Radio Buxton offered a prize Renault Clio but forgot to say it was just 8cm long.
Topic: Games of chance and skill
Who: Radio Buxton and Catherine McGowan
When: April 2001
Where: Derby County Court
DJ Chris Constantine thought everybody would get the joke when on Radio Buxton he ran a series of phone-in competitions offering prizes including a bag of chips and Ferrari F50 which turned out to be a scale model. Next up was a Renault Clio, but there was no mention of models heard by winning contestant Catherine McGowan, who was not impressed when she called to collect her prize and got an 8cm model. In fact she was sufficiently unimpressed to sue Radio Buxton, (who were later censured by the Radio Authority and sacked the unfortunate DJ) for breach of contract. In court Ms McGowan won judgment in her favour and an order that the station pay her £8000 to cover the cost of the prize she thought she’d won.
Why this matters:
Pepsi Cola had a similar experience in the USA a little while ago after they made a supposed joke offer to redeem millions of vouchers for a jump jet. In that case the US court finally held for Pepsi on the basis that no reasonable viewer could possibly believe the offer was serious. Radio Buxton’s experience here suggests that joke prize competitions should be approached with extreme caution if at all. It also underlines the fact that there is a contract between all competition participants and its organisers which the courts can enforce if necessary.