Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/11/29/chester_oft/

OFT nabs Chester scammers

17,000 fall for 'life changing prize' con

By Tim Richardson

Posted in Broadband, 29th November 2005 14:12 GMT

A Chester-based company that ripped off almost 17,000 people has promised not to run any more premium rate phone scams.

Phoenix Media (UK) Limited - trading as Techtron Games - sent out more than 1.7m envelopes containing a promotion that told punters that they might have won a "life changing prize" of £25,000.

To claim their prize, though, punters were told to phone a £1.50 a minute phone line that featured a recorded message that lasted almost eight minutes.

Those that hung on long enough never got to see their £25,000. Instead, they were offered a money-off voucher riddled with restrictions for a cruise.

"These advertisements were highly misleading and encouraged consumers to make expensive phone calls in the hope of receiving a major cash prize," said OFT chief exec John Fingleton.

"The OFT will continue to crack down on advertisers who make misleading claims which harm consumers' interests and discredit legitimate marketing techniques," he said. ®