‘Win a castle’ organiser says she ‘will not be bullied’ after regulator bans promotion

‘Win a castle’ organiser says she ‘will not be bullied’ after regulator bans promotion

A ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority against a property lottery offering winners the chance to own a castle has drawn a furious response from the woman behind the scheme.


The ASA said it had received a complaint over the Orchardton Castle Facebook page, promoting a ‘Win A Castle’ competition. Text on the page stated: “Win a castle competition. For less than the price of a pizza. £5 per entry. Buy some now before they all go. Win the whole building freehold”.

The complainant said the ad was misleading as they understood the prize had been changed to a cash amount.

According to the ASA, Susan DeVere – who ran the competition – denied the accusation, arguing that it was made clear from the beginning that if not enough entries were received, a cash prize would be offered instead of the property.

She noted that this was not only mentioned on the main web page, but also in all media interviews promoting the competition.

However, the ASA said this was not made sufficiently clear, and would have failed to meet the advertising code’s requirement for a “reasonable equivalent” to the advertised prize, given the three cash prizes – worth £65,000, £7,000 and £5,000 – were significantly less than the value of the property (suggested to be as much as £2.7m).

The ASA has ordered that the promotion must not appear again in its current form, and that any future prizes must be as described, or reasonable equivalents.


‘Ineffectual ASA’

In response DeVere slammed the “ineffectual” ASA, arguing it had targeted house competitions in order to “give trainee investigators something to do”.

She argued there were numerous “inconsistencies” in the ASA’s investigation, and accused the body of a “slur against her reputation”.

DeVere also said in a statement that she was refusing to sign a document stating that she will not run the promotion in its original form again, even though she said she had already been clear that future competitions would not be run in the same way.

“I will not be bullied, blackmailed or coerced by any sort of association which does not even follow their own set of rules but seems to have another agenda. To end all house competitions,” she concluded.


‘Market leading’ agent censured

In a separate case, the ASA also found against an estate agent which had claimed that it was the “official market leaders” for its area, pointing to Rightmove data suggesting it had sold more homes in the PR4 postcode than its competitors.

However, as Leftmove could not substantiate this claim since it did not have sales data for its competitors, the ASA upheld the complaint.

It has been warned to ensure it can support claims in its future advertising.


SOURCE: mortgagesolutions

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