Channel 9 should refund all monies to entrants for the "I wake up with Today" Fiasco.
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Channel 9's Today Show competition, "I wake up with Today" - Block of Cash Giveaway, appears to be a stitchup as evidenced by the call to Josh Huxley of Halekulani, 10th May, 2017 - where a television crew filmed him answering the phone 'live' in order to win a major jackpot. This call is supposed to be random. A television crew in presence, in his house belies this claim. (Please see addendum below as after reviewing the footage, the camera wasn't in the room when he answered but only 1 minute after which was a 'live' feed).
20 minutes before the supposed 'random' call, the hosts of the show were encouraging people to call in and enter as there was supposedly still time to be in the draw. The terms and conditions on their website, state that "Competition days close 16:30 AEDT each Sun-Thurs up until 18/05/17. Draws at 17:00 AEDT/AEST on each competition day. Cash calls made following day Mon-Fri up until 19/05/17. Yet on the morning of 10/05/2017, the hosts were encouraging people to ring in and enter at a cost of $0.55 cents per call or sms, knowing that the competition for that draw had closed. (See addendum below for more clarification with a timeline of the events).
The ACCC states that
Two fundamental rules of advertising and selling are that:
you must not engage in conduct that is likely to mislead or deceive
you must not make false or misleading claims or statements.
In practice there is overlap between the two rules. A particular statement could breach both.
Clearly, there has been a breach of both in this case.
1. The competition was closed - yet Channel 9 was still making money from people calling in up until the actual segment.
2. The winner was chosen in advance - so entrants were disadvantaged from the beginning and their entries were null and void, in spite of having paid for them, as appears by the 'planted' TV crew in attendance.
The ACCC also states that
"It is illegal for a business to engage in conduct that misleads or deceives or is likely to mislead or deceive consumers or other businesses. This law applies even if you did not intend to mislead or deceive anyone or no one has suffered any loss or damage as a result of your conduct."
Clearly, Channel 9 has engaged in this type of false and misleading behaviour by asking people to pay for entries into a competition that was already closed with the outcome previously determined.
We the undersigned demand that Channel 9 refund all monies to entrants for the Block of Cash Giveaway considering the false claims made regarding the fairness of the competition at entrants expense from which you have made huge profits and that they should be investigated for breaching the law in regards to false advertising and the fact that a camera crew was present for a supposed random draw.
Addendum: I would like to add that after reviewing the footage from the Today Show's 10th of May, 2017 broadcast that I would like to clarify a few things. I stated that the contestant was filmed answering the call 'live' but on review the contestant - Josh Huxley was filmed 'live' just after answering the call. Here is a blow by blow account of what actually happened on the Today show leading up to the call:
Karl Stefanovic states at 7:18 am "Now, forget Scott Morrison and his budget promises, we have a massive morning of tax free money right here on the Today Show." Lisa Wilkinson continues, " That's right. Stand by your phones and start thinking exactly how you'd be spending a whopping $140,000." An ad was then broadcast immediately after at 7:19 am encouraging people to register for the draw. "...Register now, for your chance to win, and don't forget to answer 'I wake up with Today!". Straight after the ad Lisa Wilkinson states "She sure does and she's pretty happy as well, so make sure you register." Karl Stefanovic then refers to the 2 Blockies, one of which has $140,000 on its screen, the security guards and a suitcase full of cash: "There it is the cash..."
This in itself is misleading as the advertisement does not state that entries are closed for the current draw following Lisa Wilkinson's statement about winning ..."a whopping $140,000." The ad instead appears to be telling people to "Register now..." The fine print on the screen states that entries close at 4.30 pm the day before, but there is not enough time given for people to read it, and it has a very small font. It is easy to see how people would be mislead into thinking they still had time to enter that particular draw, especially considering the statements from the hosts of the show.
It would appear that the people at Channel 9 are also confused about how the competition is run:
"However, a Channel Nine spokesperson told Mamamia viewers were not encouraged to enter the $130K jackpot, but to enter the ongoing competition.
"We always encourage our viewers to enter the Block of Cash giveaway, but never suggest that they would be in the draw for that particular morning," the spokesperson said.
"Everyone who entered (Wednesday) morning is in the draw and eligible to win until the close of the competition on 18 May.
"The competition terms and conditions are available on our website and the competition is conducted at all times in accordance with them."
Chambers, Jessica. Mamamia. "Furious viewers accuse Today Show of running a scam after “deceitful” cash giveaway." 12 May 2017. http://www.mamamia.com.au/today-show-block-of-cash-scam/
So what are the exact rules? Even Channel 9 doesn't seem to know, considering that "Everyone who entered (Wednesday) morning is in the draw and eligible to win until the close of the competition on 18 May."
Yet the terms and conditions state you must enter each draw before the next day by 4:30 pm, but the spokesperson above is saying that entries on Wednesday morning were eligible for that draw and are carried over as well. That is a complete contradiction. If that is indeed the case, then all the people who entered the morning of Wednesday, 10 May, 2017, should have been eligible for that particular draw according to the spokesperson and other draws up until the 18th of May, 2017 without having to enter each day. When you also consider that advertisements are often shown in the evening on Channel 9, encouraging people to register for the next day's jackpot, well after 4:30 pm, people are again mislead as to which draw they are actually entering.
At 7:25 am, Lisa Wilkinson announces: "And it is so close now. Our security guards have the cash. Mr. and Mrs. Blockie have just been given the name of the person we are calling in just 20 minutes. Our first call. $130,000." This is a first for this segment.
On all previous occasions, to my knowledge there has never been an envelope shown.
At 7:30 am Lisa Wilkinson receives the envelope from a security guard and looks inside and says: "I can confirm it is a human being". The whole problem with this scenario is that every time the contest has been run prior to this particular segment, the Today Show has implied that the person called was randomly chosen at that point, with the hosts listening to an ear piece whereby they would be told who was being called next and then make that announcement. Having an envelope for the first time, gives a completely different impression, especially as it is well before the call will be actually conducted.
At 7:47 am another ad is shown encouraging people to enter. If someone had just tuned in and did not know about the first time envelope scenario, they may have hurriedly entered on the off chance they would be in the draw.
At 7:48 am Lisa Wilkinson makes the announcement: "We are heading to Halekulani, on the NSW Central Coast, and we are calling, the one, the only, hopefully very lucky Josh Huxley." Josh Huxley then answers within one ring. After initial celebrations, Lisa Wilkinson asks: " Are you at home at the moment Josh?" To which he answers that he is and that he just woke up. Many people have questioned that if he had entered with a mobile phone, he may not have been at home - so where would the camera crew have been then?
At 7:49 we are "suddenly" inside the Huxley's living room and we can see his wife duck out and back from a corner in the rear, hiding from the camera. There was no knock at the door, and we do not know who let the camera crew in. This is what looks so suspicious to most people. We do not see the camera crew outside the house. We do not see the camera crew knock on the door and then enter the house, which would have looked like a genuine happenstance. Instead we are transported via camera immediately inside the house with the 2 occupants nowhere near the front door. Viewers are left to wonder who let them in.
The other question being asked is whether or not they were alerted to the presence of a camera crew outside their home. How does the television audience know that the Huxley's weren't aware of their presence before hand? The whole point of the competition is to try and catch someone answering their phone in time - 3 rings to be exact. If the call is not answered within 3 rings, the money jackpots. Why did Channel 9 send a crew out to Halekulani before the phone call was made? There is not enough time from when the envelope was handed over to send a camera crew via the road to Halekulani a distance of 106 kms from Artarmon with a travelling time of 1 hr and 25 minutes on a good day. The envelope was handed to Lisa at 7:30 am. We are then supposed to believe that a crew got to the area in the space of some 15 minutes? Were they flown in by helicopter? Being a former resident of Budgewoi which is across the bridge from Halekulani, I can tell you from personal experience that such an event would have not gone unnoticed in such a small community. If a camera crew were lurking about outside the house before the call, complete with a van and satellite dish the neighbours or the occupants could have noticed as their (the occupants) curtains were open and they have also stated the front door was open as well.This could easily give the whole game away.
None of the viewers can be assured that the call was a genuine surprise as a result and that is what has upset most people as so many entrants have missed out previously. Was there a television crew at Mackay the day before? Why not? And why send a television crew that would give the game away for a surprise phone call anyway? What would be the point and how can they ensure that no one would know about it and alert the contestants? There isn't anyway to know this for sure which is why the whole contest is now in doubt.
The points I made above are still valid, especially in light of this blow by blow account outlining what actually happened, and the statements made after the fact by Channel 9. People think the whole thing looks dodgy. I myself am not begrudging the Huxley's their win, it is the way in which this draw was conducted that has left the whole thing in question and I as well as those who have commented online on Facebook and here on this petition feel that the draw was compromised and falsely advertised.
To avoid further doubts and suspicions, the draw should be conducted live on set, with officers from the Liquor and Gaming NSW present as the competition is effectively a lottery with people having to pay to enter. Therefore the Block of Cash Giveaway needs to be regulated as a public lottery in NSW with Liquor & Gaming NSW.
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