ITV admits X Factor vote blunder

ITV has admitted overcharging viewers who voted in the last series of hit show X Factor.

The broadcaster says it overcharged Sky customers who voted via the red button. It says it will pay back affected viewers and donate £200,000 to charity.

ITV says it has notified premium rate services regulator Icstis, which has “welcomed” the approach.

The broadcaster says the mistake came to light last week when it received a red button revenue statement from Sky, showing a surplus to ITV of £200,000.

In the programmes broadcast between October 14 and December 16 last year, viewers had the opportunity to participate in the show via the red button either by taking part in a prize competition, costing £1 per entry, or by voting in the show, costing 35p per entry.

Due to an ITV data inputting error, red button competition entrants were charged 35p per entry instead of £1. In addition, red-button voters were charged 50p per vote instead of 35p. Landline, mobile and text entries were unaffected.

The admission comes just days after Channel 4 suspended the You Say We Pay quiz on Richard & Judy, when money was taken for phone calls when callers were unable to be selected for the quiz. An Icstis investigation is being conducted. The BBC has also found itself in hot water over Saturday Kitchen after viewers were urged to call a pre-recorded show.

A spokeswoman for the company says the mistake was noticed as part of ITV’s regular financial reporting process.

She says: “To rectify this mistake ITV will repay the 15p collected from every vote to any viewer affected who wishes to claim it back.”

In addition, ITV is making a donation of £200,000 to Childline.

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