150,000 fine for 'fake' Richard and Judy competition


150,000 fine for 'fake' Richard and Judy competition
The regulator for premium rate telephone services has imposed a £150,000 fine on the company behind a telephone quiz on Richard and Judy that some viewers had no chance of winning.

Icstis has also ordered Eckoh UK Ltd to refund the customers affected.

The regulator ruled that the competition, in which viewers were encouraged to participate even though potential winners had already been selected, had "seriously misled" the audience.

A judgment by the watchdog said that 47 per cent of viewers calling into the You Say We Pay quiz this year had no chance of winning.

Icstis chairman Sir Alistair Graham said: "The size of the fine reflects the very serious nature of the breach of our code of practice.

"The hearing panel found clear evidence of fundamental failings in the winner selection process."

The regulator added that viewers had been "denied the opportunity of fair consideration and that this was "unacceptable”.

Icstis will also refer the case to media regulator Ofcom which will investigate the actions of the parties involved under its broadcasting code.

Eckoh UK Ltd said it had been put under pressure by Cactus, the company that produces the show, to find early winners. Both Cactus and Channel 4 dispute these claims.

A host of phone quiz scandals have come to light with broadcasters implicated over a range of programmes including GMTV and Blue Peter.

Ofcom recently imposed a £300,000 fine on the TV channel Five for faking the winners of a phone-in quiz show.

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