Summary List of Consultation Questions
The PRS Competition Sector
Overall, the proportion of call revenue from PRS competitions
which is paid out in prizes does not, in the view of ICSTIS,
indicate serious manipulation or exploitation of consumers,
though the proportion does vary from competition to competition.
Should ICSTIS be concerned about the relationship between call
revenue and value of prizes? If so, why?
Consultees are also requested to suggest ideas about how such a
concern could be translated into practice. For example,
requiring a minimum percentage payout of call revenue in prize
money/value. ICSTIS foresees considerable practical problems
with this approach but if consultees think this is an option
which ICSTIS should consider comments are also welcome on how
such a requirement could be enforced in practice.
Competition Formats and Questions
Comments are invited on the fairness of different PRS
competition formats. Comments are particularly sought on
pre-drawn prize draws. Options open to ICSTIS to deal with any
consumer detriment with these latter types of competition
Legal questions apart, is there any objection in principle to
the use of two-stage random electronic selection of winners? If
so, do consultees have any suggestions as to how the issue might
be dealt with? If it were the case that only a proportion of
correct answers formed the pool from which the draw was made
(and accordingly some correct entries were discarded), would
your answer differ?
banning such formats
requiring a warning statement that there may be no winner in a
requiring service providers to publish details of the winner
(or lack of winner) in a specified future edition of the
publication or programme where e promotion appeared.
Some issues relating to fairness have been raised in Section 3
of the document and consultees' views are sought on these. Apart
from these issues it seems that the management of competitions
is, in the main, fair. Do consultees have any further issues or
questions regarding the management of PRS competitions?
Complaints to ICSTIS and Other Regulators
ICSTIS appears to be receiving the majority of complaints
concerning PRS competitions. Do consultees agree with this
comment? If not, could consultees suggest ways in which ICSTIS
could reach more complainants?
The level of complaints to ICSTIS about PRS competitions causes
concern. This level is, however, partly a reflection of the
popularity of PRS competitions and includes a high percentage of
operating difficulties. The monitoring exercise carried out by
ICSTIS indicates a good degree of compliance with the seventh
edition of the ICSTIS Code of Practice. Do consultees agree with
ICSTIS' assessment of the current situation as regards the ICSTIS
Code and PRS competitions?
Consumer Attitudes and Issues
The review has highlighted a number of issues concerning children
and PRS competitions. There is considerable difficulty in
defining what is and what is not a children's competition. In the
light of this and taking into consideration the consumer
research, consultees are asked to comment on the following:
The ICSTIS Code currently requires that all promotions for
children's competitions state that the bill payers permission
should be sought. Do consultees consider this sufficient? If not,
could consultees suggest ways in which the effectiveness of the
prior permission requirement can be boosted?
should there be any age limit (or other restriction such as
limits on the value or nature of prizes or maximum call
durations) on the promotion of scratchcard style competitions to
given the difficulty in assessing which competitions are actually
aimed at children, should PRS competitions be allowed to target
when does children's use of competitions become a form of
Subject to the legal requirements set out in Section 7 of this
report being met the level of skill in current PRS competition
formats appears satisfactory from the point of view of entrants.
Apart from the issues dealt with by Section 7 of this report
ICSTIS intends to take no further action in this respect. Do
consultees agree with this course of action? If not, why not?
Consumer knowledge of the odds against winning PRS competitions
appears to be low and of little interest to entrants. Should
ICSTIS be concerned about the knowledge of the odds against
winning? If yes, would it be desirable for consumers to be given
information on the odds against winning? If so, how?
The current exemption in the ICSTIS Code (Paragraph 3.3.5) which
allows for no pricing information to be given for services which
cost less than 50p and are terminated by forced release appears
not to becausing problems in practice because service providers,
in many cases, are voluntarily giving pricing information.
However, comments are invited on whether ICSTIS should consider:
removing the exemption (thereby requiring pricing information for
restricting the exemption to services costing less than, say, 10
pence (thereby allowing continued use in televoting and other
very short duration PRS calls)
removing the exemption, but retaining a procedure whereby prior
approval can be obtained if a service provider wishes to run,
for whatever reason, a service or other PRS competition without
pricing information. If so, what would be the implications for
other types of PRS?
Summary of Legal Issues
It is a breach of the ICSTIS Code of Practice to provide a PRS
which is illegal. There is clear concern about the legality of
some current competition formats, although it appears that there
are various areas of the relevant law which are unclear. In view
of the legal uncertainties, ICSTIS has operated a policy of
referring competitions where legality is seriously an issue to
the police. ICSTIS deals with breaches of its
by a judicial type of process, but it is not a prosecuting
authority or court of law. In the event that there are
uncertainties in the law it is right that such matters should be
dealt with through formal court processes. ICSTIS intends to
continue its policy of referring PRS competitions where legality
is seriously in issue, or raised as an issue by a complainant,
to the proper authorities. ICSTIS is considering the possibility
of acting itself under its
in respect of the minority of services where ICSTIS considers
the matter serious and is advised that there is no realistic
doubt that the service is illegal. Do consultees agree with this
course of action? If not, why not?
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