A company that ran a scratchcard promotion has been fined GBP 10,000 for stringing out premium-rate calls to make more money.
Morgan Import (1964) Ltd was also given a formal reprimand by Icstis, the premium-rate phone regulator.
Consumers got the scratchcards in the post. Winners had to call a phone line costing up to GBP 15 to claim their prize.
Prizes not available
But Icstis said the scratchcards failed to mention the likely cost of the call. A message on the line listed up to 34 different prizes – but many weren’t available.
Icstis said listing such prizes on the line was ‘irrelevant and unnecessary’ and served only to prolong the length of the call – and the cost paid by the caller.
Icstis received 64 complaints about the promotion. Access to the service and all its phone numbers was barred by the regulator until Morgan Import complied with Icstis’ code of practice.
An Icstis spokesperson said: ‘This is a substantial fine because of the number of complaints we got about it.’