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Ofcom finds Smooth in Breach

Smooth Radio Northwest has been found in breach of Ofcom guidelines after one winner complained that an all-inclusive holiday she won didn't include airport taxes.

And despite the station persistently advising listeners to see full terms and conditions online, the complainant felt that it should have been more clear.

In response, GMG Radio, who owns the licence for Smooth Radio Northwest, explained that each promotion advised listeners interested in participating in the competition to visit the station’s website for the full terms and conditions. The terms and conditions stated that winners would be required to pay airport taxes. It also said that those entrants who progressed to each of the Friday draws were contacted directly to confirm their telephone number and to check that they had read the terms and conditions online.

GMG Radio added that owing to the number of conditions relating to this particular prize, it took the decision to refer listeners to off-air information rather than meticulously list all the specifics of the prize. It considered it reasonable to assume listeners would check terms and conditions, particularly as travel prizes often have elements that should be addressed prior to visiting, giving passport/visa requirements, health regulations and airport taxes as examples.

The broadcaster believed that it was not a requirement to refer to the exclusion of airport taxes in the on-air prize description given the number of times listeners were advised to read the online terms and conditions.

Ofcom therefore considered the promotion was compliant with Rule 2.11 of the Code.

However, the regulator was not happy that the prize was described as all-inclusive and therefore considered this to be a significant factor and, as such, should have been made clear during the promotion, irrespective of the repeated reminders to listeners to check terms and conditions of the competition online. Ofcom therefore concluded that the prize was not described accurately on air.

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