a question ‒ would win a £3m, six-bedroom riverfront home on the edge of the New Forest, while the runner up would get an Aston Martin.
The contentious tweet stated: “You have until tomorrow to buy a ticket to win this house!”
Exponential ticket sales growth needed
Complaints were raised with the ASA by 18 different people, who were aware that the quoted prizes ‒ or reasonable equivalents ‒ had not been awarded, but were still being promoted the day before the closing date for the draw.
Win A Mega Home admitted it had been disappointed by the “low ticket sales” for the draw, and had believed that a promotional push in the media in the final days of the competition would lead to an “exponential growth” in sales.
The firm said it needed to sell 170,000 tickets in order to sell the house, but only managed 14,000.
Runner-up got nothing
As a result it gave the winner of the draw a prize of £110,070, while the runner up got nothing, the firm arguing that it had made clear that in order for the Aston Martin to be included as a prize more than 195,000 tickets would need to be sold.
The ASA upheld the complaint, stating that the eventual prize “was clearly not a reasonable equivalent to a £3m house”.
It added: “We were concerned that it was not actually possible for prospective participants to know what the prize would be before buying a ticket.
“They could not know how likely it was that fewer than 170,000 tickets would be sold, how much would be generated from sales below that threshold or what the promotion costs would be.
“As it transpired, the winner received a prize that was only 15 per cent of the total amount generated by the competition.”
Win A Mega Home has been ordered to ensure that in future it awards the prizes as described, or reasonable equivalents.
Mortgage Solutions has attempted to contact the lottery organisers but not yet received a response.