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OFT wins pledge from premium rate scammer

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The operators of a premium rate phone service have pledged not to rip-off punters again with empty promises that they won some "major prize".

London-based Churchcastle Limited - which traded as Fast Cash and UK Prize Bonanza - contacted 1.4m people telling them they'd won a fantastic prize.

In reality, all that was on offer was some holiday vouchers or other strings-attached coupons.

To claim their "prize", though, punters had to call a premium rate phone line costing £1.50 a minute. The calls lasted five minutes with each completed call costing £7.50.

More than 190,000 people called the bogus prize line, reported the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

Said OFT exec director Penny Boys: "Misleading mailings such as these deceive consumers and damage the reputation of fair-dealing businesses using legitimate direct marketing techniques.

"We will continue to work with fellow enforcers to stamp out these practices." ®

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