TV games and contests are not just for children; some are aimed at adults. Problems in this area also concern adults as well as minors.
A lot of attention has been drawn to problems associated with minors playing TV games and contests and running up large bills. The Finnish Consumer Agency has also received numerous queries about TV games aimed at adults, however. Consumers have complained about misleading rules and inadequate instructions.
The Consumer Agency has conducted negotiations with broadcasters concerning TV games and contests on several occasions. Now it has reminded them that consumers - whether they are minors or adults - must be informed in a clear and easily understandable way regarding instructions for playing, costs and other rules that may apply. Consumers must also have a chance to study this information before they start playing.
During a TV game the main rules must be displayed on the screen. The announcer, if there is one, must also repeat the rules orally. Complete rules concerning the game and participation must be supplied on a website and teletext page as well.
Consumers must be told how much it costs to participate and what the price includes. They should know, for example, whether they only have to pay a single charge or whether several calls or text messages are required.
Realistic picture of chances
Marketing may not lure viewers to participate with false promises. The announcer or text must clearly state what participants must do to win and how the game works. Information concerning prizes and the chances of winning must be truthful.
In planning game rules and instructions, the special features of the target group must be kept in mind. Broadcasters must remember that minors have narrower knowledge and experience than adults. There are also vulnerable consumers among adults, for whom clear information concerning rules and chances are particularly important.