Eckoh fined £150K over Richard & Judy quiz
'Reckless disregard for viewers'
The premium-rate regulator, ICSTIS, has completed its investigation into allegations against the quiz "You say, we pay", and concluded that Eckoh, which ran the competition, should pay a £150,000 fine for their "reckless disregard for viewers".
Punters were encouraged to call up, at a quid a time, in the hope of being selected to play the game during the show. What they didn't know was that the players had been selected 20 minutes before the lines closed: ISCTIS reckons that 47 per cent of calls came in during that last 20 minutes.
Every day at 17.15 Eckoh sent a list of those who had been selected to the production company - Cactus TV - but the phone lines didn't close until 17.48, so it's hard to credit that Cactus didn't notice the anomaly. But ICSTIS only deals with companies running premium-rate services, in this case Eckoh.
Since October 2004, around a million people have taken part in the quiz, which means Eckoh has made £470,000 from calls received after the lines had closed. With 60 per cent going in prizes, that makes a £282,000 profit from the scam, though that would still have to be divided between the companies involved.
Eckoh has 20 days to appeal against the decision, though it has contested the findings so far and have cooperated fully with the investigation. Its main bone of contention seems to be that no one else is being blamed, despite the fact that many people must have known what was going on.
So someone gets chosen from all the lottery entries...
That's what's supposed to happen and it did.
The fact that some Muppets didn't get entered for the lottery surely doesn't matter - in the end one of them was chosen from the set of callers.
What gets me is they're running a lottery on the telly without paying tax. And the mind-numbingly crap programs they produce - which is by far the more important issue.
VAT (and a special gambling tax) should be levied on these calls so that the rest of society can benefit from the Muppets who play these lotteries.
I can't help but think that the viewers of this crap are getting what they deserve.
On this case
I demand a phone vote!
Everyone seems to be questioning the maths on this, but if they get £470,000 and 60% goes on prizes, then the profit is the remaining 40%, i.e. £188,000, not £282,000.