Complaints have been made to the Advertising Standards Authority and Hackney Trading Standards over a marketing scheme run by London firm UK Prize Draw.
The firm is sending out mailings congratulating recipients with “You have won a prize!” A list of 14 prizes follows, including a cheque for 2,458.43, a JVC hi-fi system (value 300), or a one-carat Cabochon ruby. Recipients are told they are guaranteed a prize.
To claim it, they must fill in a prize confirmation form, which includes the line “enclosed is my 12 for participation in The Prize Opportunities Group” and space for credit card details.
The ASA is investigating complaints that the form implies that 12 must be sent before the prize is sent. In fact the 12 buys entry to a separate draw in the UK Prize Club.
But by far the greatest number of complaints have come from members of the public who claim they have received a pebble as their prize. The pebble, sent in a plastic bag, is in fact their “Cabochon ruby”.
A form sent with the ruby claims it is worth between 90 and 95. This valuation is backed by a jeweller’s valuation, but the jeweller who gave it, Kemble Jewellers in London, claims it is misleading. “Someone came in for a valuation on a ruby,” says a spokesman, “but the stones being sent out are not as good quality as the ruby we were shown.”
Legally there is little to stop the UK Prize Club. It does not give a valuation of the ruby in the original mailing.