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X Factor escapes phone votes fine

But ITV show is reprimanded by watchdog


Man with a TV remote control.

The X Factor has been reprimanded by phone watchdog Icstis after overcharging viewers £200,000 in an interactive phone blunder.

The show’s phone provider escaped a fine, which could have been as high as £250,000, over the vote scandal that came to light in February this year.

X Factor was one of several TV shows under fire in the furore, which erupted when it emerged viewers were asked to call premium rate lines on Richard and Judy’s You Say, We Pay competition after it had closed.

ITV pledged to donate the extra revenue, made by charging X Factor viewers who pressed the red button on their remote controls 50p instead of 30p, to Childline.

Formal reprimand

Icstis said it was imposing a formal reprimand instead of a fine as an incentive for broadcasters to come forward when they found errors.

It added that ITV admitted the breach and took immediate steps to remedy it, it approached Icstis of its own accord once the problem was discovered, there were no public complaints and there was no financial gain from the breach because of the donation to charity.

ITV had also examined its premium rate procedures and made changes to prevent future mistakes, it said.

Icstis said it would be seeking confirmation that ITV had made its donation to charity.

Phone quizzes

Several broadcasters have been tarnished by the phone quiz scandal.

Five admitted some of its competition winners were faked on the daily lunchtime show Brainteaser, and Icstis is also investigating the BBC’s Saturday Kitchen.

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